Glossary Of Terms Used In Ayurvedic Pharmacology

By Prof. Vd. Rangaprasad Bhat
Here are the definitions of commonly used Ayurvedic terms to explain pharmacology of Ayurvedic herbs and medicines. 

 दीपनं (Deepana):
पचेन् नामं वह्निकृच्च दीपनं तद्यथा मिशि ॥ शा.सं.४/ ||
pacen nAmam vahnikRRichcha dIpanaM tadyathA mishi || shA.saM.4/ ||

The drug that which does not digest Ama, but increase the Agni – digestive fire, is called Deepana.
As is seen in case of Fennel – (Foeniculum vulgare)


Definition of Ama:

ऊष्मणो अल्पबलत्वेन धातुं आध्यं अपाचितम् । दुष्टम् आमाशयगतं रसं आमाम् प्रचक्षते । वाग्भट सू.१३/ ॥
UShmaNo alpabalatvena dhAtuM AdhyaM apAcitam |
duShTam AmAshayagataM rasaM AmAm prachakShate | vAgbhaTa sU.13/ ||

When the food, on account of a weakly digestion strength, neither  get properly digested nor gets converted into rasa but gets spoiled due to shortage or excessive secretion of the gastric juices is known as āma.

Pachana:
पचति आमं न वह्निं च कुर्याद् यद्त्तद्धि पाचनम् । शा.सं.४\ ॥
pachati AmaM na vahniM cha kuryAd yadttaddhi pAchanam | shA.saM.4\ ||

The herb that digests the āma, but does not in any way directly stimulates digestive fire / enzymes is called Pachana. Example – Nagakeshara – Mesua ferrea.

At the same time the drug that which possesses both the above mentioned properties is called as Deepaneeya, Pachaneeya
Example – Chitraka (Plumbago zeylanica).

Shamana –
न शोधयति यत् दोषान् समान् न उदीरयति अपि ।
समीकरोति संव्रुद्धान् शमनं तद्यथा अमृता ॥ शा.सं.४/
na shodhayati yat doShAn samAn na udIrayati api |
samIkaroti saMvruddhAn shamanaM tadyathA amRutA || shA.saM.4/

Herb that does not expel Doshas out of the body and does not increase the balanced Doshas, but calms or pacifies the aggravated / increased Doshas is called as Shamana.
Eg: Amruta – Guduchi – Tinospora cordifolia


Anulomana:
कृत्वा पाकं मलानाम् यत् भित्वा बन्धमधो नयेत् । तच्च अनुलोमनं ज्ञेयं यथा प्रोक्ता हरीतकी ॥ शा.सं.४/ ॥
kRRitvA pAkaM malAnAm yat bhitvA bandhamadho nayet |
tachcha anulomanaM j~neyaM yathA proktA harItakI || shA.saM.4/ ||

The herb which initially does Paka of Malas, which breaks down the obstructed Malas, and brings it downward, is known as Anulomana.
Example – Terminalia chebuila (harītakī).

Sramsana:
पक्तव्यं यत् अपक्त्वैव श्लिष्टं कोष्टे मलादिकम् । नयति अध: स्रंसनं तध्यथा स्यात् कृतमालक: ॥ शा. सं.४/ ॥
paktavyaM yat apaktvaiva shliShTaM koShTe malAdikam | nayati adha: sraMsanaM tadhyathA syAt kRRitamAlaka: || shA. saM.4/ ||

The drug that which takes no part in the digestion, but drives down the impacted digestive byproducts that remain within the intestines is called as sramsanam.
Example:- Krutamala (Cassia fistula).

Bhedana:

मलादिकं अबद्धम् वा यद्बद्धम् पिण्डितं मलै: । भित्त्वा अध: पातयति तत् भेदनं कटुकी यथा ॥ शा.सं. ४/ ॥
malAdikaM abaddham vA yadbaddham piNDitaM malai: | bhittvA adha: pAtayati tat bhedanaM kaTukI yathA || shA.saM. 4/ ||

The bhedana drugs, irrespective of the hard or soft consistency of the malas caused by the vAta, pushes the excreta downwards by breaking them into several pieces. Example Picrorriza Kurroa  (Katuki) 

Rechana:
विपक्वं यत् अपक्वं वा मलादि द्रवताम् नयेत् । रेचनति अपि तज्ज्ञेयम् रेचनं त्रिवृता यथा ॥ शा.सं.४/ ॥
vipakvaM yat apakvaM vA malAdi dravatAm nayet | rechanati api tajj~neyam rechanaM trivRRitA yathA || shA.saM.4/ ||

The Rechana drug, liquefies the malas irrespective of them being in a digested state of undigested state and expels them out of the intestines. Example – Operculina turpethum (trivṛt).


