Journal of Drug Research in Ayurvedic Sciences

: 2022  |  Volume : 7  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 84--86

Niche areas of drug research in Ayurveda providing insights for strengthening operational insufficiencies in drug development

Rabinarayan Acharya 
 Editor-in-Chief, Journal of Drug Research in Ayurvedic Sciences, Central Council for Research in Ayurvedic Sciences (CCRAS), Ministry of Ayush, Government of India, New Delhi, India

Correspondence Address:
prof. Rabinarayan Acharya
Director General, Central Council for Research in Ayurvedic Sciences (CCRAS), Ministry of Ayush, Government of India, Janakpuri, New Delhi

How to cite this article:
Acharya R. Niche areas of drug research in Ayurveda providing insights for strengthening operational insufficiencies in drug development.J Drug Res Ayurvedic Sci 2022;7:84-86

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Acharya R. Niche areas of drug research in Ayurveda providing insights for strengthening operational insufficiencies in drug development. J Drug Res Ayurvedic Sci [serial online] 2022 [cited 2022 Dec 7 ];7:84-86
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Recent evolutions in science and technology have led to encouraging prospects for undertaking interdisciplinary studies in various areas of medical science. Many integrative efforts have also been taken for exploring the fundamental principles of Ayurveda on crude drug authentication, mechanism of drug action, and etiological pathways that thereby pave way for successful healthcare delivery. However, there are certain niche areas in Ayurveda related to drug development that if addressed can strengthen the operational insufficiencies experienced in the basic quality of crude drugs and their pharmaceutical processing.

The strength and effectiveness of Ayurvedic management exclusively depend on the quality of medicine and prescription method. The Ayurvedic Pharmacopoeia of India (API) is the official book of standards describing the quality, purity, and strength of the single drugs and Ayurveda formulations manufactured, distributed, and sold by the licensed manufacturers. Ayurvedic Formulary of India (AFI) guides the details recommended for specific processing of individual ingredients in the formulations.

The basis of traditional medicine prescriptions is the genuine drug source. The significance of authentic drugs has been highlighted in Kalpasthana by Acharya Charaka. It has been mentioned that to have a potent drug/formulation; it is of utmost necessity to be vigilant with Desha (habitat), Kala (season and maturity period), Guna (properties), and Bhajana (processing area).[1] The quality of medicinal plants collected from the Himalaya region (comprising north and northeastern Himalayan ranges) is better than the Vindhya region (Satpura range).[2] It is also mentioned that the roots of Ushna virya dravya (drugs with hot potency) must be collected in Grishma ritu (summer season) and Sheeta virya dravya (dugs with cold potency) in Shishira ritu (autumn season).[3]

Seers have quoted specific collection and processing methods for certain medicinal plant parts viz. fruit of Madanaphala-Catunaregam spinosa (Thunb.) Tirveng. used for inducing emesis, fruit pulp of Bilwa-Aegle marmelos (L.) Corrêa), and root of Danti- Baliospermum solanifolium (Burm.) Suresh) and fruit pulp of Aragvadha-Cassia fistula L. follicles,[4],[5] which are strongly associated with the potency of that specific drug. The frequently used drugs such as Amalaki-Phyllanthus emblica L., Haritaki- Terminalia chebula Retz., Pippali-Piper longum L., Shunthi- Zingiber officinale Roscoe, Yashtimadhu-Glycyrrhiza glabra L., and Maricha- Piper nigrum L. have also certain norms for their usage in classics. Certain drugs such as root of Vacha-Acorus calamus L., Ashwagandha-Withania somnifera (L.) Dunal, Ikshaku-Lagenaria siceraria (Molina) Standl., and Trivrut-Operculina turpethum (L.) Silva Manso have been advocated to be collected as per lunar cycles.[6] Despite their extensive usage by pharma companies, a standard operating procedure for their collection, processing, and preservation is still lacking. Thus, adequate efficacy is not achieved in the clinical outcomes by using formulations of such drugs. This is due to the deficient research in these areas that otherwise play an essential role in process quality control (IPQC).

In addition to these, there are many claims by traditional Vaidya regarding specific uses of a processed single drug. However, these were published in reputed editions of old journals, and their particular issues (visesanka), for example, Vanaushadhi Ratnakar and Dhanawantari visheshanka need to be scientifically validated.

There are some unique claims of potentiation of single drug after being levigated by its own Swarasa (juice) for different time. Like in Amalaki rasayana, Amalaki churna to be levigated for seven times and Vidari churna to be levigated for seven times.[7],[8]

In some Shodhana (purification), standardization of specific duration and time of levigation, for example, Chitraka with Churnodaka (lime water), Langali with Gomutra (cow urine), which is not noted, also needs to be addressed.

Moreover, there is a need for validated techniques abiding by the classics in order to ensure their sustainable source. There are no standards available for frequently used drugs from animal sources such as Panchagavya (all five products from cow) and different types of honey. There is a need for the preparation of standards for commonly used drugs during various pharmaceutical procedures such as Gomaya swarasa (water extract from cow dung) and Churnodaka (lime water), which should be uniform globally. Meticulous approaches adhering to classical literature with short pilot research strategies in this line can surely provide answers.

Apart from drugs, various classics also describe various dosage forms such as Swarasa, Kalka, and Kwatha, which are integral to the processing of various compound formulations for trituration/dipping/quenching.[9] All these need apt and uniform Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs). There are various other dietary recipes[10] viz. Mantha, Yusha, Yavagu, Peya, Kanji, and Kshirapaka, which still remain undermined on a global platform due to lack of validatory research using salient analytical techniques.

There are various processed forms of single herbs commonly used in Ayurveda practice and preparation of compound formulations, such as various Kshara (e.g., Yava kshara, Apamarga kshara, Chincha kshara, Gunja kshara and Snuhi kshara), Sattva (e.g., Guduchi sattva).[11] However, still, there is a lack of all-inclusive validated information for processing such dosage forms. Ayurveda manufacturing industries, while preparing these on a large scale, are often facing exasperation during dealing. SOP of some common media such as Tankana jala (borax water) in Somala shodhana (purification of arsenic trioxide), Gulab arka (distilled rose water) in Mukta shodhana (purification of pearls), and quantity of Ghrita (cow ghee) in Gandhaka shodhana (purification of sulfur) is still to be answered.

The issue related to the unique concept of Shodhana (purificatory/processing measures) for rendering poisonous herbs and the safety of metal and mineral-based formulations for therapeutic usage[12] is one of the most notorious concerns of the present day. Therefore, there is a need for comprehensive uniform, scientifically validated information on the processing and techniques of Shodhana.

While seeking the answer to these issues, it is commonly observed that such kinds of studies are reported merely in the thesis/dissertation work of PG/PhD scholars of Ayurveda. Many of these works are not published in quality journals may be due to nonadherences to quality research design and proper validated protocols. Some may have prepared SOPs but compilation and documentation of these procedures and extrapolation of these procedures for large-scale preparations is not available.

The fraternity of Ayurveda involved in academic research needs to concentrate on such emerging areas. Scholars of academic and research institutes can be encouraged with short-term research programs based on these emerging themes in collaboration with various funding agencies with monitoring of a task force. Sincere and unanimous effort to explore, validate, and standardize these areas would surely aid in reconfiguration opportunities for establishing a proper pharmaceutical supply chain model, which is the need of the hour.

Financial support and sponsorship

Not applicable.

Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.


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