Processing of Iron
Cast iron is purified by beating it into thin plates, heating the plates in fire and sprinkling them with cows urine, sour conjee, oil and a decoction of the pulse of Dolichos uniflorus (kulattha) 7 times in succession. The plates are reduced to powder by pounding them in an iron mortar, rubbing them with cows urine, and roasting the powder in a covered crucible repeatedly till it is reduced to a fine impalpable powder, that will float on water and will not irritate the eyes when applied to them. Mandura is purified and prepared for use like cast iron. Prepared iron is a fine impalpable powder of a reddish grey or brick-dust colour.
Benefits of Iron
Iron is said to increase strength, vigour and longevity, cures all sorts of diseases and is the best of tonics. When gold and silver are not available, iron is substituted for them. It is used in painful dyspepsia, chronic fever, phthisis, anasarca, piles, enlarged spleen and liver, anaemia, jaundice, obesity, urinary diseases, diseases of the nervous system, skin diseases etc.
Dose of Iron in Medicine
In chronic fever with anaemia, debility, emaciation, enlarged spleen or other complications, several preparations of iron are used, such as the Vrihat Sarvajvara Hara Lauha, Chandanddya Lauha, etc.
Vrihat Sarvajvara Hara Laulia: Take purified mercury and sulphur, prepared copper, iron pyrites, talc, gold and orpiment, each 2 tolas, prepared iron 8 tolas, mix them together, and soak the mixture for 7 days, in each of the following fluids, viz, fresh juice of the leaves of Morordica Gharantia (karavella), decoction of dasamula, decoction of parpata (Redyotis biflora) and the three myrobalans, fresh juice of guruchi (Tinospora cordifolia), betel leaves, kakamachi (Solatium nigrum), nirgundi (vitex Negundo), punarnava (Boerliaavia diffusa) and ginger. Divide the mass into 2 grain pills, and administer with long pepper and treacle. It is used in all sorts of intermittent fevers, emaciation, wasting, hectic fever, enlarged spleen, anaemia, loss of appetite etc.
Chandanadya Lauha: Take red sandal wood, Pavonia odorata (bala), Cissampelas hernandifolia (patha), Andropogon muricatus (usir), long pepper, chebulic myrobalan, emblic myrobalan, ginger, Nymphaea cyanea (nilotpala), Chavica officinarum (chai), Plumbago Zeylanica (chitraka) and baberung seeds, each 1 part, prepared iron 12 parts, rub them all together. Dose should be about 10 grains taken with the fresh juice of Tinosphora cordifolia (guruchi) and Hedyotis biflora (parpati). This medicine is said to cure all sorts of chronic intermittent fever and fever with enlarged spleen.
Vishomajvarantaka Lauha: This is another compound metallic preparation containing iron and is much used in chronic fever. To prepare it, take mercury and sulphur, each 1 tola. Rub them together and melt over the fire in an iron ladle. Then take prepared gold, one quarter of a tola, prepared iron, copper and talc, 2 tolas each, prepared tin, red ochre, and corals, half a tola each, roasted pearls, conch and bivalve shell, each a quarter of a tola. Beat all these ingredients together into a mass with the aid of water. Inclose the mass within bivalve shells, cover the shells with a layer of clay and roast them lightly in cow dung fire. This medicine is given in doses of 4 grains with the addition of long pepper, rock salt and asafoetida, each 4 grains and a little honey. It is taken once daily in the morning and is said to be useful in chronic fever, spleen and liver diseases.
Several preparations of iron are used in piles, such as the Mana Suranadya Lauha, Arsari Lauha, Agnimukha Lauha, etc.
Mana Suranadya Lauha: Take the root-stocks of Colocasia lndica (mana) and Amorphophallus companulatus (surana), of the roots of Ipomcea Turpethum (trivrit) and Baliospermum montanum (danti), marking nuts, the three myrobalans, black pepper, long pepper, ginger, seeds of Embelia Ribes (baberang), mot of Plumbago Zeylanica (chitraka) and the tubers of Cyperus rotundus (mustaka), equal parts, prepared iron in quantity equal to all the above ingredients, powder and mix. Dose should be about a scruple. This medicine is said to be useful in piles with constipation.
Lauhasava: Take powdered iron, of the three myrobalans, ginger, long pepper and black pepper, ajwain, baberang seeds, plumbago root and tubers of Cyperus rotundus (mustaka), each 32 tolas, and honey 8 seers, treacle 12 and a half seer, water 128 seers. Powder the solid ingredients and steep them in the honey and water in an earthen jar smeared with ghee for a month. This iron-wine is said to be tonic and stomachic, and useful in anaemia, spleen, anasarca, ascites, enlargements of the abdominal viscera, piles etc.
Iron enters into the composition of several medicines for haemorrhagic diseases, of such as the Khandakadya lauha, Sudhanidhi rasa, Amalakadya Lauha, etc.
