Wednesday, June 10, 2009



Good mercury is said to be bright like the mid-day sun externally, and of a bluish tinge internally. Mercury of a yellowish-white, purple, or variegated colour should not be used in medicine. Mercury, as met with in commerce, contains several sorts of impurities, such as tin, lead, dirt, stone, etc. If administered in an impure state it is said to bring on a number of diseases; hence it is purified before use. Various processes for purifying mercury are described in books. At the present day the following is generally adopted by Kavirάjas. Mercury is first rubbed with brick-dust and garlic, then tied in four folds of cloth and boiled in water over a gentle fire for three-hours in an apparatus called Dolά yantra. When cool, it is washed in cold water and dried in the sun. Some practitioners use betle-leaves instead of garlic for rubbing the mercury with. Mercury obtained by sublimation of cinnabar is considered pure and preferred for internal use.1 Cinnabar is first rubbed with lemon juice for three hours, and then sublimed in the apparatus called Urddhapatana yantra. The mercury is deposited within the upper pot of the apparatus, in form of a blackish powder. This is scraped, rubbed with lemon-juice and boiled in water, when it is fit for use. A peculiar form of mercury called Shadguna bali jάrita rasa2 is thus prepared. A little sulphur is placed in an earthen pot, and over it some mercury. The pot is heated in a sand-bath, and, as the sulphur begins to melt, cautiously and gradually more of it is added to or placed over the mercury, altogether to the extent of six times the weight of the mercury. When the whole is melted like oil the pot should be quickly removed from the fire, and cooled till the mass is consolidated. It should then be broken, and the mercury extracted from within the mass. Mercury thus obtained is said to be superior to all other forms, but it is not much used at present.

The purified metal obtained by the processes above mentioned is employed for the preparation of mercurial compounds. Four preparations of mercury are described in books, namely, black, white, yellow, and red, called respectively, krishna, sveta, pita and rakta bhasrnas.

1. Krishna bhasma.
The black preparation is the black sulphide of mercury, made by rubbing together and dissolving over the fire three parts of mercury with one of sulphur.l

2. Rasakarpura. The white preparation is the Rasakarpara or perchloride of mercury. Several processes are given for preparing it; one is as follows.2 Take of mercury and chalk equal parts, and rub them together till the globules disappear. Rub this mixture of chalk and mercury with pάnsu (salt obtained from saline earth) and the juice of Euphorbia nereifolia (snuhi) repeatedly. Enclose in a covered crucible and heat it within a pot full of rock salt. The perchloride of mercury will be deposited in the shape of a pure white powder under the lid of the crucible. The Bhάvaprakάsa gives the following process for its preparation.3 Take of purified mercury, gairika (red-ochre),brick dust, chalk, alum,rock salt, earth from ant-hill, kshάri lavana (impure sulphate of soda) and bhanda-ranjaka, or red earth used in colouring pots, in equal parts, rub together and strain through cloth. Place the mixture in an earthen pot, cover it with another pot, face to face, and lute the two together with layers of clay and cloth. The pots so luted are then placed on fire, and heated for four days, after which they are opened, and the white camphor-like deposit in the upper pot is collected for use.

3. Pita bhasma. The yellow preparation called Pita bhasma1 is directed to be prepared as follows. Take of mercury and sulphur equal parts, rub them together for seven days with the juice of bhumyάmalaki (Phyllanthus neruri) and hastisundi (Heliotropium Indicum). Place the mixture in a covered crucible, and heat it in a sand-bath for twelve hours. The result will be a yellow compound.

4. Rakta bhasma. The red preparation called Rakta bhasma or Rasa sindura2 is prepared in a variety of ways- The following is one of them. Take of mercury and sulphur equal parts, rub together with the juice of the red buds of Ficus Bengalensis (vata) for three days successively, introduce the mixture within a bottle and heat it in a sand-bath for twelve hours. A red deposit will adhere below the neck of the bottle. It is taken out in the shape of dark red shining scales.

