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Srnivasulu B, A Concept of Sodhana (Purification) w.s.r to Parada (Mercury)

Research article

A concept of Sodhana (Purification) w.s.r. to Parada (Mercury)

Srinivasulu Bandari*, Bhadra Dev P1, Murthy P H C2

1. Professor & Head, 2. Gazetted-Lecturer,

Dept. of Rasa-Shastra, Dr.N.R.S.Govt. Ayurvedic College, Vijayawada, Andhra Pradesh.

Sodhana (Purification) is an important and principal pharmaceutical procedure for
removing the impurities before the conversion of metals and minerals into Bhasma. There are
different procedures like Svedana (vapouring), Mardana (grinding), Prakshalana
(performing frequent ablutions), Galana (straining fluids), Avapa (substances are added into
the liquefied metals), Nirvapa (metals are burnt to red hot and dipped in liquids), Bhavana
(maceration), Bharjana (frying in pan) etc. specific process are described for the Sodhana of
different metals and minerals.
Sodhana of Parada (Mercury) was done in the specific mediums i.e. equal quantity of
Nagavalli svarasa, Ardraka svarasa and Trikshara (Sarja, Yava, Tankana). Atomic
Absorption Spectrometry study reveals that the higher levels of various elements and heavy
metals are found in the Parada after the purification when compared with the Sodhana
process. The raw Parada contains of Iron (4.7800), Copper (4.5840), Zinc (1.2280), Silver
(0.304), Tin (3.7560), Cadmium (2.0534), Lead (2.3400), Arsenic (2.6500) elements in ppm
levels before the purification. After the purification the analysis with AAS the results of
elememts are Iron (2.5760), Copper (2.6520), Zinc (0.2800), Silver (0.044), Tin (1.6090),
Cadmium (0.1330), Lead (0.9036), Arsenic (1.0146) ppm levels.
This process adopted by the thesis work of Pharmaceutical Standardization of
Panchavaktra Ras And Clinical Study In Amavata (Rheumatoid Arthritis) done by dr. B.
Srinivasulu, Post Graduate Department of Rasashastra, Dr. Nori Rama Shastry Government
Ayurvedic College, Vijayawada-2, Andhra Pradesh.

Keywords: Sodhana, Parada, Nagavalli svarasa, Ardraka svarasa, Trikshara, Purification,

Atomic Absorption Spectrometry.

Introduction: drugs originated mainly from metals and

Ayurveda, the immortal science of minerals after going through systemic
life is practiced in the Asian subcontinent procedure of Sodhana (purification) and
since Vedic period have given vital Marana (incineration/calcification).
importance to the practice of metal and Altered politico-socioeconomic
mineral based therapies, includes use of compulsions made the development in
Rasasastra consistent for centuries and
* Corresponding Author: thousands of formulations were formulated
Dr. Bandari Srinivasulu for the demanding society.
Senior Research Fellow (Ayurveda) Drugs used in Ayurveda broadly
National institute of Indian Medical classified into three categories, viz., (a)
Heritage, Osmania Medical College Vegetable products, (b) Animal products,
building, Putlibowli, Hyderabad and (c) Metals and Minerals. In the Vedic
E.mail: literature and in Ayurvedic classics mostly
Ph.No: 09347000599 vegetable drugs were prescribed for the

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ISSN: 0976-5921
International Journal of Ayurvedic Medicine, 2011, 2(3), 119-127

