What is Asavas or Arishtas
Asavas and Arishtas General Description: Asavas and Arishtas are medicinal preparations made by soaking the drugs, either in coarse powder form or in the form of decoction (Kashaya), in a solution of sugar or jaggery, as the case may be, for a specified period of time, during which it undergoes a process of fermentation generating alcohol, thus facilitating the extraction of the active principles contained in the drugs. The alcohol, so generated, also serves as a preservative. Arishta The drugs mentioned in the texts are coarsely powdered and Kashaya is prepared. The Kashaya is strained and kept in the fermentation vessel. Sugar, jaggery or honey*, according to the formula, is dissolved, boiled, filtered and added. Drugs mentioned as Prakrepa Dravyas are finely powdered and added. At the end, Dhatakipushpa, if included in the formula, should be properly cleaned and added. The mouth of the vessel is sealed. The container is kept either in a special room (Alternatively, in an underground cellar or in a heap of paddy, so as to ensure that for the duration of fermentation, as far as possible, a constant temperatures may impede or accelerate the fermentation). After the specified period, the lid is removed, and the contents examined to ascertain whether the process of fermentation (Sandhana) has been completed. The fluid is first decanted and then strained after two or three days. When the fine suspended particles settle down, it is strained again and bottled. Asavas The required quantity of water, to which jaggery or sugar as prescribed in the formula is added, is boiled and cooled. This is poured into the fermentation pot, vessel or barrel. Fine powders of the drugs mentioned in the formula are added. The container is covered with a lid and the edges are sealed with clay-smeared cloth wound in seven consecutive layers. The rest of the process is as in the case of Arishta. If the fermentation is to be carried in an earthen vessel, it should not be new. Water should be boiled first in the vessel. Absolute cleanliness is required during the process. Each time, the inner surface of the fermentation vessel should be fumigated with Pippalichoorna and smeared with ghee before the liquids poured into it (in large scale manufacture, wooden-vats, porcelain-jars or metal vessels are used in place of earthen vessels.). The filtered Asava or Arishta should be clear without froth at the top. It should not become sour (Cukra). The preparation has the characteristics of aromatic alcoholic odour. Asavas and Arishtas can be kept indefinitely. They should be kept in well-stoppered bottles or jars.* Honey, where mentioned, should be added as such without being dissolved or boiled.
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