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The Varieties of Preparation


Caraka in the first chapter of Kalpa-sthana declares thus regarding the varieties of preparations:


�Taking into consideration that drugs differ with respect to land, season, source, flavour, taste, potency, post-digestive effect and specification and also that men differ with respect to their body, morbid tendency, constitution, age, vitality, gastric fire, proclivities, homologation and stage of disease, we shall here describe six hundred purgative preparations that are pleasant in their variety of smell, colour, taste and touch of drugs, although the extent of the possible preparations from these drugs 13 innumerable.�� (Caraka, Kalpa 1,1-6)


The various processes known to modern pharmacy are nearly all represented in the aphoristic list given by Caraka.


�Preparation is the process performed to modify the natural properties of substances. That process again is that which modifies radically the properties of substances. This modification is brought about by dilution, application of heat, clarification, emulsification, sto�ring, maturing, flavouring, impregnation, preservation and the mate�rial of receptacle.�


This shows that the art of pharmacy had reached a very high level in those days. The ten arts described by Sukracarya comprise practically all the processes known to modern pharmacy.


A full fledged culinary art could only be possible in India, and the works onand (science of cooking) bear testi�mony to our statement. Even today, India would perhaps stand first is the world so far as the art of cooking is concerned.

The manufacture of sugar was a sort of monopoly in India. When the soldiers of Alexander saw sugar for the first time, they called it sweet chalk. Sugar began to be exported to the West in, greater quantities after the twelfth century of the Christian era, but even then it was imported by those countries as a medicine and was available in the market at a very high price.


Thirdly the use of spices native to the tropical zone is a distinguishing feature of India Cloves, cinnamon, cardamom, ginger, saffron etc. were more responsible for foreign invasions of India than any political or cultural motives of invasion. Italy, Arabia. Portugal, Holland and Bngland fought wars, devised strategies and organized plunders to capture this trade of spices.


Fourthly the sense of smell in the oriental is more sensitive than that of the occidental and this has played no small part in the pharmaceutics of our country. Nature as well as human characteristics vary in different countries. The Himalayas produce more of sweet- smelling flora while the Alps abound in flora charming only to look at.


Fifthly a Vaidya always used to be the presiding officer of the royal kitchen.

These forces combined to evolve medicated food which was medicine and food in one. Besides, the practice of administering some medicine to princes and the aristocrats varying in accordance with their tastes and pursuits of pleasure, gained favour. The abundance of sugar resulted in devising of varied preparations of wine.


India was well conversant with the utility of salt. Caraka enumerates 15 kinds of salt, such as _________________ . They prepared various kinds of alkalies and alkaline salts from vegetable, animal and mineral products.

The preparations of medicated Ghita (l3) were common in India in those days and even today it is a special feature of the Indian pharmacy In addition to these special factors, the vastness of the country, the variety of seasons, the progressive period of civilization, and the increase of pleasure pursuits etc, gave a great impetus to the progress of pharmacy.