Vamana:

अपक्व – पित्त, श्लेष्माणौ – बलात् ऊर्ध्वं नयेत् तु यत् । वमनं तद्धि विज्ञेयं मदनस्य फलम् यथा ॥ शा.सं.४/ ॥
apakva – pitta, shleShmANau – balAt UrdhvaM nayet tu yat | vamanaM taddhi vij~neyaM madanasya phalam yathA || shA.saM.4/ ||

The drug that which expels the undigested pitta and Shleshma by forcefully bringing the doshas upwards and expelld through the oral cavity is vamana drug. Example – madanaphala (Randia dumetorum).

Samshodahana:
स्थानात् बहिर्नयेत् ऊर्ध्वम्-अधो वा मलसंचयम् । देहे संशोधनं तत् स्यात् – देवदालिफलं यथा ॥ शा.सं.४/ ॥
sthAnAt bahirnayet Urdhvam-adho vA malasaMchayam | dehe saMshodhanaM tat syAt – devadAliphalaM yathA || shA.saM.4/ ||

That drug which displaces the accumulated malas formed post digestion either through the upper route or through the lower route is known as saṃśodhanaṃ. Example – devadāliphalaṃ (fruit of Luffa echinata).

Chedana:
श्लिष्टान् कफादिकान्दोषान् उन्मूलयति यद्बलात् । छेदनं तत् – यवक्षारो; मरीचानि; शिलाजतु ॥ शा.सं.४/ ॥
shliShTAn kaphAdikAndoShAn unmUlayati yadbalAt | ChedanaM tat – yavakShAro; marIcAni; shilAjatu || shA.saM.4/ ||

The drug that which forcibly expels not just the doshas like kapha etc but also others factors (like over grown tissues) which are deeply rooted to the sytem is called as chedanam. Examples for chedana dravyas are – yavakṣāro (alkaline); marīcā (Piper nigrum); śilājatu (Bitumen).

Lekhana:
धातु-मलान् वा देहस्य विशोष्य उल्लेखयेत् च यत् । लेखनं तद् यथा क्षौद्रं; नीरमुष्णं; वचा; यवा: ॥ शा.सं.४/।
dhAtu-malAn vA dehasya vishoShya ullekhayet cha yat | lekhanaM tad yathA kShaudraM; nIramuShNaM; vacA; yavA: || shA.saM.4/|

The drug action that which causes ullekhana (scraping effect) of the dhAtu and malas by casuing extreme dryness over them is known as lekhana. Example – kṣaudraṃ(Honey); nīramuṣṇaṃ(Hot water); vacha (Acorus calamus); yavā (Hordeum vulgaris)

Grahi
दीपनं पाचनं यत् स्यात् उष्णत्वात् द्रव शोषकम् । ग्राहि तत् च यथा शुण्ठी; जीरकं; गजपिप्पली ॥ शा.सं.४/ ॥
dIpanaM pAchanaM yat syAt uShNatvAt drava shoShakam | grAhi tat cha yathA shuNThI; jIrakaM; gajapippalI || shA.saM.4/ ||

The group of drugs that which has the properties of both dipana and pAcana, helps further in absorbing the excessive moisture of the intestinal mucosa, by the virtue of its heat generating properties is known as grāhi. Example –
Ginger, Cumin seeds, Gajapippali (Scindapsus officinalis).

Sthambhana:
रौक्ष्यात्-शैत्यात्- कषायत्वात्- लघुपाकात् च यत् भवेत् । वातकृत् स्तंभनं तत् स्यात् यथा वत्सक; टुण्टुकौ ॥शा.सं.४/॥
raukShyAt-shaityAt- kaShAyatvAt- laghupAkAt cha yat bhavet | vAtakRRit staMbhanaM tat syAt yathA vatsaka; TuNTukau ||shA.saM.4/||

The group of drugs that which causes stasis and condensation of the tissue fluids by the virtue of its cooling, drying and astringent properties and that which is easily digestible is known as sthambhanaṃ. Example – vatsaka (Holarrhena antidysenterica) and ṭuṇṭuka (Oroxylum indicum).

