Dhanvantari-Nighantu (Two Volumes)
Look Inside

Dhanvantari-Nighantu (Two Volumes)

FREE Delivery
Ships in 1-3 days
Item Code: NAD479
Author: Dr. S. D. Kamat
Publisher: Chaukhambha Publshing House
Language: Sanskrit Text with English Translation
Edition: 2011
Pages: 925
Cover: Hardcover
Other Details: 9.5 inch X 6.5 inch
Weight 1.77 kg
Foreword to the Volume I

Vaidya D.K.Kamat,the author of this treatise ‘Studies on Medicinal plants in ‘Dhanwantariya Nighantu’ is a veteran Ayurvedic vaidya of Konkan, a coastal area of Maharashtra, characterjsed by small hills and forests rich in vegetation. His zeal for study of Ayurvedic medicinal plants must have been greatly stimulated and fed by the abundance of the herbal wealth around him in the land of his birth. Dr. G. S. Pendse, who appears to have followed the research career of the author intimately has in the preface,(introduction) given a fascinating account of the trials and tribulations undergone by the author and the obstacles overcome by him in order to complete the task of acquiring first-hand knowledge of the medicinal plants of the region. In this mission he has been ably assisted by his botanist collaborator, Prof. S.D. Mahajan. This happy collaboration has resulted in the preparation and publication of the present useful work in English. The choice of language will carry the utility of the book to parts of India beyond the frontier of Kokan and Maharashtra. This will enable the scholars and scientists all over the country to reap the benefits of Vaidya Kamat’s la’jdable effort.

I have to concede seniority to Vaidya Kamat not only in the matter of age (he is in his eighties), but also in the knowledge of the subject treated in this book. Against this background, his desire to have the Foreword wntten by me constitutes more an honour to me than to him. However, since my long association with the All India Ayurvedic Congress, the Central and Sate Councils and Committees and various University Faculties has kept me in close touch with the Ayurvedic profession and scholarships of the entire country, my assessment of Vaidya Kamat’s work may help a large number of people in India to make use of the knowledge collected and recorded by Vaidya Kamat in this excellent publication This appears to me to be the only justification for my writing this Foreword.

‘Dhanwantariya Nighantu’ is a treatise on Ayurvedic herbs and drugs with its main portion, Guduchyadi Varga, dealing with medicinal plants exclusively. Vaidya Kamat has dealt with this portion, i.e., the medicinal plants, only. He has done an excilent job of identifying the plants and their variants which will go a long way in removing confusion with regard to the identity of a large number of plants prevalent among the Ayurvedic physicians and suppliers of Ayurvedic herbs. Prof. S.D. Mahajan has greatly helped in fixing the identities of these plants by supplying their botanical names.

The publication should prove of considerable practical use to the students and practitioners of Ayurveda and to research scholars requiring contact with medicinal plants for initiating research in them. I welcome the addition of this book to the existing literature on this subject.


Preface to the Volume 1

(“Naturalists are born and made; that the sacred fire cannot be crushed by poverty nor lighted from a college taper. That the men e work is now classical and whose devotion is our privilege to honowed less to education in any sense than they did to self denial steadtess, energy, a passion for seeking out the truth and an innate love of nature. These are the qualities which enabled them to gather fruit of the tree of knowledge. ‘9 William Healey Dali The Bibliography, Published by The Smithisonia Institution, Washingtonl946.

We are very much gratified to publish this work on the studies on Dhanvantari’s medicinal plants. As Dr. G. S. Pendse, in his scholarly inroduction, has exnlicitly explained the background and objects of this work, it is not necessary to say much about the same.

It should be made clear at the outset that the author and the editor did not start this work with the predetermined aim of publishing anything. But only as a specimen the accumulated data and the compilation of some Marathi notes were sent to several authorities in the field, who appreciated the direction of work and encouraged us to prepare the manuscript (vide p.1 25). The draft manuscript prepared by the author in Marathi was brought to the notice of Dr. G. S. Pendse, Poona. After the perusal of the same, with full appreciation and encouragement, he kindly suggested to translate it in English and insisted that it was worth publishing and should be published. The English version of the manuscript was prepared by the author according to the plan and Performa suggested by Dr. Ponds.

