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Year : 2007  |  Volume : 18  |  Issue : 3  |  Page : 112-119
Dentistry and Ayurveda-III (basics - ama, immunity, ojas, rasas, etiopathogenesis and prevention)

Department of Oral Medicine and Radiology, KLES Dental College and Hospital, Bangalore - 560 022, India

Click here for correspondence address and email

Date of Submission06-Mar-2006
Date of Decision01-Mar-2007
Date of Acceptance15-Mar-2007


This article of the series Dentistry and Ayurveda describes in brief, the basic principlesand unique concepts involved in Ayurveda namely the concepts of Ama, Ojas, Rasas (tastes-types and the factors affecting the choice of the drug / medicine etc.), immunity, etiopathogenesis and prevention of diseases in Ayurveda in general.

Keywords: Dentistry, dental diseases, Ayurveda, integrated / complementary/alternate medicine

How to cite this article:
Amruthesh S. Dentistry and Ayurveda-III (basics - ama, immunity, ojas, rasas, etiopathogenesis and prevention). Indian J Dent Res 2007;18:112-9

How to cite this URL:
Amruthesh S. Dentistry and Ayurveda-III (basics - ama, immunity, ojas, rasas, etiopathogenesis and prevention). Indian J Dent Res [serial online] 2007 [cited 2023 Sep 23];18:112-9. Available from:

   AMA and the Concept of Immunity Top

When the agni becomes weak (mandagni), a number of unwanted unripe byproducts of digestion and metabolism start forming and accumulating in the body at different levels from the gross to the molecular level, from a local gastrointestinal tract (GIT) level to the systemic level in tissues and cells. Such products are collectively called ama and act as toxic and antigenic materials, giving rise to many antibodies. The presence of ama (including the production of antibodies) renders an ama state (amavastha) in the body, which is characterised by increasing impermeability and sluggishness of the body channels or srotas resulting in srotodusti. [1],[2] This allows sanchaya of doshas and is the first kriyakala in the subsequent sequence of events, which follow as a compulsive phenomenon. Hence, Ayurveda emphasises that all diseases are the product of a weak agni and in turn, the main principle of treatment of all diseases in Ayurveda is to restore and to strengthen the agni along with the digestion and metabolism.

This state of morbidity may be compared with the contemporary concept of loss of membrane integrity and membrane pathology, which is considered as the seat of the anchor of the pathology of many diseases as conceived in modern medical sciences. Membrane biology is considered as a vulnerable facet, thus rendering the integrity of the membrane structures at all levels including cell membranes and their pores or permeability (srotamsi) the most important consideration in evolution of a disease. The Ayurvedic concepts of srotas and ama causing srotodusti and srotosanga obviously refer to the above factors.

Thus, mandagni, amavastha and srotosanga are precipitating events for the sanchaya of doshas, which is the first stage of diseases according to Ayurveda.

The Ayurvedic texts describe certain systemic signs and symptoms of the ama state, viz. slow digestion, heaviness in the body, lack of appetite, nausea, salivation, distaste, constipation, heaviness in the belly, lethargy etc. These symptoms may be appropriately graded to evaluate the ama state in a semiquantitative manner. The degree of the symptoms of ama may be compared with the findings of jalatarana-test of the stool. Ama is a kind of autotoxin and acts like a foreign body or antigen in the body to which the body reacts immunologically, releasing nonspecific antibodies in the system. The titre of these antibodies may indirectly indicate the presence and severity of the antigenic state of ama.

For normal functioning of the body, it is essential that these channels, both the gross and subtle, remain intact and do not get blocked. If they get blocked due to stagnation of ama and other malas or due to any morbidity that causes further stagnation of the doshas and malas, the doshas-dusya-sammurcchana and samprapti of a particular disease are precipitated. Hence, it is necessary that these channels are kept clean and competent. Ayurveda advocates a number of therapeutic procedures to clean the channels, a process termed as samsodhana. Panchakarma is the classic example of a set of five therapeutic procedures described for samshodhana. Thus, samsodhana is the important component of all treatments in Ayurveda. As a matter of fact, every patient needs some or the other form of samsodhana treatment before the prescription of a samsamana (palliative) in the form of a drug or diet. The human body, which is biologically purified by samsodhana, is ready for spontaneous healing even without a medication. However, taking any medication after samsodhana gives that medication a better chance to flow to the target site leading to better efficacy with lesser side effects. Thus, samsodhana or purification is the essential and unique part of Ayurvedic cure.

