Agad Tantra or Agada Tantra is the branch of Ayurveda that is similar to the Toxicology of modern medical science. This science deal describes the various poisons that affect the health of human beings and the methods of expelling them from the body. The subject elaborately discusses toxins and how to get rid of them. This particular branch of Ayurveda is considered the most important as the poisonous substances in the body can cause grave consequences that can be fatal.
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This Treatment is also known as ‘Visha Tantra’ which means ‘Treating Poison’. Agad Tantra deals with the poisons and their classification, symptoms noticed after they get into the human system, diagnosis and treatment called ‘Nidana”.
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Ancient Ayurvedic Literature on Agada Tantra
The Ayurvedic Texts in Charak Samhita, Sushruta Samhita, and Sharangdhar Samhita have an elaborate description of the diagnosis and treatment of poisons affecting the body. Ashtang Ayurveda authored by Vagbhata Rishi has totally of 40 chapters out of which 4 are devoted to Agada Tantra. They extensively deal with toxicology and also forensic medicine. These 4 chapters called ‘adhyayas’ cover the entire gamut of information contained in all the Ayurvedic texts namely Smhitas on the subject of Agada Tantra.
Agad Tantra Treatment
Agad Tantra describes the various methods of purging toxic elements from the body. It recommends the use of different antidotes to nullify the effect of poisonous substances on the human body. It mentions a wide gamut of natural poisons and toxins received from animals, insects, reptiles, etc., and the poisons from the plants or herbs such as aconite and belladonna, etc. There is detailed information on how to manage poisonous substances that come from minerals and metals such as arsenic, copper, mercury, lead, etc. including poisoning from a drug overdose. In Ayurveda, there is a clear description of the drugs if taken in the right proportion and the same drug can turn into poison if the dosage exceeds the prescribed limit causing an overdose.
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What are the Potentially Poisonous Substances?
There can be toxic effects from different sources such as air, water, and food. Pollution in the air, contamination of water, and consumption of contaminated, stale, or spoilt food have the potential of poisoning the human body. Ayurved even warns that these pollutions can cause epidemics in society. Food poisoning is described in detail in Ayurveda along with the causes and treatment methods. Certain combinations of food are considered poisonous if consumed in excess. Examples of this type of food items are chilies, spices, and mustard oil as they irritate the digestive system. Prepared food stored in vessels made of iron and copper also turn into poison. Sour items like buttermilk kept in copper vessels for a long can turn into poison. Some methods of preparation of food can cause them to become poisonous. Precious stones like diamonds and precious metals also are toxic but can be used in Ayurvedic preparations as medicines in powder form in a few emergency situations. Mercury and lead, prepared under the supervision of Ayurvedic experts can be used as medicines to treat food poisoning.