The four preparations of mercury above mentioned, though described in most works on metalic medicines, are not, practically used in the treatment of disease under these names. In the present day the yellow preparation is not in use. The white form called Rasaharpura is now prepared, not according to the processes described in Sanskrit works, but by subliming the black sulphide of mercury with common or rock salt. In this form it is largely manufactured and sold in all the bazars. The red preparation is better known as Rasa sindura; and the black one as Rasa parpati. In fact, practically, prepared mercury means the red preparation or Rasa sindura and this is the form in which it is largely used. Besides this, the black and red sulphides of mercury are also used internally. The black sulphide is prepared by rubbing together equal parts of sulphur and mercury till the globules disappear. It is called Kajjali.1 The red sulphide or cinnabar is called hingula. These four preparations, namely, cinnabar, the black sulphide called Kajjali, the red preparation called Rasasindura, and the Rasakarpura of the bazar, nre the four principal forms in which mercury is used in Hindu medicine; that is, they constitute the basis of all the formulas containing mercury.
Mercury is said to be imbued with the six tastes, and capable of removing derangements of all the humours. It is the first of alterative tonics. Combined with other appropriate medicines it cures all diseases, acts as a powerful tonic and improves the vision and complexion.
In fevers of all descriptions, mercury is extensively used in combination with aconite, croton seed, datura, and other medicines. The following are a few illustrations.
Hingulesvara. Take of cinnabar, aconite, and long pepper, equal parts, rub together in a mortar and make into pills about four grains each. They are given, beaten up with a little
honey, in ordinary remittent fever.1
Taruna jvarάri.2 Take of mercury, sulphur, aconite and croton seeds, equal parts, rub together with the juice of
Aloe Indica and make into four grain pills. These pills act on the bowels and relieve fever. They are administered with sugar and water.
In diarrhoea and dysentery, mercury is used in a great variety of forms. The following are a few examples.
Vajrakapάta rasa.3 Take of mercury, sulphur, opium, mocha-rasa, (gum of
Bombax Malabaricum), the three myrobalans, ginger, black pepper, and long pepper, in equal parts, powder and mix. Soak the powder in the juice of the leaves of Cannabis sativa (Vijaya) and Verbesina calendulacea {bhringaraja) seven times and make into six grain pills. This medicine is administered with honey in obstinate chronic diarrhoea. Dose grains four to twenty-four.
Rasa parpati4 This is prepared by melting together a mixture of equal parts of sulphur and mercury in an
iron ladle, smeared with ghee (clarified butter). The melted fluid is poured on a piece of plantain leaf, placed on a ball of cowdung. It is then pressed by another ball of cowdung, enclosed in plantain leaf. When cool, the black sulphide of mercury is obtained in the shape of round disks. It is much used alone, or with the addition of other medicines, in chronic diarrhoea. Other varieties of Parpati or mercurial preparations in shape of disks are prepared with the addition of iron, gold, copper etc, and used in this complaint, as for example, Svarna parpati, Panchάmrita parpati etc. The preparation of the former will be described under the head gold. The latter is thus prepared.
Panchάmrita parpati.1 Take of sulphur eight tolas, mercury four tolas, prepared iron two tolas, prepared
talc one tola, prepared copper half a tola. Rub together in an iron mortar, melt in an iron ladle and prepare disks like those of Rasa parpati, above described. Dose four grains with honey and ghee, to be gradually increased to sixteen or eighteen grains. Parpatis of different sorts when given in cases of diarrhoea with anasarca are conjoined with a milk diet, water and salt being prohibited.
Mahάgandha rasa.2 Take of mercury and sulphur each two tolas, and make a Parpati as before described. Take of nutmegs, mace, cloves, and nim leaves, each two tolas, powder them well, mix together, and inclose the mixture within bi-valve shells. Cover the shells with a layer of clay and roast in fire. When cool, extract the medicine from the shells. It is administered in doses of abont four grains in the acute diarrhoea of children.
Pάndusudana rasa.1 In jaundice, mercury is used along with other alteratives and purgatives, as in the following, called Pandusudana rasa. Take of mercury, sulphur, prepared copper, croton seeds and bdellium, equal parts, rub them together with ghee and make into two-grain pills. They are given with the juice of nim bark and honey in jaundice. Acids and cold water for drinking should be avoided.

