Herbal pastes are called Kalka in Ayurveda. Kalka is one among the five basic dosage forms. The other four are – juice extract, decoction, cold and hot infusions. In Ayurveda, herbal pastes are used both for internal and external use.
Definition of Kalka:
The Pinda – bolus or paste prepared from fresh herbs, which is rasapishta – has some liquidity in it, is considered as Kalka.
The wet or dry herb is ground as it is or by adding water, it can be added with other adjuvants and administered.
So, Kalka can be prepared either with fresh herbs or with dry herbs.
Dose – 1 karsha – 12 grams once or twice per day.
Adjuvants – Prakshepa for herbal pastes:
- Honey, ghee, sesame oil – if at all are indicated along with any kalka, it should be mixed in double quantity to that of Kalka.
- Eg: 5 grams of neem paste, administered along with 10 grams of ghee.
- Sugar candy or jaggery – is mixed in equal quantities.
- Any liquid (kashaya, juice extract etc) is added 4 times the dose of kalka.
Examples of herbal pastes:
It is applied externally to cleanse and heal wound faster.
It is administered internally to treat vomiting, skin disorders, intestinal parasites and Pitta and Kapha disorders.
Mahanimba – Melia azadirach
Mahanimba kalka is administered to treat sciatica.
De-skinned garlic pearls are made into paste. Administered along with sesame oil. It is administered in Vata disorders and in Vishamajwara – Recurrent fever.
Apamarga Kalka – Achyranthes aspera paste:
Apamarga – Achyranthes aspera seed paste is administered along with rice washed water.
Useful in Raktarsha – bleeding hemorrhoids.
Ginger- sesame-jaggery paste:
Paste made of ginger, sesame seed and jaggery is administered along with cow milk to treat peptic ulcers and rheumatoid arthritis.
Uses of Kalka
Pastes are used for external application.
They are used for oral administration.
They are used for application over oral ulcers
They are used as mild suppositories
They are applied over wounds.
They are used in the preparation of herbal ghees, herbal oils, herbal decoctions (called Pramathya), etc.