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REVIEW ARTICLES
Year : 2022  |  Volume : 10  |  Issue : 3  |  Page : 186-191

Perspectives of Lavana in Charaka samhita: a review


Department of Rasashastra & Bhaishajya Kalpana, All India Institute of Ayurveda, New Delhi, India

Date of Submission14-Mar-2022
Date of Acceptance28-Mar-2022
Date of Web Publication30-Sep-2022

Correspondence Address:
Archana Prabhakar
Department of Rasashastra & Bhaishajya Kalpana, All India Institute of Ayurveda, Sarita Vihar, Mathura Road, New Delhi 110076
India
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/jism.jism_29_22

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  Abstract 

Salt plays an important role in maintaining normal physiology of the human body health. Salts are referred as Lavana in Ayurveda that are vital ingredients in food and in medicine as well. Traditionally, Ayurveda classics distinguish several varieties of Lavanas. Specific salts have been described along with respective properties and actions. Charaka samhita, a familiar text for medical treatment, has advocated varieties of Lavanas and their applications in multiple pathological conditions. However, the information is found scattered across the classical texts. The current review is an attempt to screen this classical treatise and to compile information pertaining to utilization of various Lavanas for medicinal and other purposes referred. Screening through the classic revealed description of about 16 different Lavanas and about 250 compound formulations with salt as a component, inferring that different types of salts have specific action on health and/or disease. Judicious consumption of Lavana is repeatedly advised, and it is said that Lavanas produce good results when used properly (aapaatbhdra prayogasamsaadgunyaat), whereas injudicious use may cause exacerbation of various doshas leading to the manifestation of diseases. Though an important component of life cycle, salts are to be used in limited quantities judiciously.

Keywords: Audbhida, Lavana, Saindhava, Samudra, Sauvarchala, Vida


How to cite this article:
Prabhakar A, Ruknuddin G, Prajapati PK. Perspectives of Lavana in Charaka samhita: a review. J Indian Sys Medicine 2022;10:186-91

How to cite this URL:
Prabhakar A, Ruknuddin G, Prajapati PK. Perspectives of Lavana in Charaka samhita: a review. J Indian Sys Medicine [serial online] 2022 [cited 2022 Dec 7];10:186-91. Available from: https://www.joinsysmed.com/text.asp?2022/10/3/186/357680




  Introduction Top


Salt plays a crucial role in maintaining human health. In general, they are referred as Lavanas in Ayurveda that are important ingredients in food and in medicine as well. Comprehensive description of various Lavanas is available in classical literature, inferring that its importance in maintaining health and management of various diseases is well known to the ancient civilization. Human body is unable to produce salts of its own and thus depends on various sources to ensure necessary daily intake. Salt plays a crucial role in maintaining normal physiology of the body. It helps our body to retain water and helps to keep our blood pressure in normal levels. It also plays an important role as nerve stimulant and acts as a messenger between brain and muscles facilitating proper functioning of various muscles. Its deficiency may result in muscle weakness. Overall, salt is an important constituent in the human life.

Traditionally, Ayurveda classics distinguish several varieties of Lavanas. Specific salts have been described along with respective properties and actions. However, the information is found scattered across the classical texts. Charaka samhita, a familiar text for medical treatment, has advocated varieties of Lavanas and their applications in multiple pathological conditions. The current review is an attempt to screen this classical treatise and to compile information pertaining to utilization of various Lavanas for medicinal and other purposes referred.

This review is sequenced as definition and grouping of Lavanas, different Lavanas mentioned in the classic, Lavana prefixed formulations, and Lavanas used in procedural treatments including their oral administration and topical application. Under the oral administration, Lavanas as an independent medicine, containing Churna (powder), Vati (pills), Sneha (medicated oligeneous preparations), etc., have been collected. Besides, Lavanas are used as Anupana (adjuvant) and in Patthya kalpanas (dietetic preparations); caution while using is also dealt.


  Materials and Methods Top


The Charaka samhita by Agnivesh, with Ayurveda Dipika Commentary of Chakrapani Datta edited by Vaidya Yadav Trikamji Acharya Reprinted in 2002 printed by Chaukhambha Sanskrit Sansthan, was screened thoroughly to collect necessary information.


