Thursday, December 23, 2004

Ayurvedic Metallic Medicines are NOT FATAL
- By Dr.Partap Chauhan

It is well documented in Ayurvedic texts that
metals are used in some Ayurvedic formulations. As in Modern Medicine
they describe the adverse effects a medicine can cause to various body
systems, similarly harmful effects of metallic medicines are also well
documented. For example in "Purva Khand of Bhava Prakash
Nighantu" (Dhatu-upadhatu Prakaran: verse 13) it is written,
"Consumption of Impure gold 'bhasm' (ashes) or pure gold 'bhasm'
consumed improperly may destroy strength, shukra dhatu (reproductive
tissue), cause diseases and even death". The antidotes of toxicity or
management of symptoms caused due to consumption of metallic medicines
are also vastly described.

There is a section in Ayurveda called "Rasa shastra" which describes the
use of metals, gems, minerals and poisons for manufacturing special
formulations to combat chronic and difficult diseases. Rasa Shastra can
be called "Vedic Chemistry". As the modern laboratory chemicals were not
invented in the Vedic era (3000 years ago), herbal juices were used
instead. Although the methods, of testing these metallic medicines
described in Rasa Shastra, sound outdated or unscientific, they seem be
based on some chemical principles. Because medicines declared non-toxic
through these methods do not create any harmful effects in the body. Not
only they are harmless, they work like 'steroids' used in modern
medicine and can do miracles in difficult disease conditions or even the
'incurable' diseases.

These Ayurvedic metallic medicines pass through extensive processing
before they are declared fit for internal use. The metals, gems and
minerals are first purified and then burnt several times and converted
to 'bhasm' (ash). Each time before burning, the metallic powders are
processed with fresh herb juices to neutralize their toxicity. Some of
the metals are burnt up to one hundred times to make sure the heaviness
or toxic effect of the metal is nullified. Once the 'bhasm' is ready it
is tested for toxicity. One of the numerous tests the "bhasm" has to
pass through is called 'varitar' which means the 'bhasm', once ready for
internal use, floats on water indicating non-existence of heavy metal in
it. The 'bhasms' are then transformed to compound formulas by mixing
herbal powders. Special herbal juices are used for processing the
compound formula. Thus these are no more toxic metals but non-toxic
herbo-metallic compounds. The modern chemical testing might still
indicate the presence of that metal in these compounds but according to
Ayurveda, these metals have been transformed to non- toxic form, which
is safe for internal use.

These lighter forms of metals (bhasm) contained in herbo-metallic
compounds work as carriers (yogavahi). This means they are able to carry
the herbs (mixed with them) faster to the desired site and start the
action immediately. They increase the bioavailability of the herbs to
the cell. They act as catalysts. After performing the desired action
these harmless light metals (bhasm) are eliminated out of body through
our waste excretory systems (urine and stool).

The multi ingredient compounds are formulated in a way that the
ingredients are capable of counter balancing any toxic effects, if any,
present in the herbs or metals (bhasm). Besides, the use of these
metallic preparations is discontinued after every 12 weeks for a couple
of weeks, so that the body can eliminate or neutralize any traces of the
metals left in the body. The period after which the use of metallic
medicines should be discontinued may differ from metal to metal. In some
metals like iron it is not even necessary to discontinue, while in more
toxic ones like Arsenic, it is advised to skip one day after every six
days. The proper dose of these metallic medicines is very important.
Such medicines therefore should always be taken under the supervision of
an expert who knows all methods to ensure zero toxicity and management
of complications, if any.

When purified/processed properly and used under an expert's guidance,
these metallic medicines are quite safe for internal use. If these
medicines were fatal, it would have been evident in thousands of years
of their use. Historically, Rasa Shastra an offshoot of Ayurveda
developed around the period when Buddha existed (more than 2500 years
ago). Ever since, it has been widely used by Ayurvedic doctors in India
to treat millions of patients. If the metallic preparations were not
safe, more than half of India would have died as a result of taking
these medicines in all these years and this could not have gone
unnoticed. However the findings are totally opposite. These metallic
medicines have been used as wonderful life saving drugs for thousands of
years without any adverse effects.

The use of metals, gems or poisons in medicines as described in
Ayurveda, should not sound scary as the use of dangerous/poisonous
ingredients is involved in all major medical systems including modern
medicine. The contents of antibiotics, steroids, painkillers,
tranquilizers and other chemical medicines are well known to everyone.
Their adverse effects are well documented exactly as of the metallic
medicines documented in ancient Ayurvedic texts. Hundreds of thousand
people die every year or suffer from complications resulting from drug
reactions and surgeries. But we have lots of benefits of modern medicine
and surgery especially during emergency and critical conditions. In
order to get these benefits, we need to take modern medicines even
though we know that they may contain ingredients that can be toxic or
create complications.

It has been noted that metallic Ayurvedic medicines can help patients
who have tried all other medical system and have lost all hope to
recover. That is why they are sometimes called as 'life saving' or
'miracle' medicines. But there can be complications and adverse effects
of these medicines too, especially when these metallic Ayurvedic
medicines are labeled as 'herbal medicine' or supplements and sold
through grocery stores or prescribed by spiritual gurus, yoga teachers,
energy healers and unqualified Ayurvedic practitioners. It is like a
barber performing a 'heart transplant' surgery. That could be really
dangerous as well as scary. Ayurveda is a serious medical system and has
well developed systems of diagnosis and treatments. It is the only
medical system in the world, which has apparatus to deal with complete
human being, which comprises of mind, body and soul.

Ayurveda considers each person to be unique and offers unique
personalized Ayurvedic treatment. Two persons suffering from same
symptoms may receive different treatment. The treatment is personalized
according to the patients physical nature (prakriti), age, immunity,
mind power, habitat etc. A customized diet, life style, exercise,
emotional support, spiritual treatments, breathing and meditations
techniques also form the part of the treatment. Ayurvedic treatments aim
to eradicate the root cause of the disease, which could be located in
the body, mind, environment, family or profession. It needs a proper
qualification and experience for someone to understand and practice
Ayurveda. The only way Ayurvedic medicines can be 'fatal' is when not
taken under the guidance of a qualified doctor. Like modern medicine,
Ayurvedic medicines should not be sold over the counter specially those
containing toxic metals.

To conclude, the presence of toxic metals in Ayurvedic medicines and
their effects have been well documented in various Ayurvedic texts. It
would be interesting to do a research on what do these metallic
medicines do when taken internally. Clinical studies should be done on
people taking metallic medicines by checking their liver, blood and
kidney functions on regular basis. Facts described in Ayurveda texts
like "Bhasms' are just carriers and are eliminated through excretory
systems" should confirmed by doing regular urine and stool analysis for
the person consuming metallic medicines.
If no adverse effects are found, these metallic medicines should be
declared safe and used worldwide for the benefit of millions of those
suffering from incurable diseases.

If medicines are found to have toxic or damaging effects, the
manufacturing processes or the consuming processes have to be checked.
According to facts documented in Ayurvedic texts these are the only two
situations when metallic medicines can cause toxic effects in the body.
It is not Ayurveda, but the manufacturing unit or the doctor/patient
(not following instructions), which is at fault. Every Ayurvedic
principle, treatment, medicine is pro-biotic- supports life and
longevity. Ayurveda is safe, effective and holistic approach to achieve
'eternal health'.

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