Difference between sthambhanaṃ and grāhi :-
आग्नेय गुण भूयिष्टं – तोयांशं परिशोष्य – यत् । संगृण्हाति मलं तत् स्यात् ग्राहि – शुण्ठ्यादयो यथा ॥ समीर गुण भूयिष्टम् शीतत्वात् यत् नभस्वत: । विधाय वृद्धिं स्तभ्नाति स्तंभनं तध्यथा वट:

Agneya guNa bhUyiShTaM – toyAMshaM parishoShya – yat | saMgRRiNhAti malaM tat syAt grAhi – shuNThyAdayo yathA || samIra guNa bhUyiShTam shItatvAt yat nabhasvata: | vidhAya vRRiddhiM stabhnAti staMbhanaM tadhyathA vaTa:

The grāhi drugs are predominant with āgneya gunas, only hence it is possible to cause the effect of saṃgṛṇhāti malaṃ (improving the consistency of mala) by proper pariśoṣana (absorption) of the chyle from within the intestinal mucosa. On the contrary, the sthambhaka dravyas are samīra guṇa (vAta) predominating in nature. Only hence due the shIta or cold potency there occurs the static or statis action within the intestines.

Rasayana:
रसायनं च तज्ज्ञेय्ं यत् जरा-व्याधि नाशनं । यथा अमृता – रुदंती च – गुग्गुलु: च – हरीतकी ॥ शा.सं.४/ ॥
rasAyanaM cha tajj~neyM yat jarA-vyAdhi nAshanaM | yathA amRRitA – rudaMtI cha – guggulu: cha – harItakI || shA.saM.4/ ||

The group of drugs that which postpones the old age and helps in preventing the diseases is known as rasāyanaṃ. Examples – amṛtā (Tinospora cordifolia), rudaṃtī (Cressa cretica), guggulu (Balsomodendron mukul), harītakī (Terminalia chebula).

Vajikarana:
यस्माद्द्रव्याद् भवेत् स्त्रीषु हर्षो वाजिकरं च तत् । यथा नागबलाध्यास्यु: बीजं च कपिकच्छुजम् ॥ शा.सं.४/ ॥
yasmAddravyAd bhavet strIShu harSho vAjikaraM cha tat | yathA nAgabalAdhyAsyu: bIjaM cha kapikachChujam || shA.saM.4/ ||
The drug that which increases the sexual desire and erotism is known as vājīkaraṇa. Example – nāgabalā (sida spinosa) & kapikacchu (Mucuna pruriens).

Shukrala:
यस्मात् शुक्रस्य वृद्धि: स्यात् शुक्रलं च तदुच्यते । यथाऽश्वगन्धा – मुसली – शर्करा च – शतावरी ॥ शा.सं.४/ ॥
yasmAt shukrasya vRRiddhi: syAt shukralaM cha taduchyate | yathA.ashvagandhA – musalI – sharkarA cha – shatAvarI || shA.saM.4/ ||

The drug that which increases the shukra dhAtu is known as Shukrala. Examples – aśvagandhā (withania somnifera), musalī (Curculigo orchioides), śarkarā (Candy sugar) and śatāvarī (Asparagus racemosus).

Sookshma:
देहस्य सूक्ष्मच्छिद्रेषु विशेध्यत्सूक्ष्मं उच्यते । यथा सैन्धवं – क्षौद्रं – निम्ब:तैलं – रुबूद्भवम् ॥ शा.सम्.४/ ॥
dehasya sUkShmachChidreShu vishedhyatsUkShmaM uchyate | yathA saindhavaM – kShaudraM – nimba:tailaM – rubUdbhavam || shA.sam.4/ ||
The drug that which has access and the capability to bypass the ,inutest of the pores in the body is known as sūkṣma dravyas. Example – saindhavaṃ (rock salt)– kṣaudraṃ (Honey) – nimbi tailaṃ (Neem Oil) – rubūdbhavam (Castor Oil).

Vyavayi:
पूर्वं व्याप्य अखिलं कायं तत: पाकं च गच्छति । व्यवायि तध्यथा  भङ्गा फेनं चाहिसमुद्भवं ।\ शा.सं. ४/ ॥
pUrvaM vyApya akhilaM kAyaM tata: pAkaM cha gachChati | vyavAyi tadhyathA  bha~NgA phenaM cAhisamudbhavaM |\ shA.saM. 4/ ||

The drug is called as vyavāyi, when it first gets diffusedly spread across the whole of the body, and then gets subjected to the process of digestion. Example – bhaṅgā or Vijaya (Cannabis indica) phenaṃ or ahiphenaṃ (Opium).

