The Ayurvedic system of medicine is unique, due to its personalized approach to patient management. The management, that is, the treatment in Ayurveda includes both Shamana
] Both these treatment modalities have been covered under the title of Bheshaja
, which has been described in detail in all classical texts. Although Ayurveda claims, on the one hand, that every Dravya
can be used as medicine, on the other hand, it points toward the concept of Abheshaja
by describing Dhatupradushana
] or Kopana
. The concept of Abheshaja
is an untouched field of Ayurveda. The word Abheshaja
is available only in Charaka Samhita
. None of the Laghutrayi
texts mention this word. None of the scholars or authors of the modern era have elaborately described this subject in their books. In Caraka Samhita
has not been explained in detail. Acharya Charaka has defined Abheshaja
as things that are opposite in action to those of Bheshaja
] Commentator Chakrapani explains that it is responsible for the diseases produced in the body.[5
All the things of the universe are made by Panchamahabhuta
] hence, every substance can be used as medicine with proper Yukti
] According to this principle, Abheshaja
also is not a separate entity. Similar to how any Dravya
works as a Bheshaja
, it can work as an Abheshaja
too. Some of the Dravyas
or hazardous by nature and some can create untoward effects because of different reasons. There are many factors that require attention before medication and they are Desha, Matra, Kala, Bala
, and so on.[8
] On account of the ignorance of one of these factors, the drug could not achieve the state that removes the disease, but also can cause extra harmful effects. Therefore, mainly two divisions can be observed in the Ayurvedic classics, which are, Bhesaja
, as far as treatment modality is concerned. The concept of Abheshaja
can be compared to the adverse drug reaction (ADR) of modern medicinal science.
Pippali is a drug that has been used most as an ingredient in around 324 formulations described in various available texts. It also has been used as a spice or a food ingredient routinely. However, in Charaka Samhita Vimanasthana, the instruction regarding the use of Pippali is that it should not be consumed in certain conditions. Pippali is described as a drug used to tackle emergencies. However, it should not be taken for a long duration as it causes aggravation of the Doshas.
Depending on the frequency of usage, Pippali is both useful and harmful. When properly used, it produces good results instantaneously, otherwise, it becomes responsible for the accumulation of Doshas. When Pippali is used continuously, it aggravates Kapha, owing to its heaviness, as also the Prakledi (deliquescent) properties; it aggravates Pitta owing to its hot property. It does not alleviate Vata, because it is not adequately unctuous or hot. However, it intensifies the action of the drugs to which it is added. Therefore, Pippali should not be used in excess.
On the other hand, Pippali has been mentioned as Rasayana in Cikitsasthana, where it is indicated to be consumed for a year along with different Anupanas.
The mentioned references prove that the drug Pippali is not Abheshaja by nature, however, it might turn into Abheshaja due to its accessory factors like Kala, Bala, and the like. Hence, this study has been carried out as an attempt to assess the factors or the conditions wherein one drug causes adverse effects. First, the drug was tested on albino rats in an experimental study. When it was observed to be nontoxic or safe, a clinical trial has been undertaken.