It was a very difficult problem to seek a publisher to such a work especially when neither financial assistance for a promising market was deemed to be available. In this situation, we decided to publish at least the Gujtichyadi Chapter that too in a concise form ourselves, in 1970. We prepared the second manuscript accordingly by omitting many details and explanations.

Since then, in search of a suitable printer, as we were completely new in this field, we contacted several panting presses at Mumbai, Poona and Kolhapur. One printer in Poona accepted the work in 1971, but expressed his inability to carry it in May 1971. Finally it was another fortunate event that we came across the Manager of Veda-Vidya Mudranalaya, Poona, who readily and gladly accepted the work in May 1971 and completed the same in June 1972.

It may kindly be noted that we do not claim in any way that this work is all-exhaustive and fool-proof. On the contrary it is an humble effort of spade-work type, and there is much scope in this field for future workers.

The extent and scope of the work will be evident from the Contents, while the plan and pattern can be understood by going through the Performa. The author has given different pertinent references from various sources; and tried to confirm the botanical names of plants after considering the suitable ones by taking an overall judgment, in each case. We accept that it was quite necessary to provide the reasoning and explanation to substantiate the selection of particular plants at many places. Moreover, illustrations of plants, at least the controversial ones, would have definitely increased the clarity and utility of the treatise. We were actually keenly desirous to include not only these things, but also the morphological descriptions, floral formulae and floral diagrams of all the confirmed plants. It would have naturally increased the size and consequently the printing cost of the book at least doubly if not trebly. It is only the financial aspect that prevented us in doing so.

We have tried to provide some references and articles from some of the referred books, but in some cases we could not furnish the details like place, pages or stanzas etc., due to some difficulties in obtaining the same books. Similarly, we beg an apology of the readers for the printing mistakes which have crept in, even after several Proof reading, for which we are responsible and not the Printer. The readers are requested to kindly refer to the errata for the corrections of mistakes already noticed, and bring to our notice, additional ones if there are any.

We are greatly indebted to honorably Pandit Shiv Sharma and Dr. C. D warakanath for their favour of providing Foreword and opinions to this work. We take these words of appreciation and encouragement as our greatest honour. It is beyond the power of our expression to offer them a vote of thanks in appropriate words. May their kind words and guidance inspire us to complete this work in an elaborate and sophisticated manner.

We want to express our deep sense of gratitude and respect to Dr. G. S .Pendse, Honörary Director, Indian Drug Research Association, Poona for the favour of his scholarly Introduction of this work, and for guidance and encouragement given from time to time.

We gratefully acknowledge the encouragement and facilities given by Dr. T. S. Mahabale M. Sc.; Ph. D. etc., formerly Head of Dept. of Botany University of Poona. Prin. C. M. R. Desai, B. A. L. L. B, M. Ed, G. K. Gokhale, Kolhapur; Authorities of Ayurved Seva Sangha; the Authorities ye encouraged us by giving their worthy opinions (vide App.D) on work and Dr.G.S.Puri M.Sc.,Ph.D.etc. formerly regional Botanist at Poona and Allahabad.

Dr. N. K. Bhide of All India Institute of Medical Sciences, New has unlighted us by way of provoking discussion on this subject and made valuable suggestions particularly regarding our preface. s are due to him.

We offer a vote of thanks to Dr. A. V. Sathe, M. Sc. Ph. D., Poona for Living the opportunity of acquainting us with Dr. Bhide We also offer vote of thanks to Dr.S.D.Kamat, M. F. A. M.; A.C., ‘Ayurvedacharya’ for his help in preparing the English version ‘Treatise and its Constitution’.

The Manager Shree Vinod Shroff, and the staff of Veda-Vidya ‘ranalaya, have taken keen interest and great efforts in the execution ie printing of this work. They have completed this complicated work commendable manner and calculated period.We admit without hosing that much of the credit of this publication goes to their kind conation. Many thanks to all of them.

This work is dedicated to the unknown power which inspired us got it done through us and to all the previous compilers of revered Vedic books and modem writers whose minds and hands were ended in the field to Ayurvedic Medicine.


