For the process of samanya shodhana and vishesha shodhana, the process of nirvapa was adopted. For samanya shodhana, the iron turnings were heated till they were red hot and then they were dipped in different media, i.e. Tila Taila, Takra, Gomutra, Kanji and Kulattha kwatha (seven times). At each time of dipping, sufficient quantity of media was taken, which was approximately 500 ml. The average temperature of the heating device (hearth) was 1250°C. The average temperature of the surface of the pan was 900°C and the average temperature of the red hot iron turning was 750°C during the procedure.
The use of a particular media and particular sequence is notable. The probable concept behind using such variation may be removal of impurities from the drug in a particular acidic or alkali media.
Shodhana process along with purification/potentiation leads to reduction of particle size. Marked reduction in particle size, i.e. ratio of small: large particles, was obtained 50:50 by weight up to shodhana in kanji.
Immediate cooling leads to microscopic cracks. Mild steel consists of two major phages, ferrite and pearlite. For attaining hardness, this is heated and cooled down slowly. On immediate cooling, it gets converted to martensite, which is hard and brittle.[10
After the process of Bhanupaka, there was a huge gain in the weight, of approximately double of the original weight, which may be due to accumulation of triphala kwatha residues.
For the process of Sthalipaka, triphala was taken in a quantity three-time that of Lauha churna for preparing kwatha as compared with Bhanupaka, where the amount was equal that of Lauha churna taken before. Therefore, a higher gain in weight, nearly 2.5-times from the original weight, was observed.
Regarding the excessive use of Triphala in the processing of Lauha, we can say that it mainly consists of tannine and ascorbic acid. The absorption of food iron can be greatly influenced by other constituents in the diet, such as ascorbic acid (vitamin C) and phenolics. Ascorbic acid increases the bioavailability of iron by converting Fe3+ to Fe2+, while phenolics can reduce the bioavailability of iron by binding to its phenolics (e.g., tannins). Excess of ascorbic acid and/or a lack of dietary tannins have both been suggested as contributing to clinical/pathological iron storage disease. Too much iron is toxic. It can damage the liver, heart and pancreas and irritate the stomach and gut, causing constipation or diarrhea. In other words, this may also be taken as the various constituent of Triphala is antagonizing the function of one another. Thus, too much absorption is prevented.
The process of Putapaka was carried out at two temperatures. The various works carried out on conventional puta show the range of temperature for Gajaputa to range from 800° to 1,000°C. Therefore, the temperature of 800°C was decided for preparation of Lauha Bhasma for Batch I. Observing research work done on Lauha Bhasma in BHU and in other institutions, the other temperature was decided at 600°C.
In the first batch (800°C), up to the 4th puta, pellets were very fragile and were broken down even by touch, and the color of brownish-red was attained. In the 5th puta, the pellets were very hard and in the 6th puta, they was brassy-yellow in color (Plate 1), suggestive of the formation of an entirely new compound that was undesirable as color of Lauha Bhasma is indicated “Pakwajambu phala varna” or brownish-red.
On further puta, the temperature was reduced to 700°–600°C, and it was observed that the concentration of the yellow compound of iron decreased and gradually converted to the desired color of Lauha Bhasma after 22 puta.
In the second batch, the process was carried out smoothly, except mild hardness of the pellet that got lowered by a slight decrease in the temperature.