Let us explore Ayurveda eye treatment methods and types. This is the 23rd chapter of Ashtanga Hrudaya Sutrasthana, written by Acharya Vagbhata, son of Vaidyapathi Simhagupta. The chapter is called as Aschotana Anjana Vidhi Adhyaya. Aschotana and Anjana refer to eye therapies.
Aschotana – Herbal eye drops
In all diseases of the eyes, Aschotana (eye drops) is very beneficial. It helps to prevent
Ruk – eye pain
Toda – pricking pain
Kandu – eye itching
Gharsha – feeling of friction in the eyes
Ashru – excessive lacrimation, tears
Daha – burning sensation
Raga – eye redness. 1.
Drops of medicated liquids should be
warm in case of Vata imbalance.
Lukewarm in Kapha imbalance and
cold in Rakta (blood) and Pitta imbalance.
Aschotana Vidhi – procedure :-
The person should lie on a cot in a place devoid of breeze.
His eyes should be opened with the left hand of the physician
The medicine dispenser, either a seashell or a wick is held in the right hand of the physician just two Angulas (finger width) above the inner angle of the eye (inner canthus)
10 – 12 drops of the medicated liquid are put into the eye.
Afterwards the eyes should be cleaned with soft cloth.
Mild fomentation is given with a piece of cloth rinsed in warm water in disorders of Kapha and Vata.
In disorders due to blood and Pitta vitiation, eyes are mopped with a cloth dipped in cold water. 2 – 4
Very hot and strong medicinal drops lead to pain, redness and loss of vision;
Very cold drops produce pricking pain, loss of movement of eye balls and discomfort;
Excess therapy produces roughness of the lids, friction and difficulty in opening of the lids;
Inadequate (less) therapy leads to worsening of the diseases, increase of swelling, redness and absence of lacrimation. 5 – 6.
The medicine dropped into the eye, entering into the channels of the joints (fornices of the eyes), head, nose and face, eliminates the imbalanced Doshas which have localized in the upper parts of the body. 7.
Anjana Vidhi – procedure of applying collyrium (eye salve) to the eye :-
Application of collyrium is suitable for the
person who has his body purified by Vamana, Virechana etc,
in whom the Doshas are localized in the eyes only,
when signs of fully ripened state such as slight oedema (Alpa shopha), severe itching (Ati kandu) and sliminess (Paichilya) are found, when the excretions of the eyes are thick, in persons who are being troubled by Pitta, Kapha and blood and
especially in Vata imbalance. 8 – 9.
Anjana is of three kinds –
Lekhana – scarifying, scraping
Ropana – healing and
Drishti prasadana – making the vision clear, soothing to the eyes;
Lekhana Anjana is prepared from herbs of astringent, sour, salt, and pungent tastes and hot potency;
Ropana Anjana is prepared from herbs of bitter taste and
Prasadana Anjana from herbs of sweet taste and cold potency.
To combat the side effects of strong collyrium, Prasadana Anjana is used. This kind of usage of one Anjana against the effects of the other is called as Pratyanjana – counter collyrium.
Anjana Shalaka – Collyrium apparatus –
A metal rod, 10 Angula in length, thin in the middle, with tips resembling a flower bud is best suited for Anjana application.
For Lekhana Anjana, the Shalaka should be made of copper
For Ropana, it should be made of iron or finger itself can be used
For Prasadana, Shalaka of gold and silver is used. 12 – 13.
Anjana Bheda – kinds of eye salve –
Pinda – pill – used in profound imbalance of Dosha
Rasakriya – gel, confection, semisolid got from boiling decoction till solidity – used in moderate imbalance of Dosha
Churna – powder are the three forms of Anjana – used in mild imbalance of Dosha. 14
The quantity of Pinda anjana prepared from strong herbs is one Harenu.
The quantity of Pinda Collyrium prepared from mild herbs is two Harenu.
The quantity of eye-salve which is in the form of gel, confection (Rasakriya) shall be that of Vella (Vidanga),
the quantity of the eye salve which is in the form of powder (Churna) is two rods full in case of strong herbs and
three rods full in case of mild herbs. 15.
Anjana Kala – time for:-
Application of eye-salve (collyrium) should NOT be made at nights, during sleep, at midday, when the eyes are fatigued by strong rays of the sun.
If done during these times, it will lead to diseases of the eyes because the Doshas get increased, spread to other sites and get liquefied.
So to mitigate the Doshas, Anjana should be applied always either in the morning or in the evening when the sun is not present. 16 – 17.
Others say, that strong Anjana should not be applied during day, because the eye which has become weak by purgation treatment from strong herbs will be further debilitated by the presence of the sun. 18.
The eye is Agneyi – predominant with the fire element, being habituated to cold comforts it regains its strength after good sleep and nourished by the coolant nature of the night. 19.
In condition of extreme increase of Kapha or in diseases which require Lekhana Anjana – scraping type,
Teekshna Anjana – strong type, can be put into the eyes even during day time, if desired, only if the day is not very hot. 20.
Metals are born from the ores;
From ores only they – metals derive their sharpness / bluntness. Similarly, the eyes derive their power and features by Agni – Fire element.
When there is severe cold, application of strong eye-salve is not good even at nights, because it does not cause elimination of the Doshas from the eyes.
Instead, it produces itching, inactivity etc. Here Doshas get stagnated inside the eyes, even after Anjana therapy, due to cold effect. 22.
persons unfit for application of Anjana -Anjana Anarha –
Application of Anjana should not be done to persons who are
Bheeta – in fear,
Vamita, Virikta – who have been administered Vamana and Virechana
who are hungry,
Shitavegita – who have urges of urine, faeces etc.,
Kruddha – anger;
Jvarita – during fever,
when the eyes are fatigued,
Shiroruk – during headache,
Shoka – bouts of grief and
Jagara – loss of sleep;
Adurshte Arke – when the sun is fully covered with clouds,
Shira Snate – after head bath,
after inhalation of smoke and drinking of wine,
Ajirne – during indigestion,
fatigued from excess exposure to fire and sun;
Divasupte – soon after sleep during day and
Pipasite – when thirsty. 23 – 24.
Anjana, which is very strong or very mild, very little or very large in quantity, very thin or very thick in consistency, very rough, coarse, very cold or very hot – should not be used. 25
After applying the Anjana, the eye balls should be moved up and rotated slowly, the eyelids should also be moved slight by massaging over it; by these acts the strong eye salve spreads to all places. But opening and closing, squeezing or washing of the eyelids should not be done. 26-27.
After the cessation of the activity of the drug, when the eyes have regained strength, they should be washed with water – hot or cold, suitable to the disease, Doshas and season. 28.
The physician should lift and hold the upper lid of the left eye with a piece of cloth held in his right thumb and fingers and wash the left eye; with his left hand, the other eye. 29.
Otherwise, if not washed the Anjana remaining in the lids, excites the Doshas which give rise to diseases. In case of itching and inactivity either a strong Anjana should be applied again or an inhalation of strong smoke of herbs should be done. 30.
When the eyes are fatiqued by strong Anjana, applying a Pratyanjana – counter eye-salve which is in the form of powder and cold in effect should be done. 30½.
Thus ends the chapter Aschotana – Anjana Vidhi – the 23rd of Sutrasthana in Astanga Hrudaya Samhita written by Srimad Vagbhata, son of Sri Vaidyapati Simhagupta.