Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Oils, Kashyam, Arishtam, Gulikas and more

In the Ayurveda system of medicine, the oral medicines administered for various diseases are in various forms and are generally known as Arishtams, Lehyams, Thailams, Kashayams and Gulikas etc. These forms are quite different from the western system of medicine. With the help of these Kashayams, Aristams, Gulikas etc every type of disease affecting human beings can be cured. .

These medicines are easy to administer, tasty, non toxic, easily digestible and leave no traces. Unlike the other system of medicines, ayurveda medicines can be consumed by all persons of all ages, both healthy and those afflicted with various disease.

But over the years, various ayurveda practitioners have adopted various processes in manufacturing these Kashayams, Aristams, Lehyams, and Gulikas etc. These are to make these medicines easily administrable, tastier, easily digestible and to give more shelf life. Some companies do produce these medicines on a mass scale to cater to the ever increasing demand. However, passage of time has not diminished the efficacy of these time tested and proven formulations. We give below the major formulations generally used in ayurveda.


It is one of the most commonly used and convenient forms of administering the drug. Herbs ranging from 10 to 100 types on an average are crushed, ground and boiled in water for a considerably long period of time till the decoction measures up to the required quantity. It is then filtered and the contents emptied in to a vessel. Unlike other formulations, kashayams cannot be kept for long periods. The vaidyans of ancient times used to prepare it on a daily basis. The great benefit of the present manufacturing system is that it ensures a longer life span without in any way compromising on the quality of the product.

Kashayams are an ideal remedy for a number of diseases. These include: fever, body pain, respiratory disorders, rheumatic disorders, urinary problems, anemia, mental diseases, jaundice, skin diseases etc. The physician normally would recommend kashayams in combination with other ayurveda formulations.


Arishtams are the fermented extracts of medicinal herbs. Fermentation is brought about through the addition of flowers and other medicinal herbs in to the herbal solution. arishtamAlcoholic content in arishtam may vary from 5 to 10 %. Inclusion of jaggery, honey or sugar gives the arishtam its sweet taste; these also act as a preservative and hasten the therapeutic action. Arishtams are sealed tight in earthen pots and kept for a minimum period of 30 days prior to its use.

Aristams are recommended in the treatments of indigestion, constipation, gynecological disorders, circulatory and respiratory disorders, general weakness etc.

disease ASAVAMS

Asavams, like arishtams are also fermented and have an average alcoholic content of 5 to 10 %. The medicinal herbs are ground and made in to a coarse powder prior to fermentation. The asavams are then sealed tight and kept in earthen pots for a certain period of time prior to their use. Their therapeutic value increases with the passage of time.

Asavams are recommended in the treatment of pediatric diseases, indigestion, jaundice, anemia, general weakness etc.
disease AVARTHI

These are medicated oils. Various herbs are added with oil and then distilled and processed several times till they reach the expected potency. Some are said to be distilled and processed 101 times.
Avarthis are recommended in the treatment of rheumatic disorders, orthopedic diseases, urinary diseases, etc.

disease LEHYAMS

Lehyams are semi solid formulations prepared from powdered herbs and spices. Jaggery, sugar and spices are added to give it the needed taste and flavor. Lehyams are recommended for those recuperating from diseases as also for maintaining health and vitality.

Lehyams are also recommended for treatment of allergic conditions, indigestion, hyper acidity, gynecological disorders, etc
disease GULIKAS

These are pills made from finely powdered herbs. Finely powdered herbs of minimum particle size have more efficacy than coarse powders and combine better with other formulations. These gulikas are prescribed together with other formulation and are seldom given in isolation.

Gulikas are given to patients with symptoms of cough, asthma, gastric complaints, rheumatic disorders, skin diseases, inflammatory conditions etc.


Choornams are finely powdered and sifted forms of dried Ayurvedic herbs. The powders are then packed in air tight containers. Choornams also find application in the preparation of gulikas, kashayams, aristams, asavams, etc. apart from it being widely used for therapies like lepam, upanahanam, sweda etc. Choornams are user friendly and have a longer shelf life with out in any way compromising on its therapeutic value.

Choornams are prescribed for treating diseases like gastric disorders, diarrhea, urinary complaints, skin disorders etc.


Seetha kalpana is an Ayurvedic formulation that’s easy to prepare. These are preferred for their high efficacy and quick therapeutic action. Finely cleansed herbs are crushed, chopped and immersed overnight in a vessel filled with water. The mixture is then emptied in to another vessel, filtered and used as medicine.

disease GRUTHAM

Grutham is medicated ghee containing a large number of medicinal herbs. It is useful in the treatment of mental retardation, insanity, intestinal ulcers etc. Gruthams also improve the overall health of an individual apart from providing immunity from various diseases.
disease THAILAMS

thailadharaThailams are medicated oils used both internally and externally. In external applications these are utilized for massaging of joints and other body parts. Thailams are prepared by mixing medicinal herbs in oils like Sesame oil or coconut oil with additives like milk and juice. The processing period of thailams would depend on the usage of the thailam. Internal applications would require a limited period of processing while external applications would call for longer periods of processing. Thailams are known to rejuvenate the body and provide immunity against various diseases.

Massaging with thailams is highly effective in treating neurological and rheumatic diseases. It is also used in the treatment of gastro disorders, falling hair etc.
disease KUZHAMBU

kateevasthiKuzhambu is prepared in the same manner as one would prepare thailams. It is prepared specifically for external applications like massaging of various body parts. In kuzhambu, coconut oil is seldom used. Instead castor oil and sesame oil with additives like ghee is used. It is applied externally in treating diseases like rheumatic complaints, joint pains etc.


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