Kalpa Sthana

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Charaka Samhita Kalpa Sthana
Preceding Chikitsa Sthana
Succeeding Siddhi Sthana
Subsequent Sections None
Madanakalpa, Jimutaka Kalpa, Ikshavaku Kalpa, Dhamargava Kalpa, Vatsaka Kalpa, Kritavedhana Kalpa, Shyamatrivrita Kalpa, Chaturangula Kalpa, Tilvaka Kalpa, Sudha Kalpa, Saptalashankhini Kalpa, Dantidravanti Kalpa

Preamble of Kalpa Sthana of the Charaka Samhita

A healthy individual is an asset to any society (and contributes to making a healthy society), while a sick individual will be a liability to the family and society. To keep oneself healthy, Ayurveda laid down the principles of various lifestyles with regard to daily regimen (dinacharya), seasonal regimen (ritucharya) and modified lifestyles to cure the diseases. Physical exercise for the preservation of health begins with the adaptation of purification of body and mind along with intake of rasayana drugs (rejuvenating agents). Accumulation of malas (metabolic waste) at the level of cell, tissue or organ should be expunged out to facilitate the restoration of normal functioning of the body by five purificatory procedures (shodhana karma) often referred as Panchakarma, namely vamana (emesis), virechana (purgation), asthapana basti (evacuative enema), anuvasana basti (restorative enema), and shirovirechana (errhines) are indicated for healthy as well as diseased. If malas are not taken out of the body, they cause diseases and decay (ageing) of the body. After purification procedures, jatharagni (gastro-intestinal digestive juices) becomes weak and may not digest the food normally. For restoration of this function, the food that is easily digestible is introduced and increased gradually over a period of time and this procedure is called samsarjana karma. Details of pharmaceutical process of drugs employed in vamana and virechana procedures are given in this section and detailed therapeutic implications of all the shodhana karma in Siddhi Sthana. Vamana and virechana therapies should be administered before administering basti (medicated enema therapy). Therefore, vamana and virechana drugs are first described in Kalpa Sthana before the description of therapy, which is described in detail under Siddhi Sthana. Generally, purgation therapy is administered only after the administration of emetic therapy and keeping this view the first six chapters are allocated for description of emetic drugs. Six drugs are described for emesis and nine others are described for purgation. Six hundred recipes prepared from these drugs (Total 15 drugs) are for the use of physician of low caliber and intelligent physician can formulate many other recipes to suit the exact requirement of his patient. The formulations are prescribed according to disease in different dosage forms like kashaya (decoction), svarasa (juice), kalka (paste), churna (powder), peya (drinks), lehya (lickable), and bhojya (foods).

Table no 1: Kalpa Sthana Contents at a Glance

Chapter No. Chapter Name No. of Shlokas Name of the drug No. of Recipes Part Used
1 Madanakalpa 30 Madanaphala 133 Fruit and Flower
2 Jimutaka Kalpa 15 Jimutaka 39 Fruit and Flower
3 Ikshavaku Kalpa 23 Ikshavaku 45 Leaf, Fruit, Seed
4 Dhamargava Kalpa 20 Dhamargava 60 Fruit, Flower, Tender Leaves
5 Vatsaka Kalpa 12 Vatsaka 18 Fruit
6 Kritavedhana Kalpa 14 Kritavedhana 60 Flower, Fruit
7 Shyamatrivrita Kalpa 80 Shyama, Trivrita 110 Root
8 Chaturangula Kalpa 18 Araghvadha 12 Fruit
9 Tilvaka Kalpa 18 Tilvaka 16 Root, Bark
10 Sudha Kalpa 22 Sudha 20 Milky Latex
11 Saptalashankhini Kalpa 19 Saptala, Shankhini 36 Root (of Saptala), Fruit (of Shankhini)
12 Dantidravanti Kalpa 107 Danti, Dravanti 49 Root
Total 378 600

Salient features of Kalpa Sthana

Charaka discussed the general information about Pharmaco-kinetics of drugs, dosage forms and weights and measures. Drugs useful for vamana and virechana are discussed with their synonyms, varieties, pharmacological actions, and various modes of application in different dosage forms.

Factors responsible for therapeutic efficacy

Four important factors for producing maximum therapeutic efficacy of these drugs are identified. Deshasampat (collecting the plant from appropriate habitat), kalasampat (collecting the drugs in the appropriate season), gunasampat (collecting the plants when they are enriched with excellent attributes like rasa, guna, virya, etc.) and bhajanasampat (storage of drugs in appropriate container).

Pharmacokinetic of Drug

Drugs (used for emesis and purgation) which are ushna (hot), tikshna (sharp), sukshma (subtle), vyavayi (those pervading the entire body before getting digested) and vikasi (those causing looseness of joints), by virtue of their own potency, reach the heart and circulate through the vessels. Because of their agneya nature (predominance of agni mahabhuta, or fire element), they liquefy the compact form of (adhered) doshas (morbid material), and because of their sharpness (tikshna attribute) they separate the adhered doshas located in the gross and subtle channels of the entire body. Like honey kept in the pot smeared with fat, the morbid material, after separation, moves floating without adhesion in the body which has been oleated (by the administration of oleation therapy). Because of its nature to move through subtle channels and to flow (towards the gastro-intestinal tract), this morbid material reaches the stomach, and gets propelled by udana vayu. Because of the predominance of agni and vayu mahabhutas in these (emetic) drugs, and because of their specific action (prabhavajanya) to move upwards, the morbid material gets expelled through the upward tract (mouth). On the other hand, purgative drugs, because of the predominance of prithvi and jala mahabhutas, and because of their specific action, (prabhavajanya) move downwards to expel the morbid material through the downward tract (anus). Combination of both these attributes result in the expulsion of the morbid material through both the upward and downward tracts.

