Maharasa: Introduction, Types, Qualities

The substances that are useful in enhancing the medicinal values of Parada are categorized under Maharasas. Many authors have grouped many different substances under maharasas. But here Rasaratna Samucchaya classification is followed.

Types

अभ्रवैक्रान्तमाक्षिकविमलाद्रिजसस्यकम् ।
चपलो रसकश्चेति ज्ञात्वाऽष्टौ संग्रहेद्रसान् ॥ (र.र.स.२/१)
abhravaikrāntamākṣikavimalādrijasasyakam |
capalo rasakaśceti jñātvā’ṣṭau saṃgrahedrasān || (ra.ra.sa.2/1)

According to the text, the following 8 are Maharasas.

1. Abhraka                  5. Adrija (Shilajatu)
2. Vaikranta                6. Sasyaka
3. Makshika                7. Chapala
4. Vimala                    8. Rasaka

Abhraka (Mica)


Synonyms
Abhraka, Gagana, Bhrunga, Abhra, Kha, Vyoma, Vajra, Ghana, Girija, Bahupatra, Anantaka, Akasha, Ambara, Amala, Megha, Antariksha.
Abhraka is one of the most important drugs of Rasashastra. It is a compound substance made of Aluminium and Iron. Mythologically it is considered as Shukradhatu of Goddess Parwati.
Availability: Hazaribagh, Kodarma of Bihar, Nellore & Salem district of Tamilnadu and Ajmer of Rajasthan.
Types

  1. Pinaka Abhraka
  2. Naga Abhraka
  3. Mandooka Abhraka
  4. Vajra Abhraka

Based on colour, each of these 4 types can be classified into further four types. i.e., Rakta, Peeta, Neela and Krishna. Among these four types, Krishna variety is the best.
Qualities of best Abhraka
Snigdha (unctuous), with thick layers, mixed with different colors, heavy and with easily separable layers is considered as the best Abhraka.

Read more about Abhraka Shodhana, Marana, Satwapatana here

Vaikranta (Tourmaline)

Synonyms
Vaikranta, Vikranta, Jeernavajra, Kuvajra, Kshudrakuleesha, Churnavajra
Vaikranta is categorized under Maharasa. It has been used since ancient times. It is also categorized under Uparatnas. It has the capability to deform all Lohas. It is also helpful in melting minerals. According to mythology, it originated from the blood of Mahishasura, who gets killed by Goddess Durga.
Availability: India, Brazil, Russia, Srilanka, California. In India, it is available in those places, where Vajra is usually found.

Types
Based on colour, vaikranta is of 8 types.

  1. Shweta 2. Neela 3. Rakta 4. Peeta 5. Paravata prabha 6. Shyama 7. Krushna 8. Karbura

Characteristics of suitable Vaikranta
The one which has 8 borders, 8 surfaces, 6 angles, which is clear and has a mixture of colours, soft to touch, is suitable.
Read more about VaikrantaShodhana, Marana, Satwapatana etc.

Makshika (Pyrite)

Synonym

Makshika, Maksheeka, Tapya, Tapeeja, Dhatumakshika

It is one of the important Rasadravya. It has been used for medicinal purposes since ancient times.

Availability: Kaatashila place in Simhabhoomi district and in Rohtak district of Bihar, Khetri place of Rajasthan, Darjeeling, Chennai, Mysore, Madhya Pradesh, Sikkim.  Apart from India, Makshika is available in USA, Russia, Barma, Nepal and China.

Types

Many classical texts have mentioned three types of Makshika.

  1. Swarna makshika
  2. Rajata Makshika
  3. Kansya Makshika.

Qualities of Swarna Makshika

Vrushya, Madhura, Rasayana, Tikta. Swarya, Netrya, Tridoshahara, Useful in Kshaya, arsha, Prameha, Bastipeeda, pandu, Shotha, Visha, Jeerna Jwara, Apasmara, Mandagni, Aruchi etc.

Qualities of Raupya Makshika

As similar to Swarna Makshika.
Read more about Makshika Shodhana, Marana, Satwapatana

Vimala (Iron Pyrite & Cubic sulphide of Iron)

Synonyms

Not available.

It is a cubicle in nature with eight angles and eight surfaces. It is Iron bi sulphide.

Availability: Bihar, Assam, Madhya Pradesh, Bengal, Udisha etc.

