Concept of ayurvedic medicines is well described in special branch of ayurveda known as Bhaishajaya Kalpana. It is part of Kaya Chiktsa from Ashtang ayurveda. Bhaishajaya kalpana also means the different formulations of herbs like kashayam, Kwatham tablet, Arishtam and Asavam etc.
Ayurvedic medicine are used with the purpose of
- To relieve disease
- To improve immunity
- To help to restore normal body and mind function.
- To prolong life span with rejuvenation action of herbs
There are different kind of processes that herbs or minerals has to go to become ayurvedic medicine
- Processing with water like Washing of herb
- Processing with fire like boiling, steaming
- Cleaning like removing unwanted parts from herb
- To store for right time before actual use, for example honey is kept for 1 year before used for treatment purpose.
Properties of good Ayurvedic medicine
- Should be palatable
- Should be rich with potency
- Should have good Shelf life
Kashayam is an ayurvedic herbal formulation prepared with a concept of water decoction. Kashayam based on to take out water extract from herbs or group of herbs with process of boiling water with herbs together. Kashayam mainly contents the water-soluble active principle from herbs that makes it easy for digestion and become fast with action. It is time tested and proven remedy from Ayurveda.
Kwatham tablet is relatively new concept in ayurveda introduced in last 20 years after research of 15 years. The concept inspired from classical understanding of gulica or vatika means product with round shape and with solid form. Kwatham tablets are introduces to improve self-life of product and also to be more practical and convenient for day today life.
ARISHTAM and ASAVAM
Arishtam and Asavam is concept from ayurveda based on controlled natural fermentation. Preparation of arishtam and asavam follows mixing, compounding and distillation of liquor from herbs commonly known as Sandhana in classical text of formulation.
Alcoholic contents of arishtam and asavam are in between 5-10%. Arishtam and asavam have great advantage of shelf life. They become more efficient with time or dose not lose potency easily. The taste of product is pleasant and acceptable because of honey and raw sugar used for preparation. They very fast acting product used for quick relief of problem.
A Bhasma means an ash obtained through special incineration of natural substances like animal derivatives such as horns, shells, feathers or metallic and nonmetallic minerals. Now a days Bhasma are claimed to be biologically produced nanoparticles.
Bhasma is unique ayurvedic metallic or minerals preparation obtained from/ treated with herbal juice or decoction. Bhasma is nontoxic, gently absorbable, adaptable and digestible in the body, do not get metabolized so they don’t produce any harmful metabolite. Bhasma helps maintaining optimum alkalinity, for optimum health, neutralizing harmful acids, cleans body system like intestine, protect body, alleviate insomnia and depression.
Choornam is a fine powder of herb or combination of different herbs in specific proportion mentioned in Ayurveda. Herbs mention in classical formulation are cleaned properly, dried thoroughly, pulverized and then sieved to prepare choornam.
Choornam is used because of their particle size. Smaller the particle size greater is the absorption rate from digestion and hence the greater is bioavailability. The choornam is free flowing powder and retains its potency for one year, if preserved in an airtight container.
Ayurvedic gritham is a fat in which fat soluble and water-soluble active substances are extracted from herbs in a clarified butter commonly known as ghee. Gritham is ayurvedic fat-based formulation in which ghee is boiled with prescribed kashayam (herbal decoction) and kalka (fine paste of herbs) until the evaporation of water to transfer the content into oil phase.
Gritham is important to increase shelf life of herbs that cannot be stored for longer period due to seasonal availability. Githams are commonly used to take orally, but in some cases can be used for external application also.
Gulica is a pharmaceutical procedure in which the powder of raw drugs (Herbal or Herbo-minerals) triturated together with certain Kasayam or Juice or even honey and the products are prepared in the form of pills or tablets.
Gulica has many advantages like easy to take or for transportation. Accuracy of dose and stability of product are two more advantages that gulika has over all other formulation. gulica has to be taken with water in most of cases. There is different form of gulica which has different names and uses like:
- Gutika: Mеdicine made into circular shape mass dosage form. This can be compared with pills in modern pharmaceutics.
- Vati is made in the shape of flat circular mass and it is similar to tablet.
- Varti: If the Gutika or Vati medicine is modified into long oval solid shape form, then it is called as Varti. This is commonly used for local administration in anal canal, vaginal canal, penis, eye, for different diseases.
- Vataka: Medicine moulded into big circular mass form is known as Vataka.
- Shelf life- Pills made of plant drugs when kept in air tight containers can be used for two years. Pills containing minerals can be used for an indefinite period.
LEHYAM and RASAYANA
Avaleha or lehyam is a semi solid ayurvedic product. Lehyams are also known as herbal jams. All herbal ingredients are processed with sugar media like jaggery, sugar or syrup from sugar candy and changed into semi solid palatable form. It is prepared by boiling prescribed herbs with juices and decoction, with the addition of jaggery, sugar or syrup from sugar candy till get the correct constituency is obtained.
Later, spices and ghee are added in the mixture. Honey is also added if required, when the preparation is cold and mixed well. Lehyam, avaleha,prasam and gulam are familiar form of products processed with sugar media. Lehyam have a rejuvenative action and use to increase the strength. Chyavanprasham, ajaswagandhadi lehyam are some well-known products in Ayurveda.
Thailam or medicated oil is unique concept from Ayurveda. Thailam is one of the widely used and preferred forms of Ayurvedic products. It is obtained from a very specific procedure which is followed to produce an oleaginous medicament from the substances such as kalka (herbal paste), kwatha (herbal decoction), and drava dravyas (liquids), in specific proportions by subjecting them to a specified heating pattern and duration. By this process, one can ensure transformation of the active therapeutic properties of the ingredients to the solvents, and hence, one can recover fat-soluble as well as water-soluble chemical constituents inside the final product known as thailam.
Ayurvedic thailam exhibit better preservation, quality and enhance therapeutic effect of herbs. Thailam are mostly used for external application bet some of formulations are for oral intake.