Article by Dr Raghuram Y.S. MD (Ay) and Dr Manasa BAMS
Kshara is considered superior to all the shastra karma (surgical measures) and anu-shastra karma (para-surgical measures) because Ksharas or alkalis perform the work of incision, puncture, and scarification so as to relieve the derangements of Tridosha. They uniformly affect the diseased part or parts to which they are applied.
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According to Sushruta, Kshara possesses the below mentioned qualities:
Apart from this, kshara:
Use of Kshara is also mentioned to be one of the important anu-shastra vidhi or para-surgical measures in Ayurveda.
Kshara Guna (Properties of Kshara or alkali)
Kshaara or alkali by the virtue of its 10 above mentioned properties; will render all the functions of shastra (sharp surgical instruments) and agni (fire, cauterization). Bu the virtue of its actions like sucking quickly (aachooshana), healing effect over the body, spreading everywhere, it pulls out all the doshas by their roots. After such actions when the diseases disappear, kshara also subsides on its own accord.
Preparation of Kshara as per Sushruta
Kshara shall be prepared only in Sharad Kala (in between October and November) of a calendar year. It shall be prepared nearby a hilly area.
Before preparation of Kshara, Mangalacharana (holistic and devotional rituals) shall be conducted. After this, the healthy Mushkaka plant or Elaeodendron glaucum shall be taken along with its roots. The plant is made into small parts and subjected to boiling till it is converted into total ash. After the separation of burnt lime-stones, the ash is collected in a sterile vessel. Care is taken that the ash is not contaminated or exposed to moisture. This is called Prathamika Kshara or basic (primary kshara). This is one example given by Sushruta. Later he gives a set of herbs from which kshara or alkali can be extracted and later used for medicinal purposes. The list of source plants for kshara preparation is as mentioned below –
The herbs can also be selected based on their doshagnatva or dosha mitigating property. Example:
Kadali – Vata alleviating property (Vataghna)
Aragwadha, Krutavedana, Kutaja etc – Pitta alleviating property (Pittagna)
Palasha, Karanja, Tilwaka, Vasa, Agnimantha, Apamarga, Snuhi, Putika, Ashwakarna, Nimba, Bibhitaka, Karavira, Arka, Saptachchada, Chitraka, Krishnamushkaka – Kapha alleviating property (Kaphagna)
Patala, Sariva, Gunja – Tridosha alleviating property (Tridoshagna)
Read related: KsharaSutra Treatment: Introduction, Indication, Contra Indications
Types of Kshara used for medicinal purposes:
Kshara can be used internally and applied externally.
Paaneeya kshara (alkalis which can be consumed through mouth) – This type of kshara is used in treating the conditions like:
Pratisarana Kshara (alkalis externally applied) – This type of kshara is used in the treatment of:
The kshara used in kshara sutra is Pratisarana type of kshara because it is applied externally on ano-rectal diseases.
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