Asavas and Arishtas

Asavas and Arishtas
General Description:
Ësavas and Arishtas are medicinal preparations made by soaking the drugs, either in coarse
powder form or in the form of decoction (Kashaya), in a solution of sugar or jaggery, as the case may be,
for a specified period of time, during which it undergoes a process of fermentation generating alcohol,
thus facilitating the extraction of the active principles contained in the drugs. The alcohol, so generated,
also serves as a preservative.
The drugs mentioned in the texts are coarsely  powdered and Kashaya is prepared. The
Kashaya is strained and kept in the fermentation vessel. Sugar, jaggery or honey*, according to the
formula, is dissolved, boiled, filtered and added. Drugs mentioned as PrakÀepa Dravyas are finely
powdered and added. At the end, Dhatakipushpa, if included in the formula, should be properly cleaned
and added. The mouth of the vessel is sealed. The container is kept either in a special room
(Alternatively, in an underground cellar or in a heap of paddy, so as to ensure that for the duration of
fermentation, as far as possible, a constant temperatures may impede or accelerate the fermentation).
After the specified period, the lid is removed, and the contents examined to ascertain whether the
process of fermentation (Sandh¡na) has been completed. The fluid is first decanted and then strained
after two or three days. When the fine suspended particles settle down, it is strained again and bottled.
The required quantity of water, to which jaggery or sugar as prescribed in the formula is added,
is boiled and cooled. This is poured into the fermentation pot, vessel or barrel. Fine powders of the
drugs mentioned in the formula are added. The container is covered with a lid and the edges are sealed
with clay-smeared cloth wound in seven consecutive layers. The rest of the process is as in the case of
If the fermentation is to be carried in an earthen vessel, it should not be new. Water should be
boiled first in the vessel. Absolute cleanliness is required during the process. Each time, the inner
surface of the fermentation vessel should be fumigated with Pippal¢ C£r¸a and smeared with ghee
before the liquids poured into it (in large scale manufacture, wooden-vats, porcelain-jars or metal
vessels are used in place of earthen vessels.).
The filtered Ësava or Arishta should be clear without froth at the top. It should not become sour
(Cukra). The preparation has the characteristics of aromatic alcoholic odour.
Asavas and Arishtas can be kept indefinitely. They should be kept in well-stoppered bottles or
* Honey, where mentioned, should be added as such without being dissolved or boiled.

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