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Asthisamharaka (Vitis quadrangularis): A Medicinal Plant with Promising Health Benefits and Therapeutic Potential

Introduction: Asthisamharaka (Vitis quadrangularis), also known as the Devil's Backbone or Hadjod, is a medicinal plant that has been widely used in traditional medicine systems for centuries. With its origins in India, this plant belongs to the Vitaceae family and is characterized by its unique four-angled stem. Hadjod holds significant importance in various cultures due to its potential health benefits and therapeutic properties. Its traditional use can be traced back to ancient Ayurvedic texts, where it is highly regarded for its ability to promote bone health and treat musculoskeletal disorders. Historically, Hadjod has been used as a natural remedy for fractures, bone loss, and joint-related conditions. In Ayurveda, it is classified as a 'Asthisandhaneeya' herb, meaning it has the potential to strengthen bones, promote fracture healing, and improve overall bone health. The plant's name, "Hadjod," is derived from the Hindi word "hadjod,"

Makaradhwaj: Historical Significance, Potential Benefits, and Safe Usage in Ayurvedic Medicine


Makaradhwaj, a remarkable substance deeply rooted in the ancient practice of Ayurveda, holds a captivating history and a myriad of therapeutic potential. Revered for its profound healing properties, Makaradhwaj has been utilized for centuries as a vital ingredient in Ayurvedic formulations. Derived from a meticulous preparation process, this unique substance has captured the attention of scholars and practitioners alike, contributing to its widespread significance in traditional medicine.

Throughout the ages, Ayurveda, the ancient holistic healing system originating from India, has sought to achieve balance and harmony in the body, mind, and spirit. Makaradhwaj, considered a potent and versatile ingredient, has played a pivotal role in Ayurvedic remedies. With a rich tapestry of historical use, Makaradhwaj has been treasured for its ability to promote vitality, restore health, and address a range of ailments.

Dating back to ancient times, Makaradhwaj has been mentioned in revered Ayurvedic texts, including the Rasashastra literature. Its preparation process, shrouded in intricate rituals and traditional knowledge, reflects the deep wisdom and meticulousness of Ayurvedic practices. This remarkable substance has stood the test of time, maintaining its relevance and therapeutic potency even in the modern era.

As we embark on a journey to explore the enigmatic world of Makaradhwaj, let us delve into its composition, preparation methods, and the vast array of benefits it offers. From its historical significance to its potential applications in contemporary medicine, Makaradhwaj continues to captivate the curious minds of researchers, practitioners, and those seeking holistic well-being. Join us as we unravel the secrets and unlock the potential of this ancient treasure trove of Ayurveda.

Background and History:

Makaradhwaj, a revered substance in Ayurvedic medicine, traces its origins to the ancient healing traditions of India. Its history intertwines with the rich tapestry of Ayurveda, a holistic healthcare system that has been practiced for thousands of years.

In Ayurveda, Makaradhwaj is considered a herbo-mineral compound, combining medicinal herbs and minerals in a unique and intricate manner. The word "Makaradhwaj" itself bears significance, as it is derived from two Sanskrit words: "Makara," meaning crocodile, and "Dhwaja," meaning flag or emblem. This name alludes to the method of preparation and the symbol of strength and power associated with the crocodile.

The traditional methods of preparing Makaradhwaj are highly complex and require a profound understanding of Ayurvedic principles and rituals. Typically, the process begins with the collection of specific minerals, such as mercury, sulfur, and purified gold. These minerals undergo a series of purification techniques, including grinding, heating, and detoxification, to eliminate impurities and enhance their therapeutic qualities. The purified minerals are then combined with herbal extracts, such as Aloe vera or Withania somnifera, and subjected to further processing, including trituration and calcination, to form the final product.

Cultural context plays a crucial role in the use of Makaradhwaj. In Ayurvedic traditions, it is believed that the preparation of Makaradhwaj should be performed under specific planetary alignments and auspicious timings, often guided by astrological considerations. These practices stem from the belief that the energy and qualities of the celestial bodies can influence the potency and efficacy of the final product.

Ancient Ayurvedic texts, including the Rasashastra literature, provide invaluable references to Makaradhwaj. The Rasashastra, a specialized branch of Ayurveda, extensively discusses the preparation and therapeutic properties of herbo-mineral compounds, including Makaradhwaj. Texts such as Rasa Ratnakara, Rasendra Sara Sangraha, and Bhaishajya Ratnavali provide detailed descriptions of its composition, preparation techniques, and indications for use.

Additionally, these texts highlight Makaradhwaj's association with rejuvenation, longevity, and the enhancement of vitality. Its historical use in Ayurvedic medicine has encompassed a wide range of conditions, including respiratory ailments, reproductive disorders, neurological conditions, and general debility. The knowledge and wisdom surrounding Makaradhwaj have been passed down through generations of Ayurvedic practitioners, preserving its importance and cultural significance.

