Agada Tantra was so highly developed during the early ages and was given the prime importance as one of the eight branches of Ayurveda. Times have changed and advances were made in the science of Toxicology. But Agada Tantra of Ayurveda still continues to serve the rural population especially in cases of Snake- bites etc... as Ayurveda accorded high priority for these types of toxicity and offer various therapeutic measures for detoxification.
Though Agada Tantra was given the status of one of the eight main branches of Ayurveda, the subject matter is available in various samhitas in scattered form and very few texts are available on this subject especially in English. Humble effort has been made' in this work to systematically organize the subject matter which was 'scattered throughout the ancient classics. This book has been written more in the interest of Second profession students of BAMS as per the CCIM Syllabus which is common/all over India. I hope it will serve the purpose of better comprehension about the subject and will be appreciated by students, Teachers.
I offer my salutations to the divine lotus feet of Lord Dhanwantari, the master preceptor for his divine grace and blessings.
With a profound sense of respect, I would like to record my respects to my parents Shri P. Sivarama Sundaram and Smt. P. Naga Lakshmi for being the guiding force: throughout my life.
I gratefully acknowledge the cooperation extended by my wife Smt. P.Kalyani and daughter P.L. Alaekhya and pray Lord Dhanwantari to shower his divine blessings on them for healthy and happy life.
I whole heartedly thank Dr. V.H.P.P. Renuka and E.Satyanarityana, my students who have helped me a lot in preparing the references and in proof-reading. I Wish them both a very prosperous professional career.
I thank everyone who has helped me directly or indirectly in completion of this work.
I am ever grateful to M/S Chaukhambha Sanskrit Series office, Varanasi for undertaking the publication of this book and pray Lord Vishveswara of Varanasi to shower his divine blessing on them for their yeomen service to Ayurveda in general and Ayurvedic literature in particular.
Ayurveda is the ancient Hindu system of health care, native of Indian sub-continent. It is one of the oldest Scientific Medical systems of the world with a long record of clinical experience. It is not merely a kind of antiquated medicine. It is a science based upon the observation of living beings and their actual• response and reactions to their environment. It tackles the whole subject of life in its various ramifications. It speaks to every element and facet of human life offering guidance that has been tested and referred over many centuries.
More than a medical system, Ayurveda is a way of life, a way of cooperating with nature and living in harmony with her. It is concerned with measures to protect "ayush", which includes healthy living along with therapeutic measures that relate to physical, mental, social and spiritual harmony. It provides integrated approach to preventing and treating illness through life-style interventions and natural therapies.
It is concerned with eight principal branches of medicine. Each of these specializations is addressed according to the theories of five elements, the three doshas, three malas, and seven dhatus, Trinity of life, body, mind and spiritual awareness. Agada Tantra, the science of Toxicology is one among the eight branches of Ayurveda.
Agada Tantra is a specialized branch of Ayurveda that offers meticulously detailed information about animal and non-animal poisons and methods of eliminating these poisons from the body. It particularly advocates different antidotes for materials which are poisonous to human body. It deals with various natural and artificial toxic substances and poisons in detail along with them antidotes and curative procedures.
It deals with wide range of natural toxins originating from the members of animal kingdom (Reptiles, Mammals, Insects etc.) plants, herbs, vegetable, minerals and artificial poisons prepared from poisonous drugs. This branch also deals with air and water pollution which are the actual causes of various dangerous epidemics.
Agada Tantra insists that the substances which are 'drugs' when administered in correct dose, may become poison when taken in excessive doses. This branch provides information regarding the fatal doses of various poisons which when administered into an enemy's body system cause death.
This branch also included the description and disadvantages of foods of opposite qualities, drugs and foods causing poisonous symptoms. It also deals with the toxic effects of different substances from air, water, contaminated, unhygienic or stale food on human systems, and which result in the spread of epidemics in the society. Agada Tantra offers detailed description regarding the causes, symptoms and treatment for food poisoning. It enlists different types of substances which when taken separately act as food, and as poison when taken together or in combination.
The branch of Agada Tantra finds explicit mention in Charaka Samhita, Susruta samhita, Sarangadhara Samhita, Uttarasthana, the sixth section of Astanga Sangraha, a mammoth book written by sage Vagbhata. These texts gives us comprehensive idea about this particular branch of Astanga Ayurveda.
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