Sushruta Samhita Chapter 36 Bhumi Pravibhageeya Adhyaya

This article explains Sushruta Samhita Sutrasthana Chapter 36 “Bhumi Pravibhageeya Adhyaya” – Classification of land region.

Bhumi Pravibhageeya Adhyaya

Classification of land region

अथातो भूमिप्रविभागीयमध्यायं व्याख्यास्यामः ||१||
यथोवाच भगवान् धन्वन्तरिः ||२||

We will now expound the chapter by name Bhumi Pravibhageeya – classification of land regions, as revealed by the venerable Dhanvantari.
Read – Lord Dhanwantari ‘The God of Ayurveda’

Samanya bhumi pariksha

General examination of land

श्वभ्रशर्कराश्मविशमवल्मीकश्मशानाघातनदेवतायतनसिकताभिरनुपहतामनूषरामभङ्गुरामदूरोदकां स्निग्धां प्ररोहवतीं मृद्वीं स्थिरां समां कृष्णां गौरीं लोहितां वा भूमिमौषधग्रहणाय  परीक्षेत। तस्यां जातमपि कृमिविषशस्त्रातपपवनदहनतोयसंबाधमार्गौरनुपहतमेकरसं पुष्टं पृथ्ववगाढमुलमूदीच्यां चौषधमाददीतेत्येष भूमिपरीक्षाविशेषः सामान्यः ॥३॥
For the purpose of collecting herbs and drugs, the land region should be examined first generally. 
The land which is having the below mentioned qualities should be searched for growing (and later collecting) the medicinal herbs. The land should –

  • not be afflicted, (damaged) by the presence of burrows, potsherd, stones,
  • not be uneven (ups and downs),
  • not have ant-hills, places of cremation and slaughtering, temples, and sand dunes (in or around it);
  • not be alkaline, 
  • not be fragile;
  • have the water not too far away or too deep when the ground is dug (has continuous flowing water nearby),
  • be unctuous,
  • have sprouts of plants;
  • have soft soil,
  • be stable and even (uniform),
  • be black, white or red in color,

The herbs (medicinal plants) grown in the land having the above said qualities should

  • not be infested by insects,
  • not be damaged by poison, sharp weapons, sunlight, breeze, fire, water (rain) and roads;
  • have one best taste (predominantly)
  • be well nourished / grown (stout)
  • have its roots thick and deep rooted and spreading northwards

One should collect such plants by sitting facing north. This is the general method of examination of the land.

Panchavidha Bhumi

Five kinds of lands

विशेषतस्तु तत्र, अश्मवती स्थिरा गुर्वी श्यामा कृष्णा वा स्थूलवृक्षशस्यप्राया स्वगुणभूयिष्ठा; स्निग्धा शीतलाऽऽसन्नोदका स्निग्धशस्यतृणकोमलवृक्षप्राया शुक्लाऽम्बुगुणभूयिष्ठा; नानावर्णा लघ्वश्मवती प्रविरलाल्पपाण्डुवृक्षप्ररोहाऽग्निगुणभूयिष्ठा; रूक्षा भस्मरासभवर्णा तनुवृक्षाल्परसकोटरवृक्षप्रायाऽनिलगुणभूयिष्ठा; मृद्वी समा श्वभ्रवत्यव्यक्तरसजला सर्वतोऽसारवृक्षा महापर्वतवृक्षप्राया श्यामा चाकाशगुणभूयिष्ठा ||४||

  • To be more specific here (regarding features of land);
  • The land which is rocky, stable, heavy, bluish black or black, with more big trees and plants will have the parthiva qualities – features of the earth.
  • The land which is unctuous (sticky), cold, with water nearby (have the water not too far away or too deep when the ground is dug), with more of unctuous (juicy) plants, grass, tender trees, soil being white in color, will have ambu gunas – i.e., features of water predominantly.
  • The land which has more of small rocks, of many colors, small white trees, plants and sprouts; growing sparsely (with much space between one and the other) will be predominant in agni guna i.e., the land will be predominant with qualities of fire.
  • The land which is dry, have the color of ash or a donkey, will have plenty of small dry plants with tree holes (hollows in the plants) with less of juices is predominant in anila guna i.e., qualities of air.
  • The land which has soft soil, even, pits (depressions) in the ground, juice of plants and water being not tasty, sapless trees growing all around, with more of huge mountains and trees and blue-black soil is the land with predominance of akasha gunas i.e., qualities of the sky.

