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 Table of Contents  
Year : 2016  |  Volume : 8  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 80-81  

Nanotechnology in medicine: Leads from Ayurveda

1 Department of Rasashastra and Bhaishajya Kalpana, Abhilashi Ayurvedic College and Research Institute, Abhilashi University, Mandi, Himachal Pradesh, India
2 Gujarat Ayurved University, Jamnagar, Gujarat, India

Date of Web Publication13-Jan-2016

Correspondence Address:
Rohit Sharma
Department of Rasashastra and Bhaishajya Kalpana, Abhilashi Ayurvedic College and Research Institute, Abhilashi University, Mandi, Himachal Pradesh
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/0975-7406.171730

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How to cite this article:
Sharma R, Prajapati P K. Nanotechnology in medicine: Leads from Ayurveda. J Pharm Bioall Sci 2016;8:80-1

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Sharma R, Prajapati P K. Nanotechnology in medicine: Leads from Ayurveda. J Pharm Bioall Sci [serial online] 2016 [cited 2022 Jan 20];8:80-1. Available from:


With growing importance of nanotechnology in medicine and healthcare,[1] the advent of engineered nanoparticles in therapeutics is alarming for their possible harmful effects.[2] The ancient application of nanomedicine in the form of Ayurvedic Bhasma throws a light on the safer usage of present nanomedicine for a living being and the environment.[3],[4],[5] The use of nanoparticulate metals in therapeutics has been a common practice in Ayurveda. The present attempt is to revisit the Ayurvedic Bhasma concept as organometallic ethno-nanomedicine in the surging area of nanomedicine.[6]

Bhasma, literally meaning ash, is unique Ayurvedic herbo-mineral-metallic compounds in the size of nanodimensions (usually 5–50 nm, as established by modern microscopic and spectroscopic techniques). These are the products of classical Indian alchemy, the “Ayurveda Rasa Shastra,” used for treating diverse chronic ailments.[7] The essence of metal/mineral based drugs is that they function best when converted from their original metal/mineral state to oxide state. The manufacturing process is very systematic and elaborate, called “Bhasmikarana” which converts the metal from its zerovalent state to a form with higher oxidation state, and eliminates the toxic nature of metal and its oxide while rendering the metal oxide with high medicinal value.[8] During Bhasmikarana, metals/minerals are subjected to various processes of purification and incineration before internal administration, aimed to reduce the particle size (for instance, the particle size of Swarna Bhasma [gold calx] was found between 1 and 2 µ)[9] and thus, converting them into biocompatible, bio-assimilable, absorbable, and suitable form for the human body. Bhasma nanoparticles are organo-metallic/organo-mineral complexes as they are integrated with biological molecules (of organic liquid media), having improved stability, functionality, absorption, assimilation, bioavailability, biocompatibility, targeted delivery of ingredient, and effectiveness.[2], 6, [10],[11],[12],[13],[14] It is also noteworthy that Ayurvedic Bhasma is considered very safe and economical in comparison to contemporary metal based nanomedicines.[2],[15]

All Bhasma have some common properties such as Rasayana (immunomodulation and anti-aging quality), Yogavahi (target drug delivery), Alpamatra (prescribed in minute doses i.e., 15–250 mg/day), Rasibhava (readily absorbable, adaptable, assimilable, and nontoxic), Shigravyapi (spreads quickly and fast acting), and Agnideepana (increases metabolism at cellular level and acts as catalyst) Bhasma can be employed for selective/targeted/controlled drug delivery as they are biocompatible, nontoxic, and nonantigenic in nature.[4],[6]Bhasma is biologically produced nanoparticles with quick and targeted action e.g., gold nanoparticles in Swarna Bhasma at 27 ± 3 nm size have been found effective in ameliorating symptoms of arthritis and at 4 nm size helped in increased apoptosis in B-chronic lymphocytic leukemia.[6] Few more examples of frequently used Bhasma include: Mukta Shukti Bhasma (pearl-oyster calx) at 22.52 ± 0.45 µm size in acidity, pyrexia, tuberculosis, cough, asthma, etc., and also to increase the bone mineral density; Mandura Bhasma (iron calx) in microcytic anemia and hemolytic jaundice, Tamra Bhasma (copper calx) as hepatoprotective and antioxidant, Yashad Bhasma (Zinc calx) in myopia, diabetes, leucorrhea, etc.[16]

