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Agada-Tantra and Vyavahara-Ayurveda (Toxicology & Medical Jurisprudence)

Agada-Tantra and Vyavahara-Ayurveda (Toxicology & Medical Jurisprudence)
Item Code: NAJ266
Author: K. Nishteswar and Dr. A. Anil Kumar
Publisher: Chaukhamba Surbharati Prakashan
Language: English
Edition: 2009
ISBN: 9788190804646
Pages: 280 (55 Color Illustrations)
Cover: Hardcover
Other Details: 8.5 inch X 5.5 inch
weight of the book: 500 gms



Agada Tantra or the Science of Poisons and their Management has been dealt extensively by Sushruta in one of the six cantos i.e., Kalpa-sthana of his work Sushruta Samhita.


Consciousness of the security of the king and methods employed for his protection from accidental and homicidal poisoning are the interesting and important applied aspects of the subject of Toxicology during the ancient times. Sushruta Samhita also mentions about various tests to be carried out for confirming the existence of poison in the food and the elaborate description of the flame test for the poisons is very interesting.


Sushruta’s Observations:


1. The royal kitchen, being the source of supply of foods and drinks, had been considered an important place through which poisons could be given and it is to be supervised by a royal kitchen physician.


2. The poisoning media have been enumerated such as foods, drinks, combs, tooth brushes, oils, clothes, vehicles, snuffs etc and their features and treatment of poisoning of each one of them have been enumerated in detail.


3. To test the poisoned foods and drinks Sushruta suggests to maintain animals kept in the vicinity of kitchen.


4. Clinical features of inanimate poisoning in general and the poisoning due to poisonous herbs such as bulb (kanda) in particular have also been enumerated.


5. A mention was made about slow acting or cumulative poison (dushi visha) also.


6. Sixteen locations of animate poisons, such as fangs, the nails etc. in the bodies of the venomous animals have been mentioned with specific locations in the different species etc. Chemical war- fare poisoning has been indicated. Water poisoning, soil poisoning, food and fodder poisoning and atmospheric poisoning along with their management have been discussed.


7. An interesting mythological story about the origin of poison (visha) has been given.


8. The location of snake venom at the time of biting has been postulated. Management of poisoning by cold and hot applications has been given. The disadvantages due to consumption of poisoned meat and the features are discussed. Snakes and features of poisoning due to their bite has been discussed in detail.


9. Treatment of arrow poisoning and putrid flesh has been described. The various anti-poisonous recipes against snake bites, insect bites and rat bites ere have been given.


10. Four powerful anti-poisonous recipes have been described, some of which were even capable of treating the masses, only be sounds emitted from drums besmard with the paste of medicinal plants.


11. Eighteen types of rats, features of their bites and treatment have been given, along with a description of hydrophobia (rabies). Treatment of bite by insects possessing sharp poison and poultices as well as contraindications for fomentation have been given. Specific treatments for bites by different insects, etc. have been discussed. Treatment of injury from scratch by finger nails has also been mentioned.


Drugs used as antidotes in acute or chronic poisoning in combination in the form of agadas or in the form of single drugs fall under the categories of rasayana, jivaneeya or vishahara group of durgs.


The most ancient scriptures like Atharva-veda, Koushika-sutra, Ashwalayana Srauta-sutra, Brahmavaivarta-purana, Kadambari and Mahabharata have described about visha-vidya, visa-bhaishajyam and the prevailing state of visa-vaidya’s of those days in the society. During those times mantras were employed as medicine in the management of sarpavisha. Basavaraju has also quoted one mantra in the chapter of Visha-chikitsa.


With advent of Rasashastra the utility of visha dravyas has in- creased enormously in Ayurvedic therapeutics as well as in the manufacture of Ayurvedic medicines.


Commenting on the various topics dealt by Ayurvedic classics about the subject of Agada Tantra, Prof. V J. Thakar., an erudate scholar of Ayurveda quotes:


‘Recent developments in Bio-chemistry, particularly in the field of synthetic medicines, has brought us to an era in which we are encountered with a flood of life saving chemotherapeutic agents on the one hand and life destroying chemical poisons of ever in- creasing intensity on the other. Humanity is passing through a situation which is reminiscences of the graphic mythological story of churning the ocean which was really started for bringing forth the ambrosia but which incidentally brought forth virulent leathal poison halahala also. Life saving and life destroying agents are at all times simultaneously produced by the man himself.’


In short, one can agree without hesitation that the approach to the science of Toxicology as dealt by Sushruta and other acharyas of Ayurveda, taking into consideration, the sources, modes of poisoning, the classification of clinical symptomatology, prognosis, and the management of cases, seems to be most exhaustive, scientific and practical.


One finds a very few references about Medical Jurisprudence in our ancient Indian Medical literature. In Koutilya Arthashastra, descriptions related to post mortem examination are available and it also mentions various forms of punishments for different crimes. Sushruta discussed about drowning, throatling, hanging and in- halation of smoke etc in his treatise.


Keeping the CCIM curriculum in view an attempt is made in this book, about various topics with regards to the subject on Agada Tantra and Vyavahara Ayurveda from both the Ayurvedic and Allopathic perspectives for the benefit of UG and PG students.


We are very much thankful to Dr. Vijaya Ganeshwar Reddy, Lecturer, Govt. Ayurvedic College, Vijayawada for his suggestions. We also express our heartfelt thanks to Mr. Naveen Gupta, Chaukhamba Surbharati Prakashan, Varanasi for printing this book.





Part: A



Agada Tantra






Etymology of Agada Tantra






(Investigation of Visha)



Charactistics and Identification of Vishadata



Dushi visha & Gara visha



Sthavra Visha



Visha: Samanya Chikitsa



(General Treatment of Poisoning)



Madya Visha



Jangama Visha



(Poisons of Animal Origin)



Description, Signs and Treatment of Upavisha



Khanija Visha



(Metallic/Mineral Poisons)



Ahara Visha



Commonly Used Poisons






Brief information about different poisons






Recipes useful in visha-chikitsa



Part: B



Vyavahara Ayurveda



Paribhasha (Definition)



Ayur Vivechana/Ayu Nirnaya



(Determination of Age)



Mrtyu (Death)



Abhighata (Injury)



Vyabhichara (Aprakrtika karma); Garbhapata; Bhrunahatya; Napumsakata; Vandhyatwa and Koumarya



Unmada (Insanity)



Chikitsaka-kartavya, Achara-Niyama, Vyavasayika adhikara and Gopaneeyata



Ayurveda Prayojana



Adharma- Roga Karakata



Vibhinna Papa



Sample Page

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