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Kutaj In Ayurveda: The Research based prescription


- Dr. Rameshwor Adhikary
Lecturer, Ayurved Campus, TU

Brief Background
Ayurveda is the ancient science of health in this universe. The main motto of this science is to prevent and cure the diseases (swasthashya swasthya rakshyanam aaturashya vikara prashamanam - Charaka). It embraces many principles to keep the wealth of health. There is a proverb in English “if the wealth is lost nothing is lost, if the health is lost something is lost, if the character is lost every thing is lost”. So one must be careful about his health.

There are some principle in Ayurveda to keep health safe and sound is to prevent oneself from any bad happenings i.e. no one should insult any body, loose good spirit, indulge yawning, sneezing or laugh without covering mouth and nose, take curd at night, let out sputum, urine etc. in front of the wind, fire water or facing towards the moon and the sun and stop exercise before excretion and exertion. These criteria will certainly help to maintain the physical body by controlling senses of touching, feeling, speaking (harse and sweet words) and concentrating oneself with faith in the supreme power (the God) etc. The other principle is the curative measure. There are many well - described stepwise principles fro the treatment or cure of diseased persons. “Tadeva yuktam bhaishjyam yada rogaya kalpate”, according to Charaka (sutrasthan -1/134) every medicine taken properly administered is capable to bring out disease.

“Prayoga shamayed vyadhi yonyamnya mudiraet nashau vishuddha, shuddhastu shamayed yona kopayet” (Charaka - nidan 8/23), means that therapy which treats one disorder but at the same time gives rise to other disorder is not correct; The correct treatment or therapy one is that which treats one disorder and does not give rise to another one.

The Ayurvedic concept stresses on “Ochito yasya yo desha tajjam tasyaushadham hitam”, which means locally available and instantly prepared medicines are more powerful and beneficial. In Ayurveda and Ayurved based classics (Shanghita and Nighantus) all the hymns are research-based formulations. The hymns are not stated in chemical formulas but stated in shutras (see - Adhikari, M. K. 2004 – Does the plant soma exist?). All the composition of medicines is formulated in hymns, which is easier to understand, remember and prescribe without hesitation. But it is a matter to diagnose the disease correctly and prescribe the correct medicine. One can even prepare himself if the crude herbs are available in surroundings.

Sushruta (dravya vishesha vigyaniya) states “nanushadhi bhutam jagati.” which means that there is nothing in the world without having any medicinal value. Even sand is used in Ayurveda as medicine in fomentation process. Similarly, the minerals, plant and animal products are used as medicines in Ayurvedic preparations. While talking of Ayurvedic preparation and effects of the crude drugs on and inside the body as it is perceived, felt and found is interlinked with more than one system. In Ayurvedic preparations the ingredients are used in crude form comprises of very low percentages of chemical compounds to be tolerated by the body. So, the action viewed is very slow and without any side effects. The action of the chemical components is multifold not creating any abuses but supporting the whole physiological activities of the systems in side the body. The best example on the effects of crude can be taken that of the Kutaj. It is used in different Ayurvedic preparation as one of the ingredients to treat different physiological disorder including the cardiovascular systems, which are called diseases.

Kutaj in Ayurveda
n Ayurvedic literatures (Samhitas and Nighantus) Kutaja is used for the treatment of diarrhoea, dysentery and acute piles.

In Charaka it is prescribed alone or with other ingredients in different weight and doses in many diseases eg. Kushhta, Arsha, Kandu, Jwasa, Prameha, Ahisar, Rajayakshma, Raktatisar, Grahani, Gulma, Hridayaroga, Vranaropana and Vamana purpose. Sushruta prescribes Kutaj in Prameha, including Atisar, Pravahika, Udavasta, Hridroga, Anaha, Arsha etc.

Bagbhata following Charaka states its application for the treatment of Mutraghat. Shrangadhara has mentioned some kutaja preparations for the treatment of acute and chronic Atisara, Raktatisara, Jwasa, Pravahika, Pnadu, Raktapitta, Kamala, Amlapitta and Shotha etc.

Bhavprakash has mentioned Kutaj as a remedy for Shukrashmaree (urogenital disorder), when administered with curd. The diseases like Dysuria, Uterine bleeding and retained plachita are also treated with Kutaj. Yogaratnakara and Bhaushajyaratuavali, have followed the same concept
The seeds of Kutaja have also a significant importance in therapeutic purpose. The seeds of Kutaj are mentioned in various literatures by the name Indrayaba, Kutajaveeja, Kutajaphala, Kalingayona and Vatsaveeja. It is administered for the treatment of Kapha, Aruchi, Hridroga, Mutrakrichha, kushtta, vishamajwara, Raktapitta, Raktapradara, Gulma, Galaganda, Arsha, Grahani, Atisara and Vishuchika etc.

Some pharmacological studies are: -
1. Circulation- Even small intravenous (IV) in a cat without any alteration in frequency or intensity of heart.In the recent experiment Adhikary et al.,(2005 in BHU) found hypotensive drug action of Kutaja preparation drug (Kutajarishta). In much higher doses, there was slow beating heart. Volumes of liver, spleen and kidney were decreased due to vasoconstriction of these sites. However, intestinal volume increases markedly with complete inhibition of intestinal movements. Thus hypotension occurs due to dilatation of intestinal vessels and to a lesser extent to the engorgement of the lung. The alkaloids of Kutaj can be safely given in pregnancy.

Local effects- Oedema appears if given locally Injection of 6% solution given intramuscularly (IM) which completely disappears within 48 hrs. It is probably due to acidity of salts.

2-Alimentary system - Concessive appears to have a depressing action on the digestive ferments. The action of Ptyalin, Pepsin and Trypsin is inhibited. So the preparations of H.antidysenterica should be preferably give two hours after meal. Chopra has mentioned the following pharmacological actions of total alkaloids apart from their antiamoebic activity.

3-Respiratory system - It has depressant action on respiratory system. Adhikary et al.,(2005 in BHU) in men slows down the rate of respiration. In tracings before drug kutajarishta installation in 11:05 am the rate of respiration was 23 and after drug installation found the rate of respiration only 19 times &after 11.25 am observed.

4-Nervous system- It produces necrosis in frogs but not in mammals. 5% solution produces complete anasthesis in eye of a rabbit within 6-12 min after dropping in eye. The alkaloid produces local anesthesia but causes local necrosis on subcutaneous injections.

5-Other effects- Even the higher dose is not depressant mentally and bodily. Pulse remains normal in frequency, tension & rhythm. There was no alteration in the heart sounds even in cases of cardiac diseases. In a report of Thailand in 1950 bark was called to be astringent antidysenteric and anthelmintic.

In Ayurveda the findings of researches were based on the observation of the physiological actions produced on and inside the body. Some observation was drawn through eating behaviors of animals during grazing. No microscopic examinations or biological experiments on rats or guinea pigs were carried out. Most of the characteristics were noted down from self-testing of crude materials. These inference were so intellect that it is difficult to compare now. But however in any science it is most necessary to reinvestigate in time to time for the advancement. In Ayurveda, it is necessary to reinvestigate according to its principles and procedures. If the technology of Ayurveda is ignored the whole experiment is worthless. The vast field of Ayurveda needs more and more research in this era, which will be very beneficial.

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