Agnijar (Ambergris, Amber): Uses, Purification, Dose, Medicines

Agnijara is an animal byproduct obtained from whales. It is called Ambergris, Amber, Amber grease or grey amber. It is used in Ayurvedic treatment for low digestion strength, neurological disorders etc. 

Traditional Ayurvedic reference

There is no mention of this product in any of the ayurvedic classical books like Charaka Samhita, Sushruta Samhita etc.

Rasa shastra book ‘Rasarnava’ mentioned about Agnijara for the 1st time. This product has been classified under ‘Sadharana Rasa’ according to various Rasashastra texts. The product has been used as a part of various formulations which are used in the treatment of fever, joint disorders, obesity and in the manufacture of perfumes.


What is Ambergris (Agnijar) ?
The product is considered as the decayed intestinal part of whale. Due to the ingestion of some grass in the sea, the intestine of the whale gets obstructed leading to the death of whales. The part of the intestine gets decayed and starts floating in the sea. This product having bad odor, is collected by the fishermen and dried completely under sun for many weeks leading to the disappearance of bad odor and presence of pleasant smell. The dried product has grey color and pleasant smell and has high market value in perfume industry. Agnijara is available in the oceans of Sri Lanka, Indian Ocean and the Arabian Sea, seashores of Africa, Lakshadweep and Nicobar islands, Sri Lanka etc.


Agniniryasa, Agnijwala, Sindhuplava,
Agnijara, Agnija, Sindhuphala, Vahnijara, Agnijar

Agniniryasa, Agnijwala, Sindhuplava,
Agnijara, Agnija, Sindhuphala, Vahnijara, Agnijar

Physical, chemical nature

  • Amber is very light in weight, and has greyish color, floats in water.
  • It has a specific gravity of 780-927.
  • When put in bottle and heated, it melts, when put in fire after drying, it gives aromatic smell. When heated to 212о F, it evaporates with white fumes leaving ash.
  • It’s melting point is 145оF and boiling point is 212о
  • Amber is insoluble in water but soluble in alcohol and oil. According to P.V Sharma it is soluble in ether, chloroform and oil.

Sanskrit verse

Interaction with medicines, supplements

Can this be used while taking Homeopathic medicine?
Yes. This product does not react with homeopathic medicine.

Can this medicine be continued while taking supplements like multivitamin tablets, Omega 3 fatty acids etc?
Yes. Generally, this product goes well with most of the dietary supplements. However, if you are taking more than one product per day, please consult your doctor for an opinion.

With western medicines
Seek your doctor’s advice if you are taking this product along with other western (allopathic / modern) medicines. Some Ayurvedic herbs can interact with modern medicine.
If both Ayurvedic and allopathic medicines are advised together, then it is best to take Allopathic medicine first, wait for 30 minutes and then take the Ayurvedic medicine.

Purification method

Agnijara Shodhana – Amber purification:
Agnijara is triturated with ardraka swarasa (ginger juice) or matulunga swarasa (lemon juice) for 3 times to purify it. ‘Marana’ (another method of purification involving burning and exposure to heat) for the product is not needed.

Use in Rasashastra

Use in the field of Rasashastra:
It was first mentioned in 8th century in the text ‘Rasarnava’ while explaining its role in ‘Abhrak druti prakarana’ (Method to melt Abraka)

Ayurveda prakasha considers it to be ‘Kshara vishesh’ (Type of alkali). It has been used for ‘Parad bandan karma’ and ‘Parada jaran’. (Procedure related to Mercury)


Types of Agni Jara – Amber grease:
On the basis of availability, Amber is classified into different forms and names.
Baltic amber – It is peeta varnayukta (Green colored)
Susyhian amber – It is arunabha yukta peeta (Pale white)
Rumenian amber – It is neela lohita varna (Bluish red colored)
Vermi amber –It is pitta neela lohita varna (Bluish red colored)

Properties, functions

Properties of Agnijar

  • Rasa (Taste)– Katu rasa (Bitter)
  • Guna –Laghu (Light) ,Rooksha (Dry)
  • Vipaka – Katu (Pungent)
  • Veerya(Potency) – Ushna (Hot)
  • Doshakarma (Action on dosha) –Tridoshagna (Pacifies all the vitiated dosha)

Functions on various parts of the body

  • Doshkarma – Tridoshaj vikar (all the dosha especially kapha vata dominated disease)
  • Samsthanik karma – Nadi samsthan as it is helpful for mastishka (Neurogenic)
  • Pachan samsthan (Digestive system)– Dipan, Pachan, Anuloman, Grahi (Helps in proper digestion)
  • Raktavaha samsthan (Circulatory system)– Hrudhya (helps in cardiac function)
  • Prajanan samsthan (Reproductive system) – Vajikaran (Improve sexual function)
  • Tapakrama (Temperature regulation)– Sheeta prashaman (Pacifies coldness in the body)

Dosage, Ayurvedic formulations

Dosage of the product:  120-360 mg mixed with ghee, butter or honey.

Ayurvedic formulations containing Agnijara:

  • Chintamani rasa –  It is an Ayurvedic medicine, with herbal and mineral ingredients, in tablet form. It is used in treating heart diseases, diabetes etc.
  • Dhatri rasayana – Useful to treat prameha (diabetes)
  • Bruhat vata chintamani rasa – Useful to treat vata roga (Disease related to vata dosha)
  • Vadvanal rasa – Useful to treat agnimandhya (indigestion or reduced appetite)
  • Javaharmohara vati and Ratneshvar rasa

Author: Dr.B.K.Prashanth M.D (Ayu), Ph.D
E mail: [email protected]
Click to consult Dr Prashanth BK

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