Ayurvedic Pharmacology & Therapeutic Uses of Medicinal Plants - Dravyaguna Vignyan

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About the Book Medicinal plants and it’s usage has always remained a subject of research. There has been a lot of research on medicinal plants in the last decade. For many years, Vaidya V.M. Gogte’s ‘ Ayurvedic Pharmacology and Trerapeutic Uses of Medicinal Plants’ , is admired in the field of Drayaguna. While bringing out the second volume of this monumental book, editors prof. (Dr.) Tanuja Nesari, Professor, Head, Dept of Drayaguna, & Dept. of Tra...

About the Book

Medicinal plants and it’s usage has always remained a subject of research. There has been a lot of research on medicinal plants in the last decade. For many years, Vaidya V.M. Gogte’s ‘ Ayurvedic Pharmacology and Trerapeutic Uses of Medicinal Plants’ , is admired in the field of Drayaguna.

While bringing out the second volume of this monumental book, editors prof. (Dr.) Tanuja Nesari, Professor, Head, Dept of Drayaguna, & Dept. of Translational Research. All India Institute of Ayurved, New Delhi and Prof. (Dr.) Apoorva Sangoram, Head, Dept. of Drayaguna, Tilak Ayurved Mahavidyalaya, Pune, have added the updated research information to medicinal plants of the first volume is a new addition to the book, which contains the recent synonyms, addition of phytoconstituents and outcome of screening of pharmacological activities and clinical studies on the medicinal plants.

While introducing the advanced research and standardization component to the Dravyaguna, this volume also covers the latest syllabus of the subject as prescribed by Central council of Indian Medicine. This will definitely prove to be of a great importance to the scientists, school, researchers and students of Dravyaguna

About the Author

The author had the good fortune to be born as a son of Vaidya Mahadev Hari Gogte, in a long family tradition of Ayurveda. He had academic experience, as a teacher in Ayurveda, of over five decades, he lived in areas where tribal medicine abounds and enriched himself by the field experience of extensive tracks in the hills, with experts on medicinal plants. Hence he had a cumulative experience and health-wisdom of half-a-century, which he shared with the world, through this textbook.

Besides, he held important public positions in Ayurveda Seva Sangh, Maharashtra State Vaidya Mandal, Sarvajanik Vachanalaya (public Library), Spring Lecture Series, Maharashtra Science congress, Municipality, Home guard, Civil Defence etc. His inspiring presence at the Conference organized on “Selected Medicinal Plants” by Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan’s SPARC and CHEMEXCIL, led to very fruitful and practical dialogue. This later led to major publication, which has put India on the global map of useful medicinal plants. Vaidya Gogte also gave lectures on Ayurveda and Dravyagunavignyan in Europe, which were very erudite and appreciated.

He was closely associated with many of his contemporary eminent vaidyas, ethnobotanists, pharmacologists, pharmacists, forest officers, Adivasi leaders, doctors etc. he, with an unmatched modesty, gave credit to many of his colleagues for the textbook of Ayurvedic Pharmacology.


Ayurveda is the art-seience of health care, from India. It has been preserved, devepoped and now being globalised. The founder of Ayurveda- Lord Dhanwantari –manifested from the ocean, with Amritam (elixir of immortality) in one hand and Amrita (the plant- Tinospora cordifolia) in the other. From such an antiquity, India’s quest for healthy life-style has centred around Nature and he rhythms. India’s seminal contribution to the world of science is not only the discovery of zero and the decimal system, it has also been in the field of health- giving foods, medicinal plants, animal products and minerals. The world is waking up to the vast pharmacopoeia of Ayurveda.