Ayurvedic texts have vividly described the factor of immunity in terms of 'vyadhiksamatva,' which is considered as the natural or acquired biological power of an individual, which protects him /her from disease. This defensive power is attributed to the presence of a biological factor called ojas. Ayurveda also describes a number of methods to promote ojas and vyadhiksamatva. The entire Rasayana tantra of Ayurveda is closely related to this context. On the other hand, Ayurveda also conceives the idea of allergy and intolerance caused by a variety of unwanted endogenous or exogenous materials. The concepts of dusivisa and amavisa are very interesting. Ama is the collective unwanted byproduct of digestion and metabolism, which is retained in the body and acts as an endogenous antigen. Similarly there are possibilities that certain poisonous materials ingested by an individual may be retained in the body leading to chronic allergic manifestations called dusivisa.

The diagnostic procedure in such conditions essentially consists of identifying the nature of some of the internal or external allergy-triggering factors such as ama and / or visadravyas of the environment. The principles of Ayurvedic treatment of allergic diseases are as follows:

  1. Nidana-parivarjana, i.e,. to avoid the cause through a) dietary restrictions for eliminating agnimandya, thus reducing the chance of ama formation, b) rectification of the environment and avoiding ingestion or contact of visadravyas likely to cause direct allergy.
  2. Amapacana: By promoting Agni and by administering dipana and pacana drugs in order to exhaust the ama present in the body.
  3. Samsodhana,i.e., purification of srotamsi-the minute channels of the body, with the help of purificatory procedures described in Ayurveda. The panchakarma therapeutic measures are selectively or sequentially combined to purify the body. The pure body is less reactive. Among all such measures, the vamana karma is specific in the treatment of allergy and asthma because these diseases are considered to be kapha-oradhana diseases and vamana is the specific purificatory measure for eliminating kapha.
  4. Samsamana: Ayurvedic cure in allergy and asthma is carried out with the help of diet and drugs. The pathya diet in such cases is to be essentially antikapha and antiama. Furthermore, the diet should be free from incompatible items and from toxic substances. The important drugs usually used for the treatment of asthma are:

    a. Sirisa (Albezia lebbeck)

    b. Haridra (Curcuma longa)

    c. Bharngi (Clerodendrum serratum)

    d. Rasa ausadhis, viz, Svasa kuthara

In the case of allergies of bahya marga manifesting as urticaria, eczema and psoriasis, Ayurvedic practitioners use the above medicines besides a number of remedies described as kustha cikitsa. Recently, a specific plant drug Stri kutaja (Wrightia tinctoria) has been tried in the form of an oily extract for the treatment of psoriasis with encouraging results. The fresh leaves of the plant are crushed and kept embedded in coconut oil under the sun for 5-7 days and the oil is subsequently filtered out. This oil is used for local application and for oral administration in doses of 5 ml twice a day for three months. Trials made in a series of 40 patients showed significant relief in symptoms, reduction in scaling and shrinkage of the affected surface area. The drug does not show any side effects. Wrightia tinctoria oil used in cases pretreated with purificatory therapies, i.e, panchakarma, yields better results.

Thus, having given due consideration to Nidana-parivarjana and pathyapathya, Ayurvedic therapies usually give good therapeutic response and possibilities of permanent cure. However, there is need for scientific evaluation of these therapies and for their modes of action so that these useful treatments may be universalized for the care of suffering humanity.


The quintessence of the seven dhatus is called ojas, the concept of which is very subtle and fundamental. It is the extreme apex power of all the dhatus and is responsible for biological strength, vitality and immunity against disease. The ojas is the main determinant of bala and vyadhiksamatva or resistance against disease. Two kinds of ojas are 1) Para ojas which is asta bindu (eight drops) in quantity and is located in the heart, 2) Apara ojas which is ardhanjali pramana and is spread all over the body. (Tatra rasadinam sukrantanam dhatunam yatparam tejastat khalu ojastadeva alamityucyate svasastrasiddhantat).

