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The five main characteristics of herbs are discussed herein
  • Ras - When a substance is produced from panchamahabhootas (five elements), at that time different tastes develop in the substance depending on the proportion of the panchamahabhootas e.g. sweet, sour, salty, bitter and astringent.
     
  • Vipak - Diet or drugs, both, as they get digested, undergo change i.e. the food item that initially taste sweet, has an altogether different taste after digestion due to the digestion brought about by the jathragni. 
    Vipak is of three types :
    • Madhur (sweet)
    • Amla (sour)
    • Katu (pungent)
       
  • Veerya - The effectiveness of all gunas (properties) is known as veerya. It consists of two types :
    • Sheet veerya
    • Ushna veerya
       
  • Prabhav - The innate and specific property of a dravya is known as pravhav. This means that a specific action generated by prabhav may prove to be generated by it through circumstantial evidence but the exact mechanism by which prabhav brings about the action is hard to describe.
    A prabhav attributed to a particular dravya can be obtained only by using that particular dravya, any other dravya with the same properties and actions will not be able to generate the same prabhav i.e. dravyas (herbs) have their own exclusive prabhav.
     
  • Karma - The changes brought about by the dravyas through their rasa, gunas etc. within the body are known as karma (action) for e.g. Panchakarma, langhan, bruhan etc. 
     
Dravya -samskar (Basic preparations of herbs)
  • The drugs selected for the treatment of any disease may be of plant origin / animal origin / mineral origin.
  • To make them fit for therapeutic administration and to keep them potent for many days, they have to undergo some modifications known as "Samskara"
  • A small quantity of a simple drug becomes component to cure even the most complicated disease by the influence of different modifying procedures, such as:
    • Toyagni Sannikarsa (Contact of drug with liquid and heat)
    • Sauca (Purification / Detoxification)
    • Manthan (Churning)
    • Vasana ( Flavouring)
    • Bhavana (Trituration / grinding)
    • Kala Prakarsa (Time factor) 
       
Fundamental preparations for the dravyas are known as "Panchavidh Kasaya Kalpana" (five fundamental preparations) and they are as follows  
  1. Swarasa (Extracted juice)
  2. Kalka (Paste)
  3. Kasaya (Decoction)
  4. Hima (Cold infusion)
  5. Phanta (Hot infusion)
     
These five fundamental preparations are potent therapeutically in their ascending order and are light for digestion in their descending order.

Swarasa is the most potent preparation but heavy for digestion and Phanta preparation is the least potent and lightest for digestion.

A patient having good digestive power but suffering from a chronic and severe disease, Swarasa Kalpana is advisable.

A patient having weak digestive power and less severity of disease, Phanta Kalpana could be advised.
 

 

 
 
 
 

 

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