The pharmacopoeia of Aurveda was based on an understanding of the nature of the Dravyas (substances), which constitute human body-mind, the dynamic exchanged of these dravyas with the mikieu and on how any disharmony be restored. The consensus on such aknowledge of several Rishis (seers), after meaningful debates, was capsule in heuristic aphorisms-sutral of Ayurveda. A sutra is described by Charaka, as follows:

That is called a sutra, by the knowers of sutra, which has the least number of words; it is unambiguous, synoptical, all –embracing, devoid of redundant words and faultless” but it is difficult for those who do not know Sanskrit well to be able to read, grasp and utilize gainfully the capsule health wisdom in Sutras. Hence the masters in Ayurveda, from time to wrote commentaries, explanations and translations to make the process of learning Ayurveda easier. Vaidya V.M. Gogte belonged to this rich tradition of great teachers in Ayurveda. His book-in Marathi- of Dravyagunavignyan has been a popular text, in Maharashtra and for all those who know Marathi. But it was felt that an English translation would be of great value for service, education and research in global Ayurveda. Hence I first suggested to his daughter Dr. Jaya Gogate that the Bhvan’s SPARC team and others should embark on this difficult but useful venture. We are happy that several years’ efforts of the team have now provided this English translation-Ayurvedic Pharmacology.

The foundation of Ayurveda is constituted by several axioms of the basic philosophical systems (Darshanas) of India viz. asnkhya, Vaisheshik, Nyaya etc. prof. sathaye, in his book on Padartha-Vignyan, has cited how from Prakriti (nature),the Padaethas (substances) evlve:

“Prakriti to mahat then Ahankar (ego) and the sixteen gunas; from this sixteen are fivederived five bhootas (elements)” So Purusha (self) and Prakriti (nature). Kshetragnya (knower of the field) and Kshetra (field) constituted the primordial sources for the genesis and evolution of Mahabhootas and the resultant dravyas. In past it was a practical approach to incorporate the contemporary dominant philosophical system (Sankhya) as a foundation of a healing system. But what Jung calls “walks on the earth with naked feet” was also a bit lost in the abstractions of Sankhya and Panchikarana – five-fold genesis of materials.

While India was chafing under the foreign rulers, Ayurveda was ingnored and deride too. The revolutions in physics, chemistry and biology almost went unnoticed by Dravyagunavignyan textbooks. The periodic table of elements, the structure and fission of the atom, the nature of the chemical bond, quantum chemistry, structure-activity relationship, pharmacokinetics and the entral dogma of molecular biology etc. were and are still nonexistent in classical textbooks of Ayurvedic Pharmacology. But similarly, Rasa, Guna, Veerya and Vipak are absent in textbooks of Allopathic pharmacology. Are there any meeting grounds for a dialogue between these two separate ways of looking at the properties of useful remedies. There is an urgent need to list, debate and identify how reductionist and holistic modes of conceptualization and experimentation can judiciously be integrated for a better scientific understanding of drug action. For example, Rauwolfia serpentine served as a unique remedy form Ayurveda, which opened up new dields in basic and applied research in hypertension,depression and Parkinson’s disease. Many such opportunities for research are described in the present textbook for the fundamental pharmacology and the remedies.

The present volume by Vaidya V. M. Gogate is a timely reminder to all pharmacologists and physicians that the men of renaissance lead us to intelligent correnlation between ancient intuitive insights and modern discoveries of science.

The data on medicinal plants in the textbook have been a source of inspiration for the ongoing research at Bhavan’s SPARC. It helped a lot in our compilation of the monograph on Selected Medicinal Plants of India. Gogteji, during his slat years, was very happy the manner in which the multidisciplinary team at Bhavan’s SPARC, conducted research on medicinal plants. He would have been pleased to learn how this work has progressed: (1) Mucuna pruriens for Parkinson’s disease (2) Picronrrhiza kurroa for viral hepatitis (3) Curcuma longa as antimulagenic/cancer preventive (4) Saraca indica as antimenorrhagic (5) Panchavalkal as wound-healing agent and (6) Volatile oils of spices as antimicrobials

All the scientists, physicians vaidyas and students interested in “Green Medicine” will find a great friend, philosopher and guide in the form of this textbook for data-mining for new remedies and new uses. Many golden nuggets await the industrious, persistent and seeking minds. For us, over the years, this textbook in Marathi had served as an authentic reference. May many more who needed an English translation too derive benefits for research and therapeutics.

For this mammoth effort, the suggestions and guidance provided by Sri C. Subramaniam, the Bhavan’s President, Sri S. Ramakrishnan, Executive Secretary and Director General and Sri Dhiru Mehta, Hon. Jt. Director of Bhavan have served as an inspiration to the Academic Team of Bhavan’s SPARC, in the challenge of the work translation.

