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BMJ Case Rep. 2010; 2010: bcr1020092354.
Published online Oct 8, 2010. doi:  10.1136/bcr.10.2009.2354
PMCID: PMC3027608
Myth exploded
‘Agni karma’—intentional systematic therapeutic burns
Manoj Pandey1 and Mridula Shukla2
1Department of Surgical Oncology, Institute of Medical Sciences, Banaras Hindu University, Varanasi, India
2Department of Pathology, Institute of Medical Sciences, Varanasi, India
Correspondence to Manoj Pandey, manojpandey/at/vsnl.com
Abstract
‘Agni karma’, also known as ‘dahan karma’, is a process used in Ayurveda for various benign diseases that are characterised by pain or bleeding. In this process, the heated rods of gold, silver, iron, copper and pancha dhatu (five metals) are applied directly on the skin at the affected site. The temperature varies according to the process used and is lowest for gold and highest for silver. The ‘agni karma’ is not recommended for arbuda (tumour/malignancy). Here the authors present two cases of soft tissue sarcoma of lower extremity where ‘agni karma’ was tried in vain by traditional healers at their local village. Both the patients presented with progressive disease that was treated with wide excision and limb conservation, and the whole of the overlying skin scarred by previous healed burns of various degrees had to be sacrificed making a simple surgery difficult.
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