Similarities/ Dissimilarities of virya

Sometimes, the drugs of secondary nature (mixed with main drug) have antagonistic property. Even then they do not contradict the effects of the principal drug. If these drugs of secondary nature are similar in potency as that of the principal drugs, then the recipe becomes all the more effective therapeutically. Trituration, boiling etc. are considered samskaras which bring in chemical changes in the chemical structure of the drug which results in potentiation or neutralization of the drug activity.

Modification of drug activity

Ingredients of a recipe should be impregnated with the juice or decoction of other ingredients having identical potency. By virtue of appropriate samyoga (addition of ingredients), vishlesha (elimination of ingredients), kala (appropriate time of administration) and samskara (processing) even a small quantity of a drug may produce more powerful effects, and otherwise even a recipe in large quantity may produce very mild effects.

Weight and measures

Two traditions for mana (weight and measures) are mentioned in Kalpa Sthana, namely, Kalinga (part of present Orissa) and Magadha (part of present Bihar). Charaka opines that Magadha is better than former. Chakrapani considers this statement as unauthentic. It is also suggested that when weight of ingredients in a recipe is not specified, then all the ingredients are to be taken in equal quantity.

Snehapaka (Dosage form)

Charaka Samhita does not specify the liquid medium to be used in formulation of the medications. However, the use of certain liquids has been known through practice and other sources. In the process of snehakalpana, for example, water has to be used invariably. Snehapaka (preparation of medicated oil or ghee) is categorized into three types i.e. mridupaka (mild boiling), madhayamapaka (moderate boiling) and kharapaka (full boiling). Sneha processed by kharapaka is indicated for massage purpose, mridupaka sneha is recommended to be used for nasya (inhalation) and moderately processed oil or ghee for internal use including for basti karma.

Purification of drugs

To reduce the toxicity (vikasi guna) of Danti and Dravanti, Charaka evolved a process using Pippali and honey paste which is to be besmeared over the roots and once again to be smeared with mud and fomented with steam after drying up in sun. Chakrapani observes that heat of fire and sunrays makes the root free from adverse effects. This could be quoted as a best example of purification process employed for the removal of toxicity - a novel concept mentioned by Charaka. In the medieval ages, Rasashastra texts adopted several purificatory procedures for various herbal and metallic drugs.

Relevance of the concepts of Kalpa Sthana in the current clinical practices

Vamana karma (emesis) and virechana karma (purgation) are mandatory before performing basti karma (enema), in order to promote health (i.e., for the patient to gain mass). Keeping this in view, the details about drugs employed in vamana and virechana karma are described in this section and the details about basti karma in the subsequent section, Siddhi Sthana. For vamana karma, Madanaphala is the main drug employed in the current clinical practice. But the rest of five drugs (i.e., Jimutaka, Ikshvaku, Dhamargava, Vatsaka, and Kritavedhana) are not being prescribed. Charaka suggested the period of collection and procedure for extracting seed from the Madanaphala. These procedures are not being followed currently. In the purgative therapy the drug Trivrita is prescribed currently in the various dosage forms and Aragwadha and Danti are infrequently prescribed. Charaka suggested a procedure for extracting the pulp from the fruit of Aragwada. He also described a process to reduce vikasi guna (causes looseness of tissues) of Danti root. Both these procedures are not in vogue. Sushruta suggested Triphala (3 Fruits namely Haritaki, Vibitaka, and Amalaki) and Eranda Taila (Castor oil) as purgatives and are prescribed in the current clinical practice. Tilvaka, Saptala, Sankhini, and Dravanti are the purgative drugs suggested by Charaka which are controversial and not being preferred in current practice. The procedures described by Charaka with regard to vamana and virechana karma are being followed religiously by Ayurvedic physicians of current times. Ayurvedic classics have advocated to collect the medicinal plants according to part used and seasons in order to get desired pharmacological action and therapeutic benefits. Sushruta, Charaka and other acharyas advocate the collection of various parts of medicinal plants in different seasons. The logic behind such recommendations has been validated by recent modern scientific research.

In a study the variations in the phytoconstituents of Ashwagandha root was evaluated according to lunar cycles with regard to grishma and shishira ritu (summer and late winter season). In this study, total phenolic, flavonide and carbohydrate content of Ashwagandha root were found more in poornima (full moon day) samples. GAP (Grishma Ashadha Poornima, or the full moon night occurring in the Grishma-Ashadha season) samples showed maximum differentiation from rest of the samples with regards to TCA, TCW, TFW, MEx, WEX, pH etc. parameters. The Grishma-Jyeshtha Poornima (GJP) and GAP samples were found to be superior than Amavasya (new moon day) samples with regard to functional groups and with anoloid content respectively (Ref. 2016 Ancient Science of Life) . Such type of studies validate the concept of seasonal collection of drug delineated in Ayurveda classics like Charaka Samhita and Sushruta Samhita.