After listening to a lecture from our dear friend, a dean at Stanford on "Medical Accidents", the relevance of some simple tips given by our sages seemed to make a lot more sense. Various ancient men of medicine discuss some general aspects that need to be kept in mind when administering medicine.
Only when the medicine is administered at the right time, it becomes effective. Medicine administered to the patient before or after the prescribed time only causes harm. Based on the type of medicine and the nature of illness, there are eleven times to administer medicine:
a. abhakta: on an empty stomach
b. prAgbhakta: before the consumption of a meal
c. madhyabhakta: administering medicine midway between a meal
d. adhobhakta: immediately after the meal
e. sabhakta: consuming medicine along with the meal
f. antarabhakta: administering medicine in the time period between two successive meals
g. Samudga: consuming medicine before and after a meal
h. muhurmuhuH: frequently without a direct association with the meal cycle
i. sagrAsa: mixed with the meal, such that every gulp of food consumed includes the medicine
j. grAsAntara: consuming medicine between successive gulps of food
k. nishi: during the night, at bedtime
The quantity of medicine administered is of great importance as consuming medicine in quantities lower than the requirement does not cure the disease and excessive consumption adversely affects the patient. The appropriate dose or mAtrA is determined based on the following criteria:
mAtrAyA nAstyavasthAnam doShamagnibalam vayaH |
vyAdhim dravya~ncha koShTha~ncha vIkShya mAtrAm prayojayet ||
a. doSha: can be vAta, pitta or kapha
b. agni: can be mandAgni or tIkShNagni
c. bala: a strong medicine cannot be administered in a big dose to a physically weak person. The strength of the medicine and the physical capacity of the patient should be proportional
d. vayaH: age of the patient
e. vyAdhi: the nature and intensity of the illness
f. dravya: the ingredients used in the preparation of the medicine to be administered
g. koShTha: bowels, can be mR^idu or krUra
mAtrA or quantity is an important factor which can judge the quality of medicine as adhama, madhyama or uttama. A particular medicinal preparation is said to be best if:
a. It cures most of the illness
b. Acts rapidly
c. Needs to be administered in small doses
d. Is pleasing to ones prakR^iti [like smell, taste etc]
e. Easily digested by the body
The same is stated slightly differently elsewhere:
alpamAtram mahAvegam bahudoShaharam sukham |
laghupAkam sukhAsvAdam prINanam vyAdhinAshanam ||
Like the triple natured prakR^iti is comprised of sattva, rajas and tamas, in terms of the physical body, we have vAta, pitta and kapha. These three dhAtus, when abused, result in various doShas. The reasons for these three doShas can be lack of moderation or adequacy in terms of food, sleep, hygenie, sexual activity etc. or seasonal changes
that change the weather.
The common reasons for vAyu doSha are described below:
vyAyAmAdapatarpaNAt prapatanAt bha~NgAt kShayAt jAgarAt
vegAnA~ncha vidharaNAt atishuchaH shaityAt atitrAsataH |
rukShakShobhakaShAyatiktakaTukairebhiH prakopam vrajet
Exercise, fasting, fall, injury, kShaya of dhAtus like blood, loss of sleep, withholding mala, mUtra, vIrya etc forcibly, extreme cleanliness, excessive exposure to water, fear, physical and mental tension, excessive consumption of astringent, dry, pungent or acrid foods: can lead to vAyu prakopa.
kaTvamloShNavidAhi tIkShNa lavaNa krodhopavAsAtapaiH
strIsamparka tilAtasIdadhisurAshuktAranAlAdibhiH |
Excessive consumption of spicy, sour, hard and salty food, anger, fasting, heat, sambhoga doSha, unmoderated consumption of tila, dadhi, gravel, liquor etc. can result in pitta prakopa.
Excessive consumption of heavy, sweet, oily foods or of milk, sugar, jaggery, liquids, curd etc., sleeping during the day, excessive consumption of foods like kachoris, puranpolis etc., result in kapha prakopa.
The disease is treated based on the diagnosis of one of these doShas and suitable medicine is administered.
Apart from these key concepts, sahapAna, anupAna [syrups], pralepa [ointments], nAdi [pulse], tapamApa [temperature], shvAsa [breath] are to be considered during diagnosis and treatment.
Wishing all a speedy recovery from all illnesses in this year of the Rat, which alchemically symbolizes disease and decay.
tadeva yuktam bhaiShajyam yadArogyAya kalpate |
sa chaiva bhiShajAm shreShTho rogebhyaH yaH pramochayet ||
jyotiHprakAsham paramAdimUlam |
shrIrAghavam nityamaham namAmi ||