"Posology" & "Bhaishajiya Kalpana"
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In any system of medicine the dosage or Posology is a very important. In Bhaishajiya Kalpana the “matra Kalpana” (matra means amount) describes about dosages. The quantity of medicine or the dosage is dependent upon various factors. About Posology, Maharishi Charka and Maharishi Susruta considered it as the age related factor. It was Sharangdhar who primarily described Posology as matara Kalpana and formulated various calculation for determine the dosage as per need of an individual.

Ancient texts of Ayurveda describes Posology and the factors affecting it. As per ayurvedic principles, following points are to be kept in mind.

  • Dosha (the three, doshas Vata pitta and Kapha)-While deciding a dose for a patient all doshas must be taken in consideration their respective elevated or deficient conditions.
  • Dooshya (the seven dhatus)- Rasa (plasma), Rakta (blood), masam (muscles & tendon), asthi (Bones), meda (Fats), majja (Bone narrow) and Shukra (Semen)-These seven basic entities and the position of doshas in them must be taken in to consideration while deciding a dose for a patient.
  • Deshkaal (Country region & Time / Seasons)-The dosage decision is also dependent on these conditions.
  • Bala (physique and stamina)- While deciding a dose for a patient his/her physique and stamina must be taken in consideration.
  • Agni (digestive process or metabolic rate)-While deciding a dose for a patient this is a very important point and must be taken in consideration. It is also used by modern sciences.
  • Prikriti (Temperament of an individual)- Different medicines are taken as per their five elemental composition either it is agni pradhan (fire component as macro part) or jaliya (water component as macro part) and other properties of medicines/drugs.
  • Vaya (Age)-This is the most important factor used by both the ayurveda and modern sciences as a parameter for dose decision.
  • Satmaya (Adaptations- Acquired or natural)-While deciding a dose for a patient his/her bodily and mental adaptations either acquired or natural must be taken in consideration.
  • Avastha- (Stages of the disease / condition or acuteness of the symptoms)-Every physician must take as a thumb rule to decide doses upon the above factor i.e. Stage of disease and conditions.
  • Vyadhi (Disease)-All medicines and their doses are disease specific in any branch of medicines.
  • Dravya (drug used/medicine and its properties)-Ayurveda prefers some drugs and medicines to be decided as their ingredients or the particular single drug.
  • Gender (Either male or female)-this is generally taken in consideration while deciding a dose.

While fixing up the dose of prescribed medicine the above factors are to be determined and must be considered for the balanced and exact effect of the medicine. Apart from all factors the dose is also decided in respect with the medicament used. The above description about Posology is compiled from the early three text references of ayurveda i.e. Charka, Susruta & the Vagbhata. A normal person other than from the medical side is much confused about doses in Ayurveda as per the above description found in Brihat-trayee (The greater triad).

Only Susruta stated clearly about deciding the doses on the basis of age criterion, it states that the dose of medicine is increased as per the increment in age. All the dosage indication mentioned there in the Charka Samhita, Susruta Samhita, Ashtaang Samgraha and Ashtaang Hridya are general dosages and fixed for the mid-aged patient who is given a complete dosage as per modern science.

The General dosages for the five basic medicaments are as below.

  • Swarasa (Juice / extract) –It is taken 2 tola about 25 gram or 27ml normally we can take it as 30 ml.
  • Quath (Decoctions) -4 tola = 50 grams = 55 ml or normally it can be taken as 60 ml. Him / Phanta (Hot & Cold infusion are taken in same quantity as that of swarasa i.e. 30 ml.
  • The confectionary based medicaments are taken 1 tola or 12 grams.
  • Kalka (paste) and choorna (dried paste / powder) can be taken in 1 tola quantity i.e. 12 grams.
  • The asava/aristha fermentation based medicaments are generally taken in about 30 ml quantities.
  • The rasa preparations (mercury based preparations are taken in 125 mg dose).
  • The sugar based modak, khand and other preparations are generally taken in 50 to 100 gram quantity.

All these doses are general doses and subject to increase or decrease as per the conditions and complication of the diseased and disease respectively.

An overview of Posology in Ancient ayurveda text is discussed above. The second part of this topic in next article clarifies the exact calculations and dosage indication for patient and medico.

References -

  • Ashtaang Hridya, Classical text book by Chaukhambha Surbharti Publication Vranasi India
  • Ashtaang Samgrha Classical textbook by Chaukhambha Surbharti Publication Vranasi India
  • Bhaishajya Ratnavali Classical textbook by Chaukhambha Surbharti Publication Vranasi India
  • Charka samhita classical textbook vol-1-2 by Chaukhambha Surbharti Publication Vranasi India
  • Chukra dutta text tika by Chaukhambha Surbharti Publication Vranasi India
  • Sharangdhar Samhita Classical textbook by Chaukhambha Surbharti Publication Vranasi India
  • Sushrut Samhita Classical textbook vol 1,2, & 3 by Chaukhambha Surbharti Publication Vranasi India


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