The para ojas is extremely vital and its loss leads to immediate death. The exact correlate of ojas in modern medical science is yet to be identified or discovered. The ojas predominantly contains the water element-it is greasy, white, cool, steady, expansile, clear, soft and moist and is the important seat of life. All parts of the human body are pervaded by it and the body's organs degenerate in its absence. All rasayana remedies described in Ayurveda are considered as promoters of ojas. There can be varying degrees of specificity of the effects of Ayurvedic rasayanas even on nutritional dynamics. There are rasayanas which may have specific beneficial effects on specific organs and tissues such as the brain, heart, skin, eyes, hair etc. These are classically called medhya rasayana, hrdya rasayana, tvacya rasayana, caksusya rasayana and kesya rasayana. They may be specific medicinal nutrients for the respective tissues and hence, promote their health.


The vital organs / parts / sites in the body, which when injured cause death or excruciating pain are called marmas. There are 107 such marmas in the body, 19 of which are sadyah pranahara (instantaneous killers), 33 are kalantara pranahara marmas (causing death after some time), three are visalyaghnakara marmas (surgically important), 44 are vaikalyakara marmas and eight are rujakara marmas (painful).

   Aetiopathogenesis of Disease Top

Ayurveda propounds the theory of svabhavoparamavada indicating that a living being has inherent natural ability to heal himself and to recover from diseases and disorder. Prakriti or normalcy or Nature always has an upper hand over vikriti or disease. Natural life processes always try to bring back the state of health from vikriti to prakriti. Even if a doctor or medication are warranted, they only have to help Nature in spontaneous self-healing.

Loss of equilibrium may be due to:

  1. Dietary indiscrimination
  2. Undesirable habits
  3. Nonobservance of rules of healthy living
  4. Seasonal abnormalities
  5. Improper exercise
  6. Erratic application of sense organs; incompatible actions of the body and the mind can also result in creating disturbance of the existing normal balance

Ayurveda conceives two broad categories of diseases from the point of view of fundamental aetiology. Firstly, there can be a situation where a disease is the result of actions of a past life, i.e., karma. The loka and the purusa interact through the dynamic medium of three fundamental factors, viz. kala (rhythm of time), buddhi (intellect) and indriyartha (the senses). Diseases are irreversible in as much as the immediate causes (dhatus afflicted, signs and symptoms), distant causes (like improper diet and regimen) and the permutation and combination of various fractions of doshas are innumerable. By permutation and combinations, the three doshas and seven dhatus may form innumerable entities.

   Causes of Disease or Ill Health Top

Disturbances in the equilibrium of tissue elements result in diseases.

Three important factors in causing disease:

  1. Prajnaparadha-mistake of the intellect or wrong understanding of the environment can lead to disease. This is the main cause of disease.
  2. Asatmyendriyartha samyoga-wrong association of sense objects with the sensory apparatus.
  3. Kala parinama, i.e., the effect of time.

Hence, the ayoga, atiyoga and mithyayoga of the indriyarthas or in other words, the inappropriate and perverted contact of sensory objects, precipitate into a stressful situation or sensation, which leads to a disease.

1. Kala (season)

a) Hinayoga (or ayoga)-lower than normal heat of summer, cold of winter or any other climatic variation in a region.

b) Mithya yoga (or ayoga)-appearance of cold in summer, heat in winter or other unusual climatic variation.

c) Atiyoga-heat of summer, cold of winter or any other climatic variation in excess of the normal.

2. Artha (senses and their objects)

a) Hinayoga-Insufficient contact of the senses with objects, e.g., seeing objects in dim light, remaining in darkness, hearing very low volume of sound, not hearing, touching or tasting anything.

b) Mithyayoga-perverse correlation of senses with their objects, which are unnatural, frightful, awesome, hearing of unpleasant, abusive sounds; smelling unpleasant, foul, dirty substances.

c) Atiyoga-Excess correlation of senses with their objects, for example, seeing very bright objects for a long time, hearing very loud sounds; smelling very powerful substances, too much heat, cold, massaging.

3. Karma (functions of the body, mind and voice)

a) Hinayoga-inactivity or decreased activity-physically, mentally, vocally.

b) Mithyayoga-unusual or unfamiliar activities like falling from great heights, jumping, riding, massaging, scratching and twisting of body parts, suppression or initiation of natural urges and other kinds of torment for the body.

c) Atiyoga-overindulging in activities through the body, mind or speech, excessive exercise, riding, talking too much in high pitch for long periods, too much of mental work-thinking.

