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Studies on Medicinal Plants and Drugs in Dhanvantari-Nighantu (Set of 2 Volumes)

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Item Code: NAV439
Author: S. D. Kamat
Publisher: Chaukhamba Sanskrit Pratishthan
Language: English
Edition: 2011
Pages: 858
Other Details 9.50 X 6.00 inch
Weight 1.83 kg
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Book Description

Vaidya D.K. Kamat, the author of this treatise ‘Studies on Medicinal plants in ‘Dhanwantariya Nighantu' is a veteran Ayurvedic vaidya of Konkan, a coastal area of Maharashtra, characterized by small hills and forests rich in vegetation. His zeal for study of Ayurvedic medicinal plants must have been greatly stimulated and fed by the abundance of the herbal wealth around him in the land of his birth. Dr. G. S. Pendse, who appears to have followed the research career of the author intimately has in the preface,(introduction) given a fascinating account of the trials and tribulations undergone by the author and the obstacles overcome by him in order to complete the task of acquiring first-hand knowledge of the medicinal plants of the region. In this mission he has been ably assisted by his botanist collaborator, Prof. S.D. Mahajan. This happy collaboration has resulted in the preparation and publication of the present useful work in English. The choice of language will carry the utility of the book to parts of India beyond the frontier of Kokan and Maharashtra. This will enable the scholars and scientists all over the country to reap the benefits of Vaidya Kamat's laudable effort.

I have to concede seniority to Vaidya Kamat not only in the matter of age (he is in his eighties), but also in the knowledge of the subject treated in this book. Against this background, his desire to have the Fore- word written by me constitutes more an honor to me than to him. How- ever, since my long association with the All India Ayurvedic Congress, the Central and Sate Councils and Committees and various University Faculties has kept me in close touch with the Ayurvedic profession and scholarships of the entire country. my assessment of Vaidya Kamat's work may help a large number of people in India to make use of the knowledge collected and recorded by Vaidya Kamat in this excellent publication This appears to me to be the only justification for my writing this Fore- word.

‘Dhanwantariya Nighantu' is a treatise on Ayurvedic herbs and drugs with its main portion, Guduchyadi Varga, dealing with medicinal plants exclusively. Vaidya Kamat has dealt with this portion. 1.e., the medicinal plants. only. He has done an excellent job of identifying the plants and their variants which will go a long way in removing confusion with regard to the identity of a large number of plants prevalent among the Ayurvedic physicians and suppliers of Ayurvedic herbs. Prof. S.D. Mahajan has greatly helped in fixing the identities of these plants by supplying their botanical names.

The publication should prove of considerable practical use to the students and practitioners of Ayurveda and to research scholars requiring contact with medicinal plants for initiating research in them. I welcome the addition of this book to the existing literature on this subject.


It is really a pleasure to write an introduction to this treatise, which is a sheer labor of love of a single man with an occasional help from his younger associate. The chief author, Vaidya D. K. Kamat belongs to Konkan and has now reached a ripe age of eighty, when he is completing this treatise. For a number of years, he was after his cherished ideal. Born and brought up in Chiplun taluka in the district of Ratnagiri in Konkan a middle class poor family, his early life was passed in the midst of the poor population of cultivators and inhabitants of Tala-Konkan, under fairly hard circumstances. Curiosity is the basis of any research enquiry. It must also be accompanied by a desire and full effort to satisfy that curiosity or else, it becomes only an idle inquisitiveness. Vaidya Kamat is endowed with these rare and singular qualities. His curiosity regarding the habits and practices of these poor-hilly populations, made him start his work, when he was ,on vegetable materials locally available and used as foods and medicinal plants. He did neither wait for a wealthy man to support him, nor did he enquire whether the Government budget is available to get some grant for this work. Even though, he was not a trained botanist, he started the study of systematic of Botany with a single idea of identification of the plant materials, he was collecting so laboriously from the local populations. He took the help from the Botanical Survey of India on one side and eminent Kavirajas on the other, such as Vaidya late A. R. Kalawari of Ratnagiri. It was a fortunate event that a young man like Shri S. D. Mahajan, who was a trained Botanist joined him actively at this stage and Vaidya Kamat could secure an active help from this young scientist. Some areas were surveyed by Vaidya Kamat and Shri Mahajan jointly and it was very beneficial to both of them. Both of them surveyed the area of Baramati in addition to Konkan areas. The officer-in-charge of the Botanical Survey of India, Poona, Shri Puri gave them a good co-operation in the matter of identification of the collected specimens. An excellent opportunity arose for these scientists, when they got an invitation from ‘Sarvodaya Yojana’ and ‘Ayurveda Seva Sangh’ of Nasik for the survey of Adivasis' in Nasik district for the medicinal and ‘food plants they used. They jointly completed this work, resulting in a collection of some 250 interesting specimens, which were given to the Ayurveda Seva Sangh of Nasik and also to the Poona University.

It is also worth noting that Vaidya Kamat was engaged in a trade from 1945 onwards for a few years, which was intimately related to forest products, although he happened to serve as a draftsman during some ear- her years. This is again a point to illustrate the principle. that his low economic status, or his struggle for bread and butter did not come in the way of his pursuit of knowledge. In fact, this is what is known as ardent desire and internal urge of the pursuit of knowledge or ‘Antarvedana' in the language of Yoga-Vasistha, which is responsible for any ‘Siddhi' or achievement. In the absence of this, mere qualifications, pays, emoluments, vehicles and facilities will not be of much use to bring out a performance and achievement in any undertaking. It is a pity to note that Govt. has been emphasizing these values more than the actual output of work and also trying to judge the performance on the criterion of the expenditure of money. It is easy to realize that the performance does require an expenditure but the expenditure cannot be correct criterion of performance. Once the false values are propagated, it is but natural that there is a race for expenditure of budgets. It is necessary to emphasize here that all the schemes should be 'Man-oriented' and not merely ‘Money - oriented’ Unless this principal is recognized and practiced and the planning shaped accordingly, there are few chances of success in any scheme which may appear very promising on paper.

Somehow Vaidya Kamat did not remain in service for a long time. He was not deterred by this event. On the contrary, he engaged himself in a trade, which was based on the knowledge he gained during his forest work. There are a number of trades related to the forest products. He picked up one of them. Acacia sundra is a common tree in the western and Southern forest. The economic aspect of this tree is well-known. The total ex- port of Catechu was valued at Rs. 3696186 as early as in 1895-96, which has been fluctuating since then. The process of obtaining 'Kata' (Catechu) is a traditional process practised by villagers. The commerce of Catechu is not smali. A good quality also yields a good return. Shri Kamat took to this trade, secured all the know-how of the work and started a forest industry, which satisfied his wants and also gave him a good opportunity to keep up his pursuit of plant-knowledge.

It is after all such hard labor and pursuit of pure knowledge for years together, in spite of all sorts of difficulties, Vaidya Kamat started writing some articles on topics of identification of plant materials mentioned in 'Dhanvantariya Nighantu' and ‘Raj Nighantu' These articles appeared in ‘Ayurved Patrika' Nasik and were not contradicted by anybody even now. He was then encouraged to take up a full work of preparing a glossary of medicinal plants in ‘Dhanvantariya Nighantu’ which is the work of his life-time. I have particularly touched the relevant points in the life of Vaidya Kamat to show how curiosity, hard work and perseverance to follow the ideal irrespective of odd circumstances, are the necessary qualities for a research worker to achieve something worth the trouble during one's life-time.

**Contents and Sample Pages**

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