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Pharmacognosy in Various System of Medicine (UNIT-04)

Pharmacognosy and Phytochemistry I
Pharmacognosy in Various System of Medicine (UNIT-04)
B.Pharmacy- 4th Semester (New PCI Syllabus)

Ayurveda is one of the oldest systems of medicine which came into existence in about 5000 BC. The word “Ayur” means Life and “Veda” means science or knowledge of science. Ayurveda means science of life. Charaka and Sushruta made significant contributions to Ayurveda. The book “Charak Samhita” was written by Charaka and he was known as father of Ayurveda. Ayurveda deals with different types of plants, minerals, and animal products. Charak samhita by Charak includes the principle Components or theory of Ayurveda. Sushrut samhita edited by Sushrut is about the surgical treatments in Ayurveda.
Fundamental Principles of Ayurvedic System
1. Pancha Mahabhuta
2. Tridosha theory
3. Panchsheel theory
1. Pancha Mahabhuta Siddhanta
According to this theory, the whole universe is made up of five basic elements known as “Mahabhtas” and they are present in the human body. Panchabhuta: Pancha means five, Mahabhuta means elements (i.e, Five basic elements).
They are-
Prithvi (Earth), Jala (Water), Vayu (Air), Agni (Fire), Akasha (Void/Sky). Combinations of these five elements form seven basic tissues of the body which are referred as “Sapta Dahu” which are as follows.
1. Rasa (Lymph/ Plasma),
2. Rakta (Blood),
3. Mamsa (Flesh),
4. Meda (Fat),
5. Asti(Bones),
6. Mojja (Marrow),
7. Shukra (Reproductive organs)
These Sapta dahu undergo wear and tear to form “Mala” (Excretory products).
2. Tridosha theory
According to this theory, the five basic elements (Pancha Mahabhuta) exist in human body in three different forms, together known as “Tridosha”, they are
1. Vata (Space + Air).
2. Pitta (Fire + Liquid)
3. Kapha (Liquid + Solid).
Tridosha: Means three doshas are put together (vata, pitta & kapha). These tridoshas when present in balanced form in the body is considered as healthy condition, any imbalance in tridosha is considered as disease condition. Ayurveda tries to maintain the balance in these elements.
1. Vata: It regulates the psychic and nervous system. Imbalance of this leads to disease of ENT, heart, urinary tract, skin, etc.
2. Pitta: It regulates energy production, digestion, tissue building, etc. Imbalance of this leads to disease like acidity, indigestion, liver and skin disease.
3. Kapha: It regulates heat, formation of fluids, mucous, etc. Imbalance of this results in joint pain, brain disease, drowsiness, etc.
3. Guna-Rasa-Virya-Vipaka-Probhava Siddhanta
These are considered as five pharmacological principles / properties of “Dravya” (arus substance), they are Rasa (Taste), Guna (Taste), Virya (Active principle), Vipaka (Digestive products), Prabhava (Pharmaco therapeutic action).
Diagnosis in Ayurveda
As per Ayurveda, imbalance among all of the above causes illness. Panchkarma is an important treatment in Ayurveda which includes Snehan (massage), Swedan (steam), Vaman (vomit) Virechan (expulsion), and Basti (medicated enemas). The medicines are given in the form of powder (churna, bhasma), liquid (asava, arishta, and taila), semisolid (leha or paka) and tablets (gutika, vati).
Diseases are diagnosed by
 Observation of Doshas (vata, pitta, kapha).
 Observation of skin, eyes, hair, nails and tongue.
 Recording the pulse.
 Investigation of Raktam, Virya and Mala (urine, stools and sweat).
The different treatments in Ayurveda are as follows
 Elimination therapy.
 Alleviation therapy.
 Psychic therapy.
 Surgery therapy
In addition to single drugs, compound formulations are generally used to treat disease in the form of tablets, pills, powders and syrups. Following are the examples of few Ayurvedic drugs along with their uses.
List of some Ayurvedic drugs and their uses
Drug – Arjunaristha, Uses- Heart disease

Khadirarishta- Skin disease
Triphala churna- General diseases, stomachic
Ashwagandha churna- Adaptogenic diseases
Parad bhasma- Diarrhoea, dysentery
Branches of Treatment in Ayurveda
i. Kayachikitsa (General medicine)
ii. Salya chikitsa (Surgery)
iii. Salakya chikitsa (ENT)
iv. Bala chikitsa (Pediatrics)
v. Jara chikitsa (Treatment related to genetics)
vi. Rasayana chikitsa (Treatment with chemicals)
vii. Vajikarama chikitsa (Treatment related to reproductive organs and aphrodisiacs)
viii. Graham chikitsa (Planetory effects).
ix. Visha chikitsa (Toxicology).