treatment of different categories of purpose several methods for processing of

ailments. Very few animal products and metals and minerals have been prescribed.
still fewer metals and minerals were Depending upon the nature of the metal
described in those texts. Metals described and the disease for which they are meant
in these works include Iron, Copper, Gold, to be used, the specific process for
Lead, Tin, Silver and Copper pyrite. purification vary from one metal to the
Metals for internal use were processed by another and the process is repeated for
impregnating with different kinds of several times.
decoctions as well as the juice of herbs,
and thereafter, by drying in sun or shade. Concept of Sodhana (Purification):
These metals were then reduced to a fine The process of eliminating the
powder form by grinding in a mortar and impurities of the metallic substances by
pestle, and administered to the patient means of Svedana (vapouring), Mardana
either alone or in combination with several (grinding), Prakshalana (performing
other drugs. Making a Bhasma or alkaline frequent ablutions), Galana (straining
calcined powder of these metals was not fluids), Avapa (substances are added into
very popular among the physicians of the liquefied metals), Nirvapa (metals are
those days. (1) burnt to red hot and dipped in liquids),
The literal meaning of the term Bhavana (maceration), Bharjana (frying in
Sodhana is the purification. The term pan) etc. specific process and techniques
used particularly for Sodhana or with the help of specifically mentioned
processing of mercury is Samskara. Aushadha dravya (plant juices or animal
Caraka has explained Samskara as products), is known as Sodhana (3).
Gunantaradhana (2). During the process
of samskara or Sodhana, the metal or Types of sodhana:
mineral acquires a different property Sodhana process is subdivided into two
which is useful therapeutically and which major categories: (4)
overcomes original harmful effects of the (1) Samanya sodhana (General
metal. purification) (5):
It is used as universal procedure for
Purpose of processing: sodhana of all drugs of a particular group,
During the classical age, metals in other words these drugs should be
and minerals were impregnated with purified individually through the same
decoctions, juices of various types of procedure. e.g., samanya sodhana of
vegetable drugs and then reduced to a state metals and minerals.
of fine particle by grinding process. If
these are used in raw form or even in (2) Visesha sodhana (Specific
unprocessed powder form, they will not be purification):
digested, absorbed, metabolized and It is used as specific procedure for
assimilated to the tissue cells of the body. particular drug material individually. This
Thus, they will be therapeutically process should be useful after Samanya
ineffective. On the other hand, these sodhana. e.g., Loha (iron) Sodhana
heterogeneous drugs are likely to produce processed with Triphala decoction. (6)
serious toxic effect in the body. To make
them non-toxic, to make them easily Changes during Sodhana process:
digestible and absorbable, to make them Physical changes:
suitable for metabolic changes and (a) Elimination of physical impurities:
assimilable by the tissue cells, and to make The contamination is often natural
them therapeutically potent, for this and it takes place in the mines or some

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ISSN: 0976-5921
Srnivasulu B, A Concept of Sodhana (Purification) w.s.r to Parada (Mercury)

material is available in combination with Biological changes:

other ones. e.g., kampilla A Physico-chemical change of the
(mallotus philippensis LAM.) is separated material helps to increase its biological
from brick powder (7); Guggulu availability, means to potentiate its
(Commiphora mukul Engl.), Silajatu is biological efficacy on the human body.
separated from insoluble physical Reduction in particle size helps in
impurities. (8) absorption, smoothness leads to non-
(b) Reduction in hardness: irritability, chemical changes make the
By repeated heating and material homologous to the tissue cells, the
quenching, hardness of the metals and toxicity is reduced and acceptability to the
minerals become brittle and makes them cells is increased.
suitable for Marana procedure. (9) The Jaipala seeds (Croton tiglium
(c) Increase brittleness: Linn.) do posses the property of producing
By repeated heating and quenching spasm in intestine, after purification with
in liquid media, cracks are seen on the lemon juice which possess antispasmodic
surface of metals and minerals and become property. (13)
brittle. e.g., Abhraka (mica) flakes and Anjana (stibnite) purified in juice
Loha are burnt on fire and dipped in of Bhrngaraja (Eclipta alba (L) Hassk.) is
Triphala decoction for seven times, by this proved non-toxic to eyes in experimenting
the flakes of Abhraka and Loha become animals.
soft, brittle and minute and can be made Sodhita Vatsanabha (Aconitum
into Bhasma easily. (10) chasmanthum Stapf.) when purified in
cows urine is converted into cardiac
Chemical change: stimulant, where as crude Vatsanabha is
(a) Elimination of chemical impurities: claimed to be cardiac depressant. (14)
In the mines, metals are available The seeds of Kucala (Strychnos
in combination with other metals and nuxvomica Linn.) purified in cows milk
found as metallic ores or compounds. show CNS depressant activity,
During Sodhana of Makshika (Copper pentabarbitone hypnosis potentiation,
pyrites- CuFeS2) impurities like arsenic get inhibited morphine induced catalepsy and
eliminated by the heating. least toxicity in mice, albino rats and
chicks. (15)
(b) Formation of chemical compounds:
Loha (iron) when heated up to red Role of media:
hot, reacts with atmospheric oxygen to Liquid medium facilitates easy and
form ferric oxide (Fe2O3), which possesses smooth grinding, it eliminates the problem
therapeutic potentials. Similarly when of dust. In this process during grinding, the
Makshika is fried, Sulphur is eliminated minute particles of the material come in
(11), iron and copper converts into oxide. contact with the liquid. Pellets are
prepared after proper levigation, and hence
(c) Change into desired compound: it can be utilized for further processing.
During Bharjana of Tankana Liquid impregnate its active principles to
(Borax- Na2B4O7 10H2O) the chemical the material and make the material
compound of borax changes into Na2B4O7 organic. Liquid medium acts as a binding
5H2O (12) and Kamkshi (alum- k2Al3 agent, due to its binding property it is easy
(SiO3) 24H2O) water portion is evaporated to prepare pills in case of Kharaliya
and desired chemical compound is preparations.

