Charaka Samhita Sutrasthana – Chapter 3 – Aragvadheeya Adhyaya

The third chapter of Charaka Samhita is called as Aragvadheeya Adhyaya. It deals with 32 formulae to prepare creams and powder mixes used externally for various skin diseases.
We shall now expound the Chapter on “Aragvadha (Cassia fistula Linn.).” Thus said Lord Atreya. [1-2]

Powders for external application

Skin creams for external application in a variety of skin diseases – The below six formulae are to be used by the physician for external application in powder form. Before usage, they are  impregnated (triturated with liquids) with Go Pitta – purified ox bile, ground again and mixed up with mustard oil (Sarshapa taila).
Their application immediately cures obstinate skin diseases including
Kushta – leprosy, leucoderma of recent origin, alopecia, Kitibha – keloids, Dadru – ringworm, Bhagandhara – fistula-in-ano, Arsha – piles, Apachi – cervical adenitis and Pama – eruptions of human beings. The paste combinations are –

(1) Aragvadha (Cassia fistula Linn.), Edagaja (Cassia tora Linn.), Karanja (Pongamia pinnata Merr.), Vasa (Adhatoda vasica Nees.), Guduchi (Tinspora cordifolia Miers.), Madanaphala (Randia dumetorum Lam.), Haridra (Curcuma longa Linn.), and Daruharidra (Berberis aristata DC.);

(2) Sryahva (?), Surahva (Cedrus deodara), Khadira (Acacia catechu Willd.), Dhava (Anogeissus latifolia Wall.), Nimba (Neem – Azaridachta indica A. Juss.), Vidanga (False black pepper – Embelia ribes Burm. F.), and the bark of Karaviraka (Nerium indicum Mill.);

(3) Node of Bhurja (Betula utilis D. don.), Lashuna (Garlic – Allium sativum Linn.), Shireesha (Albizzia lebbeck Benth.), Lomasha (Ferri sulphas), Guggulu (Commifora mukul Engl.), and Krishnagandha (Drumstick – Moringa oleifera Lam.);

(4) Phanijjhaka (a variety of Parnasa), Vatsaka (Kutaja – Holarrhena antidysenterica Wall.), Saptaparna (Alstonia scholaris R. Br.), varieties of Pilu (Salvadora persica Linn.), Kushta (Saussurea lappa C. B. Clarke.) and tender leaves of Sumanas (Fasminum officinale Linn. Var grandiflorum Bailey);

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(5) Vacha (Acorus calamus Linn.), Harenu (Pisum sativum Linn.), Trivrit (Operculina turpethum R. B.), Nikumbha (Baliospermum montanum Muell-Ang.), Bhallataka (Semecarpus anacardium Linn f.), Gairika – Ferrum haematite and Anjana – Antimoni isulphidum;

(6) Manashila – Arsenii disulphidum, Ala – Arsenii trisulphidum, Grihadhooma – kitchen soot, Ela (Elettaria cardamomum Maton), Kaseesa – Ferri sulphas, Lodhra (Symplocos recemosa Roxb.), Arjuna (Terminalia arjuna W & A.), Musta (Cyperus rotundus Linn.) and Sarja (Vateria indica Linn.)  [3-7]

Powder massage (Udvartana) for skin diseases 

Powder of Kushta (Saussurea lappa C. B. Clarke),
Haridra (turmeric – Curcuma longa Linn.),
Daruharidra (Tree turmeric – Berberis asistata DC.),
Surasa (Black variety of Holy Basil),
Patola (Trichosanthes cucumerina Linn.),
Nimba – Neem (Azadirachta indica),
Ashvagandha (Withania somnifera Dunal),
Suradaru (Cedrus deodara),
Shigru (Drumstick – Moringa oleifera Lam.),
Sarshapa (Mustard – Brassica nigra Koch.),
Tumburu (Xanthoxylon alatum. Roxb.),
Dhanya (Coriandrum sativum Linn.),
Vanya (Cyperus tenuiflorus), and
Chanda – These herbs are taken in equal quantity.
The powder mix is ground with buttermilk.
Patient is given massage with sesame oil. After that, the above paste is smeared over the body with gentle massage (Udvartana).
This is useful in Kandu – pruritus, Pidaka – pimples, Kota – urticaria, Kushta – obstinate skin diseases and Shotha  [8-9]

