About t he Book:
The present work is an informative knowledge on various indigenous ophthalmic drugs including plants, metals and minerals of medicinal value. It is book for background reading by post-graduate students, practitioners and research scholars in ophthalmology. It is primarily meant for research scholars who wish to conduct scientific studies in ophthalmology.
This book describes 57 Medicinal plants, 39 Metals, Mineral drugs and gives information about and their botanical names/chemical names, pharmacological actions, therapeutic ophthalmic uses and chemical composition.
I am extremely, grateful to Prof. M. Ramasunder Rao, Dr. N.R.S. Govt. Ayurvedic Medical College, Vijayawada for his helpful suggestions.
I am very grateful to acknowledge with thanks the helpful suggestions and encouragement received from Dr. R. Veena MD. Dr. C.G. Vaijayantimala MD, Dr. K. V. Ramakrishna Reddy MD. Ayurvedic Practitioners, Bangalore.
I also wish to record my appreciation for the help rendered by my students for checking the manuscript and correction of the proofs.
I would greatly appreciate the useful criticism and suggestions from reader and will be disappointed only if I fail to provoke any reaction.
The present work is an informative knowledge on various
indigenous ophthalmic drugs including plants. metals and
minerals of medicinal value. It is book for background reading by
post-graduate students, pracitioners and research scholars in
ophthalmology. It is primarily meant for research scholars who
wish to conduct scientific studies in ophthalmology.
This book describes 57 Medicinal plants. 39 Metals. Mineral
drugs and gives information about and their botanical names/
chemical names, pharmacological actions. therapeutic ophthalmic
uses and chemical composition.
I am extremely, grateful to Prof. M. Ramasunder Rao. Dr. N.R.S.
Govt. Ayurvedic Medical College, Vijayawada for his helpful
I am very grateful to acknowledge with thanks the helpful
suggestions and encouragement received from Dr. R. Veena MD.
Dr. C.G. Vaijayantimala MD, Dr. K.V. Ramakrishna Reddy MD.
Ayurvedic Practitioners. Bangalore.
I also wish to record my appreciation for the help rendered by my
students for checking the manuscript and correction of the proofs.
I would greatly appreciate the useful criticisim and suggestions
from reader and will be disappointed only if I fail to provoke any
Life with Intellect is innate amongst all the living beings.
With this faculty, the creatures learn to adapt to the hostile
environment. Man with highly evolved biological system is
considered to be a social animal who responds to the stimuli
in the external world. Thus, he has developed all his special
senses to a high degree of perfection, that he is able to receive,
absorb and analyse the information coming to him. These
special senses, numbering five have helped him to continually
update and develop, and thus aptly naming him Manava in
Sanskrit meaning 'One who acquires new knowledge '.
Amongst, these special senses, it is a well known fact that
the organ eye and the mechanism of sight has been considered
as the foremost as the senior Canakya says Sarvendriyanam
Nayanam Pradhanam. Even the Ayurvedic literatures. have also
emphasised the importance of eye care in living. In Astanga
Samgraha it is quoted that "one who wishes to live for a long
time, should endeavour to protect and preserve the eyes and
the sight for all times. Because in spite of having enough wealth,
it is worthless to live, as for the blind day and night have no
There is today some 180 mill ion people world wide with
visual disability, in need of social, vocational, economic or
rehabilitative support services. The number of blind in the
world is presently estimated at around 40-45 mill ion (1999)
applying the internationally accepted definition of vision less
than 3/60 or 0.05 (ICD-9). Taking into account the population
growth and aging, this number is growing particularly in
developing countries, where more than 90% of the world's
blind are found. The above estimate includes about 1.5 million
blind children with 500,000 new cases each year. These
children are subjected to particularly high mortality, due to
their disability and severe infectious/nutritional disorders.
Overall, the main causes of blindness in the world are cataract
(42 %), degenerative and metabolic diseases (23 %), trachoma
(16%), glaucoma (14%), and onchocerciasis and vitamin A
deficiency/xerophthalmia (5%). Unless large-scale
interventions against these major causes of visual loss are
undertaken, the number of blind can be expected to cross 50
million by the year 2000 AD. This figure will double in 2025
unless decisive public health action is taken. India bears 23.3 %
of the regional burden of blindness compared to 17.6 % in
China. Cataract (51 %) is followed by degenerative disease
(26%) amongst the regional burden of visual impairment in
India. Looking at the epidemiology of visual impairment, more
work and help has to be done in India. It is an irony that India
having a long tradition of health care system still suffers the
burden of this condition. This lends support to the argument,
that the Ayurvedic literatures have not been fully exploited for
protective and preventive eye care of the masses.
