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 Table of Contents  
ORIGINAL ARTICLE
Year : 2021  |  Volume : 6  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 65-71

Quantification of mercury after Samanya Shodhana (purifying process): A preliminary analysis


Department of Rasa Shastra and Bhaishjya Kalpana Including Drug Research, ITRA, Jamnagar, Gujarat, India

Date of Submission30-Jul-2021
Date of Acceptance26-Aug-2021
Date of Web Publication19-Jan-2022

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Sonam Sagar Bhinde
Department of Rasa Shastra and Bhaishjya Kalpana Including Drug Research, ITRA, Jamnagar, Gujarat 361008.
India
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/jdras.jdras_36_21

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  Abstract 

BACKGROUND: Parada (mercury, Hg) is one of the important core ingredients in Rasa Aushadhi (metalo-mineral preparations). But owing to its origin, many metals and minerals are likely to be present in mercury as impurities. Direct use of such impure mercury may cause various types of complications, and hence preprocess of mercury is essential prior to its therapeutic use. Almost all classical texts related to Rasa Shastra (Ayurveda pharmaceutics for metalo-mineral preparations) have emphasized Parada Shodhana (purifying process of mercury) but with a variety of methods. These methods need to be revalidated with comprehensive methodology to develop its standard operative procedure (SOP), because standardization of the drugs is very crucial to ensure quality, efficacy, and reproducibility. Hence, to begin with, purifying process of mercury mentioned in Rasatarangini was adopted in the present research work. AIM AND OBJECTIVE: Present study aimed to develop pharmaceutical standardization of purifying process of mercury accomplished by quantification of mercury percentage through inductively coupled plasma atomic emission spectroscopy (ICP-AES). MATERIALS AND METHODS: purifying process of mercury was done in three batches with lime powder, garlic, and rock salt, as mentioned in Rasatarangini. ICP-AES was carried out on the samples of unprocessed mercury, mercury after processing with lime powder (intermediate stage), and processed mercury after processing with garlic and rock salt. RESULTS AND DISCUSSION: It was observed that processed mercury became bright silver in color and luster was increased in comparison to unprocessed mercury. The total average loss of mercury was 28.2%. ICP-AES analysis showed that the percentage of mercury decreased to 99.93% from 99.97%. CONCLUSION: Results of the present pharmaceutical process will help future researches to reproduce the same results and could be considered as SOP. Decrease in mercury % and introduction of arsenic and cadmium in the processed mercury indicate that trace elements of media are added in permissible quantity during this process.

Keywords: ICP-AES, Parada Shodhana, standardization


How to cite this article:
Bhinde SS, Patgiri BJ. Quantification of mercury after Samanya Shodhana (purifying process): A preliminary analysis. J Drug Res Ayurvedic Sci 2021;6:65-71

How to cite this URL:
Bhinde SS, Patgiri BJ. Quantification of mercury after Samanya Shodhana (purifying process): A preliminary analysis. J Drug Res Ayurvedic Sci [serial online] 2021 [cited 2022 Sep 27];6:65-71. Available from: http://www.jdrasccras.com/text.asp?2021/6/2/65/336032




  Introduction Top


Parada (mercury-Hg) is one of the important core ingredients in Rasa (metals and minerals) Aushadhi (medicine). Most of Rasa formulations have mercury as an important ingredient. It is evident that raw mercury has many toxic effects such as severe gastrointestinal irritations, peripheral circulatory collapse, metallic taste in mouth, excessive salivation, inflammation of gums, etc.[1] Hence, it is required to carry out proper processing of Shodhana (purifying process), Mardana (trituration), Marana (incineration), Jarana (polling), Murchchna (process to put in disease curing capacity), etc., with herbo-mineral drugs to receive its therapeutic benefits.[2]

Raw mercury contains various metals in different minute proportions depending on its origin. Though currently market available mercury might not contain impurity, it is still considered a toxic metal even in modern chemistry. Because of this, mercurial Ayurveda herbo-mineral preparations are gaining negative propaganda in population. But, the ancient seers were aware of this toxicity and hence mentioned the Shodhana (purifying process) to remove impurity and to diminish toxicity of the mercury through various procedures and materials.