  Results and Discussion Top


Charaka, known for medicinal treatment, has prescribed a number of formulations that hold Lavana as an ingredient. It is interesting to observe about 16 types of Lavanas in this classical text, familiar as Charaka samhita. Some of them are difficult to procure or identify in current times. Ironically, with all modern developments in the salt industry, the varieties of salts available today are very few.

Lavana kalpanas have been advised throughout the classical literature for different purposes. However, their administration alone in therapeutics is not found. When using for medicinal purposes, the Lavanas are to be processed with other specified herbs, minerals, or others.

Classification

Charaka has classified all resources into three broad categories based on their origin as mineral (parthiva), animal (jangama), and plant (oudbhida). Lavana dravya is placed under the category of Parthiva dravya.[1] Based on the taste they possess, Lavanas have been grouped under Lavana skanda,[2] whereas Lavana dwaya is grouped under Shiro virechana dravya.[3]

Types

Terms like Lavana dwayam, Lavana trayam, Chatur lavana, Lavana panchaka frequently appear in the classic. Based on the available information, Lavana referred in Charaka samhita can be seen in [Table 1].
Table 1: Different categories of Lavana

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In all types of Lavanas, Saindhava lavana is considered as the best.[4] Chakrapani has exclusively opined his views on various types of Lavanas. He said that Kupya lavanas are the varieties of salts that are familiar in respective countries.[2]Romaka lavana can be found on the banks of the river Ruma.[2],[5]Samudra lavana occurs at the southern seashore (dakshina samudra bhavam) and is also known as Karakacha,[6] whereas Pamshuja lavana is available at the eastern seashore[7] (poorva samudrajam). Audbhida lavana is referred as Utkarika lavana,[7] whereas some other peers referred it as Shambhari lavana.[8] Further, it is also opined that Utkarika lavana occurs in the northern countries (Uttara desha bhavam) and is known as audbhida lavana in those countries.[9]Pakya lavana appears to be group salts prepared by the heating process.[5]Kala lavana and Sauvarchala lavana have been considered as the same,[10] while explaining the qualities of lavanas, it has been mentioned that both Kala and Sauvarchala lavanas possess similar qualities, except that Kala lavana does not have characteristic Gandha[9] (odor). Hence, both may be considered the same. Among all these types of salts, Vida lavana is said to be artificial (vidam kritrimam) by Shivadasa Sen.[9]

Anukta Paribhasha

Whenever the epithet Lavana is used in any context, Saindhava lavana is implied.[4]

Qualities

All Lavanas in general are said to increase taste,[11]vishyandakara,[12]rochana, pachana (digestive), sramsana (laxatives), and to possess the character of pacifying aggravated vata[7] (anilapaham). In general, they are ushna (hot), teekshna (sharp), anati guru (not too heavy), anati snigdham (not too unctuous), upakledi (deliquescent), visramsana (laxative), and annadravya ruchikara[13] (increase the taste in food).

In addition to the general qualities, Lavanas are said to possess specific qualities [Table 2]. Though restrictions on regular and excessive use of Lavana are imposed in the classic,[14]Saindhava lavana is allowed to consume regularly.[14]
Table 2: Properties of individual Lavanas

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Formulations with Lavana as a Component

A number of formulations have been prescribed in the classic that contain one or more lavanas. Saindhava lavana has been more frequent than any other lavanas. It is observed that the seer used Lavanas in different forms such as Churna, Vati, Avaleha, Taila, Ghrita, Varti, etc. A few such formulations are placed at [Table 3][Table 4][Table 5][Table 6][Table 7][Table 8][Table 9].
Table 3: Lavanas referred in Sneha formulations

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Table 4: Lavanas referred in Vati formulations

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Table 5: Lavanas referred in Churna formulations

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Table 6: Lavanas referred in Lepa formulations

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Table 7: Lavanas referred in Sandhana formulations

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Table 8: Lavanas referred in Rasayana formulations

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Table 9: Lavanas referred in other formulations

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Lavana as an Etiological Factor in Disease Manifestation and as Apathya in Various Diseases

A little amount of salt is necessary in the maintenance of normal physiological functioning of living cells. Ayurveda considered this important principle at multiple levels and cautioned against its inappropriate use. It is thought that inappropriate use of salts exacerbates the condition of various pathologies, thus it has been restricted or avoided to be used in a number of conditions such as Hridroga[15] (cardiovascular pathologies), Madhumeha[16] (diabetes and associated complications), Jalodara[17] (ascitis), Vrana[18] (wounds/tissue disruption), Vata rakta,[19]Pandu,[20] etc. Further, its excess use is said to result in glani (fatigue), shaithilya (lassitude), daurbalaya (generalized weakness), shithila mamsa shonita (altered physiological functions in muscle and blood), Khalitya (baldness), Palitya (graying of hair), and akala valipalita[13] (premature wrinkles in skin). In general, Lavana causes Rakta dushti and exacerbation of pitta,[21] leading to various Pitta vikaras.

