DEFINITION

अल्पस्यापि महार्तव्यं प्रभूतस्याल्प कर्मताम् । कुर्यात् संयोग विश्लेष काल संस्कार युक्तिभिः ।। (Cha. Si. 12)

A Yoga or a formulation is the one that is formulated for the purpose of enhancing the required property of an ingredient along with the control or suppression of the property that is not necessary or may cause harm to the user. The formulation is thus done after careful deliberations of the Kala (time factor includes the collection of the raw material, condition of the raw material, stage of the disease and the time as such) and the Samskara (Various processing of the materials and the method of preparation) as per the intelligence of the physician.

An Ayurvedic formulation can be defined as the one based plants, animal extracts and minerals both in single ingredient drugs and compound formulations that are either mentioned in various literatures belonging to Ayurveda or those formulated by the physicians or scientists who belong to Ayurvedic science. Although, Ayurveda doesn’t rule out any substance from being used as a potential source of medicine, it is estimated that there is around 1000 single drug formulations and 8000 compound formulations that are in vogue.

All the main classical works on Ayurveda, such as Caraka Samhita, Sushruta Samhita, Astanga Sangraha, Astanga Hridaya, etc. deal with drugs, their composition and action in addition to the other aspects of the medical system. These texts not only mention the compound formulations but also single drug formulations.

It is to be observed that the writers and propagators of these texts were mainly Ayurvedic practitioners of their time or belonging to their genealogy. As a result there was successful identification, preparation and proper utilization of the drugs either in their single or compound form. But during the recent period of modernization of India, the changes that have resulted in the social and economic conditions have led to the growth of urbanization and rapid deforestation. As a result, the Ayurvedic physicians took to cities and lost their contact with the forests and drug sources. Thus, the Ayurvedic practitioner could no longer process and prepare his own medicines as in the past, but had to depend on others to cater his need. It is due to this developed conditions and newer socio – economic set up that resulted in the rise of Ayurvedic Drug Manufacturing Industry. This gave birth to crude drug supplying agencies and commercial manufacture of Ayurvedic medicines. This gave rise to a new segment of market which needed the supply of prepared Ayurvedic medicines and in the same way a new set of industry which dealt with the drug manufacturing sector for Ayurveda.

CLASSIFICATION OF AYURVEDIC FORMULATION

Classification of Ayurvedic medicines can be done based on various criteria like those mentioned in the classical texts or with references in the texts of Ayurveda or based on different pharmaceutical preparations or dosage forms. Due to the advent of new technologies there is also a new set of formulations that give a new dimension or dosage form. The details of the same are as below:

EXPLANATION OF VARIOUS CATEGORIES

On through study of various available references the Ayurvedic drugs can be classified into 2 types namely

  1. Single Drug preparations
  2. Compound Drug preparations

Single Drug Preparations The single drug preparations consists of only one drug which are of either Herbal or Animal or Mineral in origin. These can be sub-classified into 3 types namely,

  1. Classical formulations – Classical Formulations of Single drugs are those which are mentioned in the authentic texts of Ayurveda which are enlisted in the Drugs and Cosmetic Act of 1940. These formulations use only one drug and are prepared with reference to the texts. These kinds of formulations are rarely observed as marketed products in the country. But it is one of the common advices that an Ayurvedic Physician gives during the time of consultation to his patients which are again based on experience and knowledge that he possess. There are many formulations other than those texts mentioned in the Schedule of the act that are produced by some physicians either themselves or by contract manufacturing. 
  2. Folklore formulations – Folklore Formulations of Single drugs are those which are generally not mentioned in any of the texts but are basically practiced on the basis of the knowledge and experience that a folklore practitioner who is an unqualified physician and doesn’t belong to the science of Ayurveda.These formulations are more prevalent in the rural areas than in the urban region. Hence marketing of such preparations is purely by those individuals who have experienced the effects of the formulation.
  3. Extracts of Single herbs – Extracts of Single herbs is the newest development in the area of herbal drug manufacturing. Here extracts are obtained from complete crude drug and are believed to have a similar or even more effect with respect to crude drugs. The extraction procedure is more sophisticated and is not performed by any physician himself. The procedure of extraction is generally patented by the manufacturer and hence an extract, even though may be of the same drug, but the method is generally believed to be different.