Although, Ayurvedic literatures have recorded the use
of many natural ingredients in the treatment of ophthalmic
diseases, they are all scattered. There has not been a
compendium of the ingredients used in this speciality to be
used as ready reference material for application.
The present book by the young and enthusiastic researcher
in Ayurvedic Ophthalmology will be a great boon for the re-
searchers in this field to get browse references and scientific
information on plants, mineral and animal products used as
It is interesting to note in this book that drugs used in
Ayurvedic ophthalmology have been classified into the source
of their origin and the details of pharmacological principles of
each drug as per the literatures and the references. At the end,
the summary of all the drugs, glossary of the pharmacological
activity followed by the reference on drugs used for the specific
activity, which is very useful. Glossary of terms would help
particularly the readers from the conventional medicine.
I am convinced that this book will be of immense help
not only to the students, but also to the practitioners and more
so to the researchers.
Tremendous advancement made in the science of of ophthalmology
in recent years have opened a new era in the history of medicine.
Scientists and scholars of modem ophthalmology have attracted
most of mankind who are anxious about maintainance of prolonged
and healthy vision. At the same time, there are numerous
challenging problems, existing before modem ophthalmologists
which require special attention to develop untrodden fields of
medical knowledge hidden in various treasuries.
Modem ophthalmology is incomplete inspite of tremendous
research and utilization of advancements of various sciences viz
bio-technology, bio-medical engineering etc. After hearing the
words, laser refractive surgery, phaco-ernulcification, radial
keratotomy, many people think that modem ophthalmology has
reached it's peak. It is true that, there is surgery to manage many of
opthalmic problems, if there is no surgery there is no cure for many
of the diseases. For instance, problems retained with management
of conditions such as Retinitis pigmentosa, Glaucoma,
Degenerative neuro-ophthalmic lesions, Chronic allergic disorders
of adnexa, have remained unsolved since decades. Apart from these
problems of management, adverse ocular effects of synthetic
medicaments are creating considerable amount of discomfort and
morbidity to the patient, has become a challenge to the
ophthalmologist. Owing to the difficulties mentioned above, it is a
juncture that the need for such drugs which could effectively tackle
the above problems without any adverse effects warranted.
Ever since dawn of history man has been in pursuit of new
substances that could cure illness and promote health and longivity.
Ayurveda, one such science that philosophises in not merely
treating the illness but counter balancing the disequilbrium that
results in disease. It is the traditional system of medicine holds out
to the world, the promise of healthy long life.
The happiest part of history of medicine is the origin of Indian
ophthalmology (2000 B.C.). Susruta, the Father of Indian
Ophthalmology and. author of Susruta Samhita contributed many
chapters on clinical ophthalmology, ocular surgery, principles of
ocular pharmacology, and therapeutics in Uttara-Tantra of his text.
From historical point of view it is evident that plants, metals,
minerals and animal products extremely used in alleviating the
wide range of ocular conditions. History of ophthalmic use of
natural products of medicinal value, can be traced from remote past
in pre-early Christian Era. For instance Atharvaveda furnishes
many references to the use of different natural products as topical
Every country has its traditional cure for its disease. These prescri-
ptions have evolved depending on geographical conditions, flora,
mineral resources. India is one of the richest nation in the world in
terms of natural resources of medicinal value. These natural
resources sti II as potent and effecti ve as they were thousands years
ago. Avast number of indigenous drugs coupled with innumerable
claims of their varied uses in alleviating wide range of ophthalmic
affections calls for scientific validation for their attributes and
principles. Unfortunately, these traditional indigenous ophthalmic
practises have been largely eroded because of lack of research. It
is the trend of present world, that there is no place for blind faith
in the treatments of ancient medical science. Only facts established
with proofs after conducting clinical and experimental research.
supported by satisfactory statistcial data, convince the scientific
world about the validity of statements concerning indigenous
The present work is aimed at through search of hidden knowledge
about various single ophthalmic drugs scattered else where in
various corners of ancient literature. The purpose of this book is to
impart the reader about the basic knowledge concerning
indegenous ophthalmic drugs found in medical classics of ancient
and medivial period, which forms a base for their further research.
A special attention has also been made to classify these drugs based
on their varied pharmacological actions on visual system and
adnexa. For ego Caksusya Drugs-drugs used in improving visual
acuity, visual fields and colour vision. Naktandhyahara Drugs-
drugs prescribed to manage various conditions presenting with
night blindness of varied etiology. Netrasulahara Drugs-drugs
advocated for the alleviation of painful ophthalmic conditions.
It is hoped that this work would recieve a warm welcome from
scientists of various desciplines. ophthalmologists, research
scholars and also promotes the sustanable utilization of indigenous
ophthalmic drugs for the benefit of mankind.
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