Salts play an important role in the life cycle of all individuals. Regular and excessive consumption of salts can raise risk for various diseases, particularly non-communicable diseases including hypertension, cardiovascular diseases, stroke, etc. It has been observed that populations around the world are consuming much more sodium than (the recommendations of the current World Health Organization on sodium consumption for adults) the required amount necessary for physiological functioning.[22] Cognitive functions are also said to be associated with patterns of salt intake. Vascular dementia (VD), the second most common cause of dementia, is associated with a high salt diet intake. People with a medical history of stroke, high blood pressure, and who have high salt in their diets are at increased risk of getting VD. Thus, restricted use of salts in younger life can be recommended as part of a preventative measure to control such diseases, which is highly important. Studies have observed an approximately two-fold increased risk of type 2 diabetes in subjects who add salt to their meals compared with the subjects who never added salts.[23] Studies consistently indicate that high salt stimulates the production of several cytokines that promote inflammation and organ damage. Studies in rats have shown that a high-salt diet increases the ability to bind sodium and orchestrate proinflammatory response. Patients with cirrhosis and ascites should have a moderate salt-restricted diet with daily salt intake.[24] Low salts are said to decrease oxidative stress, improve vascular function, and lower blood pressure.[25]


  Conclusion Top


Even though the finer details of Lavana in Charaka samhita are often overlooked in present-day curriculum and therapeutics, upon careful screening, it is quite evident that Charaka samhita, the ancient text of Ayurveda, has given ample therapeutic applications using Lavana. Description of about 16 types of different Lavanas and about 250 compound formulations with salt as a component mentioned in the classic clearly infer that different types of salts have a specific action on health and/or disease. Judicious consumption of Lavana is repeatedly advised, and it is said that Lavanas produce good results when used properly (aapaatbhdra prayoga samsaadgunyaat), whereas injudicious use may cause exacerbation of various doshas leading to the manifestation of diseases.[13]

Financial support and sponsorship

Nil.

Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.



 
  References Top

1.
Acharya YT, editor. Charak Samhita of Agnivesha, Sutra Sthana. Ch. 1, Ver. 71. Varanasi: Choukhambha Surbharti Prakashan; 2016.  Back to cited text no. 1
    
2.
Acharya YT, editor. Charak Samhita of Agnivesha, Viman Sthana. Ch. 8, Ver. 141. Varanasi: Choukhambha Surbharti Prakashan; 2016.  Back to cited text no. 2
    
3.
Acharya YT, editor. Charak Samhita of Agnivesha, Sutra Sthana. Ch. 2, Ver. 5. Varanasi: Choukhambha Surbharti Prakashan; 2016.  Back to cited text no. 3
    
4.
Acharya YT, editor. Charak Samhita of Agnivesha, Sutra Sthana. Ch. 25, Ver. 38. Varanasi: Choukhambha Surbharti Prakashan; 2016.  Back to cited text no. 4
    
5.
Acharya YT, editor. Chakrapani on Charak Samhita of Agnivesha, Chikitsa Sthana. Ch. 15, Ver. 85. Varanasi: Choukhambha Surbharti Prakashan; 2016.  Back to cited text no. 5
    
6.
Acharya YT, editor. Chakrapani on Charak Samhita of Agnivesha, Sutra Sthana. Ch. 1,Ver. 89, 27/304.  Back to cited text no. 6
    
7.
Acharya YT, editor. Chakrapani on Charak Samhita of Agnivesha, Sutra Sthana. Ch. 27, Ver. 304. Varanasi: Choukhambha Surbharti Prakashan; 2016.  Back to cited text no. 7
    
8.
Acharya YT, editor. Chakrapani on Charak Samhita of Agnivesha, Sutra Sthana. Ch. 1, Ver. 88. Varanasi: Choukhambha Surbharti Prakashan; 2016.  Back to cited text no. 8
    
