Types of ayurveda medicines

(Published in December 2017 issue of Santwanam magazine.)

Plants and other substances of medicinal value are usually transformed to one form or other, for convenience of storage and use. Most of the traditional ayurvedic preparations are of these types, and it can typically be inferred from its name.

Some of common forms used in Ayurvedic medical practice are listed below.

1. Anjjana
It is made by adding a little water to fine powder of specific drugs/herbs. Typically used for applying in the eyes
Eg. Guladyanjana

2. Arishta
It is made by keeping drugs/herbs along with jaggery or honey in a pot for a period (30 days, 41 days etc.)
Eg. Dasamoolaarishta

3. Choorna (powder)
Choorna refers to powder form of medicine. It is, typically, made by powdering the dried drugs/herbs on the grinding slab or with pestle and mortar
Eg. Ashtachoorna

4. Avaleha
It is also called lehya or rasaayana. Avaleha refers to a form of medicine which is semi-solid. It is prepared by adding jaggery, kvaata etc to drugs/herbs

Eg. Chyavanapraasa

5. Bhasma
This is made from minerals, after removing impurities through a process called Sodhana. Thereafter, the drug/herb is converted to a state in which they can be absorbed in the body through a process called Maarana process.

Eg. Sankhabhasma

6. Lepa
It is a paste for external application. It is prepared by grinding drugs/herbs in oil, water, etc, and is made into a paste to be applied on a part of the body.

Eg. Mahaatiktalepa

7. Kvaata (Kashaaya)
It is essentially a decoction made using drugs. Drugs/herbs are made into small pieces and kept in a pot. Further, water is added and boiled on low flame till significantly reduced in volume. Proportion of water mixed and reduction level depends on the type of drug/herb involved. The liquid is allowed to cool and then strained to a clean vessel.

Eg. Mahaaraasnaadi Kvaata

8. Vati
It is also called Gulika, Gutika, Modaka, Vatikā, Vartika, Varti etc. It is prepared by mixing powdered drugs/herbs with water, kvaata, honey etc into a paste. Then it is changed to a pill by the hand

Eg. Yogarajaguggulu vatika