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A Text Book of Dravyaguna Vijnana (Set of 2 Volumes)

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Item Code: NAQ407
Author: Dr. J.L.N. Sastry and Dr. Tanuja M. Nesari
Publisher: Chaukhambha Orientalia
Language: English
Edition: 2019
ISBN: Vol. 1: 9788176373333
Vol. 2: 9789386660879
Pages: 1067
Other Details 9.50 X 0.01 inch
Weight 1.50 kg
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Book Description

About the Author

Dr. J.L.N. Sastry belongs to traditional Ayurveda family from Kakinada (E.G.Dist. Andhra Pradesh). He graduated from Dr. N.R.S. Govt. Ayurvedic College, Vijayawada (A.P.) in June 1989. He was university topper with two gold medals in BAMS. In the same year he topped AP Public Service Commission and joined as Medical officer under AP Govt. He completed his PG studies from Dr. B.R.K.R. Govt. Ayurvedic College, Hyderabad in 1998. He received a gold medal and silver medal for his thesis work at both state and national level respectively. In the same year he topped UPS C and joined as Medical officer at CGHS, Chennai.

He is involved with teaching and training in Dravyaguna subject at the following institutes viz., Dr. B.R.K.R. G.A.C., Hyderabad - 1995-99; S.D.A.C. & H., Chandigarh - 2004-07; Ayu College, Dharwad - 2007-09; Ayu College, Tumkur - 2009-11; S.D.A.C. & H., Chandigarh - 2011-12. He had been made as member for the Dravyaguna syllabus committee in 2012.

Currently he is designated as Head - Healthcare Research for Dabur Research & Development Centre, Sahibabad, Ghaziabad Dist. U.P. since 2012. He is a member of APC (Ayurvedic Pharmacopoeia Committee), Govt. of India and member of USP (U S Pharmacopoeia) Committee for Herbal Medicines. He is Joint Secretary of AMAM (Association for Manufacturers of Ayurvedic Medicines) and Executive member of ADMA (Ayurvedic Drug Manufacturers Association). His M.D. (Ayurveda) dissertation was the first HPLC standardization work and his P.D. thesis is the first work on substitutes used in Ayurveda.

His work 'CARDIAC DISEASES & THEIR MANAGEMENT THROUGH AYURVEDA' received national award 2002. He received "CHARAK INTERNATIONAL AWARD" from AAPNA association, USA in October 2010. He published more than 15 reference books on Ayurveda. He has presented several clinical and scientific papers at regional, national and international seminars with more than 30 publications in reputed journals and newspapers. He had given several Radio-talks and guest lectures at various prestigious institutes.


Ayurveda and Dravyaguna Vijnana are synonyms for Caraka (500 BC) since he defined Ayurveda as guna-karma of different dravyas-YATASCAYUSYANI ANYUSYANI DRAVYAGUNA KARMANI IHOCYATE, TATOPYAYURVEDAH (C.S.Su.30). The endeavor of understanding drug action and properties continued from Samhita times (<10 AD) to Yogagrantha period (15-20 AD). Between 10th AD to 15th AD, several nighantus (lexicons) were written specifically targeting the herbs and their guna-karmas. These dravyaguna nighantus extend from Dhanvantari Nighantu of Mahendra Bhogik (9-10 AD) to Raja Nighantu of Narahari (17-18) etc.

According to Sri P.V. Sharmaji- about 1100, 1270 and 1150 single drugs (by individual names) were respectively mentioned by Caraka, Susruta and Vagbhata in their treatises. But, if one counts these herbs by botanical sources, about 500-600 herbs will be found in the Brhat Trayi (three major treatises). Later, Dravyaguna Nighantus (lexicons on herbs etc) have introduced new herbs and gradually the number of herbs increased up to 900 (considering all the controversial herbs together). The tradition of these lexicons came to an end by the turn of 20th century AD specially after the advent of Yoga granthas (compilation works) on formulations in the modern era. Saligrmanighantu of Lala Saligram Vaidya, Nighantu Adarsh of Bapalal vaidya and Priyanighantu of Acharya P.V. Sharmaji are some of the examples for the nighantus of modern times.