Almost all classical texts related to Rasa Shastra (Ayurveda pharmaceutics for herbo-metalo-mineral preparations) have emphasized the purifying process of mercury with a variety of methods. All these methods need to be revalidated with comprehensive methodology to develop its standard operative procedure (SOP), because standardization of drugs is very crucial to ensure quality, efficacy, and reproducibility. Hence, to begin with, method for purifying process of mercury mentioned in Rasatarangini was adopted in the present research work.[3]

Previous researchers like Ninad et al. had worked on the same reference procedure but keeping the aim to determine the changes in Naga (lead, Pb), Banga (tin, Sn), and Tamra (copper, Cu) Dosha (impurity) during preprocess through XRF and AAS analysis. In that research, results of single batch were depicted. It was found that there was 31.34% loss of mercury after preprocess. Quantities of Pb, Cu, Mg, Ca, and Sr were decreased, whereas quantities of Si, S, K, Ti, Mn, and Fe were increased after preprocess. Hence, looking at this previous research, it is required to validate the process by performing preprocess in multiple batches and to track the changes in quantity of mercury after preprocess.

Aim and objective

The aim of this study was to develop pharmaceutical standards of processing of mercury accomplished by quantification of mercury percentage through inductively coupled plasma atomic emission spectroscopy (ICP-AES).


  Materials and Methods Top


Collection of raw materials

Unprocessed mercury was procured from Pharmacy, Gujarat Ayurved University, Jamnagar. Lime powder, garlic, and rock salt were procured from the local market of Jamnagar. All the raw drugs were authenticated at Pharmacognosy Lab, ITRA, Jamnagar.

Instrument specification

Mortar and pestle

A black stone mortar having 30″ longer diameter, 15″ shorter diameter, and 5.7″ depth was used. A black stone pastel having longer diameter of 16″ was used.

Cotton cloth

A white cotton cloth (muslin cloth) was used for the filtration process. The cloth was purchased from the local market of Jamnagar.

Purifying process of mercury

Step 1—By using lime powder (intermediary process)

1000 g of raw mercury was taken in a clean black stone mortar. Equal quantity of lime powder (1000 g) was added in small portions. The mixture was triturated for 24 h. The changes in the color and texture of the mixture were noted. The mixture was filtered through a thick (two-layered) cotton cloth. The solid lime was separated from the top of the cloth and was mixed with water and slowly stirred. This mixture was allowed to settle, so that mercury settles at the bottom. This portion of mercury was mixed with the main portion. Mercury was washed with lukewarm water (40oC) (3 × 4 L). This procedure was done in triplicates, and results were noted. Five grams of sample from the first batch was subjected for ICP-AES analysis.

Step 2—Purifying process of mercury using garlic bulbs and rock salt

Garlic cloves were separated from garlic bulbs (1000 g). The cloves weighed 750 g. The cloves were cleaned and peeled. Mercury (750 g), garlic bulbs (750 g), and rock salt (375 g) were taken in the mortar and triturated for 8 h. The color changes were recorded. Mercury obtained was washed with lukewarm water (40°C) (2 × 2 L) [Figure 1]. Mercury (Hg) was stored in a transparent glass bottle. Five grams of sample from the first batch was subjected for the ICP-AES analysis.
Figure 1: Process of ParadaShodhana

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ICP-AES analysis

ICP-AES is a useful method for quantifying the presence of a single metal or ratio of metals in a given sample through nanoparticle detection.[4] ICP-AES analysis was done at Sophisticated Analytical Instrument Facility (SAIF), IIT, Powai, Mumbai. It was carried out on the samples of unprocessed mercury (AP), lime powder processed mercury (LPP), and processed mercury (SP).


  Observation and Results Top


As a part of the intermediary process, mercury was triturated with lime powder in three batches. It was observed that lime powder spatters out by the motion of the pestle in the beginning hours. After 4 h of trituration, color of lime powder turned slightly grayish. After 8 h of trituration, lime powder became more grayish and mercury turns into smaller particles. After 15 h, mercury got mixed properly with lime and turned into very fine minuscule globules and hence hardly visible by the naked eye. The mixture became sticky with black colored with typical odor. It took 24 h of trituration to reach up to this stage. It was also observed that average 26% mercury was lost during this intermediate procedure [Table 1]. After completion of the intermediary process, LPP was subjected to the final process of preprocess, i.e., trituration with garlic and rock salt. In this process, 2.95% mercury was lost in addition to previous loss [Table 2]. Average 28.2% mercury loss was observed after completion of the preprocess [Table 3]. Initially, AP was silverish white, which turns to silver color after processed with lime powder. LPP was turned to bright silver after processed with garlic and rock salt. Luster of mercury also increased after preprocess [Table 4]. Initially, Hg % was 99.97 in AP, which was reduced to 99.95% and 99.93% in LPP and SP, respectively. Arsenic and cadmium were not present in AP sample, but they were introduced in LPP and SP, within the permissible limit according to Ayurveda Pharmacopeia of India (API) [Table 5].
Table 1: Results of Parada trituration with lime powder (intermediate process)

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Table 2: Results of Parada Shodhana with garlic paste and Saindhava

