About Authors:
Ajay Rana
M.Pharm, Shoolini University of Life Sciences,


Medicinal herbs constitute important source of drugs. Treatment of diseases with medicinal herbs is called phytothrepary. The study of chemistry of plant derived drugs is known as phytochemistry. Medicinal herbs have given us a number of important drugs, which are mainstays of treatment in synthetic system of medicine. Ayurveda, Siddha, Homeopathy and Herbalism are completely dependent on plants for formulations. Salicin, a glycoside isolated from Salix alba attracted the researchers in the 19th century and it provided us with most potent weapon, Acetyl-salicylic acid for killing pain. The article highlights the historical usage and pharmacogonosy of medicinal herbs containing salicin.

Reference Id: PHARMATUTOR-ART-1289

Ayurveda is the complete knowledge for long life or ayurvedic medicine is a system of traditional medicine native to India. Ayurveda consist of two words namly ayus,meaninglongevity’’, and veda, meaning knowledge or science.The earliest literature on Indian medical practice appeared during the  vedic period in India, i.e.,in the mid-second millennium BCE.The Susruta samhita and the caraka samhita are encyclopedias of medicine compiled from various sources from the mid-first millennium BCE to about 500CE. They are among the foundational works of Ayurveda. Over the following centuries, ayurvedic practitioners developed a number of medicinal preparation and surgical procedure for the treatment of various ailments.current practices derived from Ayurvedic medicine are regarded as part of complementary and alternative medicine. At an early stage, Ayurveda adopted the physics of  the five elements i.e. prthvi(earth), jala(water), agni(fire), vayu(air) and akasa(sky)-that compose the universe, including the human body. Ayurvedic literature deals elaboratorty with measure of healthful living during the entire span of life and its various phases.

One view of the early history of ayurveda asserts that around 1500BC, ayurveda’s fundamental and applied principles got organized and enunciated. In this historical construction, Ayurtveda traces its origins to the Vedas, Atharaveda in particular, and is connected to hindu religion. Atharavaveda (one of the four most ancient books of Indian knowledge,wisdom and culture) contains 114 hymns or formulation for the treatment of diseases. Ayurveda originatedin and developed from these hymns. In this sense, ayurveda is considered by some to have divine origin. Indian medicine has a long history, and is one of the oldest organized systems of medicine. Its earliest concepts are set out in the secured writings called the Vedas, especially in the metrical passages of the atharvaveda, which may possibly date as far back as the 2nd millennium BC. Uderwood & Rhodes(2008) hold that this early phase of  traditional Indian medicine identified fever (takman), cough, consumption, diarrhea, dropsy, seizures, tumours  and skin disease(including leprosy).Treatment of complex ailments, including angina pectoris, diabetes, hypertension and stones, also ensued during this period. Plastic surgery cataract surgery, puncturing to release fluid in the abdomen, extraction of forgien elements, treatment of anal fistulas, treating fractures amputations, and stitching of wounds were known. The use of herbs and surgical instruments became widespread. The Charaka samhita text is arguably the principal classis reference. It gives emphasis to the triune nature of each person: body care, mental regulation, and spiritual/consciousness refinement.

The Chiness pilgrim Fa Hsien(ca.337-442AD) wrote about the health care system of the Gupta empire (320-550) and described the institutional approach of Indian medicines,also visible in the work of Charaka, who mentions a clinic and how it should be equipped. Madhava, Sarngadhara, and Bhavamisra complied works on Indian medicine. The medical works of both Sushruta and Charaka were translated into the Arabic language during the Abbasid Caliphate. These Arabic works made their way into Europe via intermediaries. In Italy, the Branca family of sicily and Gaspara Tagliacozzi (Bologna) became familiar with the techniques of Sushruta.

British physicians traveled to India to see rhinoplasty being performed by native methods. Reports of on Indian rhinoplasty were published in the Gentleman’s Magazine in 1794. 

Different Types of Ayurvedic Formulations
Unlike modern medicine which prescribes medicine in the form of just capsules, tablets, syrup in injection, ayurveda has wide varity of formulations using different combination which can be prescribed by all age groups.

Arkas: Arka is a liquid preperation obtained by the process of distillation of certain liquids or of drugs soaked in water. It is slightly turbid in nature and has the colour and smell of the predominant drug used for the process. eg:ajamodarka, karpooradyarka.

Asavas And Arishtas: Asavas and arishtas are the medicinal preperations obtaine by saoking the required drugs in a solution of jaggery for a specific period of time. During this period it undergoes the process of fermantation generating alcohol thus facilitating the extraction of the active principles contained in the drugs. eg: chandanasava, kumariasava, kanakasava, lohasava, arjunarishta, ashokarishta, dashmoolarishta, ashwagandharishta etc.

 Taila(Medicated Oils): Tailas are preparations in which oil is boiled with different kashayas or decoctions of drugs.  By use of decoction, better absorption of the active therapeutic properties of the ingredients used is ensured. These oils are mostly used for external applications except for few which are used for consumption in specific conditions. They are powerful stimulants and are quick in action. eg:anu taila, mahanarayan taila, brahmi taila, ksheerbala taila, bringaraj taila etc.

Bhasmas: Powder of a substance obtained by calcination is called as bhasma. it is applied to minerals, metals and animal products which are, by special process calcinated in closed pits with cow dung cakes. Their potency is maintained indefinitely. All are advised to be taken under medical supervision. eg: abhrak bhasma, kanta bhasma, loha bhasma, swarna bhasma, mukta bhasma etc.

Vatuka and Gutika: Vatuka or Gutika corresponds to pill of the modern/western pharmacopoeia. it is prepared by using the churnas of different herbs and then processed in the form of pills. eg: chandraprabha vati, bhallataka vati, agnitundi vati, chitrakadi vati etc.

 Rasa Oushadi:  Preparations containing metals and minerals in their purest and palatable forms as the main ingredients are called as rasa oushadi. All the preparations should be taken under strict medical supervision. These are mostly used in emergency conditions and in chronic diseases. eg: anandbhairav rasa, bruhatvata chintamani rasa, lakshmivilas rasa, laghumalini vasant, etc.

What Is Ayurveda Good For /Benefits of Ayurvedic Formulations

1.      Less Side Effects –If used properly, they have fewer side effects as compared to their synthetic pharmaceutical counterparts.

2.      Age Old Practice-They are thousand years old and have a long track record of successful, safe and effective use. Whereas, modern medicines are relatively new.

3.      More Effective-In some cases they prove to be more effective than their synthetic pharmaceutical counterparts. For example, successful use of plant Artemesia in malaria.

4.      Grass Root Treatment-Modern medicine focuses on treating symptoms, whereas ayurveda focuses on treating the disease itself.

Are There Any Risks / Limitations of Ayurvedic Formulations

1. Delayed Action-They take longer time to act as compared to their pharmaceutical synthetic counterparts.

2. Patient Safety-Major threats to patient safety in ayurvedic treatment are-

· Limited scientific evidence from tests done to evaluate quality, quantity, potency, safety and efficacy.

· Lack of knowledge regarding the most ancient literature depicting ayurvedic principles and therapies.

· Adulteration in raw material being involved.

3. Knowledge Of Sustainability-To sustain the ages long ayurveda, there has to be a complete knowledge of –
·          How to use the Ayurvedic formulation?
·         When to use the Ayurvedic formulation?
·         Why to use the Ayurvedic formulation?


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The article "Ayurvedic formulations containing glycocides" is good and informative