Today, Makaradhwaj continues to be valued in Ayurvedic medicine, with modern research seeking to explore its therapeutic properties, standardize preparation techniques, and validate its efficacy through scientific methods. The historical roots and ancient references of Makaradhwaj contribute to its allure and inspire further investigation into its potential as a valuable component of holistic healthcare.

Composition and Preparation:

Makaradhwaj is a herbo-mineral compound composed of several ingredients, including minerals and herbal extracts. The primary components used in its preparation are:

Mercury (Parada):

Mercury is a key mineral ingredient in Makaradhwaj. It undergoes a thorough purification process to eliminate impurities and enhance its therapeutic qualities. The purified mercury serves as the base for the compound.

Sulfur (Gandhaka):

Sulfur, another mineral component, is combined with purified mercury. It acts as a catalyst during the preparation process and helps in the transformation and stabilization of the final product.

Gold (Swarna):

Purified gold, often in the form of gold foil or ashes, is incorporated into Makaradhwaj. Gold adds therapeutic properties and enhances the overall efficacy of the compound.

Herbal Extracts:

Various herbal extracts are included in the preparation of Makaradhwaj to further enhance its medicinal properties. The choice of herbs may vary depending on the specific formulation and desired therapeutic effects. Some commonly used herbs include Aloe vera, Withania somnifera (Ashwagandha), and Terminalia arjuna.


The preparation of Makaradhwaj requires a meticulous and specialized process. Here is a general outline of the steps involved:


Purification of Minerals:

Mercury, sulfur, and gold are subjected to specific purification techniques, such as grinding, heating, and washing. These processes aim to remove impurities and ensure the highest quality of the minerals used.


Purified mercury and sulfur are combined and triturated with herbal extracts to form a homogeneous mixture. This step involves grinding and blending the ingredients using traditional mortar and pestle techniques.


The blended mixture is subjected to calcination, a controlled heating process, usually performed in a specialized vessel called a puta. Calcination allows for the chemical reactions and transformation necessary to stabilize and potentiate the final product.

Repeated Processing:

The calcination process is typically repeated several times, with each cycle involving additional trituration and calcination. This repetitive processing enhances the therapeutic qualities and removes any remaining impurities.


It is crucial to highlight the importance of following specific guidelines and precautions during the preparation of Makaradhwaj. The process involves handling potentially toxic substances, such as mercury, which can be hazardous if not managed correctly. Only trained and experienced Ayurvedic practitioners or experts should undertake the preparation to ensure safety and proper adherence to traditional methods.

Furthermore, the timing and planetary alignments during the preparation process hold cultural and astrological significance. Traditional guidelines dictate specific auspicious timings and astrological considerations to optimize the therapeutic potential of Makaradhwaj. Respecting these guidelines helps preserve the cultural context and traditional wisdom associated with its preparation.

Adherence to quality control measures, such as sourcing high-quality ingredients and maintaining strict hygiene standards, is vital to ensure the safety and efficacy of the final product. It is essential to rely on reputable sources and follow standardized protocols to guarantee the authenticity and potency of Makaradhwaj.

By following the prescribed guidelines, precautions, and traditional methods, the preparation of Makaradhwaj can uphold its historical integrity, therapeutic value, and cultural significance.

Properties and Benefits:

Makaradhwaj is renowned in Ayurveda for its diverse therapeutic properties, which contribute to its extensive range of potential health benefits. While scientific research on Makaradhwaj is limited, traditional Ayurvedic texts and anecdotal evidence highlight its various properties. Here are some therapeutic properties attributed to Makaradhwaj:

Rasayana (Rejuvenative):

Makaradhwaj is considered a potent rasayana, which means it has rejuvenative properties. It is believed to promote vitality, enhance longevity, and slow down the aging process.

Immune Modulator:

Makaradhwaj is thought to have immunomodulatory effects, helping to strengthen the immune system and support overall immune function. It may aid in preventing and managing various infectious diseases.


Makaradhwaj is believed to possess adaptogenic properties, meaning it helps the body adapt to physical, mental, and emotional stress. It may support stress management, improve resilience, and promote overall well-being.


It is suggested that Makaradhwaj exhibits neuroprotective effects, potentially protecting the nervous system from damage, supporting cognitive function, and aiding in neurological conditions.


Some traditional texts suggest that Makaradhwaj has cardioprotective properties, promoting heart health, maintaining healthy blood pressure levels, and supporting cardiovascular function.


Makaradhwaj is believed to possess potent antioxidant properties, helping to neutralize harmful free radicals and reduce oxidative stress in the body.


Ayurvedic texts attribute aphrodisiac properties to Makaradhwaj, suggesting its potential in improving sexual vitality, enhancing libido, and addressing sexual health issues.