   Tamas Kapha Top

The term, 'samprapti' refers to the phenomena of pathogenesis precipitated by way of aggravation and vitiation of doshas, the pattern and nature of which may be according to the aetiological factors responsible for the particular dosika vitiation. The vitiated doshas, when find a suitable defective part or organ of the body, localize and stagnate and as such find an opportunity to interact with the local tissue,the dhatus so known as dusyas. Thus dosha -dusya-sammurcchna (interaction) is the actual disease process. This interaction leads to development of special set of clinical manifestations which are the joint product of vitiated dosas, the vitiated dusyas and the vitiated seat or organ (adhisthana) involved. The Ayurvedic texts describe vividly the sequence of events viz, nidana (cause), samprapti (pathogenesis), purvarupa (appearance prodromal features) and rupa (appearance of main presenting symptoms and signs) etc.

   Disease Process Top

Stage one: Accumulation {sanchaya}

Stage two: Aggravation

Stage Three: Spread

Stage Four: Augmentation {Samshraya}

Stage Five: Symptom manifestation

Stage Six: Complications / Differentation {Bhedaj}

   Examination Process Top

Three (Tri)-fold (Bidha) examination (Pariksha)

  1. Visual observation (Darshan)
  2. Tactile perception (Sparsha)
  3. Questioning (Prashna)

Eight (Asht)-foId, (bidha) examination (Pariksha)

  1. Examination of the pulse (nandi pariksha)
  2. Tongue (jihva pariksha)
  3. Voice (Shabda pariksha)
  4. Skin (Sparsha pariksha)
  5. Eyes (drka pariksha)
  6. General appearance (akriti riksha)
  7. Urine (mutra pariksha)
  8. Stool (mala pariksha)

Ten (Dash)-fold (Bidha) examination (Pariksha)

  1. Body constitution (Prakriti)
  2. Pathological state (Vikruti)
  3. Tissue vitality (Sara)
  4. Physical build (Sanhana)
  5. Body measurement (Pramana)
  6. Adaptability (Satmya)
  7. Psychic constitution (Satwa)
  8. Digestive capacity (Ahara Shakti)
  9. Capacity for exercise (Vyayama Shakti)
  10. Age (Vaya)

   Promotive and Preventive Health Care Top

Ayurvedic medicine is promotive and preventive in its approach. It is a comprehensive system of curative medicine for the treatment of the sick and adapts a unique holistic approach. Ayurveda uses a four dimensional definition of 'health'. The ancient Indian surgeon, Sushruta, defines health as 'svasthya', a state when an individual is in a state of 'samya' or balance of the three doshas, the 13 agnis, the seven dhatus and the malas, i.e, he is in a state of total biological equilibrium besides being in balanced sensorial, mental, emotional and spiritual states (rasanna). The Sanskrit verse goes thus "Samadosha Samagnishcha Samadhatu Malakriyaha, Prasannatmendriya Manaha Swasthyayithyabhidheyata. Health to be a balance/equilibrium of all the components of health via, dosha, agni, dhatu, mala, atma, indriya and manaha

Ayurveda recommends a comprehensive regimen for the preservation of health as a code of the health conduct, viz. 'svasthavrtta'. It includes the daily code of health conduct (dinacarya), conduct for the night (ratricarya) and conduct in relation to various seasons (rtucarya). Details about life style, diet, exercise, personal and social hygiene (sadvrtta) have been described. Extensive information is available on nutrition and dietetics. Roles of periodic, biological, purificatory measures, i.e., panchakarma and the consumption of restorative remedies called rasayana for the promotion of health, longevity and immunity, i.e., Vyadhiksamatva have been described.

   Prevention of Disease Top

0Indulgence in suitable food, daily activity, caution in one's daily affairs with careful weighing of the pros and cons, not getting too engrossed in sensory pleasures, giving donations to the needy, treating all living beings equally (with compassion), following the path of truth, forgiving the mistakes of others and keeping company of good, learned men are all factors which help a person live a disease-free life.

An individual is advised not to suppress the 14 natural urges, viz;

  1. Flatus
  2. Faeces
  3. Urine
  4. Belchings
  5. Sneeze
  6. Thirst
  7. Hunger
  8. Sleep
  9. Cough
  10. Breathing after exertion
  11. Yawning
  12. Tears
  13. Vomitings
  14. Semen

Purification therapies ARE necessary even for the healthy.