Homeo means similar and pathos means suffering, hence homeopathy means similar suffering. It means, the cause of the disease itself can be used for its treatment or the substance producing similar symptoms of disease in healthy individuals can be used to treat that disease. Homoeopathy is a system of treating diseases or suffering by the administration of drugs that possess power of producing similar suffering (diseases) in healthy human beings Homeopathy was introduced by a German physician “Dr. Samuel Hahnemann”. Basic principal of Homeopathy is “Similia Similibus Curantur” meaning let like be treated by likes.
Basic Principles of Homeopathy
It is based on seven principles which are as follows
1. Individualisation
The concept maintains that no two individuals in the world are same; hence disease affecting the individuals and their response to it cannot be similar. The individual response to the same disease would be different from person to person. Thus medicines used to cure same disease in different individuals are different.
2. Principle of similia
The therapeutic law on which homoeopathy is based is Simillia Similibus Curentur, which means ‘Let likes be cured by likes’. Substances which are the cause of disease or produce similar symptoms in healthy individuals can be used to cure the disease in patients.
3. Principle of minimum dose
This rule states that dose of the drug is inversely proportional to its potency (lower the dose, more potent the drug. Drugs are administered in a minimum quantity
4. Law of proving
The testing of drugs is done on healthy volunteers. If the drug produces similar symptoms in a healthy person as that of the diseased person, the drug is considered as suitable for treating that disease. The curative power of a drug is known by its pathogenesis and is ascertained by proving the drug singly on healthy human being.
Examples: Cinchona (anti malarial drug) produced symptoms of malaria in healthy persons, hence it can be used to treat malaria.
5. Law of simplex
Simple and single drugs should be prescribed at a time. Thus, medicines are proved on healthy human beings singly and in simple form without admixture of any other substance.
6. Drug dynamization or Potentization
Disease is a disturbance or deviation in the normal harmonious flow of life force which is dynamic in nature. This dynamization is done by the process of Trituration (in case of insoluble substances) or Succession (in case of soluble substances).
7. Vital force
Disease is nothing but the disharmonious flow of the vital force giving rise to abnormal sensation and functions (symptoms and signs).
Diagnosis in Homeopathy
 Collection of detailed case history and medical history.
 Investigation of symptoms, location, sensation, modality are investigated,
 Patient’s mood and behaviour, likes and dislikes, responses to stress conditions, reactions to food and personality etc.
This detailed case history helps to build up a Symptom Picture of the the patient. This is matched with the drug picture mentioned in Homeopathic Materia Medica.
When the symptoms picture matches with the drug picture, the physician attempts to identify a single medicine. The practitioners always attempt to identify a single medicine preparation of remedies which corresponds to the patient’s general symptom picture. Two patients with identical diagnosis may receive different medicines. Homeopathy system used drugs in the form of mother tincture, small pills and powders.
Homeopathic medicine: There are principally three essential processes involved in the preparation of remedies. These processes are serial dilution, succession and trituration.
1. Serial dilution is the process for reducing the toxicity of the original crude drug in a sequential order.
2. Succession and trituration are methods by which power is delivered to a preparation, Potentisation of the drug is basically a physical process by which the curative properties of a drug are activated. For preparation of homoeopathic potencies of liquid drugs, three major scales are used, namely, Decimal, Centesimal and Millesimal.

Unani System of Medicine

Unani System originated in Greece. It was started by a Greek philosopher Hippocrates. He was the first physician to introduce documentation of medical history which gave rise to development
of “Humoral theory”. Unani system was later developed by Arabs and became popular as Arab system of medicine.
Basic Principles of Unani System
Unani system considers that the entire universe is made of four basic elements: fire, air, earth, water. These elements are present in human body that represent various qualities. Unani system is based on two theories
1. Hippocratic theory of four humors: Unani medicine is based on the concept of the four humours. Hippocratic theory of four humours mentions the first products of digestion, they are
1. Blood (Dum)
2. Phlegm (Balgham)
3. Yellow bile (Safra)
4. Black bile (Souda)
2. Pythogorian theory of four proximate qualities
Pythogorian theory of four proximate qualities includes hot, cold, moist and dry. They are. qualities are present in the human body in combinations and represent the four basic elements of universe.
a. Hot & moist (Air).
b. Hot & dry (Fire).
c. Cold and moist (Water)
d. Cold and dry (Earth)
These four qualities are present in different proportions in the body and vary from one person to another These 4 qualities represent the nature or temperament/ humor of individual known as “Mizaj” Mizaj/ Temperament/ Humors of a person
a. Mizaj-e-har (Hot)
b. Mizaj-e-barid (Cold)
c. Mizaj-e-yabis (Dry)
d. Mizaj-e-rath (Moist).
Balance form of these 4 humors is called as healthy condition and imbalance form is known as pathological condition.
In diagnosis Unani physician (Hakim) asks patient number of questions to know history and decides treatment. It is done by recording the parameters such as psychology, age, gender, habits, working condition, history, etc. The things which are analyzed during diagnosis are pulse reading, examination of sputum, urine, and stools.
Treatment in Unani System
The human body is considered to be made up of six components, which have direct effect on the health status of a person. They are
1. Elements (Arkan)
2. Temperament (Mijaz)
3. Humors (Aklat)
4. Organs (Aaza)
5. Power (Quwa)
6. Spirits (Arwah)
These components are taken into consideration for diagnosis and also for deciding the line of treatment.
Two things are attempted during the treatment they are
1. To remove the cause of ailment, also known as cleansing or detoxification.
2. To strengthen the natural defense mechanism and prevention of relapse.
There are three methods of treatment/therpaies in Unani system which is as follows
i. Regimental therapy (Ilajbil tadbeer): It means detoxification of body by removing the toxins which includes emesis, purging, diaphoresis, exercise, climate change, massage, venesection, leeching, cupping, diet therapy etc., diuresis, Turkish bath, etc.
ii. Diet therapy ((Ilajbil Ghiza): It is done by using special diet. The quality and quantity of foods is regulated.
iii. Pharmacotherapy (Ilajbil dava): It deals with the use of natural medicine (plant, animal and mineral origin drugs).
iv. Surgery (Ilajbil Yad) – Surgical method of treatment
Unani Medicine