General Tonic:

Makaradhwaj is often considered a general tonic, promoting overall strength, vitality, and well-being. It is believed to nourish tissues, improve energy levels, and enhance physical and mental stamina.


Conditions for which Makaradhwaj is commonly used in Ayurveda include:

·        General debility and weakness

·        Respiratory disorders, such as asthma and chronic cough

·        Neurological conditions, including epilepsy and Parkinson's disease

·        Immune system disorders

·        Sexual disorders and infertility

·        Cardiac conditions and hypertension

·        Age-related cognitive decline


As with any Ayurvedic treatment, it is essential to consult a qualified Ayurvedic practitioner or healthcare professional before using Makaradhwaj. They can provide personalized guidance, assess individual health conditions, and determine the appropriate dosage and duration of use based on the specific needs of the individual.

Usage and Administration:

Makaradhwaj is available in different forms to suit individual preferences and ease of administration. The common forms in which Makaradhwaj is available include:


Makaradhwaj is commonly available as a fine powder. It can be mixed with honey, ghee (clarified butter), or warm milk for consumption.


Makaradhwaj may also be formulated into tablets or capsules for convenient consumption. These forms provide standardized dosages and are easily portable.


When it comes to the dosage and administration of Makaradhwaj, it is crucial to consult a qualified Ayurvedic practitioner or healthcare professional who can assess your specific health condition and provide personalized guidance. Dosage recommendations may vary based on factors such as age, overall health, and the specific formulation of Makaradhwaj.


As a general guideline, here are some considerations for the safe administration of Makaradhwaj:

Recommended Dosage:

The recommended dosage of Makaradhwaj typically ranges from 30 mg to 125 mg per day. However, the dosage may be adjusted based on individual needs and the practitioner's guidance.


Makaradhwaj is often taken in the morning on an empty stomach or as advised by an Ayurvedic practitioner. Some formulations may also recommend taking it before meals or with specific timing based on the condition being addressed.

Duration of Use:

The duration of Makaradhwaj use can vary depending on the purpose and individual response. It is essential to follow the prescribed course of treatment recommended by an Ayurvedic practitioner.

Dietary Considerations:

Ayurveda emphasizes the importance of a balanced diet and lifestyle. While taking Makaradhwaj, it is beneficial to follow a wholesome diet that supports your specific health goals. Avoiding heavy, oily, or incompatible food items is generally advised during the course of treatment.

Consultation and Monitoring:

Regular consultations with an Ayurvedic practitioner or healthcare professional are crucial to monitor progress, assess any changes in health, and adjust the dosage or treatment plan as needed.


It is important to note that Makaradhwaj contains mercury, which can be toxic if not prepared and used correctly. To ensure safety, it is essential to source Makaradhwaj from reputable ayurvedic medicine manufacturers who follow strict quality control measures and adhere to Ayurvedic standards.

Additionally, pregnant women, nursing mothers, children, and individuals with specific health conditions should exercise caution and consult a healthcare professional before using Makaradhwaj.

Ayurvedic Proprietary Medicine: Ashwashila Gold

Ashwashila Gold is an Ayurvedic vitality and vigour medicine that utilizes the beneficial properties of Makaradhwaj. It is formulated using a blend of traditional herbs and ingredients to support overall well-being and vitality. Makaradhwaj plays a key role in this proprietary medicine, contributing to its potential health benefits.

Ashwashila Gold is available in a liquid form, typically in a 200 ml bottle. It is commonly used to promote strength, stamina, and energy in individuals experiencing fatigue, weakness, or low vigor. The inclusion of Makaradhwaj in the formulation is believed to enhance its efficacy and rejuvenating effects.

Safety and Precautions:

While Makaradhwaj has been used in Ayurveda for centuries, it is important to be aware of potential risks, side effects, and contraindications associated with its use. Here are some important considerations:

Mercury Content: Makaradhwaj contains mercury, which can be toxic if not prepared and used correctly. The purification process involved in its preparation aims to remove impurities and render it safe for consumption. However, improper preparation or administration may lead to mercury toxicity. It is crucial to obtain Makaradhwaj from reputable sources that follow strict quality control measures and adhere to Ayurvedic standards.

Side Effects: In rare cases, individuals may experience side effects such as gastrointestinal discomfort, nausea, or skin reactions. These side effects are usually mild and transient. If any adverse effects occur, it is advisable to discontinue use and consult a healthcare professional.

Contraindications: Makaradhwaj is generally contraindicated in certain populations and conditions, including:

·        Pregnancy and Breastfeeding: Due to the mercury content, Makaradhwaj is not recommended for use during pregnancy or while breastfeeding. The potential risks to the developing fetus or the nursing infant outweigh the potential benefits.