On the other hand, the Ayurvedic teaching and training has undergone a drastic change from the ancient guru-sishya parampara to a organized institutional training. Though this is a welcome change there are merits and demerits to this change over. While the teachers/gurus of ancient genera used to teach the original texts of Ayurveda along with practical training using the jadibuti (herbs) available locally, the institutional training has increased the gap between the nature and the vaid. Between 1960 and 1970, the Ayurvedic education was mainly controlled by Ayurved Vidya Peeth, New Delhi wherein scholar-practitioners used to engage the students of Ayurveda in teaching and training. After the introduction of CCIM Act in 1970, the Ayurvedic education in the country is streamlined. A uniform syllabus was introduced in 1976 for all the colleges functioning under different state governments/universities.

With CCIM (1970) taking over the responsibility of streamlining the Ayurvedic education in the country, Dravyaguna has become part of the curriculum of BAMS (Bachelor of Ayurvedic Medicine and Suregery). The syllabus was focused on seven fundamentals of Dravyaguna (Dravya-Rasa-Guna-Virya-Vipaka-Prabhava-Karma) followed by the knowledge on individual herbs etc. Initially, there were 378 herbs (126 major herbs + 252 minor herbs) in the syllabus till 2005. Afterwards, several syllabus committees shrunk the list to 250-300. Again, there were several changes proposed in the syllabus of DRAVYAGUNA VIJNANA in 2010-11 and the syllabus committee could finalize the new syllabus for Drayaguna.

A review on text books on Dravyaguna suggests that several scholars/authors have attempted writing the texts in Hindi on this subject which includes the greats like Sri Yadavjir Trikamji; Sri Priyavrata Sharmaji; Vd Bapalalji etc. In south India scholars like Vd. Savnor from Kerala and Dr. Nishteswar from Andhra Pradesh have published their works in local languages. It is Dr. Sastry who published the full length English text (with 5 volumes) on the subject Dravyaguna Vijnana (2001-08) through Chaukhambha Orientalia, Varanasi.

But after the introduction of new syllabus in 2012, there is no text available in any language on this subject. Identifying the necessity, Dr. J. L. N. Sastry who was acting as Professor & HOD for the department of Dravyaguna at Sri Dhanwantry Ayruvedic College, Chandigarh (Head-Health Care Research, Dabur at present) decided to make the English version on this subject on the basis of new syllabus. In this endeavor the author requested his Ph.D. guide Prof. Dr. Tanuja M. Nesari, Professor & HOD, PG Department of Dravyaguna, Tilak Ayurveda Mahavidyalaya, Pune to be the senior author. These two are versatile personalities in the field of Ayurveda in general and in the field of Dravyaguna in specific who made a lucid translation and compilation.

This work is actually completed and sent for press in 2012 itself. But, in 2012 the newly elected CCIM body established a new syllabus committee in which the author as well as the senior author was members. This committee finalized the Dravyaguna syllabus in 2014 with the minor changes. Those changes are incorporated into the text and the text is made ready in record time. The authors deserve thorough appreciation for their effort since this will be the only text available on Dravyaguna (on the basis of new syllabus) in any language though for the time being.

It is heartening to note that "The Text Book of Dravyaguna" is being presented in two volumes the first one covering the fundamentals while the second one covers the individual herbs etc. The first volume covered all the 18 points of the CCIM syllabus. There are 18 chapters wherein each topic is discussed elaborately. Author's point of view on Dravyaguna is contemporary as well as futuristic. While describing the fundamentals of Dravyaguna, proper care is taken not to make true translation. The most fascinating aspect of the text is where ever it is possible the research activity related to the fundamentals of Dravyaguna have been referred.

Authors have mentioned about the experiments of Sri S.C Dhayanhji on rasa and the experiments of Dr. Nishteswar on virya in a detailed manner. This would help the enthusiastic students in planning for the future activities. At the same time, the concepts related to less studied vipaka aspect have been provided through hypothesis of using metabolic cage model on animals for evaluation of vipaka of unknown herbs. The concept of Baddha vinmutra for Katu Vipaka and Srsta vinmutra for madhura vipaka can be properly assessed by these experiments which will revolutionize the new drug research on the basis of fundamentals of Ayurveda .