Powder for dusting in skin diseases

Powder of Kustha (Saussurea lappa),
Amrutasanga – Cuprum sulphas,
Katankateri (Tree turmeric – Berberis aristata DC.),
Kasisa – Ferri sulphas,
Kampillaka (Mallotus philippinensis Muel-Arg.),
Musta (Cyperus rotundus Linn.),
Lodhra (Symplocos racemosa), Sulphur,
Sarjarasa (extract of Vateria indica Linn.),
Vidanga (Embelia ribes Burm.f.),
Manashila – realgar,
Ala  (Haratala) – orpiment and
bark of Karavira (Nerium indicum Mill.), –  is taken in equal quantities.
The body of the patient is smeared with sesame oil. Then the body is dusted with the above powder mix. Dusting process is called Avachurnana.
It relieves Kitibha –  ringworm, Kandu – pruritus, Pama – keloids, Vicharchika – Eczema.  [10-11]

मनःशिलाले मरिचानि तैलमार्कं पयः कुष्ठहरः प्रदेहः ।

Paste for skin disease

Manashila – Realgar, Ala – orpiment, varieties of Maricha (Black pepper – Piper nigrum Linn.), Sesame oil, and the latex of Arka (Calotropis gigantean Linn.), constitute an ointment for the cure of chronic skin diseases.

तत्थं विडङ्गं मरिचानि कुष्ठं लोध्रं च तद्वत् समनःशिलं स्यात् ॥ १२ ॥

Ointment for skin disease

Tuttha – Copper Sulphate, Vidanga (Embelia ribes Burm. F.) varieties of Maricha (Piper nigrum Linn.), Kushta (Saussurea lappa), Lodhra (Symplocos racemosa) along with Manashila – Realgar constitute an ointment for the cure of chronic skin diseases [12]

Skin ointment

Rasanjana (concentrated aqueous extract from Berberis aristata DC.) along with the seeds of Prapunnada (Cassia tora Linn.) mixed with juice of Kapittha (Feronia limonia) constitute a skin ointment.

करञ्जबीजैडगजं सकुष्ठं गोमूत्रपिष्ट च परः प्रदेहः ॥ १३ ॥

Skin Ointments –
Seeds of Karanja (Pongamia pinnata), Edagaja (Cassia tora) along with Kushta (Saussurea lappa), pounded with cow’s urine constitute an ointment par excellence for skin diseases. [13]

Both the types of Haridra ( Haridra – turmeric and Daru Haridra – Tree turmeric), seeds of Kutaja – Connessi (Holarrhena antidysenterica Wall.) and Karanja (Pongamia pinnata), tender leaves of Sumanas (Jasminum officinale), bark along with the pith of Hayamaraka (Nerium indicum) mixed with the ash of Tila – Sesame (Sesamum indicum) is also used as an ointment for skin diseases. [14]

Manashila – Realgar, Bark of Kutaja – Connessi (Holarrhena antidysenterica Wall.) along with that of Kustha (Saussurea lappa),  Lomasha – Ferri sulphas, Edagaja (Cassia tora Linn.), Karanja (Pongamia pinnata), node of Bhurja (Betula utilis D. Don.), root of Karavira (Nerium indicum Mill.), should be prepared in powder form mixed up with Tushodaka (clean water). The Darvipralepa (semi-solid in consistency) ointment made of one Karsha (12 g) powder of each of the above, mixed up with an Adhaka (3.0721) of the juice extracted by burning the Palasa (Butea monosperma Lam.), is said to be most useful in eradicating chronic skin diseases. [15-16]