Thus, the advancement being a recent in the period of development, it needs to have a greater marketing strategy and promotions for the acceptance of the same by the society.

Compound Drug Preparations – A compound drug preparation is considered as that class of Ayurvedic drugs which consist of 2 or more drugs in the formulation. These formulations are classified into 3 types

  1. Classical Drug preparations – The classical drug compound preparations are those which are mentioned in the authentic texts of Ayurveda which are enlisted in the Drugs and Cosmetic Act of 1940. The preparations so mentioned were originally prepared by the physicians of Ayurveda to treat their patients earlier as a practice, but have been stopped by those of modern times due to lack of facilities, drugs, transportation, etc. These kinds of formulations are rarely observed as marketed products in the country. But it is one of the common advices that an Ayurvedic Physician gives during the time of consultation to his patients which are again based on experience and knowledge that he possess. The compound formulations that are mentioned in the texts other than those enlisted in the ACT are also practiced by physicians which are mainly produced by them for the use of their own patients. 
  2. Folklore Drug preparations – Folklore preparations are those which are mixtures of herbal or mineral drugs’ Bhasmas which are not mentioned in any texts but have been used generally by the practitioner merely by experience and preaches that had been given to him by his predecessors. These formulations are more prevalent in the rural areas than in the urban region. Hence marketing of such preparations is purely by those individuals who have experienced the effects of the formulation.
  3. Patent Drug preparations – Patent drug preparations are a set of combination of herbal, mineral or both drugs which are developed by the respective manufacturing companies after a thorough Research and testing. They have been said to have established by a scientific process but have not been in any way mentioned in any classical texts. These may also be those preparations which have been rampantly used in folklore practice and has been established with a strong scientific background.

Thus, the advancement being a recent in the period of development, it needs to have a greater marketing strategy and promotions for the acceptance of the same by the society.

These various preparations either single or compound formulations of all the groups are in different pharmaceutical forms. These Pharmaceutical forms that are explained classically are as given below:

