This article is written by Dr M S Krishnamurthy MD(Ayu) PhD.
Some people have wrong notion that Ayurveda means only herbal remedies. Such people should peep into the classical texts of ayurveda where by the thorough review one can appreciate mineral origin as well as animal origin products in routine practice.
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Cuttlefish bone is one such ayurvedic drug used in the treatment of wounds, ulcers and skin ailments as well. It is called ‘Samudraphena’ in Sanskrit and ‘ Samundar chhag’ in Hindi both mean the froth of the ocean. Even though it is termed as froth, in fact it is not the froth instead the bone/ skeleton of the fish is used after its death. As this bone resembles like the froth with its characteristic white color it is termed by this name.
In ayurvedic texts this is quoterd by different synonyms like Abdhiphena, Hindeera, Abdhikapha, Phena etc.
The Zoological name of this fish is Sepia officinalis and it belongs to Cephalopoda Family of Mollusca Class.
It is available in various length and width. Usually it is 3-5 cm wide and 10-20 cm in length. Its thickness may vary from 0.5 cm to 3 cm.
It is rich in calcium carbonate, phosphate and sulphates. Significant amount of silica also exists in this drug.
As per text book – Bhavaprakasha
Samudraphena is coolant (for external application), astringent in taste and motile(sara) in nature. The drug pacifies Kapha and Pitta dosha; acts as anti poisonous too.
It is appreciated as good for eye disorders and ear diseases.
It is usually used for external application and its internal use is not so common.
Few of its simple and effective health remedies are as follows-
1. Rose water mixed with Cuttle fish bone powder for burning of the eyes:
5 gram cuttle fish bone is powdered and added to 100 ml of rose water and kept for 1-2 hours. Then it is filtered and stored. This is instilled to the eyes in burning conditions and in constant irritation associated eye problems.
2. Fine powder of the drug for ear ache and discharge from the ears:
Fine powder of the drug is instilled to the ears in the problems like ear discharge, earache etc.
3. Fine powder for rubbing against the teeth in tartar:
Fine powder of the cuttle fish bone is mixed with burnt husk and used to rub against the teeth. This helps to remove the tartar effectively.
4. Application over the white patches :
Fine powder of cuttle fish bone is mixed with lemon juice and fine paste is made. This is applied over the white patched of the skin. It helps to reduce the marks significantly.
5. Dusting over the oozing ulcers:
In the conditions of chronic ulcers and pus filled lesions or oozing spots , fine powder of this is sprinkled after thorough wash of the wounds. 4-5 days dusting helps to effectively manage the ulcers and wounds.
Medicinal properties and actions are found in each and every available natural resources. Its proper knowledge help us to find the proper way of use. A useless and abundantly available cuttlefish bone is a typical example in this regard.