One should use as an unguent on the parts of the body affected by skin diseases, the leaves of Chaturangula (Cassia fistula) as well as Kakamachi (Solanum nigrum Linn.) ground with buttermilk and also leaves of Ashvahana (Nerium indicum Mill.) after applying oil to the body. [17]

Vata balancing creams and ointments

Kola Kulathadi Churna

कोलं कुलत्थाः सुरदारू रास्ना माषातसीतैलफलानि कुष्ठम् ।
वचा शताह्ला यवचूर्णमम्लमुष्णानि वातामयिनां प्रदेहः ॥ १८ ॥

Kola (Zizyphus jujube Lam.),
Kulattha – Horse gram (Dolichos biflorus Linn.),
Suradaru – Devadaru – (Cedrus deodara),
Rasna – Vanda roxburghi / Pluchea lanceolata,
Masha – Black gram (Phaseolus radiatus L.),
Atasi – Linum usitatissimum Linn.,
Kushta – Saussurea lappa,
Vacha – Acorus calamus,
Shatahva – Indian dill – Anethum sowa,
Yava – Barley – Hordeum vulgare,
Taila Phala – castor fruit – soured by vinegar and warmed up constitutes a good ointment for those suffering from Vata. [18]
read more about Kola kulattadi churna

Other formulations

अनुपमत्स्यामिषवेसवारैरूष्णैः प्रदेहः पवनापहः स्यात् ।

The Veshavara prepared with the meat of marshy animals like fish when applied as an ointment cures imbalanced Vata. [19]

The ointment made from aromatic drugs mixed with Dashamula and four types of fat (ghee, oil, fat and marrow) is also useful for the cure of vitiated Vata. [19]

Warmed up powder of Yava – Barley (Hordeum vulgare) mixed with buttermilk and Kshara (alkalies) eradicates abdominal pain. [20]

Kushta (Saussurea lappa), Shatahva (Foeniculum vulgare Mill.), Vacha (Acorus calamus Linn.), powder of Yava – Barley (Hordeum vulgare), and oil, when soured with vinegar are said to be useful for alleviating Vata. [20]

Creams for gout (Vatarakta)

In the event of Vatarakta (gout) one should apply an ointment consisting of both the types of Shatahva (Foeniculum vulgare Mill.), Madhuka (Glycyrrhiza glabra Linn.), Madhuka (Madhuca indica I. F. Gmel.), Bala (Sida cordifolia Linn.), Priyala (Buchanania lanzan), Kasheruka (Scripus grossus), ghee, Vidari (Ipomoea paniculata / Pueraria tuberosa) and sugar. [21]

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The ointment consisting of Rasna (Vanda roxburghi / Pluchea lanceolata), Guduchi (Tinspora cordifolia Willd.), Madhuka (Glycyrrhiza glabra Linn.), two types of Bala (Sida cordifolia) along with Jivaka, Rishabhaka and milk prepared with ghee and mixed up with honey wax eradicates the trouble arising out of Vatarakta (gout). [22]

In Vatarakta (gout), the ointment made of ghee, the powder of Godhuma – wheat – Triticum sativum and goat’s milk is prescribed. [23i]

Creams for headache

Nata (Valeriana wallicii), Utpala (Nymphaea alba), Chandana (Sandalwood – Santalum album) and Kushta (Saussurea lappa) – these drugs mixed up with ghee constitute an unguent useful for headache. [23]

Prapanundarika (Nymphaea lotus Linn. red variety), Suradaru (Cedrus deodara), Kushta (Saussurea lappa), Yashtyahra (Glycyrrhiza glabra Linn.), Ela (Elettaria cardamomum Maton), Kamala (Nelumbo nucifera Gaertn.), Utpala (Nymphaea alba), – these drugs mixed up with ghee along with Loha (Aquilaria agallocha Roxb.), Eraka (Typha angustifolia Linn.), Padmaka (Prunus cerasoides D. Don.), Choraka (Angelica glauca) constitute another unguent useful for headache. [24]