Dinacharya (daily regimen)

  1. Prataruthana (time of waking in morning): Brahmamuhurtha (3 a.m - 6 a.m.)
  2. Malotsarga: emptying bladder and bowels
  3. Meditate for half an hour and do yoga exercises.
  4. Danta dhavana (care of teeth): Take medicines with astringent, bitter, pungent taste: twigs of roots (branches of vata, asana khadira, karanja, kavira, saraja, apamarga, malati, nimba, powder of catechu, rocksalt, blackpepper, longpepper, camphor, turmeric, margosa bark with honey, cloves, Triphala, Trikatu, Trijataka, khusta mixed with honey.
  5. Tongue: Cleaned comfortably by scraping from root of tongue to tip with a tongue scraper (of gold foil, wood etc).
  6. Gandoosha (mouthwash): Keep mouth filled with oil (sesame oil) or medications, warm water etc.
  7. Kavalagraha: decoction of khadira, irimeda, ghee, warm water etc. swished in the mouth after filling it to 1/2, 3/4 etc.
  8. Pranama (obeisances)-God(s), elders should be worshipped.
  9. Prayogika dhuma (inhalation of smoke): Cigarettes made of medicinal herbs like Harenu, Priyangu, Keshar, Sandalwood, Cinnamon leaf, Cardamom, Liquorice, Guggulu, Agaru, Udumbara, Ashwatha, Plaksha, Lodhra, Vateria indica, Lotus, Pinnus roxbughi, Sailaki.
  10. Care of face: Wash with cool water, medicated paste of powder of Chebulic myribalan (Haritaki), Sandalwood and milk to be applied to the face, kept for ten minutes and washed off. Herbal oils also used.
  11. Anjana (care of eyes): collyrium or kajol of decoction of berberry, triphala, liquorice, antimony sulphide to be applied to the eyes daily for good sharp vision, beauty and reduced strain. [Table - 1] depicts the correlations between two remedies.
  12. Nasya (care of nose): Medicated oil (Anuthaila, Sesame oil, Ghee) instilled in nose. Pratimarsha nasya improves efficiency of sense organs and brain, strengthens voice, prevents diseases of head and neck.
  13. Exercises: Regular light exercises are recommended to shape up, increase muscle strength and stamina, improve appetite and help withstand exertion, fatigue, climatic changes and temperature fluctuations. Take into consideration factors like age, strength, physical condition, time, season of year, diet.
  14. Bath: Hot water bath after oil massage and proper exercise.
  15. Rest and sleep: Meditate and critically examine one's conduct and sleep for 6-7 hours per day.

   RASA (Tastes) Top

Rasa is Apya (form / of Mahabhutas) and is unmanifest in the beginning due to the effects of the six rutus (seasons) of time. The Mahabhutas combining in varying proportions in dissimilar unions in substance, undergo further processing, thus, categorising rasa into six kinds. The individual who habituates himself to the use of each of the six tastes (Rasas), enjoys a sort of immunity from their injurious action just like a strong man who makes himself successively accustomed to the action of the three deranged humours of his body, is not easily affected by their pathogenic properties. Drugs having sweet, sour and saline taste alleviate vata; those having astringent, sweet and bitter tastes alleviate pitta and those having astringent, pungent and bitter tastes alleviate kapha.

Drugs are of three categories-some alleviate doshas, some vitiate dhatus and some are good for the maintenance of positive health. The drugs are selected keeping in view their rasas (tastes) and the predominant doshas in the bodies of the patients.

1. Svadu (Sweet) / madhu: Forms a coating inside the mouth, gives pleasure to the organs. Sweet taste helps in growth and development of all tissues, prolongs life span, improves strength, colour, keenness of organs, health of skin, hairs and throat; provides contentment, stoutness, supports life activities, nourishes the body, gives stability, mitigates vata, pitta, poisons, burning sensation fainting and thirst; is snigdha, sita (cold in potency), Mrudu (soft), Guru (heavy, hard to digest).

Madura skandha (group of sweet substances): Ghritha, Madhu, Taila, Ksira, Majja (bone marrow), Iksuvikrti, Draksa, Aksoda, Karjura, Moca, Coca, Panasa, Priyala, Jadana, Kharjuri, Kasmari, Madhuka, Parnsaka, Tamalaki, Vira, Vidari, Satavari, Jivaka, Rsabha, Madhulika, Bala, Atibla, Atmagupta, Visvadeva, Sahadeva, Sataparni, Ludgaparni, Rddhi, Vrddhi, Sravani, Chatra Atichatra, Rsyprokta, Asvagandha, Mrnalika, Puskarabrja, Srngatka, Kaseru, Kalaka, Konaka, Prapaundardka, drugs of Jivaniya gana and drugs of Trnapancamula.