Types

  1. Swarna vimala                     
  2. Raupya Vimala             
  3. Kamsya Vimala

Qualities

Mitigates Vata and Pitta, Vrushya and Rasayana.
Read more about Vimala Shodhana, Marana, Satwapatana

Adrija or Shilajatu (Asphaltum Punjabinum)

Synonyms

Shailodbhava, Shaileya, Shaila, Girijaatu, Shailadhatuja, Shilamaya, Shilasweda, Shila Niryasa, Adrija, Ashma Laksha and Gaireya.

Shilajatu has been known to Indians since ancient times. The mountains getting heated due to strong sun rays of Jeshta and ashada months (Summer) melt the layers of the mountain, yielding a resin kind of semisolid liquid, which is called Shilajatu. This resembles coal tar in consistency and upon drying it gains shine. It readily dissolves in water.

Availability: It is available in hilly areas Kashmir, Japan, Bhutan, Tibet and Gilgit.

Types

Acharya Charaka has mentioned about 4 types – Swarnagarbha Silajatu, Rajatagarbha Shilajatu, Tamragarbha Shilajatu and Lohagarbha Shilajatu

Acharya Sushruta has added two more types to the above to explain 6 – those two are – Naga garbha Shilajatu and Vangagarbha Shilajatu.

Qualities

Useful in the treatment of Mutrakrichra, Ashmari, Prameha, kamala, Pandu.
Read more about Adrija Quality, Purification, Side effects

Sasyaka (Copper sulphate or Blue vitriol)

Synonyms

Tutha, Mayuraka, Shikhigriva, Tamragarbha, Amrutasanga, Vitunnaka, Mayuratutthaka, Shikhitutthaka.

Sasyaka is available in natural form and is also manufactured artificially by the reaction of Sulphuric acid with copper. Naturally, it is extracted from the peacock ore, which has copper, sulphur and iron content in it. In the absence of natural Sasyaka, artificially prepared Sasyaka can be used and vice versa.

Availability: In Bihar & Rajasthan, Swarnamakshika mines, and in the USA it is available.

Types

Natural and artificial.

Read more about Sasyaka

Chapala (Bismuth ore)

Synonyms  

Shaila, Chapala

It is a controversial drug of Rasashastra. Some scholars consider it as Bismuth and others Selenium. Due to its controversy, its use is not seen nowadays. However, it is considered as one of the important drugs for Dhatuvada.

Availability: Controversial. Bismuth is available in China, California, Kashmir and Bihar.

Types

1. Prakruta (Natural) 2. Krutrima (Artificial)

Prakruta type of Chapala has four types based on colour.  –
a. Goura – has the glitter similar to gold – used in Paradabandha.  
b. Shweta – has the glitter similar to silver – used in Paradabandha
c.Aruna – melts easily upon heating. Hence has no medicinal value.
d. Krishna. – melts easily upon heating. Hence has no medicinal value.

Krutrima has two types –
Nagasambhoota (originated from Naga)
Vangasambhoota (originated from Vanga)

Qualities
Does Lekhana, Snigdha, Tiktarasa, Ushna Virya, Madhura Vipaka, useful for Dehasiddhi and Lohasiddhi.

Read more about Chapala here

Rasaka (Zinc Carbonate)

Synonyms

Rasaka, Kharpara, Yashadakarana, Tamraranjaka, Netrarogari, Reetikrit.

It is also a controversial drug. Some scholars consider Tuttha (Sasyaka) variety as Rasaka. And some consider Rasaka as one of the synonyms of Yashada. But, upon scrutinizing the Shastras, it can be definitively said that it is a compound of Yashada.

Availability: America, barma, Russia. In India, Punjab, Rajasthan, Bangal, Madras etc.

Types

I

  1. Mrutrikabha (Calomine) – best. Similar to mud.
  2. Gudabha (Zincite) – medium. Similar to jaggery.
  3. Pashanabha (Zinc blande) – bad. Similar to stone.

II

  1. Dardura (Calomine) – used for Satwapatana
  2. Karavellaka (Smithsonite) – used for medicinal purposes.

Qualities
Useful in all types of Prameha, mitigates kaphaand Pitta, useful in eye disorders,
Raktapitta – bleeding disorders,
Ashmari – urinary calculi,
Arsha – hemorrhoids,
Shwasa – dyspnea,
Jeernajwara – chronic fevere,
Visha – poisoning, and
Kushtha – skin disorders.

Read more about Rasaka here


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