 Aushadhi sangrahana Kala

Time (season) of collection of herbs

अत्र केचिदाहुराचार्याः-
प्रावृड्वर्षाशरद्धेमन्तवसन्तग्रीष्मेषु यथासङ्ख्यं मूलपत्रत्वक्क्षीरसारफलान्याददीतेति;
तत्तु न सम्यक्, सौम्याग्नेयत्वाज्जगतः |

सौम्यान्यौषधानि सौम्येष्वृतुष्वाददीत, आग्नेयान्याग्नेयेषु;
एवमव्यापन्नगुणानि भवन्ति |

सौम्यान्यौषध्मनि सौम्येष्वृतुषु गृहीतानि सोमगुणभूयिष्ठायां भूमौ जातान्यतिमधुरस्निग्धशीतानि जायन्ते |
एतेन शेषं व्याख्यातम् ||५||

Here in (on this topic) some authorities say – roots, leaves, barks, milk (sap), pith and fruits should be collected in seasons such as Pravrt (early rainy), Varsa (rainy), Sarart (autumn), Hemanta (early winter), Vasanta (Spring) and Grisma (summer) respectively.
This is not correct, since the whole world is predominantly saumya (cold like the moon in qualities and mild in properties) and Agneya (fire, hot in qualities and strong in properties). Hence drugs which are cold in qualities should be collected during cold seasons and drugs which are hot in qualities should be collected in hot seasons. Then their qualities will be non-vitiated (normal, usual).
Herbs and drugs possessing cold properties, collected during cold seasons, in lands which are predominantly cold in features, will be sweeter in taste, unctuous and cold.
In this way the remaining one (Agneya) is also described.
Read – Ritucharya – Ayurvedic Seasonal Regimen – 3rd Chapter – Ashtang Hriday

Collection of purgative and emetic drugs

तत्र पृथिव्यम्बुगुणभूयिष्ठायां भूमौ जातानि विरेचनद्रव्याण्याददीत, अग्न्याकाशमारुतगुणभूयिष्ठायां वमनद्रव्याणि, उभयगुणभूयिष्ठायामुभयतोभागानि, आकाशगुणभूयिष्ठायां संशमनानि,
एवं बलवत्तराणि भवन्ति ||६||

Purgative drugs should be collected from land regions possessing qualities of Prthvi and Ambu.
Emetic drugs from land regions with qualities of agni, Aksasa and Maruta.
Drugs acting in both ways (purgative and emetic) should be collected from lands having both qualities.
Palliative drugs should be collected from lands which possess qualities of Akasa.
Collected in this manner the drugs will be stronger (potent).
Read – Vamana Virechana – Emesis and Purgation – Ashtanga Hridayam Sutrasthana 18

Abhinava Aushadha – Fresh drugs

सर्वाण्येव चाभिनवानि, अन्यत्र मधुघृतगुडपिप्पलीविडङ्गेभ्यः ||७||
 All the drugs collected should be fresh, except Honey, ghee, Jaggery, Pippali (Piper longum) and Vidanga (Embelia ribes).

Drugs / Herbs which are beneficial in spite of not being fresh

विडङ्गं पिप्पली क्षौद्रं सर्पिश्चाप्यनवं हितम् |
शेषमन्यत्वभिनवं गृह्णीयाद्दोषवर्जितम् ||८||

Vidanga (Embelia ribes), Pippali (Piper longum), Honey and Ghee – which are not fresh (old) are beneficial; while all the remaining should be fresh but without blemishes.