In affections of the lungs mercury is used in a variety of combinations. The following are a few illustrations.
Rasendra gudikά.2 Take of purified mercury two tolas. Add to it one tola of the juice of jayanti leaves (Sesbania AEgyptica) and of fresh ginger, rub together till the mixture thickens, then soak it in the juice of Jussicea repens (kanchata) and
Solanum Indicum (vrihati) respectively for twenty-four hours. Take of purified sulphur eight tolas and soak in the juice of Verbesina calendulacea (bhringarάja). When dry, mix the sulphur with the mercury, and rub together with sixteen tolas of goat-milk till the mass is fit for being made into pills. Dose about four grains, to be taken with goat-milk and juice of ginger. This pill is useful in bronchitis and cough generally.
Rajamrigάnka rasa.3 Take of Rasa sindura three parts, prepared gold and copper one part each, realgar, orpiment and sulphur two parts each and mix. Introduce the mixture into the cavities of couries, close their openings with borax reduced to a paste with goat-milk, roast the shells in closed crucibles and take out the medicine when cold. Dose about four grains, with two grains of long and two of black pepper, honey and clarified butter. It is said to be useful in phthisis, and chronic bronchitis with fever.
In diseases of the nervous system, several combinations of
mercury with gold, iron, talc, etc. are used, such as, the Chaturmukha rasa, Chintάmani chaturmukha, Yogendra rasa etc. They are all similar in composition, with but slight variation in the proportions of the active ingredients and their adjuncts.
Chintάmani chaturmukha1 is thus prepared. Take of the red preparation of mercury called Rasa sindura two tolas, prepared talc two tolas, prepared iron one tola, prepared gold half a tola, rub them together with the juice of
Aloe Indica and make into two-grain pills. This medicine is said to be useful in nervous diseases, insanity, cephalalgia, deafness, noise in the ears, paralysis of the tongue, diseases of the female and urinary organs, phthisis, fever etc. It improves nutrition, increases the appetite and strength, and brightens the complexion.
As an alterative tonic the red preparation of mercury, or Rasa-sindura already described, is much used in a variety of diseases.
Two other forms of this medicine in common use are called Shad-guna balijάrita rasa sindura and Svarna sindura respectively.
Shadguna balijάrita rasa sindura is thus prepared. Take of mercury and sulphur equal parts, and prepare Rasa sindura as already described by sublimation in a glass bottle. On the second day, mix this Rasa sindura with an equal quantity of sulphur and again sublime the compound. Repeat the process in this way, six times. This preparation is considered superior to the ordinary Rasa sindura.
Svarna sindura1 is thus prepared. Take of fine leaf gold one tola, purified mercury eight tolas, mix together by rubbing in a mortar, add twelve tolas of sulphur and again rub together, till the mass is of a dark colour. Sublime in a glass bottle on the sand-bath. The three forms of Rasa sindura above mentioned are said to cure all sorts of diseases, but are particularly used in chronic fever, catarrh and cough of children, mental and bodily debility, anaemia etc.
Mercury is used in syphilis both externally and internally. Syphilis and its treatment by mercury are described only in recent compilations, such as the Bhavaprakasa. The following are a few illustrations of its use in this disease.
Saptasάli vati.2 Take of mercury and catechu each half a tola, pellitory root one tola, honey one and a half tola. Rub together till the globules of mercury disappear, and divide into seven pills or boluses. One pill is administered every morning with water in primary syphilis. Acids and salt should not be taken after the use of this medicine.
Rasa karpura1 or corrosive sublimate as sold in the bazars is recommended to be given in a single dose of eight grains. The medicine is enclosed in a ball of wheat-flour and covered with powdered cloves. It is swallowed with water so as not to touch the teeth. Salts and acids are forbidden to be taken after the use of this medicine. As the Rasa karpura of the bazars is not a pure perchloride of mercury, but is a mixture of calomel and corrosive sublimate in indefinite proportions, the patient sometimes escapes after this dose. When, however, it contains more of corrosive sublimate than of calomel, intense salivation, gastritis and even death may result. When such doses of poisonous remedies are recommended in standard works it is no wonder that we should occasionally come across cases of dreadful salivation, induced by native treatment. The circumstance of wheat-flour being used as a covering to the poison may act as an antidote to some extent. In secondary syphilis Rasa karpura is given in small doses in combination with cloves, saffron, sandal wood, and
For external application, about a drachm of mercury is recommended to be rubbed between the palms with the juice of the leaves of
Sida cordifolia (bάtyάlaka) till the globules of mercury are no longer visible. The palms are then to be warmed over the fire till perspiration breaks out from them.2
For fumigation in primary syphilis, about half a drachm of the black sulphide, mixed with one fourth part of wheat-flour, is employed daily for seven days in succession.1 In secondary syphilitic eruptions the following composition is used for fumigation. Take of cinnabar one tola, realgar half a tola, powder and mix. About fifteen grains of this is used at a time. Powders for fumigation are heated over a fire of jujube tree wood, and the vapour is applied to the skin under cover in a closed room.
Mercury enters into the composition of several applications for skin diseases, as in the following. Take of cinnabar, sulphur, red oxide of
lead, rock salt, seeds of Cassia tora (chakramarda), baberung, Cleome felina (svarnaksliiri), and the root of Aplotaxis auriculata (kushta) in equal parts. Powder them, and reduce to a thin paste with the juice of datura, nim or betle leaves. This application is said to cure ringworm, eczema, prurigo, psoriasis etc.2


Goofy said...

Very interesting.

Anonymous said...

Goog work sir

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Researcher of Yog-Tantra with the help of Mercury. Working since 1988 in this field.Have own library n a good collection of mysterious things. you can send me e-mail at Занимаюсь изучением Тантра,йоги с помощью Меркурий. В этой области работаю с 1988 года. За это время собрал внушительную библиотеку и коллекцию магических вещей. Всегда рад общению: