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Title: Some observations on the metal-based preparations in Indian systems of medicine
Authors: Kapoor, R. C
Keywords: Indian systems medicines;Metal-bhasma;Physicochemical form;Safety issues
Issue Date: Jul-2010
Publisher: National Institute of Science Communication and Information Resources
Citation: Indian Journal of Traditional Knowledge, Vol. 9. No. 3, pp. 562-575
Abstract: The real physicochemical nature of the classical metal preparations - the bhasmas in the Indian Systems of Medicine (ISM) is not very clear. Of late, doubts have been raised as to their utility and suitability as medicine. We take a closer look at these aspects. We find that the bhasmas are in fact products of classical alchemy - inorganic compounds of certain metals and gems in a very fine powdered form, mostly oxides, made in elaborate calcination processes perfected several centuries ago. For most of the metals, methods of bhasma preparation as given in the classical texts differ between themselves in terms of accompaniments and process detail.Correspondingly, the processings of a certain metal lead to bhasmas with different colours. The resultants are considered to be the same medicinal substance with the ascribed indications even though these may differ in composition between them and should ideally be addressing different ailments. In short, there is no standard bhasma of a metal as such. In view of such ambiguity and the risks attendant to their inconsiderate use, there is an urgent need to bring about a standardization of these preparations process and the end product, as also to resolve the respective indications and strengthen the regime to monitor the manufacturing, and administration of these preparations.
ISSN: 0975-1068
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