Amalakadya Lauha: Take emblic myrobalan and long pepper, each 1 part, sugar 2 parts, prepared iron 4 parts, powder and mix them together. Dose should be 6 to 12 grains in haemoptysis, haematuria etc., with suitable adjuncts.
Guda Mandura: This preparation is used in dyspepsia. It is composed of old trcacle, emblic and chebulic myrobalans 1 part each and iron-rust 3 parts. These are rubbed together with honey and ghee, and made into boluses about a drachm each. One of these is taken in divided doses before, along with and after meals, in dyspepsia with pain after digestion.
Vidyadharabhra: Take baberung seeds, tubers of Cyperus rotundus (mustaka), the three myrobalans, gulancha, root of Haliospermum montanum (danti), Ipomoea Turpethum (trivrit), Plumbago Zeylanica (chitraka), ginger, long pepper and black pepper, and each 2 tolas, prepared iron 32 tolas, old iron-rust 32 tolas, prepared talc 8 tolas, purified mercury 1 tola and a half, sulphur 2 tolas. Rub together the sulphur and mercury, then mix them with the other ingredients, add sufficient ghee and honey, and rub them together for 12 hours. Preserve the confection in an earthen pot smeared with ghee. Dose should be from 10 to 30 grains with milk or cold water. This medicine is used in chronic dyspepsia, especially in that form of the disease in which the pain comes on after digestion is completed and in chronic fever, diarrhoea, phthisis, etc.
In anaemia iron is much used in a variety of forms. The following compound powder called Navayasa Lauha is a popular and well known medicine. To prepare it take ginger, pepper, black pepper, the three myrobalans, baberang seeds, tubers of Cyperus rotundus (mustaka) and plumbago root, each 1 part, prepared iron 9 parts, powder the ingredients and mix. Dose should be 4 grains, gradually increased to 18 grains, to be taken with honey and ghee. This medicine is used in anaemia, jaundice, piles, heart disease, etc. It is given on the first day in 4 grain dose. Every second day the dose is increased by 2 grains till the maximum quantity is reached. The above preparation with the addition of 1 part of the watery extract of gulancha is called Guduchyadi Lauha, and is given in burning of hands and feet and in diseases supposed to be caused by deranged air.
Mahasvasari Lauha and Pippuladi Lauha are the two forms in which iron is used in asthma. They are similar in composition. The former is thus prepared. Take prepared iron 4 tolas, prepared talc 1 tola, honey and sugar 4 tolas each, the three myrobalans, liquorice root, raisins, long pepper, kernel of jujube fruits, bamboo-manna, leaves of Pinua Webbiana (talisapatra), baberang seeds, cardamoms, root of Aplotaxia auriculata (kushtha) and flowers of Mesua ferrea (nagakesara), each 1 tolas, powder and rub them together in an iron mortar. Dose should be about 1 scruple, to be taken with honey 2 or 3 times a day.
In enlarged spleen Rohitaka Lauha is the favourite form in which iron is used. In enlarged liver the following called Yakridari Lauha is used. Take prepared iron, talc and copper, each 4 tolas, root of Citrus Bergamia (limpaka) 8 tolas, burnt deer-skin 8 tolas, rub them together with water and prepare a pill-mass. Dose should be 9 to 18 grains in enlarged liver, spleen, jaundice etc.
In anasarca, iron is given in combination with carbonate of potash, as in the following called Tryushanadi Lauha. Take yavakshara, ginger, long pepper and black pepper, 1 part each and iron 4 parts. Make into 6 grain pills with water.
In erysipelas, carbuncles and boils the following called Kalagnirudra Rasa is recommended. Take mercury, sulphur, prepared talc, iron, iron rust, and iron pyrites, each 1 part, rub them together with water and roast the mixture within a covered crucible; when cool add to it one-tenth part of its weight of aconite, mix intimately and divide the mass into 22 grain pills.
In urinary diseases the following, called Meha Mudgara Rasa, is used. Take rusot, black salt, wood of Berberis Asiatica (daruharidra), root of Aegle Marmelos (bilva), Tribulus terrestria (gokshura), pomegranate seed, chiretta, long pepper-root, long popper, black pepper, ginger, the three myrobalans and root of Ipomoea Turpethum (trivrit), each 1 tola, prepared iron 15 tolas, bdellium 8 tolas, mix them together and beat into a uniform mass with ghee. Dose should be 22 grains with water or goats milk. This medicine is said to be useful in gonorrhoea, strangury, chronic fever, anaemia, jaundice, etc.
Vrihat Somanatha Rasa: Take mercury obtained by subliming cinnabar and purified with the juice of Erythrina Indica (paribhadra) and sulphur, rubbed with the juice of Salvinia cucullata (Leanda) each 1 part, prepared iron 4 parts, prepared talc, tin, silver, kharpara or calamine, iron pyrites and gold, each half a part. Rub them together, and soak in the juice of Aloe Indica (ghritakumari) and Hydrocotyle Asiatica (mandukaparni) and divide into 4 grain pills. They are administered with honey in diabetes and other urinary diseases, female complaints, etc.
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