Used in large amounts, it produces obesity, weak digestion, heaviness, stasis of food for prolonged periods inside the alimentary canal, excessive sleep, dyspnoea, polyurea, diseases of throat, loss of consciousness, rash on skin, headache, cough, worms.

2. Amla (Sour): Stimulates the tongue, causes salivation, mitigates vata, causes movement of feaces and dhatus, burning sensation raktapitta (bleeding diseases), hot in potency, cold to touch stimulates the sense organs, improves taste,helps digestion, kindles hunger, produces stoutness, satisfaction, moistness, spreads quickly, is light, unctuous and good for the heart.

Amla skanda: Dadima, Amalaka, Amru, Vrksamla, Amlika, Amlavetasa, Kuvalalakuca, Paravata, Bhavya, Karamarda, Dhava, Dhanvana, Kola, Badara, Airavata, Kapittha, Dantasatha Pracinamalaka, Naranga, Tilakantaka, Rupya, Dadhi, Mastu, Takra, Dhanyamala, Madya, Sukta.

When used in excess produces looseness of body, liquefaction of kapha, itching, paleness defects of vision, visarpa, spreading ulcer, bleeding disease, severe thirst, giddiness due to its potency to generate heat.

3. Lavana (salt): Causes too much of salivation burning in throat and cheeks, improves taste of food.

Lavana skanda: All salts and alkalies, Trapu (Tin), Sisa (lead).

Used in excess, produces grey hair, thirst, burning sensation, Kitibha, rashes on skin, convulsions, obstructions, raktapitta (bleeding diseases), increases wounds / ulcers, effects of poison and intoxication; produces vatarakta (Gout), reduces strength and Ojas (essence of tissues).

4. Tikta (Bitter): is bad to taste, cures anorexia, poison, worms (microbes), fainting, nausea, poison, fever, burning sensation, thirst, leprosy, itching; causes decrease of moisture, fat, muscle fat, bone marrow, faeces, urine, pitta and kapha; kindles hunger, helps digestion, scratches the adherents, purifies throat, increases intelligence, is not very dry, is cold in potency and light.

Tiktaskandha: Aguru, Tagara, Usira, Valaka, Candana, Nalanda, Krtamala, Naktamala, Apatharga, Haridra, Daruharidra, Musta, Katuka, Ativisa, Yavasaka, Visala, Susavi, Ativisa, Yarasaka, Jyotismati, Patha, Vikankata, Arka, Kakamaci, Vaca, Varana, Varsaka, Vaij ayanti, Vetasa, Sumanthi, Kansya, Loha, drugs of the Patoladisaka group and others.

Used in excess, it produces weakness of tissues, debility, exhaustion, giddiness, diseases caused by vata, hardness, roughness, non-stickness and dryness.

5. Pungent taste (Kara): Cures alasaka (stasis of food in stomach), dropsy, swelling due exposure to cold (allergy), obesity, worms, diseases of mouth, poisoning itching, hinders healing of ulcers, improves taste perception, helps digestion, kindles hunger, scratches out sticky materials, causes burning sensation during digestion of food, increases activity of sense organs, breaks clotting of blood, removes constrictions, opens up tissue pores, is light, dry, penetrating and hot in potency.

Used in excess, it produces thirst, intoxication, fainting, vomiting, delusion, weakness of body, strength, dryness of throat, tremors, giddiness, feeling of warmth, exhaustion, severe emaciation, burning sensation, twisting or pricking pain in hands, feet, flanks and back are all caused due to the predominant qualities of vayu and agni.

Katuskanda Marica, Hingu, Tejawati, Hastipippali, Vidanga, Bhallatatakasthi, Mulaka, Sarshapa, Lasuna, Palandu, Karanja, Manasila, Devadaru, Ela, Surasa, Coraka, Harenuka, Mutra, Pitta, drugs of Kutheradi, haritavarga.

6) Astringent (Kasaya) taste mitigates kapha, pitta, rakta, withholds eliminated faeces, uses severe dryness; is heavy, restores normal colour to skin, dries up moisture, cold in potency, gives a feeling of contentment, heals ulcers, scratches out adhering materials.