The benefits of nanomedicines are indubitable and unstoppable, nevertheless, and safety-related studies should also be carried out rigorously and planned in order to provide guidelines for safer manufacturing practices, keeping care of ecology, and environment. Hence, Ayurvedic Bhasma may hold strong relevance in the emerging era of nanomedicine and can serve as an excellent template for the development of nanomedicine for an efficient therapeutic cure.

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Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.

   References Top

Turki YA. The use of nano technology in medicine. Saudi J Med Med Sci 2015;3:184-4.  Back to cited text no. 1
Palkhiwala S, Bakshi SR. Engineered nanoparticles: Revisiting safety concerns in light of ethno medicine. Ayu 2014;35:237-42.  Back to cited text no. 2
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Sarkar PK, Chaudhary AK. Ayurvedic bhasma: The most ancient application of nanomedicine. J Sci Ind Res 2010;69:901-5.  Back to cited text no. 3
Kapoor RC. Some observations on the metal based preparations in the Indian system of medicine. Indian J Tradit Knowl 2010;9:562-75.  Back to cited text no. 4
Chaudhary A. Ayurvedic bhasma: Nanomedicine of ancient India – Its global contemporary perspective. J Biomed Nanotechnol 2011;7:68-9.  Back to cited text no. 5
Paul S, Chugh A. Assessing the role of Ayurvedic 'bhasms' as ethno-nanomedicine in the metal based nanomedicine patent regime. J Intellect Prop Rights 2011;16:509-15.  Back to cited text no. 6
Kumar A, Nair AG, Reddy AV, Garg AN. Bhasmas: Unique ayurvedic metallic-herbal preparations, chemical characterization. Biol Trace Elem Res 2006;109:231-54.  Back to cited text no. 7
Wadekar MP, Rode CV, Bendale YN, Patil KR, Prabhune AA. Preparation and characterization of a copper based Indian traditional drug: Tamra bhasma. J Pharm Biomed Anal 2005;39:951-5.  Back to cited text no. 8
Mohaptra S, Jha CB. Physicochemical characterization of Ayurvedic bhasma (Swarna makshika bhasma): An approach to standardization. Int J Ayurveda Res 2010;1:82-6.  Back to cited text no. 9
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Valodkar M, Rathore PS, Jadeja RN, Thounaojam M, Devkar RV, Thakore S. Cytotoxicity evaluation and antimicrobial studies of starch capped water soluble copper nanoparticles. J Hazard Mater 2012;201-202:244-9.  Back to cited text no. 10
Krishnamachary B, Pemiah B, Krishnaswamy S, Krishnan UM, Sethuraman S, Sekar R. Elucidation of a core-shell model for lauha bhasma through physico-chemical characterization. Int J Pharm Pharm Sci 2012;4:644-9.  Back to cited text no. 11
Parivallal A. Structural analysis of metallic medicines. Ayurpharm Int J Ayur Allied Sci 2012;1:83-9.  Back to cited text no. 12
Wadekar MP, Rode CV, Bendale YN, Patil KR, Gaikwad AB, Prabhune AA. Effect of calcination cycles on the preparation of tin oxide based traditional drug: Studies on its formation and characterization. J Pharm Biomed Anal 2006;41:1473-8.  Back to cited text no. 13
Pandit S, Biswas TK, Debnath PK, Saha AV, Chowdhury U, Shaw BP, et al. Chemical and pharmacological evaluation of different ayurvedic preparations of iron. J Ethnopharmacol 1999;65:149-56.  Back to cited text no. 14
Panda H. Handbook on Ayurvedic Medicines with Formulae, Processes and Their Uses. India: National Institute of Industrial Research; 2004. p. 1-582.  Back to cited text no. 15
Pal D, Sahu CK, Haldar A. Bhasma: The ancient Indian nanomedicine. J Adv Pharm Technol Res 2014;5:4-12.  Back to cited text no. 16
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