Dravya Gunas (properties of herbs) are compiled as Sutras (phrases) in this work. Hence, named DRAVYAGUNA SUTRAMALA. Through this work the art of learning the properties of herbal drugs is being reintroduced into Ayurvedic curriculum. The complicated and elaborate Sanskrit verses (Sloka) on herbs are reorganized in to simple and precise single line phrases (Sutra). The book is first of its kind in learning Dravyaguna through simple Sanskrit phrases. This book will be useful for the students as well as the teachers in remembering the important properties and actions of Ayurvedic herbs. The herbs are mentioned along with the Sanskrit, English and Latin names. About 500 important herbs are covered in this work with single Sanskrit phrases. While compiling majority of the Sutras from different earlier works, the author him self contributed to large number of Sutras (approx. 189). Like author's earlier work DRAVYAGUNA SUTRAMALA, this work also stands as a reference book in modern era of Ayurveda.
Dr. J.L.N. Sastry hails from a traditional Ayurvedic family. He is born at Narasapuram (W.G. Dist., Andhra Pradesh) on 06-07-1965). He had School studies at Kakinada (E.G. Dist., A.P.) and passed B.A.M.S. in 1989 from Dr. N.R.S. Govt. Ayu. College, Vijayawada (A.P.) in first class. He completed M.D. (Ay.) in Dravya Guna Speciality from Dr. B.R.K.R. Govt. Ayur. College, Hyderabad in 1998 October. He stood first in A.P.P.S.C. selection (January 1990) and worked as Med. Officer (Ayu.) for Govt. of A.P. in the Indian Medicine & Homoeopathy Dept., (1992-99). Between 1998-99 he acted as Research Projects Coordinator at the Govt. Research Dept. of Ayurveda, Hyderabad. He stood first at the UPSC (1998) and joined as Medical Officer (Ay.) in CGHS, Chennai in June 1999. The author is the recipient of two gold medals from Nagarjuna Univ. (A.P.) for the merit shown during B.A.M. S. (1988). The author presented several clinical and scientific papers at Regional, National and International seminars. He had more than 15 publications in standard journals and also published several articles in newspapers. Author also had given Radio-talks and given guest lectures at various prestigious institutes (both Ayurvedic & Modern Medicine). He published a book 40 Years of research in Ayurveda in A.P. (on behalf of grda, Hyderabad).
I am happy to learn that Dr. J.L.N. Sastry, from an illustrious family of vaidyas of Andhra Pradesh, is authoring a book "Dravyaguna Sutramala", a gist of properties, actions and indications of vegetable drugs in single verses, compiling from Brihattrayee and Nighantus. While introducing the subject to readers he added this work is made lucid and studentfriendly manner.
Ayurvedic medicine prescribes two methods of treatment for the management of diseases. One is Dravyabhuta chikitsa (treatment with drugs) and the other Adravyabhuta chikitsa (treatment without drugs). The former, where drugs of vegetable, animal and mineral origin are used, constitutes larger part, while the latter with mantra, japa, homa, bali etc., comprises the psychological therapy. The first one is also called as Yuktivyapashraya chikitsa and the second one is Daivavyapashraya chikitsa.
The drugs are used in Ayurveda on the basis of the theory that the human body and the drugs are basically composed of the same substances, Panchamahabhuta, the five elements-Prithvi, Jala, Teja, Vayu and Akasha. The elemental composition of the human body is studied in terms of Vata, Pitta and Kapha (Tridosha) as these are appreciated in the living body the drugs are administered to living body. The ratio of these Tridosha indicates the normal or abnormal status of the structural and functional constituents of the body.
Similarly since drugs are used in dead form to bring in the living body, the elemental composition of the durgs is studied not in terms of Tridosha, but in terms of Rasadigunas. The Rasadigunas are Rasa, Guna, Virya, Vipaka and Prabhava.
Ayurvedic texts classified the first four and explained their elemental composition, so that, anybody with thorough knowledge of drugs and their properites and also abnormal status of the Tridoshas can utilize appropriate drug is appropriate conditon. Whereas the fifth property Prabhava said to be the inherent Svabhava of the drug and its action cannot be elicited in terms of elemental composition and this action is specific to that particular drug. Many of the Agrya Dravyas mentioned by
Charaka and Sugruta for treatment of diseases primarily act by virtue of this property.
A number of Nighantus starting from Ashtanga Nighantu of Acharya Vahata (8th Century AD) discussed the information on herbs in the form o fsynonyms. Dhanvantri Nighantu said to be the first nighantu to give the properties and actions of herbs along with the synonyms. All these texts gave the information in Sanskrit verses to facilitate the learner to learn them and ready to repeat. A few scholars like Vaidya Achanta Lakshmipathi, Acharya Priya Vrat Sharma etc., also attempted to give single or double lined verses for each drug for easy remembering.
Many a time the single or two line verses help in the initial stages of learning, but appear to limit the usefulness of the herb to those indications only. Those making them kanthastha tend to remember them for life. Hence, the best choice would be to remember the properties of the herbs and thereby their elemental composition for use in a variety of conditions. This kind of study may widen the scope of utility of the ancient wisdom of herbs in newer diseases also as well as sharpen the analytical talent of the student, teachers and practitioners and motivate them to use the drugs in more scientific manner. In this background, I appreciate the painstaking efforts of Dr. J.L.N. Sastry for his venture 'Dravyaguna Sutramala' for the benefits of students. Dr. Sastry a scholar of Dravyaguna and an experience clinician has already authored several books on Dravyaguna and Ayurveda in general for the benefit of Ayurvedic community. In this present work he added a few of his own verses for new drugs due to his command in Sanskrit and the regular usage of the herbs and their prats by a number of Vaidyas. I am sure that the students and the practitioners utilize this work as base for widening their vision towards the subject and derive optimum benefit of it.
**Contents and Sample Pages**
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