The most significant part of this text is that author has not restricted them to Syllabus alone. Where ever necessary additional points have been described. For example , in the context of nighantus, though limited names have been mentioned in the syllabus, the authors have provided the information regarding all the major nighantu works.

It is also learnt that the authors have submitted the manuscript of second volume covering the individual herbs as per the syllabus. I wish the second volume will also be made available to the students community at the earliest.

I sincerely, thank the author for considering me for writing the foreword for this text. In the end, the publisher M/s Chaukhambha Orientalia, Varanasi are to be specially congratualated for bringing out this work in record time.


It is my pleasure to be part of Text Book of Dravyaguna as senior author. Earlier, I happen to write the foreword for one of the volumes o Dravyaguna Vijnana written by Dr. Sastry. I know the author as a student of Ph.D . Understanding the principles of of Dravyaguna, he is venturing into a complete work on the basis of a new syllabus. Yet again he author decided to bring out another volume for the benefit the student community . It is glad to find an elaborate and extensive description of fundamentals of Dravyaguna in this volume the herbs will be discussed in the next volume . His approach towards the subject is apparent while describing in the next volume . His approach towards the subject is apparent while describing the virya and Karma chapters.

The author’s effort efforts are commendable in presenting all aspects of Dravyaguna by correlating Ayurvedic concepts with the concepts of modern science in a simple and lucid language. The author had taken pain in collecting the information from various texts of Ayurveda and modern science This book is really useful for the Ayurvedic students as well as practitioners to learn about the fundamentals of Dravyaguna. Since the book provides ancient and modern knowledge, it will be helpful for students and practitioners to utilize this book. The central undergraduate student of make them update.

I once again congratulate the author and the publishers for bringing out a very useful book on Dravyaguna Vijnana.


Ayurveda is redefined as Dravyaguna by Caraka (YATASCAYUSYANI ANAYUSYANI CA DRVYAGUNAKARMANI TATOPYAYURVEDAH — C.S.Ci.30). Raja Narahari the author of Raja Nighantu considered Dravyaguna as the first branch of Ayurveda (DRAVYABHIDHAN GADANISCAYA KAYA SOUKHYAM O Ra.Ni.). It is Prolf. P. V. Sharma who had provided the Sanskrit version of definition for Dravyaguna.

Pursuits for health and longevity have been the main activity of human kind since times immemorial. Using the natural resources for maintenance of health and management of disease dates back to Vedic period. It is observed that the history of drugs is essentially the history of civilization and science. The Vedic culture reflects the unfolding science and civilization of ancient India. Hindu mythology put forward 'Brahma' as the profounder of four Vedas viz., Rgveda, Yajurveda, Samaveda and Atharvaveda. These Vedas are the sources of correct and complete knowledge in ancient India.

`Ayurveda'— the knowledge of life sciences is emerged as the upaveda of Atharvaveda (1200 BC) and is full in medical knowledge. The emphasis laid on single drug therapy for different diseases in the Vedic period is quite evident from the available references. The number of medicinal plants deliniated in Rgveda, Yajurveda and Atharvaveda are 67, 81 and 189 respectively.

The utility and usage of vegetable drugs is more identified in the Samhita period. It is recorded that Caraka, Susruta and Vagbhata have described 1100, 1270 and 1150 drugs respectively in their treatises along with their pharmacological properties and therapeutic effects under different classifications.

Earliest references about dravyaguna nighantus (lexicons on material medical) are available from 6-7 AD. Some of the important lexicons include: Dhanvantari Nighantu of Mahendra Bhogik (9 AD), Dravyaguna of Madhava (10 AD), Dravyagunasangraha of Cakrapani (10 AD), Pathyapathyavibodhini of Kaiyadeva (12 AD), Namaguna-sangraha of Sodhala (13 AD), Madanavinaoda of Madanapala (15 AD), Bhavaprakasa of Bhavamisra (16 AD), Nighanturaja of Nrsimhapandita I Narahari (17-18) etc.

