One of the important branches in Ayurvedic medicine, Rasa Shastra also referred to as the science of mercury, is a specialized division of Ayurveda, that deals in understanding and studying certain minerals that could be safely used for the body in form of medication.
Mineral and metal-based medicinal preparations are described under this branch. Rasa Shastra is dominated primarily by mercury processing techniques thus, the word Rasa has been considered a synonym for mercury. Apart from mercury, minerals and metals such as gold, silver, copper, tin, lead and iron have also been extensively described in Rasa Shastra.
As we know that most herbs and plants can be used on the human body without making them go through extensive transition, but minerals and metals require specific preparation processes as their natural form can be harmful to the human body. Used extensively in the Ayurvedic literature, Loha Bhasma is one such complex mineral preparation made of iron which is a crucial element for the human body. Nano iron particles of this transition metal are used for curing diseases such as anaemia, liver disorders, worm infestation, chronic skin ailments, irregular fat metabolism, rhinitis, and chronic heart diseases.
Metallic Composition Of Loha Bhasma
Preparation of Loha Bhasma involves purification, filtering, heating, coating, triturating, washing, and powdering. Kanta Loha is mostly used as the main iron source for the Loha Bhasma preparation process. While it is considered one of the best materials for the preparation of Loha Bhasma but due to lack of its availability, a metallic iron sample of teekshana laura is alternatively used. Iron sources in raw form contain minuscule amounts of some other metals, and the presence of these metals can cause harmful effects on the human body.
Therefore, Ayurvedic medicine preparations follow shodhana or purification techniques to eliminate or decrease the number of disease-causing metals. The pharmaceutical processing of Lauha Bhasma is performed by following samanya shodhana, vishesha shodhana, and Marana. Under the process of Marana, three specific pharmaceutical techniques that are bhanupaka, sthalipaka, and putapaka are conducted.
How To Make Loha Bhasma?
Add 800 ml of cow urine to 100 grams of water
Boil and reduce it to 200 ml
Filter the solution
Use the dense decoction to further grind purified iron for 21 days
Prepare disc-shaped cakes and shift them into a closed airtight container
Hear the iron cakes at about 800 degrees centigrade for 4 to 6 hours
Take out, and again ground it with the decoction for one more day and reheated one more time in an airtight zone
Repeat the process for 21 days to obtain the Loha Bhasma
Loha Bhasma is supposed to have the following medicinal traits:
- Saram: Promotes bowel movement
- Vayasam: Possesses anti-ageing properties
- Chakhushyam: Promotes eye health
- Lekhanam: It has a scraping effect on the body and thus is very useful against cardiac disorders
- Kustham: Treats skin anomalies
- Sulam: Cures severe colic abdominal pains
Effect On Doshas
Loha Bhasma is tikta (bitter), kashaya (astringent), and madhura (sweet) in taste. The key qualities are sita (cool), Ruksha (dry), and Guru which implies that it is heavy to digest and undergoes a long metabolism process. Due to its Vatala effect, it increases the Vata dosha in the body but effectively pacifies Pitta dosha.
Health Benefits Of Loha Bhasma
Loha Bhasma is loaded with the following health and wellness benefits:
When the number of healthy red blood cells or haemoglobin in your blood starts to get low and the oxygen-carrying capacity of blood gets reduced, this condition is referred to as anaemia. As per Ayurveda, Anaemia, also known as Pandu, occurs due to an imbalanced Pitta dosha. Loha Bhasma is a rich source of natural iron that helps to restore haemoglobin levels in the body.
Fights Weakness Due To Bleeding Anomalies
A feeling of body fatigue or tiredness usually happens when the body is deprived of energy. Fatigue is also known as Klama in Ayurveda and is caused due to an imbalance of Kapha dosha and a deficiency of essential minerals in the body primarily iron. Loha Bhasma helps provide the essential levels of iron thus reducing the symptoms of weakness.
Treats Male Sexual Dysfunction
Sexual or erectile dysfunction in men can be in the form of loss of libido, low erection time, or premature ejaculation. Owing to its Vrishya or aphrodisiac property, Loha Bhasma helps to correct male sexual dysfunction besides improving stamina and increasing semen production.
Due to mild infection or chronic health conditions, certain types of fever can last up to 14 days. As per Ayurveda, two main factors lead to high fever, the first being Ama or toxic remains in the body due to improper digestion and the second is an unwanted or foreign particle invading the body. Due to its Javarghana or potential antipyretic property, Loha Bhasma helps in reducing severe types of fever.
Prevents Liver Enlargement
Hepatomegaly is an enlarged liver, which means the liver gets swollen beyond its usual size. Often a sign of a serious health concern, it needs to be treated at the earliest. Loha Bhasma has a haematinic effect on the liver since it contains iron elements leading to better assimilation of food, aiding better liver functions, and promoting the overall health of the liver.
Heals Hiatus Hernia
This is a health condition when part of the stomach bulges up into the chest, through the large muscle separating the abdomen and chest. Possible causes are obesity, pregnancy, older age, and injury. Loha Bhasma contains elemental micro fine iron particles prepared by calcination that help fight this ailment effectively.
The effective dosage of Loha Bhasma may vary from person to person depending upon the age and health condition of the person. It is strongly recommended to consult an ayurvedic practitioner who can evaluate and advise accordingly. Generally, 100 to 200 gms of Loha Bhasma powder can be taken twice a day or as directed by the physician with black pepper, ginger, honey, turmeric, and ghee.
Loha Bhasma generally does not have any side effects when taken in the recommended proportions. However, side effects of Loha Bhasma in certain cases constipation may occur in weak or ill people. A rare case of diarrhoea or black stool may be seen in some cases. Some people may also feel nauseated after consuming Loha Bhasma.