Ayurveda Bio-inorganicals – Promising New Genre of Medicine
Asmita Wele, MD (Ayurveda pharmacology), India
Importance of metals and minerals in human physiology and therefore in bio-medicine is well accepted. Metaloproteins and metaloenzymes that actively participate in biological functions are so named because they bear one or more metal ion cofactor. Diseases which are linked to deficiency of metals like Calcium, Iron, Selenium etc. are treated by supplementation. The concept of bio-inorganicals is not new to Ayurveda. Rasashastra the branch of metal-mineral medicine gives detail monographs of 80 inorganic elements which are treated with organic substances to convert them into potent medicines. Unlike modern metal-ions these bio-inorganicals are not in ionic form. Most widely known category of bio-inorganics in Ayurveda is bhasma. Excluding the so called heavy metal bhasmas Rasashastra gives an account of about 30-35 bhasmas having varied therapeutic actions. Bhasmas prepared from sea shells are not used as calcium supplements but each of the shells is indicated for a different disease. Conch shell bhasma is administered in ophthalmic conditions whereas Cowrie bhasma is used in ulcerative colitis. Ayurvedic bio-inorganicals with indications different than merely nutritional supplement can give impetus to new leads.