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Table 3: Results obtained after complete Shodhana of Parada

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Table 4: Physical property of Parada before, intermediate, and after Shodhana

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Table 5: ICP-AES analysis of Parada samples

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This Purifying process was also compared with other methods and other original studies available through internet search. PubMed and Google Scholar were searched with keywords “Parada Shodhana.” A total of three articles were found to have Purifying process of mercury as a main content [Table 6].
Table 6: Details of Parada loss during various methods of Parada Shodhana

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  Discussion Top


Shodhana (Purifying process) is the purification process which enhances physico-chemical properties by eliminating toxic materials and introducing required substances.[9],[10] In this process, metals/minerals are being mixed with predefined drugs with various predefined procedures. Trituration type of the Purifying process method reduces the particle size and hence enhances absorption too.[11]

In this study, mercury was purified by a method described by Rasatarangini using lime, garlic paste, and rock salt. It is a common classical process of Purifying process of mercury which has been used since ages, hence the process was adopted.

Trituration with lime may help remove the alkaline soluble impurities from mercury. After few hours of trituration, mercury lost its entirety due to the compound formation with lime and converted to gray-colored powder. After trituration, it was difficult to procure the whole amount of mercury by Vastra-Galana (straining through cotton cloth) as mentioned in classics. So it was washed with hot water to obtain more amount of mercury. Washing requires utmost care to avoid loss of mercury. Still after this intermediate process loss of mercury was 26%. This loss was observed despite utmost care taken during the procedure, and hence there is no apparent reason available for loss. Hence, it could be speculated that the loss in mercury could be because mercury was entrapped in the lime due to trituration. This entrapped mercury, which was very minute, might be washed away and lost, during the washing process. Garlic contains approximately 33 sulfur compounds such as aliin, allicin, ajoene, allylpropyl disulfide, diallyl trisulfide, sallylcysteine, vinyldithiines, S-allylmercaptocystein, and others. Allicin is responsible for garlic’s typical pungent smell. Allicin does not exist in garlic until it is crushed. Injury to the garlic bulb activates the enzyme allinase which metabolizes alliin to allicin.[12] Ajoene is the most active compound responsible for multiple bonding with mercury.[13] Hence in this study, media became blackish in color due to newly formed HgS compound.[14]

After completion of Purifying process of mercury, average 28.2% loss was observed by the researchers [Table 4].

Out of all the available original research related with Purifying process of mercury, lowest loss (3.15%) was found by Bachchao et al. in the process in which mercury was triturated with garlic only. About 6% loss was observed by Venkateshwar et al. in the process in which mercury was processed with turmeric (Curcuma longa L.) and aloe vera (Aloe vera (L.) Burm.f.) and recollected through Urdhva Patana Yantra. About 6% loss was also observed in the process in which mercury was processed with Nagavalli juice (Piper betle Linn.), ginger juice (Zingiber officinale Roscoe), and Trikshara by the same researcher. It is worth noticing that purifying process with Rasatarangini reference was carried out by two previous researchers in which Ninad et al. observed 31.34% loss, whereas Venkateshwar et al. found 16% only. The results of the present study (28.2% loss) are near to those of Ninad et al., and as the procedure was carried out in triplicates, this could be considered for standardization. Major difference in the loss of mercury in the results of Venkateshwar et al. is a matter of further evaluation [Table 6].

This loss of mercury could be understood by various Gati (mode of loss) of mercury described in classics. As mercury was triturated with lime powder, it formed very fine globules and scattered. When mercury was washed in water, some loss takes place as a part of Jalagati (loss through water). When mercury was triturated with lime, very fine particles of mercury were observed which may be scattered and lost as a part of Hansgati (loss due to spill out). Removal of impurities from the mercury imparts some amount of loss as a part of Malagati (loss due to removal of impurity). Heat is generated by the addition of water to lime and also due to the fiction during the trituration process. Due to this heat, mercury may be lost by imperceptible evaporation, as a part of Dhumagati (loss due to evaporation). Vessel to vessel transfer, washing, and handling also impart subtle loss, as a part of Jivagati (inevitable loss). Thus, these modes of loss might be responsible for the 28.2% loss in the present study.[15]

Unprocessed mercury (AP) was analyzed by ICP-AES and found to have 99.97% mercury, and metals such as arsenic, cadmium, and lead were not found. After purifying process quantity of mercury was decreased to 99.93%, and introduction of arsenic and cadmium was observed in trace amount. This may be due to this particular preprocess. Reduction in mercurial % and increase in arsenic cadmium quantity were gradual after intermediate and final processes. This indicates that both processes have imparted chemical changes in mercury.

