Loha (Iron): Types, Shodhana, Marana, Qualities, Dosage

Iron is not just taken as a dietary supplement in Ayurveda; it is also used in various forms, such as herbal preparations and minerals, to treat a range of conditions, including liver and spleen disorders, diabetes, abdominal colicky pain, and anemia. Loha or Iron is a metallic chemical element with the symbol Fe (Latin: Ferrum) and atomic number 26.

Fresh iron surfaces are lustrous and silvery- grey in color, but oxidize in air to from a red or down coating of ferric oxide or rust. Iorn is essencial to nearly all known orgaisms. In cells, iron is generally stored in the centre of metalloponents) can catalyse production of toxic free radicals. Iron deficiency can lead to deficiency anemia.
Its relative density is 7.7 , melting point is 1600 degree C.

Synonyms

Loha, Ayasa, Shastrala, Teekshnaka, Kaalaayasa, Aayasa.

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Availability

It is available in many nations in variable quantities. In India , it available in abundancy in Bihar, Odisha, Bengal, Madhya Pradesh etc

Ores of Iron

Iron ores are rockes and minerals from which metallic Iron can be economically extracted. The ores are usually rich in Iron oxides and vary in color from dark grey, bright yellow, deep purple to rusty red. The Iron itself is usually found in the form of magnetite (Fe3O4), Hematite(Fe2O3), goethic (FeO(OH)), Limonite (FeO(OH).n (H2O)) or siderite (FeCO3)

Types of Loha

  1. Munda Loha – (cast Iron or Pig Iron)
  2. Teekshna Loha (Wrught Iron)
  3. Kanta Loha ( Magnetic Iron ore or Magnetite)

Munda Loha is of 3 types –

  1. Mrudu Munda
  2. Kunta Munda
  3. Kadara munda

    Teekshna (piercing) Loha is of 6 types
    1. Khara Teekshna (piercing)
    2. Saara teekshna
    3. Hrunnala Teekshna (piercing)
    4. Taravatta Teekshna (piercing)
    5. Vaajira Teekshna (piercing)
    6. Kaalaloha Teekshna (piercing)
    Kantaloha is 5 types.
    1. Bhraamaka Kantaloha
    2. Chumbaka Kantaloha
    3. Karshaka Kantaloha
    4. Draavaka Kantaloha
    5. Romakanta Kantaloha

Suitable characteristics of Loha

मुण्डच्छताधिकां तीक्ष्णं तीक्ष्णात्कान्तं शताधिकम् ।
मुण्डात्तीक्ष्णं ततः कान्तं ज्ञेयं तु गुणवत्तरम् ।
औषधार्थे ततो योज्यं तीक्ष्णं वा कान्तमुत्तमम् ॥ (रसामृत ३/१३१)
muṇḍacchatādhikāṃ tīkṣṇaṃ tīkṣṇātkāntaṃ śatādhikam |
muṇḍāttīkṣṇaṃ tataḥ kāntaṃ jñeyaṃ tu guṇavattaram |
auṣadhārthe tato yojyaṃ tīkṣṇaṃ vā kāntamuttamam|| (rasāmṛta 3/131)
Of all the types of Loha Bhasma – Bhasma prepared from Iron is the best. Teekshna (piercing) Loha is of medium qualities and Munda Loha is of inferior qualities. Teekshna (piercing) loha is 100 times betters than Munda loha and kanta loha is 100 times better than Teekshna (piercing) loha. Hence , for therapeutic purposes, Kantaloha is to be used.
Read more about Loha Bhasma here

Qualities

आयुष्प्रदाता बलवीर्यकर्ता रोगप्रहर्ता मदनस्य कर्ता।
अयःसमानं न हि किञ्चिदन्यद्रसायनं श्रेष्टतमं हि जन्तो ॥ (र.र.स. ५/१४९)
āyuṣpradātā balavīryakartā rogaprahartā madanasya kartā|
ayaḥsamānaṃ na hi kiñcidanyadrasāyanam śreṣṭatamaṃ hi janto || (ra.ra.sa. 5/149)

Loha is potent rejuvenative. It improves life expextancy, unctuous, calms tridosas, useful in the treatment of Prameha, Shoola, Gulma, Pleeha – useful in spleen disorders, yakrut, Pandu, Udara diseases, and useful in many disease with suitable Anupanas.

Adverse effect of improper use of Loha

षण्डवकुष्टामयमृत्युदं भवेद हृद्रोगशूलौ कुरुतेऽश्मरीं च ।
नानारुजानां च तथा प्रकोपं करोति हृल्लासमशुद्धलोहम् ॥ ( आ.प्र. ३/२२४)
ṣaṇḍavakuṣṭāmayamṛtyudaṃ bhaveda hṛdrogaśūlau kurute’śmarīṃ ca |
nānārujānāṃ ca tathā prakopaṃ karoti hṛllāsamaśuddhaloham || ( ā.pra. 3/224)

Decreases age, causes impotency, skin disorders, heart diseases, Shoola etc.