Vikashi:
सन्धिबन्धांस्तु शिथिलान् यत् करोति विकाशि तत् । विश्लेष्य औजस्च धातुभ्यो यथा क्रमुक – कोद्रवा: ॥ शा.सं.४/ ॥
sandhibandhAMstu shithilAn yat karoti vikAshi tat | vishleShya aujascha dhAtubhyo yathA kramuka – kodravA: || shA.saM.4/ ||

The drug that which reaches the sapta dhatus and deprives them from their possession of ojas there by causing the clinical effect of looseness of the joints and the associated structures is called as vikāśi. Example – kramuka (Betel nut);  kodravā (a variety of food).

Visha:
व्यवायि च विकाशि स्यात् सूक्ष्मं छेदि मदावहम् । आग्नेयं जीवितकरं योगवाहि स्मृतं विषं ॥ शा. सं.४/ ॥
vyavAyi cha vikAshi syAt sUkShmaM Chedi madAvaham | AgneyaM jIvitakaraM yogavAhi smRRitaM viShaM || shA. saM.4/ ||

The drug gets called as viṣaṃ, which by the virtue of its possession of the vyavāyi, vikāśi, sūkṣma,chedana, yogavāhi, madakara and āgneyaṃ properties is detrimental to the life of the person. Example – Aconite and other poisons.

Pramathi:
निजवीर्येण यद्द्रव्यं स्रोतोभ्यो दोषसंचयम् । निरस्यति प्रमाथि स्यात्तध्यथा मरिचं – वचा ॥ शा. सं.४/ ॥
nijavIryeNa yaddravyaM srotobhyo doShasaMchayam | nirasyati pramAthi syAttadhyathA marichaM – vacA || shA. saM.4/ ||

The drug which by the virtue of its inherent strength removes all pathological matter from the structures of body channels, such as the secretory, excretory etc., is called as pramāthi. Example – maricaṃ (Piper nigrum)- vacā (Acorus calamus).

Vidahi:
विदाहि द्रव्यम् उद्गारम् अम्लम् कुर्यात्तथा तृषाम् । हृदि दाहं च जनयेत् पाकं गच्छति तच्चिरात् ॥ शा. सां.४/ ॥
vidAhi dravyam udgAram amlam kuryAttathA tRRiShAm | hRRidi dAhaM cha janayet pAkaM gachChati tachcirAt || shA. sAM.4/ ||
The drug which takes much time for absorption and that which causes acrid eructations, thirst and heart burn is known as vidāhi.

Abhishyandi:
पैच्छिल्याद् गौरवाद् द्रव्यं रुध्वा रसवहा: सिरा: । धत्ते यद् गौरवं तत् स्याद् अभिष्यंदि यथा दधि ।\ शा.सं.४/ ॥
paichChilyAd gauravAd dravyaM rudhvA rasavahA: sirA: | dhatte yad gauravaM tat syAd abhiShyaMdi yathA dadhi |\ shA.saM.4/ ||

The drug, which on account of its heavy and slimy properties causes obstruction in the rasavaha channels there by causing retention of the secretions is known as abhiṣyaṃdi. Example – dadhi (Curd).

Yogavahi:
गृण्हाति योगवाहि द्रव्यं संसर्गजवस्तुजांश्च गुणान् । पच्यमानं यथैवन् मधु – जल – तैल – आज्य – सूत – लोहादि ॥ शा.सं.४/ ॥
gRRiNhAti yogavAhi dravyaM saMsargajavastujAMshcha guNAn | pachyamAnaM yathaivan madhu – jala – taila – Ajya – sUta – lohAdi || shA.saM.4/ ||

Yogavāhi is that synergestic medicine which upon getting digested works in harmony with the properties of the drugs with which it is being mixed and given as a combination. Example – Honey, water, Oil, Ghee, Mercury etc.,

Raktaprasadana:
The drug which facilitates the free circulation of the blood by removing the congestion and improving the quality of blood, is called raktaprasādanaṃ. As is seen in the herbs like padmakāṣṭa (Prunus pudam),mañjiṣṭā (Rubia cordiofolia), haridrā (Curcuma longa).

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Comments

  1. Excellent article. Please make part 2 by adding more examples.Thank you.

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