We are also deeply appreciative of the brief opinouns about the textbook, expressed by the eminent leaders of medicine, Ayurveda and phytopharmacology: Dr. S.S. Handa, Vd. D.S. Antarkar and Dr. B. M. Hegde.



Ayurveda, like the Vedas, has existed and has been committed to memory in India since prehistoric times. Today, many institutions are engaged in teaching Ayurveda, either in its original form or integrated with modern medical subjects. People have been studying Ayurveda owing to their innate motivation as well as for the benifits derived thereby and this will continue in the future too. For hundreds of years, Ayurveda shouldered the responsibility of treatment of diseases and maintenance of health in India. It has admirably proved equal to this responsibility.

Notwithstanding the creditable performance, India, a multigeoclimatic sub-continent which was frequently invaded and fragmented, could never have a standard curriculum for the study of Ayurveda. Although the same textbooks were used, in a country like India, with different climate and conditions from Kashmir to Kerala and from Saurashtra to Assam, there was a marked diversity in Ayurvedic education and treatment methods. Different states had varying syllabi. As a consequence, Ayurveda was never able to achieve a consistent and organised image in the minds of the people. Barring a few exceptions, this led to a negation of Ayurveda. What was needed was organised unity of this science of health.

Eventhough based on firm philosophical foundations and its practical utility in day-to-day life, Ayurveda was neglected. Ayurved had once trated and maintained health for 80%of the population. It was realised that to make Ayurveda again acceptable in the present day situation, it was extremely important to have a unified approach. With this aim, efforts were made throughout the country and a committee set up at the administrative level, which initiated work in this directon.

This committee, known as “Central Council of Indian Medicine”, outlined a common syllabus ao that all over India, a uniform education in Aurveda would be imparted. After evolving a common syllabus, the need for having text books in thirteen to fourteen Indian regional languages arose. “Dravyagunavignyan” is one of the important subjects included in the syllabus. It was the need of the hour to have a book on this subject, in Marathi, which would include the basic principles of Ayurveda, as found in the original texts, as well as experiences derived from generatins of use of Ayurvedic medicines.

Vaidyaraj Bhalchandra Nanal, a member of the “Central Council of Indian Medicine” requested me to write a book on “Dravyagunavignyn”in Marathi, as he was acquainted with my work. I accepted the offer. It was in June 1973, that I started working on the book. After 26 months of continuous work, it was finally completed on 15th August, 1975. Before getting the book published, I thought it extremely important to have it approved by leading professors in the subject. The idea behind this was to overcome the shortcomings, resolving of perplexities and integration of new thoughts.

For this purpose, a workshop was organised which consisted of two senior professors each from every Ayuvedic college in Maharashtra. During this three day workshop, approximately thirty professors had lively discussions on the subject. Provided valuable suggestions and finally approved the book. This contributed substantially towards the authenticity of the book.

This book contains sketches of almost 350 plants. References are provided from Ayurvedic texts. Out of the total number of pages, 284 pages have been devoted to principles of Dravyagunashstra. In the remaining part, medicinal plants, their Sanskrit and Marathi names, sketches and their kulas and families have been given. Latin names of the families have been provided along with their meaning as also the universally accepted binomial nomenclature.

Further, the Sanskrit synonyms, botanical description, chemical composition, properties, uses in various diseases, parts used, doses and formulations of the plants have also been described. Lastly, the dosha, dhatu and malgamitva of the herbs have been given.

Ever age in the book caries a foot-note. These foot-note, concerning every branch and section of Ayurveda, provide seminal material for thought and meditation. Many were drawn to this imaginative deployment of foot-note. It has been my experience that these foot-note convey the message for more effectively without the reader being burdened by voluminous reading. This was the reason for providing foot-notes which elicit the basic principles of “Ayurveda- darshn”.

Through this book, students, teachers, practicing vaidyas and even a casual reader will definitely grasp the fundamentals of the subject.

Presently, many books are available on “Dravyagunavigynan”. Nevertheless. I am confident that this book, which is an extract of almost 50 years of my teachings on the subject, will fill the vaccum created by the lack of such a book. Moreover, information provided in the form of illustrations and pictures will be easily grasped by students.

Nobdy can attain complete knowledge in any subject. The author is no exception to this rule. Evidently, the author is aware that there maybe some errors, short-comings and printing mistakes in the book. If these drawbacks are generously brought to the notice of the author, it would enrich Ayurveda.