Herbs with sap

सर्वाण्येव सक्षीराणि वीर्यवन्ति; तेषामसम्पत्तावतिक्रान्तसंवत्सराण्याददीतेति ||९||

All herbs having their sap will be more potent. When such herbs are not available, then those which are not more than one year old should be made use of for treatment.

Bheshaja Vyakti – Paraphysicians

भवन्ति चात्र-
गोपालास्तापसा व्याधा ये चान्ये वनचारिणः |
मूलाहाराश्च  ये तेभ्यो भेषजव्यक्तिरिष्यते ||१०||

Cowherbs, ascetics, hunters, tribals and such others who roam in the forests for collecting roots (herbs) are called as Bheshaja Vyakti – persons akin to physicians /para-physicians.

Right time of collection of herbs whose all parts are used in preparation of medicines

सर्वावयवसाध्येषु पलाशलवणादिषु |
व्यवस्थितो न कालोऽस्ति तत्र सर्वो विधीयते ||११||

For collection of herbs used in all its parts (all parts of trees or plants are used in preparation of medicines) as in Palasa Lavana etc. (mentioned as patralavana, Kanda lavana etc. in the treatment of Vata Vyadhi chap. 4 of Chikitsa Sthana) there is no specific time (seasons) and all seasons are suitable.
Read – Vata Disorders (Vatavyadhi): Definition, Causes, Symptoms

Types of land according to their smell, color and tastes

गन्धवर्णरसोपेता  षडिवधा भूमिरिष्यते ।
तस्माद्धमिस्वभावेन बीजिनः षड्रसायुताः ॥१२॥

Lands possessing smell, color and tastes prominently are of six kinds. Trees / plants are endowed with six tastes, according to the nature of the land.

How does taste get manifested in water?

अव्यक्तः किल तोयस्य रसो निश्चयनिश्चितः |
रसः स एव चाव्यक्तो व्यक्तो भूमिरसाद्भवेत् ||१३||
It has been decided that the taste of water is un-manifest (tasteless). The same un-manifest taste gets manifest after combining with the taste of the land (soil).
Read – Six Tastes Of Ayurveda: Qualities, Benefits, Therapeutic Action (Shad Rasa)

Sadharana Desha

सर्वलक्षणसम्पन्ना भूमिः साधारणा स्मृता |
द्रव्याणि यत्र तत्रैव तद्गुणानि विशेषतः ||१४||

The land having the features of all kinds (of lands) is known as Sadharana desa (moderate/ temperate region). Herbs belonging to such lands possess the same qualities of the land especially.

Drugs fit for use

विगन्धेनापरामृष्टमविपन्नं रसादिभिः |
नवं द्रव्यं पुराणं वा ग्राह्यमेवं विनिर्दिशेत् ||१५||

That drug whether fresh or old which does not have an unusual smell, taste etc. (other than its normal ones) can be considered suitable for use.

Collection of animal products

जङ्गमानां वयःस्थानां रक्तरोमनखादिकम् |
क्षीरमूत्रपुरीषाणि जीर्णाहारेषु संहरेत् ||१६||
Animal products such as blood, body hairs, nails, etc should be obtained from animals of middle age. Milk, urine and excreta should be obtained (collected) after the digestion of food (consumed by animals).
Read – Collection And Preservation Of Ayurvedic Herbs

Bheshajagara – drug store

प्लोतमृद्भाण्डफलकशङ्कुविन्यस्तभेषजम् |
प्रशस्तायां दिशि शुचौ भेषजागारमिष्यते ||१७||

It is described to construct a drug store in an auspicious direction and clean place; and drugs kept (covered or bound) in sheets of cloth, placed inside earthen pots arranged on wooden planks or hung by hooks.

इति श्रीसुश्रुतसंहितायां सूत्रस्थाने भूमिप्रविभागीयो नाम षट्त्रिं शोध्यायः ॥३६॥
Thus ends the Thirty-seven chapter by name Bhumi Pravibhageeya, in Sutra sthana of Sushruta samhita.

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