Introduction to Volume I

It is really a pleasure to write an introduction to this treatise, which is a sheer labour of love of a single man with an occasional help from his younger associate. The chief author,Vaidya D. K. Kamat belongs to Konkan and has now reached a ripe age of eighty, when he is completing this treatise. For a number of years, he was after his cherished ideal. Born and brought up in Chiplun taluka in the district of Rangier in Konkan a middle class poor family, his early life was passed in the midst of the poor population of cultivators and inhabitants of Tala-Konkan, under fairly hard circumstances. Curiosity is the basis of any research enquiry. It must also be accompanied by a desire and full effort to satisfy that curiosity or else, it becomes only an idle inquisitiveness. Vaidya Kamat is endowed with these rare and singular qualities. His curiosity regarding the habits and practices of these poor-hilly populations, made him start his work, when he was, on vegetable materials locally available and used as foods and medicinal plants. He did neither wait for a wealthy man to support him, nor did he enquire whether the Government budget is available to get some grant for this work, Even though, he was not a trained botanist, he started the study of systematic of Botany with a single idea of identification of the plant materials, he was collecting so laboriously from the local populations. He took the help from the Botanical Survey of India on one side and eminent Averages on the other, such as Vaidya late A.R.Kalawari of Ratnagiri. It was a fortunate event that a young man like Shri S. D. Mahajan, who was a trained Botanist joined him actively at this stage and Vaidya Kamat could secure an active help from this young scientist. Some areas were surveyed by Vaidya Kamat and Shri Mahajan jointly and it was very beneficial to both of them. Both of them surveyed the area of Baramati in addition to Konkan areas. The officer-in-charge of the Botanical Survey of India, Poona, Shri Pun gave them a good co-operation in the matter of identification of the collected specimens. An excellent opportunity arose for these scientists, when they got an invitation from ‘Sarvodaya Yojana’and ‘Ayurveda Seva Sangh’ Nasik for the survey of ‘Advises’ in Nasik district for the medicinal and food plants they used. They jointly completed this work, resulting in a collection of some 250 interesting specimens, which were given to the Ayurveda Seva Sangh of Nasik and also to the Poona University.

It is also worth noting that Vaidya Kamat was engaged in a trade from 1945 onwards for a few years, which was intimately related to forest products, although he happened to serve as a draftsman during some earlier years. This is again a point to illustrate the principle, that his low Somehow Vaidya Kamat did not remain in service for a long time. He was not deterred by this event. On the contrary, he engaged himself in a trade, which was based on the knowledge he gained during his forest work. There are a number of trades related to the forest products. He picked up one of them. Acacia sundra is a common tree in the western and Southern forest. The economic aspect of this tree is well-known. The total export of Catechu was valued at Rs. 3696186 as early as in 1895-96, which has been fluctuating since then. The process of obtaining ‘Kat& (Catechu) is a traditional process practiced by villagers. The commerce of Catechu is not small. A good quality also yields a good return. Shri Kamat took to this trade, secured all the know-how of the work and started a forest industry, which satisfied his wants and also gave him a good opportunity to keep up his pursuit of plant-knowledge.

It is after all such hard labour and pursuit of pure knowledge for years together, in spite of all sorts of difficulties, Vaidya Kamat started writing some articles on topics of identification of plant materials mentioned in ‘Dhanvantariya Nighantu’ and ‘Raj Nighantu’. These articles appeared in ‘Ayurved Patrika’ Nasik and were not contradicted by anybody even now. He was then encouraged to take up a full work of preparing a glossary of medicinal plants in ‘Dhanvantariya Nighantu’, which is the work of his life-time. I have particularly touched the relevent points in the life of Vaidya Kamat to show how curiosity, hard work and perseverance to follow the ideal irrespective of odd circumstances, are the necessary qualities for a research worker to achieve something worth the trouble during one’s life-time.


Introduction to Volume II

Vaidya D.K.Kamat published his studies on Medicinal Plants in Dhanvantariya Nihatu (Vol. I) in 1972. Now Vol. II is coming out. Vaidya Kamat is no more but he completed this work before he left this world which is being published by his son Shri S.D.Kamat. I pay my respectful regards to the departed soul. His contributions in the field of Dravyaguua have been historical for which he will be ever remembered by the coming generations.