Kasaya Skandha group: Haritaki, priyangu, Ananta, Ksandra, Lodra, Katphala, Dhava, Dhanwana, Dhatripahla, Dhatakipusa, Padma, Padmaka, Padmapusa, Nagakesera, Ku muda, Utphala, Tunga, Tinduka, Kadamba, Udumbara, Jambava, Amra, Vata, Vibhitaka, Vikankata, Jambvasthi, Amrasthi, Amakapitha, Aswattha, Mocarasa, Samanga, Somavalka, Saptaparna, Syandana, Asona, Sallaki, Sala, Tala, Priyaka, Ela, Paripelava, Jingini, Badari, Khadira, Kadra Kasa, Kaseruka, Vamsa, Asmantaka, Asoka, Sami, Sana, Sankhanabhi, Mesasrngi, Taruna, Kharuna, Spurja, Bhurja, Arjuna, Varna, Priyala, Mukta Anjana, Gairika, Bisa,Mrunala and others.

Excess produces thirst, flatulency, stiffness, stasis of food without digestion, emaciation, obstruction of tissue pores, withholding of feaces and urine; hemiplegia, convulsions.

   Principles of Ayurvedic Treatment Top

Ayurvedic physicians recognize two different sets of principles in the domain of practical therapeutics, which may be stated in the terms of allopathic physicians as "Laws of similars and contraries".

The cure and its approach

The objective of curative treatment in Ayurveda is to restore the balance of the doshas (dhatusamya). As disease is nothing but a state of imbalance or a loss of equilibrium of the doshas, the therapeutic attempt to restore balance is done by

  1. Strengthening the weakened doshas,
  2. Decreasing the increased doshas and
  3. Maintaining the normal levels of doshas.

This is achieved by the intake of appropriate diets and drugs and by particpiating in activities drawn from Nature on the principles of samanya and visesa (homologous vs heterologous). A similar or homologous material received from outside enriches the similars in the body and a dissimilar or heterologous material depletes its counterpart in the body. It is the funndamental basis of all actions-natural or artificial, in Ayurveda.

Rtucarya or the regimen of life in different seasons has been described in extensive details in all the Ayurvedic classics. It is postulated that if an individual follows the prescribed rtucarya, he may adopt and overcome the stresses of seasonal variations and as such, may not suffer from ill health ordinarily produced by kala-parinama.

Besides the prescribed mode of life, dietetics and physical exercise, Ayurveda also advocates the appropriate use of rasayana and vajikarana remedies as restorative agents for promotion of health and prevention of diseases.

Rasayana is one of the eight clinical specialities of classical Ayurveda. Rasayana is not a drug therapy but is a specialized procedure practiced in the form of rejuvenative recipes, dietary regimen and special health-promoting conduct and behaviour, i.e., acara rasayana. The focal basis of rasayana is accelerated and appropriate nutrition leading to improved biological competence of the body: "labhopayo hi sastanam rasadinam rasayanam" (CS. Ci.1:1.8).

The very meaning of the word rasayana (rasa + ayana) refers to nutrition and its transportation in the body. Such a state of improved nutrition is claimed to lead to a series of secondary tributes like prevention of aging and longevity, immunity against diseases, mental competence, increased vitality and lustre of the body.

  1. A rasayana agent promotes nutrition through one of the following three modes: 1) By direct enrichment of the nutritional quality of the rasa (posakarasa), i.e., the nutrient plasma. When administered, they are directly added to the pool of nutrition and in turn help in improved tissue nourishment leading to subsequent rasayana effects. Satavari, dugdha, ghrta are few of the examples of rasayanas acting at the level of rasa.
  2. By promoting nutrition by improving the agnivyapara, i.e., digestion and metabolism at the 1evel of the dhatus. Bhallataka and pippali are examples of rasayanas acting at the level of agni. Many such rasayanas act indirectly as anabolisers.
  3. By promoting the competence of srotas, i.e., the microcirculatory channels in the body leading to better bioavailability of nutrients to the tissues and improved tissue perfusion. Guggulu rasayana mentioned with priority by Sarangadhara is an example of rasayanas effective at the level of srotas.