·        Children: Makaradhwaj is typically not recommended for children, as their bodies may be more sensitive to the effects of mercury. The safety and appropriate dosage for pediatric use have not been well established.

·        Kidney Disorders: Individuals with kidney disorders or impaired renal function should exercise caution when using Makaradhwaj. The elimination of mercury from the body primarily occurs through the kidneys, and impaired renal function may affect mercury excretion.

·        Allergies: Individuals with known allergies or hypersensitivity to any of the ingredients in Makaradhwaj should avoid its use.

Consultation with a Qualified Practitioner: It is crucial to consult a qualified Ayurvedic practitioner or healthcare professional before using Makaradhwaj. They can assess your individual health condition, medical history, and any potential contraindications to ensure safe and appropriate use. A trained practitioner can provide personalized guidance, dosage recommendations, and monitor your progress throughout the treatment.

Adherence to Guidelines: Strict adherence to recommended dosage, administration methods, and duration of use is essential for safe and effective results. Deviating from the prescribed guidelines may increase the risk of adverse effects.

Remember, the information provided here is for general informational purposes only. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the guidance of a qualified healthcare provider for personalized advice tailored to your specific health needs.

Current Research and Future Potential:

Scientific research on Makaradhwaj is limited, and there is a need for further exploration to validate its traditional uses and understand its mechanisms of action. However, there are some ongoing studies and emerging findings that show promise in expanding the applications of Makaradhwaj. Here are some areas of interest and current research:

Neurological Disorders:

Makaradhwaj's potential neuroprotective effects have garnered attention in the field of neurology. Studies are investigating its role in neurodegenerative disorders like Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease, and epilepsy. Preliminary findings suggest that Makaradhwaj may have beneficial effects on cognitive function and neuronal health.


The immunomodulatory properties of Makaradhwaj are being explored in the context of autoimmune disorders and immune system dysregulation. Studies are investigating its potential in modulating immune responses, enhancing immune cell function, and reducing inflammation.

Anticancer Effects:

Some preliminary studies have shown that Makaradhwaj may exhibit anticancer activity. It is being investigated for its potential role in inhibiting cancer cell growth, inducing apoptosis (programmed cell death), and enhancing the effectiveness of chemotherapy treatments. However, further research is needed to establish its efficacy and safety in cancer management.

Antioxidant and Anti-inflammatory Properties:

Makaradhwaj's antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties are of interest in various health conditions associated with oxidative stress and chronic inflammation. Research is exploring its potential in conditions such as cardiovascular diseases, metabolic disorders, and respiratory ailments.

Novel Formulations and Delivery Systems:

Researchers are exploring innovative methods to improve the bioavailability and therapeutic potential of Makaradhwaj. Efforts are being made to develop novel formulations, such as nanoparticles, liposomes, and targeted delivery systems, to enhance its absorption and targeted action.


In conclusion, Makaradhwaj holds significant historical and cultural significance in Ayurvedic medicine. Throughout the ages, it has been valued for its therapeutic properties and potential health benefits. Here are the key points discussed in this article:

Historical Significance: Makaradhwaj has been used in Ayurvedic medicine for centuries and is deeply rooted in traditional practices. Ancient texts mention its preparation methods and highlight its diverse applications in promoting health and well-being.

Therapeutic Properties: Makaradhwaj is attributed with various therapeutic properties, including rejuvenation, immune modulation, neuroprotection, cardioprotection, antioxidant activity, and aphrodisiac effects. These properties contribute to its potential benefits in addressing a range of health conditions.

Scientific Research: While scientific research on Makaradhwaj is limited, preliminary studies suggest its potential in cognitive enhancement, immune modulation, and anticancer effects. Ongoing research aims to explore its applications in neurology, immunology, and other areas.

Safety and Precautions: Makaradhwaj contains mercury, making it essential to follow specific guidelines and precautions. Consulting a qualified Ayurvedic practitioner or healthcare professional is crucial to ensure safe usage, personalized guidance, and appropriate dosage recommendations. Specific populations such as pregnant women, children, and individuals with kidney disorders should exercise caution or avoid its use.

Further Research: There is a need for further scientific research, including well-designed clinical trials, to validate the traditional uses and establish the safety and efficacy of Makaradhwaj. Standardization, quality control measures, and understanding the underlying mechanisms of action are areas that require more exploration.

Makaradhwaj presents potential benefits in promoting health and well-being. However, it is vital to approach its use with caution, seek professional guidance, and conduct further research to make informed decisions. Consulting a qualified Ayurvedic practitioner or healthcare professional will ensure personalized advice and maximize the potential benefits while minimizing potential risks.



The information provided here is for informational purposes only and should not replace professional medical advice. Always consult a qualified healthcare practitioner for personalized guidance.

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