  1. Asava and Arista – Asavas and Aristas are medicinal preparations made by soaking the drugs either in powder form or in the form of decoction, 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.
  2. Arka – Arka is a liquid preparation obtained by distillation of certain liquids or of drugs soaked in water using the Arkayantra or any convenient modern distillation apparatus.
  3. Avaleha and Paka – Avalehya or Lehya is a semi-solid preparation of drugs, prepared with the addition of jaggery, sugar or sugar-candy and boiled with prescribed drug juice or decoction.
  4. Kwatha Churna – Coarse powder of certain drugs or combination of certain drugs which are kept ready for the preparation of kwatha or decoction are known as Kwatha chruna.
  5. Guggulu – Guggulu are the exudates obtained from a plant Commophora mukul Preparations having this exudate as a main ingredient are known as Guggulu.
  6. Ghrita – Ghritas are preparations in which ghee is boiled with prescribed Kashayas (decoction) and Kalkas (Pastes) of drugs according to the formula. This process ensures absorption of the active therapeutic principles of the ingredients used. In other words, these are preparations which have ghee as base. The source of ghee is also according to the formula, but generally Goghrita (Ghee prepared from cow’s milk) is used in majority of preparations.
  7. Churna – Churna is a fine powder of drugs or a single drug.
  8. Taila – Tailas are preparations in which oil is boiled with prescribed Kashayas (decoction) and Kalkas (Pastes) of drugs according to the formula. This process ensures absorption of the active therapeutic principles of the ingredients used. In other words, these are preparations which have oil as base. The source of oil is also according to the formula, but generally Tila Taila (Sesamum oil) is used in majority of preparations.
  9. Dravaka – Dravakas are liquid preparations obtained from Lavanas (Salts) and Ksharas (Alkalies) by the process of distillation.
  10. Kshara – Ksharas are alkaline substances obtained from the ash of herbal drugs.
  11. Lepa – Medications in the form of a paste used for external applications are called as Lepas. These are generally fine powders of the ingredients of the formulation which are packed together and are supposed to be mixed with the liquid specified by the physician.
  12. Vati and Gutika – Medicines prepared in the form of tablets or pills are known as Vati and Gutika. These are made of one or more drugs of plant, animal or mineral origin or a mixture of them.
  13. Vartti, Netrabindu and Anjana – Medicines used externally for the eye come under the category of Vartti (Eye wicks), Netrabindu (Eye Drops) and Anjana (Collyrium).
  14. Sattva – Sattva is a water extractable solid substance collected from a drug after a specific process.
  15. Kupipakva Rasayana – Drugs of mineral and metallic origin (Rasaushadhi) is well mixed together into a fine powder form and are placed in a glass flask and heated. The obtained medicinal preparation is known as Kupipakva Rasayana.
  16. Parpati – Parpati is a medicinal preparation which is in the form of flakes of the compound that are mentioned in the formulation. These preparations are herbo-mineral or mineral in combination.
  17. Pisti – Pistis are prepared by triturating the drug with the specified liquids and exposing to sun or moon light. They are termed as Anagnitapta Bhasma (Bhasma prepared without the medium of fire).
  18. Bhasma – Powder of a substance obtained by calcination is called Bhasma. It is applied to the metals and minerals and animal products which are by various specific special processes are calcinated in closed crucibles in muffle furnaces.
  19. Mandura – These are preparations containing Shodhita Mandura (Iron oxide) along with other drugs.
  20. Rasayoga – Preparations containing mineral drugs as main ingredients are called Rasayogas. They may be in pill form or in powder form.
  21. Lauha – Lauhas are preparations of Loha Bhasma (Iron incinerated powder) as main ingredient added to other drugs.

Other than these with the recent advancement in science and technology, there is induction of newer techniques and machineries giving rise to new forms of pharmaceutical preparations in the field of Ayurveda which are as explained below.

  1. Dusting Powders – These are meant for external application to the skin and are generally applied in a very fine state to avoid local irritation.
  2. Dentifrices – These are applied with the help of tooth brush for cleaning the surface of the teeth.
  3. Granules – These are the drugs which are mixed with sugar, flavouring agent and a granulating agent to prepare a coherent mass which is passed through a sieve to convert it into granules.
  4. Tablets – These are solid dosage forms of medicament or medicaments which are prepared by moulding or by compression.
  5. Capsules – The capsules are solid unit dosage form in which one or more medicaments and inert substances are enclosed within a small shell, generally prepared from a suitable form of gelatine.
  6. Syrups – Simple syrup is a saturated solution of sucrose in purified water. They are sweet viscous preparations.
  7. Elixirs – Elixirs are sweet aromatic preparations and are usually coloured.
  8. Linctuses – Linctuses are viscous liquid and oral preparations that are generally prescribed for the relief of cough.
  9. Liniments – Liniments are liquid and semi-liquid preparations meant for application to the skin.
  10. Lotions – Lotions are liquid preparations meant for external application without friction. They are applied on the skin with some absorbent materials like cotton.
  11. Sprays – Sprays are preparations of drugs in media which may be aqueous, alcoholic or glycerine.
  12. Emulsions – An emulsion is a biphasic liquid preparation containing two immiscible liquids, one of which is dispersed as minute globules into the other.
  13. Suspensions – The suspensions are the biphasic liquid dosage form of medicament in which finely divided solid particles are dispersed in a liquid or semisolid vehicle.
  14. Ointments – Ointments are semi-solid preparations meant for application to the skin or mucous membrane.
  15. Jellies – Jellies are transparent or translucent, non-greasy, semi-solid preparation mainly used for external application to the skin.