A) As per scope of use:

  1. Kamya rasayana (promoter of normal health)

    i) Pranakamya (promoter of life, vitality and longevity)

    ii) Medhakamya (promoter of intellect)

    iii) Srikamya (promoter of complexion and lustre)
  2. Naimittika rasayana (promoter of specific vitality in specific diseases)

B) As per method of use:

  1. Vatatapika rasayana (outdoor regimen)
  2. Kutipravesika rasayana (indoor regimen)

C) As per contents of rasayana:

  1. Ausadha rasayana (drug rasayana)
  2. Ajasrika rasayana (dietary rasayana)
  3. Acara rasayana(conduct rasayana).

Many factors are responsible for the mode of action of different substances[3],[4],[5],[6],[8],[17],[18]

  1. The substance in toto.
  2. Six tastes (Sweet, Sour, Salt, Bitter, Astringent, Pungent)-RASA.
  3. Twenty Qualities - GUNAS - Strong = 10 and Weak = 10.
  4. Two potencies - VIRYA.
  5. Three tastes after digestion - VIPAKA.
  6. Some Special effects - PRABHAVA.

   Properties of Matter [Food , Drugs etc.] Top

  1. Guru (heavy) - Laghu (Light)
  2. Manda (Slow) - Tiksna (Quick)
  3. Hima (Cold) - Usna (hot)
  4. Snigdha (moist) - Ruksa (dry)
  5. Slaksna (Smooth) - Khara (rough)
  6. Sandra (Solid) - Drava (Liquid)
  7. Mrdu (Soft) - Kathina (hard)
  8. Sthira (Firm) - Cala (moving)
  9. Suksma (Minute) - Sthula (large)
  10. Visada (Nonslimy) - Picchila (Slimy)

The introduction and basis of the entities of health as described in Ayurveda I and II respectively. [1],[2]

   Acknowledgments Top

I would like to acknowledge 1) Dr. B. A. Venkatesh, Prof. and H. O. D. of Shalakyatantra, Govt. Ayurvedic Col. Bangalore, for his guidance. 2) Dr. P. K. Dayal, Former Prof. and Head of Dept. of O. M. R, Dean, A. J. Shetty Institute of Dental Sciences, Mangalore, Editor, I.J.D.R. 3) Dr. D. Bailoor, Vice Principal, Yenopoya Dental College and Hospital for the timely help and sincere encouragement and all those who have helped me directly and indirectly in this endeavour.

   References Top

1.Amrutherh S. Dentistry and Ayurveda-I. Indian J Dent Res 2003;2:1-5.  Back to cited text no. 1    
2.Amrutherh S. Dentistry and Ayurveda-II. Indian J Dent Res 2003;2:132-140.  Back to cited text no. 2    
3.Singh RH. The holistic principles of Ayurvedic medicine. 1 st ed. 1998.  Back to cited text no. 3    
4.The Sushruta Samhita: Vol 1-3. Translated by Bhishagaratna KK.  Back to cited text no. 4    
5.Vagbhata: Astanga Sarngraha. Vol 1-3. Translated by Srikantha Murthy KR.  Back to cited text no. 5    
6.Agnivesa's Charaka Samhita: Vol. 1. Sutra Sthana. Bhagwandash RV.  Back to cited text no. 6    
7.Mishra LC, Singh BB, Dagenasis S. Ayurveda: A historical perspective. Principles of the traditional health care system of India. Alternative Ther 2001;7:36-42.  Back to cited text no. 7    
8.Shiva Thirtha SS. The Ayurveda in encyclopedia: Natural secrets to healing, Prevention and Longevity. Sri Satguru publication. 1 st Indian ed. 1998.  Back to cited text no. 8    
9.Available from: Ayurveda file://A:\Ayurveda.  Back to cited text no. 9    
10.Mishra LC. Health care and disease management in Ayurveda. Alternative Ther 2001;1:44-50.  Back to cited text no. 10    
11.Lakshamanachari D. Shalakya Tantra. Vol 2.  Back to cited text no. 11    
12.Gerson S. Ayurvedic medicine-conversations. Alternative Ther 2001;17:78-86.  Back to cited text no. 12    
13.Yogaratnakara: Translated by Tripathi I, Tripathi D.  Back to cited text no. 13    
14.Available from: http://www.planetherbs.corn. file://A:\herbal cure for cancer/.htm.  Back to cited text no. 14    
15.Available from: http://www.nature.corn.  Back to cited text no. 15    
16.Available from:  Back to cited text no. 16    
17.Pandey G. Dravyaguna vigna. Vol. 1,2. 1 st ed. 1998.  Back to cited text no. 17    
18.Nadakarni KM. Materia medica. 1976. Vol 1.  Back to cited text no. 18    

Correspondence Address:
Sunita Amruthesh
Department of Oral Medicine and Radiology, KLES Dental College and Hospital, Bangalore - 560 022
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/0970-9290.33786

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