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A History of Hindu Chemistry Vol 1/The Ayurvedic Period/Chapter 3

< A History of Hindu Chemistry Vol 1


Chemistry in the Bower Ms.

The Alkalies

The alkalies in the Bower Ms. are the two carbonates of potash and soda. (Yavakshāra and Sarjikākshāra)

Fumes of Horn

The fumes of horn are recommended as giving relief in hiccough. [Practically the same as "spirits of hartshorn."]


"Oil, boiled with the ashes of long pepper, is a remedy for ear diseases" (Pt. ii. fasc. ii. p. 131). [Cf. The formula given in Chakrapāni (see p. 63)]

Formula for Hair-Dye

Sulphates of copper and iron, boiled with the oil of belleric myrobalans * * * are used as a remedy for turning grey hair into black (ibid; p. 162).

Rasayana Defined

It is called Rasāyana because it has a beneficial effect on Rasa or chyle and other elements of the body. Cf. p. 32.

The Doctrine of Bitumen[1]

Bitumen is produced from the following four metals: Gold, copper, silver and iron. Gold and other metals in the mountains, when heated by the sun, emit their impurities, oil-like, heavy and clay-like: these are the bitumen.

A Linctus

With certain vegetable drugs and "riparian sulphide of antimony,"[2] a linctus is made up with honey into a paste. (Pt. ii. fasc. II. p. 123)

Formulæ for Eye-ointment

Red ochre, rasôt, galena, realgar, calx of brass (रीतिकुसुम) in equal parts...

With pepper and calx (of brass) one should boil gold on a slow fire together with clarified butter.[3]



  1. The whole of this chapter, in a practically identical recension, is found in the Charaka. See Bower Ms., Pt. II., fasc.ii., ch. xii, p. 167.
  2. Srotaja anjana; it is one of the five kinds of anjana or substances used for collyriums. The word literally means produoed from a river, especially from the Yamuna. See Garbe's "Indische Mineralien," p. 54.
  3. The Bower Ms., Pt. I., verses 110 and 111.