These lexicons are followed by several compilation works on medicinal plants in the modern era. Saligrmanighantu of Lala Saligram Vaidya, Nighantu Adarsh of Bapalal vaidya and Priyanighantu of Acharya P.V.Sharmaji are some of the examples for the modem time nighantus. In the process both the nighantus and other compilation works contributed many new drugs to Indian Material Medical.

The author of this text is of the opinion that for Ayurveda, Dravyaguna is like Pharmacology for modern medicine. More precisely, Dravyaguna is a combination of herbal pharmacology, pharmacognosy, phytochemistry and clinical pharmacology. Therefore, there will be enormous pressure on an average student to understand all the intricacies and move on in the academics. The author recollects the concern shown by Sodhala in his work Nama Sangraha as an example. Sodhala had shown concern over the non-availability of lucid text books for the average students of Ayurveda. This is applicable to subject Dravyaguna as well. If we review carefully, several books have been written over this subject in different languages. But, when it comes to Dravyaguna texts in English which is the recommended language by CCIM (along with Sanskrit), we do not come across number of works.

The author had earlier published DRAVYAGUNA VIJNANA in an elaborate manner which is the only English version on this subject and is available in five volumes (Chaukhambha Orientalia, July 2000-. Afterwards, it is realized that there are several typographical errors in the earlier work and decided to correct by publishing the second edition. However between 2008-2014, there were several amendments to the syllabus of Dravyaguna by CCIM committee. The author's Ph.D. guide Prof. Dr. Tanuja M. Nesari was part of these committees and after several discussions the author as well as the senior author has decided to come out with a new text on the basis of new syllabus. a book was completed and sent for press in 2012 when the author was heading the Dept of Dravyaguna at Sri Dhanwantry Ayurvedic College at Chandigarh.

But, in 2012 the newly elected CCIM body established a new syllabus committee in which the author as well as the senior author was members. This committee finalized the Dravyaguna syllabus in 2014 and the authors have realized that there is no text available on the basis of new syllabus in any language. In record time with the needed corrections the text is made ready to benefit the students.

The author would like to thank all the teachers and students who have encouraged the earlier work on Dravyaguna Vijnana a great success! The present work will be more utilitarian and crisp for the students. Teachers like Prof. K. Nishteswar; Prof. Dwivedi; Prof. B.S.Sawant; Prof. Simhadri; Prof. Vidyasagar; Prof. Ch. Ravikumar; Prof. Pramkusharao; Prof. Sitaram etc are some of the inspirers for the completion of this work and their word of encouragement have allowed me to complete this work in good time. The special thanks should go to Dr C. S. Mahesh Kumar who is a Dravyaguna graduate who helped me in proof reading and related aspects. The author would like to extend gratitude towards his teacher and guide Prof. Dr. Tanuja M. Nesari who readily agreed to be part of this work as senior author.

Finally, the publishers M/s Chaukhambha Orientalia, Varanasi are to be specially congratulated for bringing out this work in record time.



DravyagunaVijnana for the students of Ayurveda (BAMS) is akin to pharmacology for the students of modern medicine (MBBS). The literature review indicate that Ayurveda con-side red quartet in the management of disease viz., Bhishak (physician), Dravya (drug / medicine), Upasthata(assistant) and Rogi(the subject / patient). The importance given to dravya is apparent from the fact that is mentioned next to physician in the chronology.

Ayurveda pharmacology (Dravyaguna) predominantly herbal and the number of herbs have increased from Vedas to Samhitas and from Samhitas to Nighantu period. There are about 100-150 herbs in the Vedic literature (2000 BCE) while about 350-400 herbs were famous duringCaraka Samhita period (500 BCE). These herbs have doubled and total 800-850 herbs are registered by Raj anighantu period (18 ADE).

While the number of herbs has increased, the amount of controversy also increased mainly due to non-availability of herbs for various socio-economic reasons as well as politi-cal reasons. Multiple synonyms also added some confusion / controversy in the identification of herbs. However, the nighantus did try to capture various aspects of each herb and did try to provide the correct identity either using morphological characters, famous use, place of origin etc.