Dhanvantari Nighau.tu because of its association with the Divine name ‘Dhanvantari’ has been regarded in some circle as the oldest among the Nighaiflus but this does not hold correct because of the following facts:

1. In introductory verses it is mentioned that the work is composed by taking a portion of the ocean like literature of Nighaiflus’1. This indicates that there was a large number of Nighantus previously on which Dhanvntari Nigharitu is based.

2. Though the text starts with salutation to Dhanvantari, there is no mention of his authorship in introductory verses. Only at the end of the Suvariãdi Varga in Gaijadavyavali there is one line which says thus Dravyavali is read as emanated from Dhanvantri’s mouth’2 but this line is quite doubtful because of the following reasons :-

(a) The verse is not complete being only a half of the Autobahn meter.

(b) The line is quite detached with the context and looks unwarranted.

(c) If at all it was to be inserted, it should have come at the end of the Mfcrakadi varga (7th Chapter) rather than after the suvariädi varga (6th Ch.).

This shows that probably Dhnvantari is not connected with the authorship of this work nor this is the earliest Nighantu. The word ‘Dhanvantari’ in later period became as an epithet of a great Ayurvedic Scholar and it is not improbable that the word has been used here in this sense, In several manuscripts. Mahendra Bhogika, Son of Krabhogika and resident of SthAnviwara (Thaneswar)3, has been said as the author of this work.

Another important fact is that Dhnvantari Nighantu, though a very valuable Nighantu. has not been quoted by any author or commen- tator in Ayurvedic field before Aruna Datta, the commentator on Vagbhata's Astanga-Hrday. Jejjata, Cakrapani and even Dalhana does not refer to him who has given detailed interpretation on drugs. In another field, Ksiraswami (llth cent. A.D.), Jejjata (9th cent. A.D.) does not refer to him. Hence this may be placed conveniently between 9th and 11 th Cent. A.D, e.g. 10th Cent. A.D.

From introductory verses it appears that the actual title of the origi- nal work was 'Dravyavali' and not 'Dhanvantari Nighantu' which is not mentioned at all in this context. The earlier Nighantu followed the style of the vedic Nighantu which consisted of only synonyms and no discription of substances. The composition of Nigh ant us having descsription of prop- erties and actions of drugs alongwith synonyms is a later development. The original text Dravyavali consisted of synonyms only as evident from the author's statement in introductions' Description of properties and ac- tions was added to it later on as appears from the second salutary verse.'. Thus the exsiting text of Dhanvantari Nighantu is Dravyavali added with description of properties and actions.This addition, of course, was not out- come of a day, instead it must have taken a long time during which Dravyavali in its original form was current", on the basis of mtemal evi- dences it may be said that the process continued till 13 th Cent. A.D5. It appers that after addition having completed in Dravyavali, it began to be known by the new title of Dhanvantari Nighantu. In the form of Dravyavali, it may not be the first Nighantu but as the Dhanavantari Nighantu it sems to be the first Nighantu having description of properties and actions of drugs. This was followed by later authors like Sodhala, Madanpala, Kaiyadeva and Bhavarnishra.

Ksiraswami's contention that Dhanvantari Nighantu preceded the Amarakosa and that the Vanausadhi varga of the latter is based on the former? does not hold correct. The date of the Arnarakosa is fixed as in 4th Cent. A.D.1during Gupta period because Amara Simha preceded Candrogamin, a Buddhist Grammerian of Bengal and teacher of Va sur at a (450 A.D.) The Amarakosa was translated into Chinese by Gunarata of Ujjayani in 6th Cent. A.D. and as such it must be prior to this. Accordingly if the above contention of Ksiraswami is accepted, the Dhanvatari Nighantu will have to be placed even earlier to that.