9.
Acharya YT, editor. Chakrapani on Charak Samhita of Agnivesha, Sutra Sthana. Ch. 27, Ver. 303. Varanasi: Choukhambha Surbharti Prakashan; 2016.  Back to cited text no. 9
    
10.
Acharya YT, editor. Chakrapani on Charak Samhita of Agnivesha, Chikitsa Sthana. Ch. 15, Ver. 171. Varanasi: Choukhambha Surbharti Prakashan; 2016.  Back to cited text no. 10
    
11.
Acharya YT, editor. Charak Samhita of Agnivesha, Sutra Sthana. Ch. 25, Ver. 40. Varanasi: Choukhambha Surbharti Prakashan; 2016.  Back to cited text no. 11
    
12.
Acharya YT, editor. Charak Samhita of Agnivesha, Sutra Sthana. Ch. 27, Ver. 4. Varanasi: Choukhambha Surbharti Prakashan; 2016.  Back to cited text no. 12
    
13.
Acharya YT, editor. Charak Samhita of Agnivesha, Viman Sthana. Ch. 1, Ver. 18. Varanasi: Choukhambha Surbharti Prakashan; 2016.  Back to cited text no. 13
    
14.
Acharya YT, editor. Chakrapani on Charak Samhita Samhita of Agnivesha, Sutrasthan. Ch. 5, Ver. 12. Varanasi: Choukhambha Surbharti Prakashan; 2016.  Back to cited text no. 14
    
15.
Acharya YT, editor. Charak Samhita of Agnivesha, Sutra Sthana. Ch. 17, Ver. 32. Varanasi: Choukhambha Surbharti Prakashan; 2016.  Back to cited text no. 15
    
16.
Acharya YT, editor. Charak Samhita of Agnivesha, Sutra Sthana. Ch. 17, Ver. 80. Varanasi: Choukhambha Surbharti Prakashan; 2016.  Back to cited text no. 16
    
17.
Acharya YT, editor. Charak Samhita of Agnivesha, Chikitsa Sthana. Ch. 13, Ver. 100. Varanasi: Choukhambha Surbharti Prakashan; 2016.  Back to cited text no. 17
    
18.
Acharya YT, editor. Charak Samhita of Agnivesha, Chikitsa Sthana. Ch. 25, Ver. 97. Varanasi: Choukhambha Surbharti Prakashan; 2016.  Back to cited text no. 18
    
19.
Acharya YT, editor. Charak Samhita of Agnivesha, Chikitsa Sthana. Ch. 29, Ver. 49. Varanasi: Choukhambha Surbharti Prakashan; 2016.  Back to cited text no. 19
    
20.
Acharya YT, editor. Charak Samhita of Agnivesha, Chikitsa Sthana. Ch. 16., Ver. 7. Varanasi: Choukhambha Surbharti Prakashan; 2016.  Back to cited text no. 20
    
21.
Acharya YT, editor. Charak Samhita of Agnivesha, Sutra Sthana. Ch. 24, Ver. 5. Varanasi: Choukhambha Surbharti Prakashan; 2016.  Back to cited text no. 21
    
22.
Guideline: sodium intake for adults and children. Available from: https://www.who.int/publications/i/item/9789241504836. [Last accessed on April 6, 2022].  Back to cited text no. 22
    
23.
Radzeviciene L, Ostrauskas R Adding salt to meals as a risk factor of type 2 diabetes mellitus: A case–control study. Nutrients 2017;9:67. doi: 10.3390/nu9010067.  Back to cited text no. 23
    
24.
Aithal GP, Palaniyappan N, China S, Macken L, Ryan JM, et al. Guidelines on the management of ascites in cirrhosis Gut 2021;70:9-29. Available from: https://gut.bmj.com/content/70/1/9.citation-tools [Last accessed on April 6, 2022].  Back to cited text no. 24
    
25.
Al-Solaiman Y, Jesri A, Zhao Y, Morrow JD, Egan BM Low-sodium DASH reduces oxidative stress and improves vascular function in salt-sensitive humans. J Hum Hypertens 2009;23:826-35.  Back to cited text no. 25
    



 
 
    Tables

  [Table 1], [Table 2], [Table 3], [Table 4], [Table 5], [Table 6], [Table 7], [Table 8], [Table 9]



 

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