Last week I had the pleasure of meeting Shri Siddhi Nandan Mishraji, the 88-year-old doyen of Rasa Shastra at Bellary. Many of us Ayurvedists had gone there to attend a seminar organised by Dr Gopi Krishna, (another legend in the making) in which Sri Mishraji was being honoured for his contribution to the field.The two of them set our minds at rest regarding the safety and efficacy of rasa drugs or drugs made from metals and minerals. Shri Siddhi Nandan Mishra talked about various metallic preparations including arsenic-based drugs and their safety profile. Of course, he emphasised the need to make the drugs correctly as per the Ayurvedic texts.
He talked of his experience in monitoring the production facilities of Dhootpapeshwar and how he was happy with their production methods. Dr Gopi Krishna said he preferred to manufacture his own drugs as he could choose the method he preferred. I came away from the three-day seminar in awe about our acharyas and their ability to prepare nanomedicine which is homologous to the body. I am also astounded that we have not been able to stop the insidious rumours that tell you that you can take cortisones but not gold bhasma. Cortisone, which could be a life-saving drug, has terrible side effects. Gold bhasma can prevent all diseases and has been included under Rakshopgana by Sushruta. Swarna protects you from falling ill.
Now, when you prescribe cortisones, in general, most people will take it without much protest. And will take it stating that as the disease is in a bad way they have no option. Now if a vaidyar prescribes Swarna bhasma, our patient immediately becomes an expert on metallic preparations and starts to question you. I am yet to meet anybody who has been treated by a qualified vaidyar whose liver or kidney has been affected by Ayurvedic metallic preparations.
However, I have met many people who have been badly affected either by cortisone treatment or chemotherapy. When it comes to Western medicine, we are so indulgent in allowing them the chance to experiment again and again. And if we were to tell you that an easy way to keep healthy is take about one gram of swarna bhasma every month, you will be astonished by the reaction. People are convinced that you are a charlatan prescribing a quack remedy.
Dr Gopi Krishna explained at great length about the purification process of gold and also about the properties of properly processed and purified gold bhasma. Gold possesses madhura rasa and snigdha guna in that it is sweet and unctuous. It improves the quality of life, it improves the strength of the body, improves appetite, nourishes the dhatus and helps hair growth. It is also an aphrodisiac and helps improve fertility.
It helps improve memory and mitigates vata dosha and tridosha jwara. It is a great anti-inflammatory substance and is useful in kasa, svasa and other lung-related ailments. The bhasma is considered useful for both adults and children. And at around `4,000 per month (for about 1 gm of gold) if you can prevent most diseases, I think it is worth a try.Dr Gopi Krishna was of the strong opinion that at least all vaidyars should take swarna bhasma so as to keep fit and be able to treat their patients well. Dr Ravishankar, head of department of pharmacology, SDM College of Ayurveda, Udupi, assured the participants that bhasmas when well prepared and processed were non-toxic. His talk with various citations reassured the participants regarding the safety of traditional metallic preparations.
The writer is retired Additional Chief Secretary of Tamil Nadu. She can be reached at sheelarani.