Main argument in his favour put forth by Ksiraswarni is that in certain places the author of the Amarakosa, though tried to follow to Dhanvantari Nighantu sincerely was confused in certain readings and that is why he proposed changed versions. The following examples are given byhim :-

1. The Dhanvantari Nighantu reads 'Balapatra' for Yavasa and Khadira but Amarasimha mistaking it as 'Balaputra' made the synonym 'Balatanaya' for Khadira.
2. The word 'Upacitra' is for Danti and prsniprni but in the Amarakosa Dravanti is confused with Danti and as such the synonym 'Upacitra' is mentioned for the same.
3. Dhanvantari reads 'Padrnavarna' a synonym for Puskrarnula but Amarasimha confusing it as Padrnaparna has given it as a syno- nym for the same.
, 4. Dhanvantari has given "Sitalaivataka' as a synonym for Sanaparni but Amara simha taking it as a compound has split it into two-Sitala and Vatala,
5. 'Mahausadha' is a synonym for Visa and and not for Ativisa but Amarasimha taking 'Visa' as 'Visa' has used this synonym for Ativisa.
6. 'NadeYl' once already used has again been used due to similar confusion.
7. Citra' is a synonym for Vlsala and Dravanti. Amarasimha by confusion has used this synonym for Gavaksi.
8. 'Sev ya' is used for Lamajjak and Usira but Amarasimha confusing them 2S one has mentioned both 'Sevya' and 'Am mala' as syno- nyms for 'Usira' itself.
By these examples Ksrraswarni has tned to show that the text of Dhanvantari Nighantu was always before Amara-Simha when he was com- posing the Vanausadhivarga though under confusion he has changed some of the readings.

Let us examine critically the above "examples one by one.

1'Balapatra' as a synonym for Khadira has not been used only in the Dhanvantri Nighantu but also in other earlier Nighantus like the Astariga Nighantu of Vahata. Secondly, the word' Tanaya' (Prasava) means off- shoots from the main body of the plant such as leaves flowers as well as fruits. Here the author used it for leaves. As Bhanuji Diksita say, it is also possible that the original reading 'Balapatra' might have been changed to 'Balaputra' due to transcriptional error. This however, does not preclude the antecedence of the Dhanvantari Nighantu because the synonym of Balaputra is also seen in the Astariga Hrdaya which might be the common source for all the after works.
2. In use of the synonym 'Citra and Upacitra' there has not been any hard and fast rule. In the Astariga Nighantu, Citra and Upacitra have been used for Danti and Nagadanti respectively. In Paryayaratramala, both the words have been used for Danti. Hence it should not be surpris- ing if Amarasimha also used both these words as synonyms for Dravanti. On this ground to allege mistake on the part of the author of the Amarakosa in following the Dhanvantari Nighantu is a far-fetched imagi- nation.
3. The word 'Padrnavarna' is not found in synonyms of Puskaramula in the present edition (Anadashram; Poona,2nd ed.,1925). It is possible that the manuscript before Ksiraswami might be having this version due to transcriptional error. Secondly, 'Padrnavarna' is not at all a fitting synonym. Instead 'Padmapatra' is the correct synonym denoting the size and shape of the leaves of the plant. Moreover, this synonym has been accepted by almost all the Nighantus.
4. As regards 'Sitalavataka' it is not found in the present edition of the Dhanavantari Nighantu. In the Arnarakosa, Bhanuuji Diksita has supported both the versions 'Sltalah' Vatakah and 'Sitalavatakah' naturally there is no diference between these two.
5. 'Mahausadha' in fact, means 'great remedy' (or panacea) which may be applicable to any popular drug. (Ativisa' being a very popular drug particutarly for children's disorders, deserves this epithet quite well. Arnarasimha being such a great all round scholar could not distinguish between 'Visa' and 'Visa' is not at all acceptable. Instead he has used this synonym quite knowingly. This has also been used for 'Lasuna' which again supports the above idea.
6. Nadeyi Bhurmjmbuka' has come twice in the Arnarakosa ( 11- 4, 38 and 118) but in different contexts. In the first context they denote 'Narariga' while in the other they are for 'Bhujambu'. It is to be noted that the word 'Nadeyi', has been used for four different plants in the Amarkosa-Jalavetasa, Nigranga, Tarkari and Bhujambu. In Dhn. N ighantu it is used similarly except for Nagarariga. Dhanvantari acted judiciously and left the synonym in case of Naranga,
7. It is no mistake if the synonym 'Citra' is used for Gavaksi as explained above (item 2). Ksiraswmi himself satisfies himsefby saying that Visala being only a type of Gavaksi there is no any mistake. In Dhanvantari Nighantu, Citra has been used as a synonym for several drugs like Durva, Bilva, Manjistha, Dravanti etc ..
8. There has been confusion regarding identity of Lamajj aka and Usira since long. Hence it was but natural for Amarasimha too to mention the synonyms like that.
The internal evidence also do not support the view of Ksiraswarni about antecedence of the Dhanva.itari Nighantu. The con- tents of the Dhanvantari Nighantu are much mo-e in developed state which show its posteriority. The following examples would suffice :-