Cream for chest pain

Rasna (Pluchea lanceolata Oliver & Hiern), Haridra (turmeric – Curcuma longa), Daruharidra (Berberis aristata DC.), Nalada (Nardostachys jatamansi DC.), two varieties of Shatahva (Foeniculum vulgare Mill. and Foeniculum capillaecum), two varieties of Devadaru (Cedrus deodara Loud.), Sugar, root of Jivanti (Leptadenia reticulata) – these drugs along with ghee and oil slightly warmed up make a good ointment for chest pain. [25]

Creams for burning sensation

Shaivala ( Vallisneria spiralis), Padma – Lotus (Nelumbo nucifera), Utpala (Nymphaea alba), Vetra (Salix caprea), Tunga (Calophyllum inophyllum), Prapaundarika (Nymphaea lotus) – red variety), Amrunala (Vetiveria zizanioides Nash), Lodhra (Symplocos racemosa), Priyangu (Callicara macrophylla), Kaleyaka (Santalum flavum), Chandana (Sandalwood – Santalum album), – ointment prepared of these drugs and mixed up with ghee relieves burning sensation. [26]

Sugar, Lata (Rubia cordifolia Linn.), Vetasa (Salix caprea Linn.), Padmaka (Prunus cerasoides D. Don.), Yashtyahva (Glycyrrhiza glabra Linn.), Aindri (Cilrullus colocynthis Lehrad.), Nalina (Nelumbo nucifera Gaertn.) Durva (Cynodon dactylon), root of Yavasa – Alhagi pseudalhagi, Kusha (Desmostachya bipinnata), Kasa (Saccharum spontaneum Linn.), Jala (Pavonia odorata Willd.), and Eraka (Typha angustifolia Linn.) – ointment of these drugs relieves burning sensation. [27]

Cream for cold sensation

Shaileya (Permellia perforate), Ela (Elettaria cardamomum Maton) , Aguru (Aquilaria agallocha Roxb.), Kushta (Saussurea lappa), Chanda, Nata (Valeriana wallichii), Tvak (Cinnamomum zeylanicum Blume.), Suradaru (Cedrus deodara), Rasna (Vanda roxburghi / Pluchea lanceolata) – Ointment of these drugs instantaneously relieves cold sensation.

Cream for toxic conditions

Shirisha (Albizia lebbeck Benth.) along with Sindhuvara (Vitex negundo) alleviate toxic conditions. [28]

Cream to relieve excess sweating

Shirisha (Albizia lebbeck Benth), Lamajjaka (Cymbopogon jwarancusa Schult.), Hema (Mesua ferrea) and Lodhra (Symplocos racemosa), – ointment prepared with all these drugs when rubbed (over the skin) alleviates skin diseases and reduces sweating.

Cream for body odour

Patra – Cinnamomum tamala Nees and Eberum, Ambu – pavonia odorata Willd., Lodhra (Symplocos racemosa), Abhaya – Terminalia chebula and Chandana – Sandalwood – Santalum album – ointment of these drugs alleviatebad odour of the body.

Summary

Thus, for the sake of the well-being of all, Lord Atreya respected by the Siddhas and Maharishis (great sages) expounded in the chapter on Aragvadheeya – 32 types of most efficacious powders and pradehas useful in different diseases.
Thus ends the third chapter  of the Sutrasthana of Agnivesha’s work as redacted by Charaka.

4 thoughts on “Charaka Samhita Sutrasthana – Chapter 3 – Aragvadheeya Adhyaya”

  1. first off, which volume of carka samhita is this in? also, if you could put this in more layman’s terms, it would be helpful..the caraka is very difficult to understand..thank you..

    Reply
    • This, as the title suggests, Charaka samhita Sutrasthana, which is the first part. First let us go through the what Charaka says. Then I will break down each concept and explain it in detail. Of course, understanding Charaka takes time. If you did not understand any of the concepts, just put a query in the comment. I will explain.

      Reply
  2. Thank you very much for the informative article. Are these medicines readily available? If so please let me know.

    Reply

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