Kashaya Kalpana Pharmaceutical processing in AyurvedaVandana Barnawal
According to one of the most authoritative treaties of Ayurveda, Charak Samhita, Knowledge of Trisutra- Hetu (causative factor of disease), Linga (sign and symptoms of disease) and Aushadha (knowledge of therapeutics, treatments and medicines) forms the basic frame work of Ayurveda.
The branch of Ayurveda that deals with identification, collection, preparation, processing and application of Aushadhais known as Bhisajya Kalpana. Bheshaja are the substance that can alleviate the pain or mitigate the severity of the disease and Kalpana means planning. In Ayurvedic therapeutics, drugs are used in crude as well as are processed in different kind of formulations. To prepare the drug so that it not only becomes free of physical and chemical impurities but also become more effective, easy to administer and agreeable for the patient to take, concept of Kalpana is explained.
The Ayurvedic formulations are based mainly on Panchavidha kashaya kalpana– the five basic principles of preparation of herbal medicines. They are Swarasa (expressed juices), Kalka (Paste), Kwatha (Decoction), Hima (Cold infusion) and Phanta (Hot infusion).
Besides these, there are other medicinal preparations also such as Sneha kalpana (fatty preparations like medicated oils and ghrita), Sandhana Kalpana (fermented preparations), like Asava and Arista etc.
Swarasa (Expressed juices):
Juice extracted from herbs is called swarasa. Swarasa are made from freshly collected herb. Useful part of the plant such as leaf, fruit, stem or even the whole plant can be used to prepare the Swarasa. The fresh herb is cleaned well, pounded and the resultant paste is rolled into a bolus, squeezed through a cloth and the expressed fresh juice is collected in a clean container. It should be used immediately. Fresh juice of herbs is easily absorbed by the body and maximum effect is achieved in comparatively short period.
Classics explain various methods for the juice extraction from the plants which may not have enough moisture to be extracted by mechanical pressure. Specific instructions are given for such plants such as soak overnight in water or powder the herb and then add water to extract juice or specific procedure such as Putpak. Putpaka is a process where in the plant material is ground to prepare a fine paste, and rolled into a bolus and then wrapped in the coverings of leaves, which is then covered in thick layer of mud. The bolus is then kept in an open hearth where it is subjected to intensive heat till it becomes red hot. It is then removed from the hearth and allowed to cool. Bolus is then taken out and then mechanically squeezed to produce the expressed juice. Juice of Vasa leaves (Adhatoda Vasica) is extracted in this fashion.
Dose of Swarasa for internal use is 20 – 40 ml. for example; fresh juice of Tulsi leaves (Holy basil) can be prepared and administered internally along with honey in conditions of cold, cough and nasal congestion.
Kalka or Churna (Paste or powders):
A fresh drug or a dry drug is converted into a paste by rubbing it on a stone with little quantity of water. Fresh or dry drugs are first cleaned with water. In case of dry drug, it is powdered first and filtered with a cloth for powder preparation and mixed with appropriate quantity of water and then rubbed in pestle and mortar and made into a paste. Common rule is to take one part herb and two parts water. In case of fresh drugs, they are first chopped into fine pieces, pounded and macerated in mortar and pestle until the paste becomes fine.
Kalka can be used both internally and externally.
Dose for internal use is 5-10 gm. For example paste of Neem can be prepared and administered in intestinal worm infestations.
Kwatha is prepared by boiling 1 part of herb with 16 parts of water in an open vessel on mild fire till it reduces to one-eighth of the original quantity. The quantity of water may be four times, eight times or sixteen times the quantity of the part of the plant selected. This variation in the amount of water depends on the hardness of the material used. Like, it may be simply four times in soft herbs (herbs whose leaves and flowers are used), eight times for medium hardness (includes soft barks of plants, roots of shrubs and plants, soft roots, tubers and medium tubers), while sixteen times in case where the plant material to be used for preparing decoction is too hard (Hard barks of trees, root bark of trees and creeper).
Decoctions form a base of various Ayurvedic formulations like Asava, Arishta, oils, pills, awaleha (jam), etc. Decoction is used internally for drinking or for medicated enemas or externally for eye wash.
Dose for internal use is 40 ml. for example decoction of Dashmool (root of ten herbs) can be prepared and administered to regain strength, relieving pain, etc.
Hima (Cold infusion):
Hima is the cold infusion of fragrant or cold potency herbs which are intended to be used for Pitta problems. Fragrant herbs may lose their active principles by heating, hence for such type of drugs, Himakalpa is mentioned, by which active ingredients can be collected in cold infusion form. 1 part of the drug is immersed in 3 parts of water for 4 – 6 hours and then filtered and administered.
Dose for internal use is 40 ml. for example cold infusion of Coriander can be prepared and administered in conditions to reduce burning sensation and other Pitta disorders. Or Sarivadi Hima can also be used for Pitta Vikar.
Phanta (Hot infusion):
Phanta is the hot infusion of those herbs which are intended to be used for Kapha and Vata problems. Water has to be boiled first and then respective quantity of drug in coarse powder form is immersed in it and then the vessel is removed from fire. When it cools down to room temperature, then it should be rubbed with hands and filtered with cloth and administered. Hot infusion is beneficial for Kapha and Vata problems.
Dose of Phanta is 40 ml. Herbal teas are examples of Phanta. eg. Ginger tea. Panchakola Phanta or Sudarshan Phanta is other example of Phanta, given in fever.