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Bhanga (Cannabis sativa L.) as an activity potentiator in Ayurvedic classics and Indian alchemy (Rasashastra): A critical review
Abstract and Figures
Bhavana (impregnation) and Swedana (boiling) are the processes used in Ayurvedic pharmacy for preparation of formulations containing the drugs of metallic, mineral and poisonous origin to make them safe and potent for internal administration. Drugs of herbal origins are primely used for the Bhavana process. Bhanga (Cannabis sativa Linn.) a drug with great medicinal potency has been highlighted for its Deepana (digestive stimulant), Pachana (digestive), Ruchya (Taste promoter), Madakari (intoxicant), Vyavayi (short acting), Grahi (withholds secretions), Medhya (memory booster), Rasayana (adapto-immuno-neuro-endocrino-modulator) activities were used as a processing media in many formulations. In 19th century, it is included in narcotic group of plants and its use, as a drug, has been restricted. In 21st century again, the drug is gaining attraction from scientific communities due to its wide pharmacological properties. However, there is no collective information available at a glance regarding the use of Bhanga in various processing techniques of classical formulations. Hence, it is the need of the time to present the comprehensive information on cannabis, as quoted in classical texts with probable research co-relation, so as to bring the drug again in to limelight. The present review aims to compile all the information about the use of cannabis as an activity potentiator so that it can be further practically utilized in pharmaceutics and clinics with legal permissions. A thorough review, from available 41 Rasagranthas (text related to Indian alchemy) and 26 classical texts was carried out to compile the information about formulations where Bhanga is used as process media. The review shows that; Bhanga has been used, as a pharmaceutical processing agent, in 157 formulations being indicated in 40 different disease conditions. Among them, in 154 formulations, it is used as Bhavana media and in 3 formulations as a Swedana media. The present observation could help the future researchers to explore the drug for therapeutic utilities
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