Damshtra Chikitsa, Toxicology in Ayurveda


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Damshtra Chikitsa (toxicology) is one among the eight branches (ashtanga) of Ayurveda which is studied very deeply in Ayurveda Kerala. It comes in the section called Agata Tantra. The word ‘damshtra’ memorizes the teeth of a poisonous snake. Visha is any substance that can cause illness or even death to man or any living thing.

Visha is the opposite of Amrit, which gives immortality to man. Anything can become toxic when taken in an excess amount. An accurate definition of toxin is really not possible. There are several plants that have highly toxic fruits or flowers. The same fruits or flowers or other parts can be used as a component for highly effective medicine to treat many serious diseases and conditions.

The substances that cause illness can generally be called toxins. The main divisions here are toxins from bites of snake, insects, etc and ingestion of toxin by eating, drinking or inhaling. Toxic plants and plant products absorb the prime priority here. Incompatible food too can act as toxin.

The much discussed topic, free radicals in medical circuits is an example of endo-toxin.

Snake Venom
Though viewed with terror, only a few species of snake actually has venom powerful enough to kill a human being. Snake venom can cause critical damage to blood structure – this later causes conditions like anemia, asthma, etc. Proper medication can prevent such situations from occurring.

Insect bites
Insect bites can cause pain, itching, boils, etc. Ayurveda suggests different medicines for specific species to use under given conditions. The medicines can give results only when administered in the desired manner.

Artificial Toxins
Insecticides, chemicals, food additives, vegetables and fruits grown with the help of fertilizers, pesticides etc are all artificial toxins. Autoimmune diseases develop due to the intake of artificial toxins for a long period. Medicines that depend solely on chemical combinations can push the person to an infinite cycle of killing a toxin with another one, and later falling prey to a toxin that is powerful in his body.