VISHAMRUTAM-AN APPRAISAL ON VISHAS AND UPAVISHAS
Dr. Dasari Srilakshmi*
Rasa Shastra, a discipline of Ayurveda, deals with huge number of poisonous drugs utilized in various processes as well as for the internal administration. These poisonous drugs can be classified as herbal, metal and minerals, and animal poisons based on their origin. Herbal poisons (vishas and upavishas) have a wide range of pharmaceutical and therapeutic utility in Rasa Shastra, hence also named as „Visha Shastra‟. In many of the processes and formulations herbal poisons are equally used. They are used as Rasayana (rejuvenation and longevity drugs) to give strength and vitality to the body and the wisdom of detachment to the mind. Though they are highly poisonous, various purification processes help in nullifying the evil effects of the drug as well as attributing various other therapeutic benefits, allowing the drug to be used internally. Hence, in addition to the knowledge of metals and minerals, it is necessary to have the equal knowledge of herbal poisons mentioned in our classics. Poisonous drugs used judicially after processing, act as ambrosia (amruta) and can treat many aliments. This paper is an appraisal on various poisons drugs, their origin, utility and their role in Rasa Shastra.
Keywords: Visha, upavisha, rasa shastra, amruta, rasayana and vishopavishas.
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