The universe is as much a subject of curiosity as of research. It is a problem and a challenge to all intellectuals. Many philosophers have pondered over the universe as mystery and have tried to understand it to the limits of their comprehension, though till now it deepens further with the striving. The world around is as perceived through our senses and mind. As a consequence, no one has any doubt over its existence, even though there are a few who do consider it to ne false and ephemeral, an illusion! There is no intellectually convincing credible theory which can satisfactorily explain the origin of the universe, the only route is of paradoxical reality, viz. the seed first or the tree, the chicken first or the egg. This too is not easy to grasp. The mystery still remains unsolved and let it remain so! From the ancient scriptures, which claim to solve the mystery, to a recent visionary like H. G. Wells, who wrote “Riddle of Universe”, that which is directly perceptible is only a tip of the iceberg of reality.” The non-perceptible and non –physical dimensions of the universe still remain to be explored.

In spite of such a situation, after a careful deliberation of the diverse expert opinions regarding the origin of the universe, which has many visible-invisible, mobile-immobile, living-nonliving components, Ayurveda has adopted the then contemporarily relevant “ Sankhya darshan” –an Indian school of philosophy.

Among the various stages of cosmogenesis described in the Sankhya darshan, Ayurved has accepted the stages from avyakta to panchatanmatras ie, sukshmamahabhootas. Yet, Ayurved be lieves in the principle of ‘gunavat-dravya’ –property-substance monad. Hence, after the stage of formation of panchamahabhootas which evolve from the panchatanmatrs, Ayurveda has formulated its own basic principles. The stages from avyakta have practically no role to play in treatment of diseases or maintenance of health. These were then dropped and panchamahabhootas were accepted as the basis.

Panchamahabhootas form the ideological foundation of Ayurveda. This is where dravyagunakarma (substance, property and action) started and developed. Since panchatanmatras do not have any guna –karma, it has laid emphasis on panchamahabhootas. From here starts the practiocal application of Ayurveda that the material things are constituted by panchamahabhootas.

In Ayurveda, the basic mode of classification and taxonomy utilizes groups of three. The initial classification of the body and drugs was done on the same triune basis. This marks the beginning of classification of groups, in fact, this idea of determining the properties of any substance as per its belonging to one of the three groups, became a prime basis of Ayurveda. This pervades the linguistic uniqueness involving dosha-dhatu-mala, swasthya and rogotpatti and dravyagunavignyan.


Translation : A Challenge and Fulfillment viii
introduction by Dr. Ashok D. B. Vaidya ix
Brief Remarks on the Structure of the Monograph xii
Preface by Vidya V.M. Gogte xiv
Gratuitude xvi
Chanpter One : Introduction to Dravyagunavignyan 1
Chanpter Two : The Characteristics of Dravyagunashastra 39
Chanpter three : Clssivication of dravyas 55
Chanpter Four : The Gunas 81
Chanpter Five : The Rasas 116
Chanpter SIX : Vipak 147
Chanpter Seven : Veerya 169
Chanpter Eight : Prabhav 180
Chanpter Nine : Inter-relationships of Rasa, Guna, Veerya, Vipak and Prabhav 191
Chanpter Ten : Karma 193
Chanpter Eleven : Morphology and Properties 208
Chanpter Twelve : Nomenclature and Synonyms of Dravyas 216
Chanpter Thirteen : Various Impurities in Dravyas 239
Chanpter fourteen : Therapeutic Considerations 251
Chanpter fifteen : Brief History of Dravyagunashastra 266
Glossary : Ayurvedic Terminilogy 791
Medicinal Plants and Indictions 809
Index of Sanskrit Names of Plants 815
Index of Botanical Nme of Plants 818
List of Regional Name of Plants 823
Index of Common Formulations 834
Recommmended Reading 836
Websites of Interest 840
Sample Pages

Item Code: NAO254 Author: Vaidya Vishnu Mahadev Gogte Cover: Hardcover Edition: 2017 Publisher: Chaukhambha Publications ISBN: 9788189798505 Language: English Size: 8.5 inch X 5.5 inch Pages: 290 Other Details: Weight of the Book: 2 kg
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