Published online in
ISSN: 0976-5921
International Journal of Ayurvedic Medicine, 2011, 2(3), 119-127

Purification of Parada (16): Procedure:

Genuine raw drugs are selected 1. Parada is taken with Nagavalli
only after proper purification. Many svarasa, Ardraka svarasa and
methods of Sodhana are prescribed in our Trikshara in a clean khalva yantra.
texts, but the method, which is easy, 2. The above said materials are
effective and practicable is followed here. rubbed in Khalva yantra for eight
When the processing methodology is hours per day for three days.
completed, then the purified drugs are fit 3. The obtained material is washed
for internal administrations. and pours out with the help of
lukewarm water for several times
Materials: (Figures 1-7) until we get clean and clear
1. Parada (percury) Parada.
2. Nagavalli svarasa (Juice of betel leaf) Observations (Table 1):
3. Ardraka svarasa (Ginger juice) 1. In the process of Mardana, the Parada
4. Yava kshara in liquid form is separated. Initially it
5. Sarja kshara appears like small, shiny pearl like
6. Tankana kshara (borax) substance and when it is grinded for
few hours it is converted into a fine
Equipments: paste.
Khalva yantra, Vessels, Mixer, Precautions:
Lukewarm water. 1. Utmost care is taken during mardana
so as to prevent the spilling of Parada.

Table1: Observations during Parada sodhana

S.N Details Experiment-1 Experiment-2 Experiment-3
1. Quantity of raw Parada 250 gm 250 gm 250 gm
2. Betel leaves 100 gm 100 gm 100 gm
3. Nagavalli svarasa 50 ml 50 ml 50 ml
4. Ginger 100 gm 100 gm 100 gm
5. Ardhraka svarasa 50 ml 50 ml 50 ml
6. Trikshara (each of 50 gm) 150 gm 150 gm 150 gm
7. pH value this mixture 10 10 10
8. Obtained Sodhita parada 235 gm 230 gm 235 gm
9. Difference 15 gm (loss) 20 gm (loss) 15 gm (loss)
10. Total duration 24 hrs 24 hrs 24 hrs
11. Total expenditure 350 Rs 350 Rs 350Rs
12. Date of commencement 30-10-2006 17-02-2007 14-01-2008
13. Date of completion 02-11-2006 20-02-2007 17-01-2008

Quantitative chemical analysis of raw sent to the laboratory to find the amount of
Parada and Sodhitha Parada: elements in ppm level.
The final drug was prepared three
times, for the therapeutic purpose. Same Aim:
purification method was followed in these To analyze the pure and impure
3 batches of drugs. For the analytical mercury by using AAS technique
purpose, only first sample of Parada was

Published online in
ISSN: 0976-5921
Srnivasulu B, A Concept of Sodhana (Purification) w.s.r to Parada (Mercury)

