Medicines are of many types like tablet, capsule, syrup, cream, ointment etc. But when we talk about Ayurvedic drugs/medicine the things come in mind of most of us are Chyawanprash, Choorna (powder), Kadha, Pudiya etc. with Imamdasta, mortar and pestle. We think the almost all of Ayurvedic medicine can be manufactured in these instruments only, but this is very much incorrect fact. In fact manufacturing of Ayurvedic drugs includes many processes; do you ever think in Ayurvedic pharmacies how these drugs are manufactured in hundreds or thousands of Kilograms. Let’s know it:
First of all I would like to tell you that in Ayurveda variety of drugs are manufactured like Choorna (powder), juices (Swarasa/Rasa), tablets, capsules, syrups, fermented formulations, Chyawanprash like formulations which are called Avaleha in Ayurveda, medicated ghee, medicated oils, medicated enema (Basti) etc. other than these in Ayurveda varies of metal and mineral are processed and made in some formulation called as Bhasma, Sindoora, Pottai, Parpati or Rasaushadhi. Now a days in Ayurveda creams, shampoo, balm, lotions, ointments, and liniments are very commonly manufactured in pharmacies. To manufacture all these drugs at some places traditional methods are followed, whereas at some places semi-automatic or fully automatic advanced machineries are used. Here now we will know one by one which machine is used to manufacture what type of drug.
While we use the Ayurveda term first medicine comes in our mind is powder. A common home used method of making powder is pounding the dry herb, filter it through cotton cloth and use. But in a pharmacy when a drug is manufactured a protocol, standard operating procedure (SOP) is followed. Raw materials, manufacturing process and prepared medicines are tested on various parameters. When a raw herb comes in, it is cleaned and quarantined first. If it is hard then it is cut into small pieces by using a machine named disintegrator; if the herb is soft then it is directly loaded to pulverizer and make in fine powder. For different purposes, particle size of powder may varies like if the powder will be used for Kwatha/Kadha then is should not be fine it should be coarsely powdered; if it is used for consumption then it should be fine, for these particle sized different sieves are placed in pulverizer. If two or more than two powders are to be mixed, mass mixers are used for it. These powders are then packed in air tight packets or containers.
Juices/ Rasa/ Swarasa
Now we will know how juices are prepared. Juice is called Swarasa or Rasa in Ayurveda terms. There are many kinds of juices like Amala juice, Aloe vera juice available in the market as we see very usually. Do you know how these are manufactured? We all know a fact that juice can be extract from fresh herbs only like fruits, vegetables, leaves etc. First of all herbs are collected, it can be either by self-collection or can be purchased from market and then washed and cleaned properly. After cleaning the herb according its nature, it is further processed like if it Aloe vera then its rind id removed first, if it is Amla then seed is removed first, it is done either manually or by some machines. These machine are designed as per function needed to be done. Now these pieces are expressed in juice extractor and juice is expressed out. Juice is filtered to make fibers out of it and stored in SS containers. It is further pasteurized to keep it free from microbial contaminations for this the juice is kept on some certain temperature for a certain time. After this if required sugar, stabilizers (chemicals which keep the juice stable for long time), acidity regulators, antioxidants, preservatives are added, so that it can be in acceptable condition for long time and at the same time to inhance taste and to make it healthy too. Now it is packed, it may be small single use packs or 1-2 liters packs from which you can consume 40-50 ml daily. As big packs are opened frequently and come in contact with environment more so it has more requirement to add preservatives. The packets which are consumed just after opening in as single time, requirement of adding preservatives may be less.
Asava- Arushtha/ fermented formulations
In Ayurveda alcohol containing medicines are also manufactured these are called Asava and Arishtha. Don’t be worried it’s neither any liquor nor any wine, whisky like thing added to any medicine. Herbs are so processed that alcohol is generated in itself and it is in very less and limited amount. Powder of herbs is added to water and processed further or sometimes extracts of herbs (Kadha) is prepared and further sugar, jiggery and boiled, then addition of honey and other herbs (where indicated) is done. This whole mixture is put into a vessel, sealed and kept untouched for a certain time. In this kettle the herbs get fermented slowly and alcohol is generated. After a certain time it is tested on various traditional and modern laboratory test methods. After completion of the process the liquid is decanted, filtered and packed. It is a potent medicinal form and used in some specific conditions. In pharmacies to manufacture Asava and Arishtha fermenters and big stainless steel containers are used; at some places traditional wooden containers are used. To make extract or Kadha traditions stoves (Bhatti) or jacketed vessels are used which heat through steam or hot oil got circulating in it. In testing of these formulations amount of alcohol generated is also tested very consciously.