Shodana

Samanya Shodhana – General purification

तैले तक्रे गवां मूत्रे ह्यरनाले कुलत्थजे।
क्रमान्निषेचयेत्तमं द्रावे द्रावे तु सप्तधा ॥
स्वर्णदिलोह पत्राणां शुद्धिरेषां प्रशस्यते । (र. र स ५/१३)
taile takre gavāṃ mūtre hyaranāle kulatthaje|
kramānniṣecayettamaṃ drāve drāve tu saptadhā ||
svarṇadiloha patrāṇāṃ śuddhireṣāṃ praśasyate | (ra. ra sa 5/13)

General method of purification for all Lohas including Swarna
The Lohas are made into thin sheets, heated in fire till red hot and dipped in Taila – Sesame oil – Sesamum indicum – 768 ml (gingelly oil), Takra ( buttermilk), Gomutra – Cow urine, Kanji – Fermented gruel and Kulattha Kwatha (decoction of horsegram) for 7 times each.

Vishesha Shodhana – Special purification

क्वाथ्यमष्टगुणे तोये त्रिफलाषोडशं पलम् ।
तत्क्वाथो पादशेषे तु लोहस्य पलपञ्चकम् ॥
कृत्वा पत्राणि तप्तानि सप्तवारं निषेचयेत् ।
एवं प्रलीयते धातुर्गिरिजो लोहसम्भव: ॥ (र र. स ५/१०२-१०३)
kvāthyamaṣṭaguṇe toye triphalāṣoḍaśaṃ palam |
tatkvātho pādaśeṣe tu lohasya palapañcakam ||
kṛtvā patrāṇi taptāni saptavāraṃ niṣecayet |
evaṃ pralīyate dhāturgirijo lohasambhava: || (ra ra. sa 5/102-103)

Loha powder is heated and dipped in Triphala Kwatha for seven times.

शशक्षतजसंलित्पं त्रिवारं परितापितम् ।
मुण्डादिसकलं लोहं सर्वदोषान्विमुञ्चति ॥(र.र.स ५/१०२)
śaśakṣatajasaṃlitpaṃ trivāraṃ paritāpitam |
muṇḍādisakalaṃ lohaṃ sarvadoṣānvimuñcati ||(ra.ra.sa 5/102)

Loha powder is heated and dipped in Rabbit’s blood for three times

सामुद्रलवणोपेतं तप्तं निर्वापितं खलु ।
त्रिफलाक्वथिते नूनं गिरिदोषमयस्त्यजेत ॥(र.र.स ५/२०४)
sāmudralavaṇopetaṃ taptaṃ nirvāpitaṃ khalu |
triphalākvathite nūnaṃ giridoṣamayastyajeta ||(ra.ra.sa 5/204)
Loha is smeared with Sea salt and heated and dipped in Triphala decoction for seven times.\

Marana of Loha

Incineration of Iron:
१. अथ पूर्वोदितं तीक्ष्णं वसुभल्लकवासयो: ।
पुटितं पत्रतोयेन त्रिंशद्वाराणि यत्नतः ॥
शोणितं जायते भस्म कृतसिन्दूरविभ्रमम् ।(र.र. स ५/११६)
२. यद्वा तीक्ष्णदलोद्भूतं रजश्च त्रिफलाजलै: ।
पिष्ट्वा दत्त्वौदनं किञ्चिच्चक्रिकां प्रविधाय च ॥
शोषयित्वाऽतियत्नेन प्रपचेत्पञ्चभिः पुटै : ।
रक्तवर्णं हि तद्भस्म योजनीयं यथातथम् ॥(र.र.स ५/११७-११८)
३. समगन्धमयश्चूर्णं कुमारीवारिभावितम् ।
पुटीकृतं कियत्कालमवश्यं म्रियते ह्ययः ॥(र.र.स. ५/ १२६)

  1. atha pūrvoditaṃ tīkṣṇaṃ vasubhallakavāsayo: |
    puṭitaṃ patratoyena triṃśadvārāṇi yatnataḥ ||
    śoṇitaṃ jāyate bhasma kṛtasindūravibhramam |(ra.ra. sa 5/116)
  2. yadvā tīkṣṇadalodbhūtaṃ rajaśca triphalājalai: |
    piṣṭvā dattvaudanaṃ kiñciccakrikāṃ pravidhāya ca ||
    śoṣayitvā’tiyatnena prapacetpañcabhiḥ puṭai : |
    raktavarṇaṃ hi tadbhasma yojanīyaṃ yathātatham ||(ra.ra.sa 5/117-118)
  3. samagandhamayaścūrṇaṃ kumārīvāribhāvitam |
    puṭīkṛtaṃ kiyatkālamavaśyaṃ mriyate hyayaḥ ||(ra.ra.sa. 5/ 126)

Marana Incineration

Loha powder is added with 1 ½ parts of Hingula, given Bhavana with Kumai swarasa and cakes are prepared, subjected to seven Gajaputas of heat to get Loha Bhasma

Loha powder is given Bhavana with Punarnava – Spreading Hogweed – Boerhaavia diffusa swarasa and vasapatraswarasa and subjected to 30 Gajaputas of heat to get Lohabhasma

Loha choorna is subjected to Bhavaba with Triphala decoction and 1/4th part rice is added chakrikas are prepared. This is subjected to 10 putas of heat to get good quality Loha Bhasma.

