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Bhanga (Cannabis sativa L.) as an activity potentiator in Ayurvedic classics and Indian alchemy (Rasashastra): A critical review

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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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... Cannabis is well reported for aphrodisiac, adaptogenic and immune-modular actions. [61] It helps in nourishing and improvement of body tissue and immunity. Cannabis being appetizer, digestive, tonic, antipyretic, analgesic, aphrodisiac, adaptogen, quick acting, memory tonic etc., helps in skirmishing pain along with associated cluster of symptoms which eventually helps in improving QOL in patients. ...
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Introduction: Pain is a common and complex symptom of cancer having physical, social, spiritual and psychological aspects. Approximately 70%–80% of cancer patients experiences pain, as reported in India. Ayurveda recommends use of Shodhita (Processed) Bhanga (Cannabis) for the management of pain but no research yet carried out on its clinical effectiveness. Objective: To assess the analgesic potential of JalaPrakshalana (Water-wash) processed Cannabis sativa L. leaves powder in cancer patients with deprived quality of life (QOL) through openlabel single arm clinical trial. Materials and Methods: Waterwash processed Cannabis leaves powder filled in capsule, was administered in 24 cancer patients with deprived QOL presenting complaints of pain, anxiety or depression; for a period of 4 weeks; in a dose of 250 mg thrice a day; along with 50 ml of cow’s milk and 4 g of crystal sugar. Primary outcome i.e. pain was measured by Wong-Bakers FACES Pain Scale (FACES), Objective Pain Assessment (OPA) scale and Neuropathic Pain Scale (NPS). Secondary outcome namely anxiety was quantified by Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale (HADS), QOL by FACT-G scale, performance score by Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group (ECOG) and Karnofsky score. Results: Significant reduction in pain was found on FACES Pain Scale (P < 0.05), OPA (P < 0.05), NPS (P < 0.001), HADS (P < 0.001), FACT-G scale (P < 0.001), performance status score like ECOG (P < 0.05) and Karnofsky score (P < 0.01). Conclusion: Jalaprakshalana Shodhita Bhanga powder in a dose of 250 mg thrice per day; relieves cancerinduced pain, anxiety and depression significantly and does not cause any major adverse effect and withdrawal symptoms during trial period
... Use of Bhanga, as a levigating media, in the treatment of 40 disease conditions has been reported. [49] It is found that; maximum formulations i.e. 36 [50] Bhanga, being Vyavayi [51] in action, brings fast acting nature to formulation. This is due to its Tikta Rasa which has Aakasha Vayu Mahabhuta (element) composition, Ushna Veerya, Laghu and Teekshna Guna. ...
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Bhanga (Cannabis sativa L.),Cannabinaceae family, an annual herbaceous plant, has been used since millennia as a source of medicine, industrial fibre, seed oil, food,recreation, religious and spiritual moods. This fast-growing plant has recently seen a resurgence of interest because of its wide applications. Ayurveda, the science of life, describing many of the formulation about the pharmaco-clinical application of Bhanga but many of these formulations are not in practice today. Indeed; it is a treasure trove of multi-variant Guna (qualities) and Karma (actions), making it a broad spectrum drug. In this review, the rich spectrum of cannabis is being discussed by putting a special emphasis on the formulations containing cannabis either as a major or a minor ingredient. Available 41 Rasagranthas and 26 Chikitsagrantha and other Ayurvedic treatises were referred with respect to Bhanga’s Adhikara (main indication), Kalpana (dosage forms), Anupana (vehicle), Aushadha Sevana Kala (time and period of administration),Pathya- Apathya(do’s and dont’s),Prayojyanaga (parts used), Karma (action), specific uses and instructions of the formulations. It is observed that, there are 210 formulations which contain Bhanga, out of which 193 are recommended for internal administration and 17 for external applications. Among the formulations indicated for internal administration, 102 contain Bhanga as one of the major ingredient, whereas in 91 formulations, it’s a minor ingredient. Nine formulations of external application are having Bhanga as major ingredient and 8 as minor ingredient.The review represents formulations being indicatedof 45 differentRoga- Adhikara, 22 Kalpana,18 Pathya- Apathya, five different parts used, 49 Karma (action) and few benefits and instruction to be followed during administration of formulations containing Bhanga. Keywords: Ayurveda, Bhanga, Cannabis sativa, Kalpana, Anupana, Matra, Shodhana
... There is no classical evidence that, the formulations containing Bhanga either as an ingredient or as a levigating media can be given in pregnancy. [64] However, Animal studies reports that cannabis exposure during pregnancy may alter the normal processes and trajectories of brain development. [65] Long-term effects of marijuana consumption on prenatal exposure to humans is yet to be explored. ...
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Full-text available
Bhanga (Cannabis sativa L.),Cannabinaceae family, an annual herbaceous plant, has been used since millennia as a source of medicine, industrial fibre, seed oil, food,recreation, religious and spiritual moods. This fast-growing plant has recently seen a resurgence of interest because of its wide applications. Ayurveda, the science of life, describing many of the formulation about the pharmaco-clinical application of Bhanga but many of these formulations are not in practice today. Indeed; it is a treasure trove of multi-variant Guna (qualities) and Karma (actions), making it a broad spectrum drug. In this review, the rich spectrum of cannabis is being discussed by putting a special emphasis on the formulations containing cannabis either as a major or a minor ingredient. Available 41 Rasagranthas and 26 Chikitsagrantha and other Ayurvedic treatises were referred with respect to Bhanga's Adhikara (main indication), Kalpana (dosage forms), Anupana (vehicle), Aushadha Sevana Kala (time and period of administration),Pathya-Apathya(do's and dont's),Prayojyanaga (parts used), Karma (action), specific uses and instructions of the formulations. It is observed that, there are 210 formulations which contain Bhanga, out of which 193 are recommended for internal administration and 17 for external applications. Among the formulations indicated for internal administration, 102 contain Bhanga as one of the major ingredient, whereas in 91 formulations, it's a minor ingredient. Nine formulations of external application are having Bhanga as major ingredient and 8 as minor ingredient.The review represents formulations being indicatedof 45 differentRoga-Adhikara, 22 Kalpana,18 Pathya-Apathya, five different parts used, 49 Karma (action) and few benefits and instruction to be followed during administration of formulations containing Bhanga.
... Similarly, also Ayurveda, the traditional natural medical system of India, described several preparations containing cannabis with various other ingredients in different formulations prepared for different types of diseases. For instance at present, several Indian tribes still believe in the use of cannabis as contraceptive to limit their family size [7,8]. On the other side, the potential therapeutic value of synthetic and endogenous cannabinoids, as well as those naturally found in cannabis, appears to be promising in the treatment of poststroke patients [9]. ...
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Chapter
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