Arka/ Hydro distillated formulations
In Ayurvedic science there is a different dosage from called Arka is used for most of aromatic herbs. Herbs, having aroma or active volatile matter are hot labile and also can’t be pounded too much, Arka is prepared from these herbs to use their beautiful properties. In Ayurveda Arka of many herbs like Mint, Sowa, Ajawain, Punarnava and sometimes more than one herbs at a single time are prepared and used in practice to handle various ailments like stomachache, vomiting, swelling etc. To prepare the Arka distillation method is used. Herb is packed in vessel with certain ratio of water, these vessel is connected with a pipe which is connected on other side to receiver container, and this pipe is covered within a pipe in which cold water circulates continuously. The herb containing vessel is heated gradually on mild temperature. Volatile matter of herbs and aqueous vapors circulates through pipe and get condensed in it and Arka is collected in receiving container. How much Arka will be extracted depends upon the amount of herb and water is taken. In pharmacies also the same method is used to prepare Arka. Large scale distillation assembly is set, it could be of stainless steel or glass, in which hundreds liters of material can be processed. Arka is then packed with/without addition of preservatives. Dose of Arka for consumption may vary from some drops to some milliliters.
Medicated ghee and oils:
Ghee (clarified butter) and oils are consumed in our daily life. In Ayurveda ghee and oils are cooked/processed with herbs to prepare medicated oils and ghee and used for internal consumptions, massages, Nasya (application of drug through nostrils), Basti (medicated enema). For manufacturing of Ayurvedic ghee, ghee obtained from cow milk is used whereas for medicated oils, sesame seed oil, coconut oil and at some places mustard oil is taken. These are cooked with paste (Kalka) and extracts (Kadha) of herbs. It is tested through traditional and modern testing methods that it is properly cooked or not. In pharmacies to manufacturing ghee or oils traditional stoves (Bhatti) or stem/oil jacketed SS vessels are used. When it is perfectly cooked it is filtered, kept for cooling uptoroom temperature and then packed.
Chyawanprash is probably most famous Ayurvedic product today. Medicines like Chyawanprash in Ayurveda comes under category of Avaleha. Juice/ extract (Kadha) is boiled with addition of sugar and jeggary and make it getting thicker up to a certain point. After that other drugs like powders of herbs or paste of herbs (in Chyawanprash), ghee, oil, honey etc. as per indicated in text. It is kept in consistency which can be easily consumed. To manufacture Avaleha in pharmacies jacketed vessels or a mawa making machine (a machine used to condense milk or making mawa/khoya) are used. Agitators are used to make uniform mixing of powders and other drug added after cooking. It should not be very thick or loose, consistency is an important character of Avaleha.
As the method mentioned in Avaleha if the juice or extract (Kadha) is cooked with sugar and made into thick liquid, then it will be Syrup, Syrup must have 2/3rd part (67%) as sugar. To prevent crystallization of sugar, to maintain the consistency and concentration, to prevent the growth of microbial contamination in it some chemicals are added in small quantities into it.
There are two types of tablets manufactured and used in practice of Ayurveda, one is simple tablets which we see usually another one is traditional Ayuredic tablets, prepared by traditional methods. The traditional Ayurvedic tablets are called Vati or Gutika.
To produce tablets, all the ingredients are made into fine powder first and mixed uniformly in mass mixer. Now dry or wet binder like gum, starch paste, ethyl cellulose etc. is added into it, which binds the ingredients. Now this paste is made into damp mass (dough). This mass is passed through sieves and converted into granules, these granules are then dried. Lubricants, preservatives, disintegrators, are added as per need and mixed well within these granules. These granules are punched into tablets by using tablet punching/tablet compression machine. These tablets are polished by using talcum powder in polishing pan that makes it in even surfaced tablets. After this if required coating of tablets is done in coating pan and then packed in blister/strip or bottles.
To manufacturing traditional Ayurvedic tablets “vati” first of all fine powders of ingredients are processed (levigation) in mortar or end runner with indicated extract or juice of herbs or water and made into dough mass. According to nature and quantities of ingredients, vati are made manually or this mass is made into granules. Layering of ingredients is done on the granules in polishing pan and Vati are prepared. Sometimes this mass is loaded to thread cutting machine and thick thread of mass are created, these thread further cut into small pieces in size of vati by using thread cutting machine and then made into round vati form in polishing pan. These vati are dried properly and packed.
In Ayurveda variety of minerals and metals are also processed and made into consumable medicines form which are known as Bhasma, Sindoora, Pottali, Parpati or Rasaushadhi, we will elaborate the same in some future blog.
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