To determine the impurities present Methodology for Metal Analysis:

in the mercury and rule out the quantity of a. Sample collection:
these impurities. The dried drugs samples are then
grounded and powdered in an agate pestle
Instrument: Atomic Absorption and mortar. Samples are labelled and
Spectrometry (17): stored in pre-cleaned polyethylene bottles
Atomic absorption spectrometry for further analysis.
(AAS) is an analytical technique that
measures the concentrations of elements. b. Reagents and apparatus:
Atomic absorption is so sensitive that it All the reagents such as HNO3,
can measure parts per billion of a gram (g HCl, H2O2, Sodium Borohydride (NaBH4),
dm3) in a sample. The technique makes Sodium Hydroxide (NaOH) etc. are
use of the wavelengths of light specifically purchased from MERCK. Millipore water
absorbed by an element. They correspond is used for all analytical works. All the
to the energies needed to promote digestion vessels, Polyethylene bottles
electrons from one energy level to another (sample container) Micro Pipette tips and
higher energy level. others are washed with 10 % HCl, rinsed
with de-ionized water before preparing
Principle: standards, reagents and samples.
Atomic absorption is the process
that occurs when a ground state atom c. Digestion of samples (Sample
absorbs energy in the form of light of a Preparation):
specific wavelength and is elevated to an A Multiwave 3000 Micro oven
excited state. The amount of light energy system (from Anton paar, USA) with 16
absorbed at this wavelength will increase position teflon vessels with capping was
as the number of atoms of the selected used for digestion process. The digestion
element in the light path increases. The vessels are provided with a controlled
relationship between the amount of light pressure, temperature and release valve.
absorbed and the concentration of analysis Before use, all Teflon vessels are soaked
present in known standards can be used to with 10% HNO3. The system is initially
determine unknown sample concentration programmed by giving gradual rise of
by measuring the amount of light they 20%, 40%, and 50% power for 5, 15 and
absorb. 20 minutes, respectively for the due
The absorption of light is warming up. The powder samples are
proportional to the concentration of free being used without any further treatment
atoms in the flame. It is given by Lambert- for sample preparation. 0.2 gm of sample
beer law. is weighed into the Teflon vessels,
Absorbance (A) = log10 I0/It = k.c.l followed by digestion mixture of HNO3,
Where, HCl & H2O2 in the ratio of 3:1:1 according
I0 = intensity of incident radiation to the nature of samples is being applied.
emitted by the light source The resulting solution after
It = intensity of transmitted radiation microwave digestion is filtered through
c = concentration of sample (free atoms) whatman # 40 filter paper (if necessary)
k = consent and diluted to 50 ml with Millipore water.
l = path length A sample blank containing only acid
mixture is prepared at the same time. The
method of standard addition is generally
adapted to calibrate the instrument before
going for the observation of the samples.

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ISSN: 0976-5921
International Journal of Ayurvedic Medicine, 2011, 2(3), 119-127