In the 20th century slowly the traditional Gurusishyaparampara has ended and institu-tional training has emerged new way of teaching and training of Ayurveda students. Accordingly, a syllabus was prescribed for each subject (including Dravyaguna) by CCIM since 1976. Initially there were about 124 herbs which were supposed to be taught to students in a detailed manner while another set of 256 herbs which needed just brief introduction to the students. In the last two decades, several committees on Dravyaguna syllabus have revisited and discussed thoroughly before removing some herbs used in Unani and Homoeopathy. At present there are 110 herbs which will be taught in detail while another 128 herbs will be taught in a brief manner.

Knowing the importance of each of these herbs, the authors have carefully studied each one of them. Collected the information from various texts and presented in the form of text for the benefit of the students of Ayurveda in general and Dravyaguna in specific. The subject was dealt along with the references from Vedic and or para-Vedic literature wherever applicable. The classical Vargas and/or ganas were consulted to find out whether the individual herb is part of that group or not. Special effort was made to project each one of the herb in a Non-controversial manner. Detailed discussions were made in case Sala-Sarja-Asvakarna to show the difference. The authors observations on the confusion of ancient texts on Sarjarasa and Salaniryasa as gums from Shorearobusta and Vateriaindica invites scope for further in-vestigation. Similarly, the casual botanical equation of Pluchealaneolata with Rasna is challenged with several examples from the ancient literature / synonyms. In this context one should further study to confirm the famous practice in the South wherein Alpiniacalcarata and Alpiniacalcarata are being used as Dumparashtram / rasnam (?) and Snnarashtram / rasnam (?) respectively.

If carefully studied, each of such discussions will form the base for PG thesis. The observations of the author that the ninghantus have quoted Kutajaphala as Indrayava and Kutajabeeja as Bhadrayava is thought provoking.

The authors have taken pain in referring the scientific literature on these herbs and pro-vided some important study reference to update the students about the modern research on Ayurvedic herbs.

It is good to note that Dr Sastry was author of five volumes

Dr J L N Sastry who is the principal author who belongs to a traditional family of Ayurveda had practiced for more than two decades. In between he was also involved in teaching Dravyaguna at various institutes before finally settling with Industrial R&D. He is therefore source of great information and deserves applauds for bringing in this text in a simple as well as complete form. Dr Tanuja Nesari the senior author is known for her academic excellence in the field of Dravyaguna is a renowned teacher. Her inputs into this work has helped in shaping this work as a unique text book for the students of Ayurveda.

I once again congratulate both the authors, who have spared time during busy schedules and completed the text only to help the students of Ayurveda. Finally, the publishers M/s Chaukhambha Orientalia deserves thorough appreciation for publishing this book from their publications.


It is almost two years after the completion of the first volume of the text book of Dravyaguna Vijananam. The new syllabus of Dravyaguna Vijanana for BAMS students comprises 110 herbs which need detailed knowledge of Basonyms, Synonyms, Regional Name, Botanical Name, Family, Ganaclassification, Habit & habitat, External morphology, Useful parts, Important phytoconstituents, Rasa panchaka, Action on Dosha, Dhatu and Mala, Therapeutic indications, Amayikaprayoga, Matra, Name of important formulations, Adverse effects & remedial measures and Shodhana (as required). There are another 118 herbs which need briefintroduction viz., Sanskrit Name, Botanical Name, Family, Habit, Part used, Rasapanchaka and Indications.

The present volume deals with both 110 herbs as well as 118 herbs in two separate sections. All the aspects needed for Dravyaguna students is covered in a lucid manner. The animal drugs are also covered along with the food items.

The principle author provided the first complete work on Dravyaguna in English in 5 Volumes.Now based on the revised syllabus, the present work is completed with relevant information. This book will help the students in obtaining comprehensive references about the necessary herbs.

The senior author contributed towards the critical assessment of key herbs basis practi-cal experiences with the medicinal herbs. Critical assessment is made based on experience obtained through guiding several P.G. and Ph.D. thesis helped in resolving the controversies.

Over all, the present work is comprehensive and complete will help the students as well as the researchers. The publishers M/s Chaukhambha Orientalia,Varanasi deserve through appreciation for completing this project.

**Contents and Sample Pages**

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