Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Type of Sri Lankan Ayurveda Medicines

Ayurveda is the name given to the science of medicine which prolongs or guards one's life. Whatever the method it uses the main target is to save life.

Ayurveda has a separate system which lays down the forms and the special modes on which medicine is administered to patients. Chuma, Svarasa ,Kalka, Kasaya , Phanta, Sitakasaya, Paniya, Kshirapaka, Yavagu, Avaleha , Modaka, Vatika, Khandapaka, Bhavana, Putapaka, Sandanavarga, Kanjika, Dravaka, Asava, Arishta, medicated oils, Ghritas and many more. Each of these medicines are prepared in different ways.

Churna - or powder is prepared by pounding dry substances in a mortar with a pestle and passing the powder through a cloth.

Svarasa - or expressed juice is prepared by pounding fresh herbs in a mortar, extracting the juice and straining it through a cloth.

Kalka - or paste is prepared by grinding dry or fresh herbs on a stone with a mallet and then making a thin paste with the addition of water when necessary. These are also mixed sometimes with honey and sugar and cooked or boiled in ghee until they are reduced to a certain consistency. These medicines can be kept for a long time.

Phanta - or infusions are prepared by steeping one part of powdered herbs in 8 parts of hot water for 12 hours during the night. They are administered in the same way as decoctions (Kasaya).

Sitakasaya - or Cold infusions are prepared by steeping one part of a herb in 6 of water for a night and straining out the fluid in the morning.

Paniya - is a weak form of decoction, prepared by boiling one part of medicinal substances in 32 parts of water till the latter is reduced to one half. This preparation is usually taken for appeasing, thirst or some such thing.

Kshirapaka - or milk decoction. The proportion for this is one part of herbs, 8 cups of milk and 22 cups of water. The ingredients are boiled together till the water is evaporated and the milk alone remains. The decoction is then strained.

Yavagu - sometimes medicines are. added to powdered rice or powdered rice added to the decoction and made into a gruel.

A veleha - or extract. The decoction after being strained is again boiled down to the consistency of a thick extract.

Modaka - for this preparation no boiling is required. It is prepared by adding powders to cold syrup and stirring them together till they are uniformly mixed.

Vathika - or pills. These are usually prepared by reducing a decoction of herbs to a thick consistency and then adding some powders for making a pill mass. Sometimes powdered medicines with the addition of treacle or honey are used.

Khandapaka – or confections. These are made adding to a syrup, medicines in fine powder form and stirring it over the fire till it is well mixed and reduced to the proper consistency.

Bhavana - or maceration of powders in fluids. This is specially done with mineral substances. These are often soaked in various fluids, such as expressed juice of herbs, decoctions etc. and then dried. For this process the quantity of fluid added to the powder should be sufficient to cover it. The mixture is then allowed to dry in the sun. A single operation of this sort is completed in 24 hours, but the process is
generally repeated from 3 to 7 times and afterwards with a variety of fluids. This ensures that the resulting mass combines within it the active properties of various herbs.

Putapaka – or roasting. In this form raw herbs are reduced to a paste; they are wrapped up in jambu or plantain leaves firmly tied with fibres of some sort, covered with a layer of clay and roasted in a cowdung fire. When the layer of clay assumes a brick red colour on the surface the roasting is complete. The medicine is taken out and the juice is squeezed and administered with honey or medicinal pills.

Sandhanavarga - or products of acetones fermenting like vin­egar.

Asava - This has a special method of preparation. Asava is not boiled. Dry herbs are steeped in 22 seers of water, adding 12 seers of honey and is then laid aside in an earthenware jar for fermentation. This jar is covered and made air .tight. It is then covered with clay and kept in a dark corner.

Arishta - To every pound of medicine one bottle of water is added. It is then boiled down to one forth of the quantity. Then it is strained and to every bottle of infusion 3/4 pound of sugar and powdered medicine is added and buried underground and covered with clay for one month. It is taken out later and strained through a cloth. It is almost like wine when correctly done. It is administered as a stimulant in exhausting diseases.

Gritas - are mostly prepared with powdered medicine cooked in ghee and sugar. It is a prominent feature of native practice. They are prepared in great variety and are extensively used in all sorts of diseases.

Medicinal Oils - These are always prepared with green herbs. In preparing these sesamum oil, castor oil and mustard oil are added.