Determination of Metals: subjected to analysis of Sn, Fe, Cu, Zn Cd,

All the atomic measurements are Pb, As etc by flame/Graphite furnace with
carried out with Perkin Elmer model specific instrumental conditions as given
400/HGA900/AS800 coupled with by instruments manufacturer. Introduce
Mercury Hydride System-15 (MHS-15). the solution into flame, record the reading,
Electrode-less Discharge Lamp (EDL) for using the mean of the three readings. The
Cd, Pb, Hg & As and Hollow Cathode quantity of the concentration of the
Lamp for Sn Fe, Cu, Zn etc analysis are respective metal is provided after verifying
used as a light source to provide specific the programmed calibration of the reading
wavelength of the elements to be with the standard calibration curve of the
determined and high purity (99.999 %) respective element obtained from
Acetylene is used to provide constant Concentration vs. Absorbance of the
thermal energy for atomization process. prepared known concentration on the day
Argon gas is used as carrier gas for of the analysis.
purging purposes of Graphite furnace to
the analysis of As and Hg by Mercury Hg analysis by Cold Vapour Method
Hydride System (MHS-15). using Mercury Hydride System (MHS-
15): After calibrating the instrument with
Calibration of instruments: prepared working standard, the 10 ml of
More than three working standard digested liquid sample is pipetted out to a
solutions of the respective element to be specific container of Mercury Hydride
determined have to be prepared. Before the system analyzer followed by adding 10 ml
analysis of samples, the instrument is 1.5 % of HCl as diluent for each flask and
calibrated with prepared working standard blank, 3 % of NaBH4 solution in 1 % of
solution. The calibration curve is obtained NaOH in reaction flask. The digested
for concentration vs. absorbance data by sample is run through the reaction flask to
statically analyzed mode. Calibration of quartz cell. It is done without any heating.
the instrument is repeated periodically As there is a standard curve already
during operations and blanks are carried calibrated in the programmed, the values
with each set of 10 samples or aspirate any are printed out after calibrating with the
one of the prepared working standards for standard curve obtained from
every 10 samples to check the instrument concentration vs absorbance of the
drift and to validate analytical procedures prepared known concentration on the day
and performance. Reagent blank reading is of the analysis.
taken and necessary correction is made
during the calculation of concentration of Interferences and matrix modification:
various elements. Other chemicals that are present in
Standard Certified Reference the sample may affect the atomization
(SRM) of National Institute of Standard process. For example, in flame atomic
and Technology (NIST) is used for day-to- absorption, phosphate ions may react with
day evaluation of methods of analysis or calcium ions to form calcium
test and for long-term quality assurance of pyrophosphate. This does not dissociate in
measurements. the flame and therefore results in a low
reading for calcium. This problem is
Sn, Fe, Cu, Zn, Cd, Pb, As etc., analysis avoided by adding different reagents to the
by Flame AAS/Graphite furnace: sample that may react with the phosphate
After calibrating the instrument to give a more volatile compound that is
with prepared working standard, the dissociated easily. Lanthanum nitrate
digested liquid sample solution is solution is added to samples containing

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ISSN: 0976-5921
Srnivasulu B, A Concept of Sodhana (Purification) w.s.r to Parada (Mercury)

calcium to tie up the phosphate and to substance in the sample to make it more
allow the calcium to be atomized, making volatile than the analyzed compound. This
the calcium absorbance independent of the volatile component vaporizes at a
amount of phosphate. With electro thermal relatively low temperature and is removed
atomization, chemical modifiers can be during the low and medium temperature
added which react with an interfering stages of electro thermal atomization.

Table 2. Showing the analysis of Mercury before and after purification

Sample Name Impure Mercury Pure Mercury
Iron (ppm) 4.7800 2.5760
Copper (ppm) 4.5840 2.6520
Zinc (ppm) 1.2280 0.2800
Silver (ppm) 0.304 0.044
Tin (ppm) 3.7560 1.6090
Cadmium (ppm) 2.0534 0.1330
Lead (ppm) 2.3400 0.9036
Arsenic (ppm) 2.6500 1.0146

Conclusion: help of AAS analysis, the results of

In the text of Rasasastra, there are elements are Iron (2.5760), Copper
many purification methods for metals and (2.6520), Zinc (0.2800), Silver (0.044),
minerals. Depending on the toxicity few Tin (1.6090), Cadmium (0.1330), Lead
are purified with the general purification (0.9036), Arsenic (1.0146) ppm levels.
methods and some with specific methods. Hence by above mentioned purification
By the purification physical and chemical method, the ppm levels of the elements are
impurities are removed, and hence metals greatly reduced.
are free from toxicity and metals become Therefore the purification done by
suitable for the further procedures like the above method is best and out come of
Marana. mercury was used for the medicinal
Parada is available in liquid state purpose without any drawbacks. After
and it can absorb the metals and minerals purification of metals and minerals must
easily. For the purification of parada many be used for the further procedures without
methods are adopted in the rasa text, but in delay, especially mercury, as it can absorb
the rasataragini the method adopted by the other elements from the air.
which the equal parts of Parada, Nagavalli
svarasa, Ardraka svarasa and Trikshara Reference:
are ground together in the Khalva yantra 1. Alchemy and Metallic Medicines in
for eight hours per day for three days. Ayurveda by Vaidya Bhagwandash,
Afterwards it is washed with lukewarm published by Concept Publishing
water for several times to obtain purified Company, New Delhi. Reprint: 2003;
Parada. By this method purified Parada ISBN: 81-7022-077-7; Page no: 17
was analyzed by the Atomic Absorption 2. Charaka Samhita by Ram Karan
Spectrometry (AAS). Sharma & Vaidya Bhagwan Dash,
The raw Parada contains of Iron published by Chowkambha Sanskrit
(4.7800), Copper (4.5840), Zinc (1.2280), Series office, Varanasi. Reprint: 2009;
Silver (0.304), Tin (3.7560), Cadmium ISBN: 81-7080-013-7; Vol- II; Page
(2.0534), Lead (2.3400), Arsenic (2.6500) no: 124
elements in ppm levels before the 3. Rasa Tarangini by Pranacharya Sri
purification. After the purification with the Sadananda Sharma edited by Pandita

