Rasāyana is defined as a therapeutic measure which promotes the longevity, prevents aging, provides positive health and mental faculties, increases memory, and impart resistance and immunity against diseases. This treatment is best suited to the patients of middle age group and its timely use may prevent the decadence process. However there are examples of the ṚṣiCyavana whose age worn physique was converted into youthful by the use of Rasāyana.
The literary meaning of ‘Rasāyana’ is ‘obtaining the optimum nourishment to the Dhātu’. Thus the Rasāyana is a branch of Āyurvedic medicine which improves the fundamental tissues like Dhātu, Agni, Srotas etc. of human body leading to prevention of aging, improvement in bodily strength and mental faculties, and resistance against diseases.
Rasāyana therapy may be administered after admitting the patient in the hospital (KuṭīPrāveśika) or as out door patient (Vātātapika), but former is considered better. For the best results it is necessary to undertake Śodhana therapy (Pañcakarma) before giving the Rasāyana drugs.
Taking different views described by Āyurvedic texts, Rasāyana may broadly be classified into four groups viz. KāmyaRasāyana, NaimittikaRasāyana, MedhyaRasāyana and ĀcāraRasāyana.
1. KāmyaRasāyana: The drugs which improve the health and vigour of a healthy person are known as KāmyaRasāyana. Cyavanaprāśa is commonly used for this purpose.
2. NaimittikaRasāyana: The drugs used to increase the strength of diseased person are known as NaimittikaRasāyana. It may be used as an adjunct to the specific medical treatment of a particular disease, so that the patient may be cured earlier.
3. MedhyaRasāyana: All the Rasāyana drugs also improve the mental faculties in addition to their beneficial effects on the body, but the MedhyaRasāyana are those drugs which have specific effect on mental performance. Śaṅkhapuṣpī, Brāhmī, Vacā etc. belong to this group.
4. ĀcāraRasāyana: The established rules of conduct, practice, usage, precept are also considered as means of Rasāyana, which are known as ĀcāraRasāyana. Truth and fair speaking, cleanliness, understanding, balanced walking and sleeping, following the rules of climate, season and dosage, wholesome eating, almsgiving, spiritual temperament, nonviolence, avoiding of anger and over strain, restraining from alcohol, sex and hurting to others etc. are considered as ĀcāraRasāyana. The man who follows these rules lives long and requires no Rasāyana drugs.
The single drugs, simple preparations and compound preparations commonly used for Rasāyana are as follows:
Single Drugs and Simple preparations:
1. Juice (Svarasa) of whole plant of Bhṛṅgarāja – 14 to 28 ml. to be taken twice a day for one month. During this therapy patient should take only milk as his diet.
2. Take powdered fruit rind of 2 Vibhītaka (belericmyrobalan) before meal, 4 Āmalakī (embolic myrobalan) after meal and of 1 Harītakī (chebulicmyrobalan) after 2 to 4 hours of meal with ghee and honey, regularly for one year.
3. Juice (Svarasa) of Maṇḍūkaparṇī – 7 to 14 ml. or powdered root of Madhuyaṣṭi – 1 to 2 g. or Juice of Guḍūcī – 7 to 14 ml. or Kalka (paste) of whole plant of Śaṅkhapuṣpī – 12 g. to be taken with milk twice a day.
4. Powdered root of Aśvagandhā (winter cherry) – 1 to 3 g. or powdered fruit of Pippalī (long pepper) – 1 g. to be taken with honey followed by 100 to 250 ml. milk.
5. TriphalāCūrṇa – 3 to 6 g. to be taken with 100 to 250 ml. milk or 4 to 6 g. honey twice a day.
6. ĀmalakīRasāyana – 1 to 3 g. to be taken with milk twice a day. It is specially useful for peptic ulcer.
7. ŚuddhaGuggulu – 1 to 2 g. to be taken with water twice a day.
1. Cyavanaprāśa: 12 to 24 g. to be taken with 100 to 250 ml. milk thrice a day. It is useful in chronic cough and tuberculosis, and to increase the weight.
2. BrāhmīGhṛta: 12 to 24 g. to be taken with 100 to 250 ml. milk twice a day.
3. ŚatāvarīGhṛta: 12 to 24 g. to be taken with honey followed by 100 to 250 ml. milk twice a day.
4. Vasanta-Kusumākara: 60 to 120 mg. to be taken with honey follwed by 100 to 250 ml. milk twice a day.
5. Mahā-Lakṣmī-Vilāsa Rasa: 60 to 120 mg. to be taken with honey thrice a day.
6. Makara-Dhvaja: 30 to 60 mg. to be taken with honey thrice a day.
7. DhātriRasāyana: 12 to 24 g. to be taken with 100 to 250 ml. milk thrice a day.
8. Amṛtaprāśa: 12 to 24 g. to be taken with 100 to 250 ml. milk thrice a day. It is useful for increasing the weight.
9. Agastya-Harītakī 12 to 24 g. to be taken with 100 to 250 ml. milk thrice a day. It is useful for decreasing the weight of fatty persons.
10. AbhrakaBhasma: 60 to 120 mg. to be taken with honey followed by 100 to 250 ml. milk.
11. PūrṇaCandra Rasa: 60 to 120 mg. to be taken with honey followed by 100 to 250 ml. milk.