To Loha choorna equal quantity of sulphur is added and triturated with Kumari – Aloe vera Swarasa and Subjected to 10 Puta.
Read related: Loha Bhasma: Benefits, Dosage, Ingredients, Side Effects 

Dosage

¼ – 2 Ratti (31.25 mg to 250 mg) in divided doses per day

Medicines of iron

Trividha Loha Paka

Apart from the regular marana procedure of Lohas, 3 special methods of Paka is mentioned to obtain Lohsbhasma. The bhasma made with these techniques will be of very high quality. Triphala kwatha is used in all the three methods. But nowadays this practice is very rarely seen.

Procedure of preparation of Loha bhasma is called Trividha Lohapaka. As the name suggests, it is prepared in 3 stages.
प्रथमं भानुपाकेन स्थालीपाकात्ततः परम् ।
पुटपाकेन पक्वञ्च लौहं सुमृतिमाप्नुयात् ॥(र.त. २०/२०)
prathamaṃ bhānupākena sthālīpākāttataḥ param |
puṭapākena pakvañca lauhaṃ sumṛtimāpnuyāt ||(ra.ta. 20/20)

  1. Loha Bhanupaka
  2. Loha Sthalipaka
  3. Loha Putapaka

Bhanupaka

वराक्वाथयुतं लौहं भानोः प्रखरभानुभि: ।
शुष्यन् विच्यते यस्माद् भा‌नुपाकस्ततः स्मृतः ॥ (र.त. २०/२१)
varākvāthayutaṃ lauhaṃ bhānoḥ prakharabhānubhi: |
śuṣyan vicyate yasmād bhā‌nupākastataḥ smṛtaḥ || (ra.ta. 20/21)

Bhanupaka- Purified Loha powder is mixed with Triphala kwatha and kept under sun light. Once the kwatha dries of due to heat, again it is added to the powder and heated in sun light. Such a method of making Lohabhasma is called as Bhanupaka. For this purpose, Triphala is taken in 3 parts to that of Loha, added with 2 times water and reduced to ¼ th .

Sthalipaka

त्रिफक्वथितोपेतं लोहं स्थाल्यां खराग्निना ।
शुष्यन् विपच्यते यत्नात् स्थालीपा‌कस्ततः सृतः ॥ (र. त. २०/२५)
triphakvathitopetaṃ lohaṃ sthālyāṃ kharāgninā |
śuṣyan vipacyate yatnāt sthālīpā‌kastataḥ sṛtaḥ || (ra. ta. 20/25)

Sthalipaka – The Loha , that has undergone Bhanupaka is taken in a wide mouthed iron vessel, added with Triphala Kwatha and subjected to Treervragni. When the Kwatha is completely evaporated , fresh Kwatha is again added. For this purpose, Triphala is taken three times to the quantity of Loha, added with 16 parts of water and reduced to 1/8th . such a decoction is used. Shatavari, Bhrungaraja, Haridra (turmeric – Curcuma longa) are also used in place of Triphala.

Putapaka

रसादिभिर्भेषजानां खल्वे लौहं विमर्दितम् ।
पुटस्थं पच्यते यस्मात् पुटपाकस्ततः स्मृतः ॥(र.त. २०/३१)
rasādibhirbheṣajānāṃ khalve lauhaṃ vimarditam |
puṭasthaṃ pacyate yasmāt puṭapākastataḥ smṛtaḥ ||(ra.ta. 20/31)

Putapaka- It is done after Sthalipaka. The Loha powder is triturated with suitable decoctions, cakes are prepared, dried, placed inside a samputa and subjected to putapaka.
Read more about Puta Prakarana of Rasashastra here
Abhraka and Loha are two such substances, wherein the quality of Bhasma increases with the number of Putas.
The Loha subjected to 1 Puta is useful in Rasakarma. [metal and Parada related procedures]
The Loha subjected to 100 Putas with Kshara has therapeutic benefits.
The Loha subjected to 100 – 1000 Putas is useful for rejuvenative purposes.
The Loha subjected to 10-500 Putas is useful for aphrodisiac purposes.

Loha Bhasma Amrutikarana

Loha Bhasma is added with Triphala Kwatha and subjected to Paka. By this ,the remnant Doshas in Loha Bhasma will be nullified. For this purpose, Triphala is taken twice to that of Loha Bhasma, added with 4 times water and reduced to 1/4th.



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