Limitations of this study

This study has been carried out in a single setting with single source of research material. Environmental changes, cultivation (for garlic), and procurement (of mercury, lime, and rock salt) changes could change the results. Phytochemical analysis of media was not carried out in this study, which can also be performed by future researchers to understand the nature of chemical process.


  Conclusion Top


Results of the present pharmaceutical process will help future researches to reproduce the same results and could be considered as SOP. Minute decrease in mercury from 99.97% to 99.93% and introduction of arsenic and cadmium in the processed mercury indicate that trace elements of media are added in permissible quantity during this purifying process mentioned in Rasatarangini. This study also provides the information that it is not obligatory that preprocess increases the quantity of main component.

Acknowledgment

Authors would like to acknowledge the support of Dr. Galib, associate professor, All India Institute of Ayurveda, New Delhi in conceptualizing the work and framing the draft manuscript. Authors would also express their gratitude towards Dr. Sagar Bhinde, assistant professor, ITRA, Jamnagar, for continuous support in manuscript writing. Authors also would like to be thankful to Dr. Atul Dalvi and Dr. Yagnik Mundadiya, second year PG scholars, RSBK Department, ITRA, Jamnagar, for helping in pharmaceutical procedure.

Financial support and sponsorship

ITRA, Gujarat Ayurved University.

Conflicts of interest

Nil.



 
  References Top

1.
Satoskar RS, Bandarkar SD, Ainpure SS Pharmacology and Pharmacotherapeutics. Vol. I-II, Mumbai: Popular Prakashan; 1997. p. 974.  Back to cited text no. 1
    
2.
Kulkarni DA Rasaratna Samuchchaya of Shri Vagbhattacharya. New Delhi: Meharchand Laxmandas Publication; 1998. p. 4, 64, 68, 69.  Back to cited text no. 2
    
3.
Sadanana S Rasatarangini, Shastri Kashinath, Hindi Commentary. Delhi: Motilal Banarasi Das; 2000; Taranga 5/7.  Back to cited text no. 3
    
4.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Inductively_coupled_plasma_atomic_emission_spectroscopy (last accessed February 21, 2021 at 12:46 PM).  Back to cited text no. 4
    
5.
Anonymous. The Ayurvedic Pharmacopia of India, Part-2, Volume-1, Appendix 2.3, 1st ed. New Delhi: Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Department of AYUSH, Government of India; 2007. p. 147.  Back to cited text no. 5
    
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Parada Samhita Hindi Tikasahit, Khemrajshrikrushna Prakashan, Mumbai, March 2013 edition, 30th Chapter, Vol 1, p. 237.  Back to cited text no. 6
    
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Ayurveda Prakash of Madhava, edited by Gulrajsharma Mishra Chaukhamba Bharathi Academy, Varanasi. Reprint: 2007, p. 92.  Back to cited text no. 7
    
8.
Pranacharya Sri Sadananda Sharma. In: Shastry Pandita Kashinath, editor. Rasa Tarangini. New Delhi: Motilal Banarasidas. Reprint: 2004; p. 81.  Back to cited text no. 8
    
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Sadanand S. Rasa Tarangini Commented by Kashi Ram Shastri, Motilal Benarasi Das. 2000; p. 22.  Back to cited text no. 9
    
10.
Mehta N, Prajapati PK, Chaudary AK. Role of milk in Shodhana (detoxification) with special reference to Nuxvomica. Aryanaidyan2007;20:100-4.  Back to cited text no. 10
    
11.
Chaudhary A, Singh N Herbo mineral formulations (rasaoushadhies) of ayurveda an amazing inheritance of ayurvedic pharmaceutics. Anc Sci Life 2010;30:18-26.  Back to cited text no. 11
    
12.
Omar SH, Al-Wabel NA Organosulfur compounds and possible mechanism of garlic in cancer. Saudi Pharm J 2010;18:51-8.  Back to cited text no. 12
    
13.
Prasad P Lashuna Shoditha Parada: A process standardised lead molecule for a non-toxic mercurial therapeutic drug. Available from: http://rasaayurveda.blogspot.in. (last accessed February 21, 2021 at 1 PM).  Back to cited text no. 13
    
14.
Rajendra PM, Kavyashree BP, Harsha N Chemical evaluation of Shudha Gandhaka. World J Pharm Pharma Sci 2016;5:1335-9.  Back to cited text no. 14
    
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Sathe N, Punde A, Deshmukh A, Udeg S Development of SOP of Parad (Hg) Shodhan as per Rasatarangini. World J Pharm Sci 2017;6:1741-50.  Back to cited text no. 15
    


    Figures

  [Figure 1]
 
 
    Tables

  [Table 1], [Table 2], [Table 3], [Table 4], [Table 5], [Table 6]



 

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