1. Some drugs which found entrance during medieval period such as Agnijara (Ambara) which are described in the Dhanvantari Nighantu but are absent in the Arnarakosa.
2. Some of the drugs such as Kamkustha (latex of Swamaksiri) is described in the Dhanvantari Nighantu but are absent in the Amarakosa. Had the Dhanvantari Nighantu been before Amarasimha, he must have utilised this important material.
3. The type of Karafija are two in ancient texts, five in the Arnarakosa and six in the Dhanvantari Nighantu. It shows the developed state of classificition in the Dhanvantari Nighantu and consequently its posteriority.
4. Gajapippali has been said as the fruit of Cavya in the Dhanvantari Nighantu but this fact is conspicuously absent in the Arnarakosa. This ieda is certainly a later one which places the Dhanvantari Nighantu posterior to the Arnarakosa.
Thus, the Arnarakosa is posterior to Vagbhata but anterior to the Dhanvantari Nighantu. There IS no doubt that some Nighantu was cer- tainly before Amarasimha on the basis of which he has been able to com- pile the Vanau~adhi varga which is unique in respect of material as well as presentation but certainly that was not the Ohanvantari Nighantu but its predecessors the existence of which is mentioned in the introductory verses.

The value of the Ohanvantari Nighantu can't be overemphasized because being the first nighantu in the descriptive style provided model for later works. But, at the same time, it needs critical scrutiny because of having been developed at the juncture of the ancient and medieval periods which was actually a transition phase as regards the knowledge and iden- tity of drugs.

I am glad that such important study has been done by Vaidya O.K. Kamat in the present series which may be able to solve mysteries and controversies current since long.

The Ayurvedic community should be grateful to him for this valu- able work. Shri S.D.Kamat, his devoted son, is enagaged in publishing the work done by his father for which he deserves thanks and congratula- tions, from scholars. I hope, he will continue his efforts in this direction and would publish all the volumes in series so that a complete picture of the critical study ofthe Dhanvantari Nighantu is presented before the world of scholars.




1 Preface I-XIII
2 Forward to the Vol. I by Pdt. Shiv Sharma XIV
3 Preface to the Vol. I by Kamat & Mahajan XV-XVII
4 Introduction to Vol. 1 by Dr. G. S. Pendse XVIII
5 Introduction to Vol. 2 by Prof. P. V. Sharma XXX-XXXV
6 The Treatise and its Constitution  
(i) The Treatise XXXVI-XLVII
(ii) The Constitution XLVIII-LVI
(iii) Study of Ayurvedic Nighantus Proforma & System of Transliteration LVII-LXIV
7 Proforma & System of Tranliteration LXV-LXVII
8 Index of Heading names (A-1)-(A-20)
9 Dravyavali Mangalacaranam Purpose of the treatise (B-1)-(B-4)
10 Ganadravyavalih (C-1)- (C-20)
11 Study of Plants-Guducyadi Chapter-I 1-119
12 Study of Plants-Satapuspadi Chapter-II 121-190
13 Study of Plants-Candandi Chapter-III 191-273
14 Study of Plants- Karaviradi Chapter IV 275-384
Vol --2
15 Study of Plants- Amradi Chapter V 385-522
16 Study of drugs- Suvarnadi Chapter VI 523-644
17 Study of drugs- Misrakadi Chapter VII 645-669
18 Bibliography 670-681
19 Index A-Botanical names, synonyms and other drugs 682-716
20 Index B-Sanskrit names, synonyms etc. 717-858



Add a review
Have A Question

For privacy concerns, please view our Privacy Policy