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ISSN: 0976-5921
International Journal of Ayurvedic Medicine, 2011, 2(3), 119-127

Kashinath Shastry published by 12. Pharmaceutical Standardization Of

Motilal Banarasidas, New Delhi. Panchavaktra Ras And Clinical Study
Reprint: 2004; ISBN: 81-208-2542-X; In Amavata (Rheumatoid Arthritis)
Page no: 22 thesis done by dr. B. Srinivasulu, Post
4. A text Book of Rasashastra by Dr. Graduate Department of Rasashastra,
Vilas A. Dole & Dr. Prakash Paranjpe Dr. Nori Rama Shastry Government
published by Chaukhamba Sanskrit Ayurvedic College, Vijayawada-2,
Pratishthan , Delhi Reprint: 2006; Andhra Pradesh
ISBN: 81-7084-229-0; Page no: 272 13. A text Book of Rasashastra by Dr.
5. Rasaratna samuchchaya by Dr. A. D. Vilas A. Dole & Dr. Prakash Paranjpe
Satpute, published by Chaukhamba published by Chaukhamba Sanskrit
Sanskrit pratishthan, Delhi. Reprint: Pratishthan , Delhi Reprint: 2006;
2006; ISBN: 81-7084-206-2; Page ISBN: 81-7084-229-0; Page no: 85
no:110 14. Sarkar P K, Shubha, Prajapati P K.,
6. A text Book of Rasashastra by Dr. Importance of media in shodhana of
Vilas A. Dole & Dr. Prakash Paranjpe vatsanabha, AYU 2009; 20:01:52-56.
published by Chaukhamba Sanskrit 15. Sarkar P K, Chaudhary A. K, Role of
Pratishthan , Delhi Reprint: 2006; milk in shodhan (Detoxification) with
ISBN: 81-7084-229-0; Page no: 273 special reference to Nux Vomica.
7. Rasashastra the Mercurial System by Aryavaidyan 2007; XX: 100-104
P. Himasagara Chandra Murthy, 16. Rasa Tarangini by Pranacharya Sri
Published by Chowkhamba Sanskrit Sadananda Sharma edited by Pandita
Series Office, Varanasi. 1st Edition Kashinath Shastry published by
2008; ISBN:978-81-7080-276-8; Page Motilal Banarasidas, New Delhi.
no: 285 Reprint: 2004; ISBN: 81-208-2542-X;
8. Ibid; Page no: 235 Page no: 81
9. A text Book of Rasashastra by Dr. 17. Analysis, 2000, 28, 850 -854. EDP
Vilas A. Dole & Dr. Prakash Paranjpe Sciences, Wiley VCH 2000;
published by Chaukhamba Sanskrit Analytical Sciences April 2000 Vol.16,
Pratishthan , Delhi Reprint: 2006; The Japan Society for Analytical
ISBN: 81-7084-229-0; Page no: 85 Chemistry; The Sciences, (2); 74-77
10. Ibid Page no: 184 & 303 March-April 2001
11. Ibid Page no: 193

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Srnivasulu B, A Concept of Sodhana (Purification) w.s.r to Parada (Mercury)

odhana dravya of Parada:

Figure 1: Parada Figure 2: Sarja kshara

Figure 3: Yava kshara Figure 4: Tankana kshara

Figure 5: Nagavalli leafs Figure 6: Nagavalli svarasa

Figure 7: Ardraka Figure 8: Ardraka svarasa