The Materia Medica describes drugs obtained from herbs, animals and mineral source. Herbal drugs include various parts of plants and their products. Animal drugs include organs, flesh, hair, bones, etc. Mineral drugs include metals like gold, silver, lead, zinc, arsenic, etc, Precious stones like emerald, sapphire are also used.
Unani system dosage form
 Qurs: Tablet
 Habb: Pills
 Safoof: Powder (Manjan: Tooth Powder, Barood: microfine powder for ophthalmic use Kohal: Black powdered drug use for ocular treatment
Semisolid Majoon: Semi soilds preparation containing qiwam of white sugar or honey and a medicinal safoof
Qiwam: Liquid Preparation of concentrated solution of sugar, honey, jiggery in water.
Sharbat: Liquid preparation of concentrated fruit juices and sugar liquid
Raughan: oil obtained from plant source
Arak: Distilled liquid

Siddha System of Medicine

This system was practised in south India especially Tamil nadu. This system is believed to be older than Ayurveda and the latter was derived from Siddha system. “Agasthya” was believed to be the father of Siddha medicine and he wrote a book known as “Agattiyar Charkku”.
Basic Principles of Siddha System
1. The universe consists of two essential entities: matter and energy. The Siddhas call them Siva (male) and Shakti (female,creation). Matter cannot exist without energy inherent in it and vice versa.
2. Five basic elements their names are munn (solid), neer (fluid), thee (radiance), vayu (gas) and aakasam (ether). These five elements (bhutas) are present in every substance, but in different proportions. The physiological function in the body is mediated by three substances (dravyas), which are made up of the five elements.
3. It is based on Trigunas Principle:
Triguna means three qualities- vata, pitta and kapha, which are known as “Trigunas”. The triguna are involved in all functions of the body, physical, mental and emotional.
1. Vata: Formed by aakasam and vayu, controls the nervous action that constitute movement, activity, sensation. Increased vata develops flatulence, acidity, obesity, heart attacks, etc.
2. Pitta: Heat, formed by thee, controls the metabolic activity of the body, digestion, warmth, lustre, intellect, assimilation, etc.bPeople with predominant pitta are characterized by lean, whitish complexioned hot personalities. Increased pitta shows early greying of hair, reddish eyes, burning chest, mental derangement, anaemia.
3. Kapha: Formed by munn and neer. Controls the stability of the body such as strength, potency, smooth working of joints. People with predominant kapha are characterized by well built, good complexioned, well behaved personalities. Increased kapha leads to jaundice, heart attack, high fever etc

Diagnosis in Siddha System
During diagnosis the physician studies eight things; they are Nadi (Pulse), Dhwani (Speech) and Vizhi (Eyes), Twaka (Tongue), Deham (Body), Neeram (Colour), Malam (Faeces), Mutram (Urine)
The equilibrium of humours is considered as health and its disturbance or imbalance leads to a diseased state. Treatment is aimed at restoring balance to the mind-body system. Diet, lifestyle, yoga and meditation play a major role not only in maintaining health but also in curing diseases. The drugs are made up of the five elements. By substituting a drug of the same constituents (guna), the equilibrium is restored. The correction of the imbalance is made by substituting the drug, which is predominately of the opposite nature.
Example: An example of vatham imbalance is cold, dry; thus the treatment will be oily and warmth. For inactivity of limbs, massage and activity are prescribed. If pitham dosha is increased, warmth is produced; to decrease pitham, sandalwood is administered, internally or externally because of its cold characteristics.

Siddha physicians give knowledge of one thousand herbs and their effectiveness in specific a composition and formulation. Commonly medicines are prepared freshly for specific diseases. The formulations are prepared using plants, animals, minerals, metals like mercury, gold, silver, sulphur, zinc, copper, aluminium, borax and arsenic are used in small quantities. The following formulations are commonly used in Siddha system.
 Kashayam (Decoction).
 Churna (Powder).
 Tailam (Medicated oils)
 Ceulligai (Pills & Tablets)
 Chenduram (Metal complexes)
 Bhasma (Calcinated drugs).
Diet in Siddha
Siddha system also gives importance to “Pathya” (restriction on diet) It refers to diet planning in Siddha system. Following are the examples of restricted and non restricted diets.
Non restricted foods: wheat, milk, ghee, pulses, tender vegetables, goat meat, sugar, etc.
Restricted foods: chicken, mangoes, coconut, fenugreek, mustard, sesame, almonds, etc.