Saturday, July 2, 2016

The "GOLD"en Medicine

"One should always have some gold item on the body. It is good for health.", grandmothers used to say when we were young. Gold was one way of keeping savings handy, when other savings instruments were not available in plenty. That was a time when all could not afford gold jewelry. Many households did not even have silverware with them. A gold ring or a gold chain presented to the bride or groom at the time of a marriage would be a showpiece and passed around carefully under strict supervision, for the guess to see. There were some affluent families who did have some gold jewelry and they were looked upon with awe by others. Diamonds were not seen but only heard. Bank accounts were believed to be only for the rich. 

Times have changed. People have more disposable incomes now. Gold jewelry and bank accounts have become commonplace. Gold no longer evokes great emotions. Many people have started buying diamonds, small or big. Platinum has displaced Gold as the main jewelry metal. Bank accounts are for everybody. Those who do not have money to save have personal loans and consumer loans. Housing loans are available in all sizes and for all income groups. Then there are credit cards acting like the two edged swords. Great, if used carefully and agents of doom if used indiscreetly. Today, there are more people buying jewelry in posh storied shopping malls than fruits and vegetables at the nearby vegetable markets. Increase in vegetable and fruit prices is more concerning than movement in the price of gold. 

Gold is now available in every household and in good quantities as well. But law and order situation has improved so much that it is neither possible nor advisable to wear golden items on one's body and move around. Bank lockers are in great demand for storing all these jewelry items. Looking at the locker key is, of course, comforting to many. Ultimately, there is no gold jewelry on human bodies. It was paucity then; security and safety issues now!

Gold was (and is) not only an ornamental metal, but also a standard or scale for measuring quality. Literature abounds with reference to gold and anything good, precious or rare was compared to gold. Only few could ignore gold for something else! Lord Rama tells brother Lakshmana, standing on the shores of the mighty ocean and looking at Ravana's Lanka: Api swarnamayee Lanka, na mei Lakshmana rochate! Janani Janmabhoomischa swargadapi gareeyasi" (अपि स्वर्णमयी लङ्का न मे लक्ष्मण रोचते, जननी जन्मभूमिश्च स्वर्गादपि गरीयसि). The first part is not well known, but the second part is often quoted as a lofty ideal. Other poets and writers have extensively used reference to gold in their works. Gold standard was a monetary system followed for many years all over the world. Gold was and is easily accepted in lieu of money even today.

Medical practitioners have identified the many medicinal properties of gold for a long time and used it in preparation of various medicines. Ayurveda is a pioneer in use of other metals as well as gold as an ingredient in various medicinal preparations. Swarna Bhasma or Gold Ash is used in many Ayurvedic formulations. Recorded usage of Gold as medicine is at least three thousand years old. There is referece to use of gold as medicine in "Sushruta Samhita". Adiman, Chandrasena and Nagarjuna have made valuable contributions to use of metals in medicinal preparations. 

"Rasa Ratna Samuchhaya" is a sanskrit work credited to one "Vagbhatacharya" (different from other well known personalities with similar names of earlier periods) and said to have been written in the 13th century. The verses are well knit with literary qualities as well as provide valuable input for medical practitioners. The many medicinal qualities of gold have been enumerated in detail in this text and some of them are:

  • Gold enhances the life span and wealth and brings a sense of wellbeing.
  • It enhances body complexion.
  • It enhances intellect and memory.
  • It increases Grahana and Dhaarana shakti (grasping and retention powers).
  • It eradicates the spells of evil spirits and bad influences.
  • It is a brain tonic and provides nourishment to the body.
  • It eradicates the effects of poisoning.
  • It cures Yakshma (Tuberculosis), Unmada (mental disturbance) and many other diseases.
  • It improves digestive power and provides many other positive effects on the body.

Swarna Bindu Prashana has been practiced and administered to children for several centuries. Modren tools of advertisement and canvassing has made it even more familiar and enhanced its usage. In a way, it has become another "Akshaya Tritiya" type publicity that is connected with buying gold. Swarna Bindu Prashana is used for administering a gold formulation to children for increasing immunity, memory and strength in them. This is done once a month, on the day of "Pushya" nakshatra (star) day. Original reference to this type of Prashana is said to be in "Kashyapa Samhita". Providing for food and clothing for a number of children in the family was itself a challenge for parents decades ago. Family planning and increasing income levels have made Swarna Bindu Prashana more familiar and affordable nowadays. Parents, especially NRIs, look forward to Pushya Nakshtra day for "Swarna Bindu Prashana" in present times.

The next Swarna Bindu Prashana event is only three days away, on 6th July, 2016. Are you interested?


  1. Well said, Keshav murti sir, it was like talking to you in person, have a good day sir

  2. Very well narrated, you make us to gain knowledge, thank you.

  3. Interesting article sir,in the past kings were also used to intake food in gold utensils.The above mentioned medicinal quality of gold made them powerful and knowledgeable.

  4. Our elders were blessing the new born by presenting some gold, the bride will be given away with golden ornaments ,it was Salankrutha kanyadana ,may be it was a sort of savings a way of investments &I also gold is good on our body. But all this are proving to be a wrong. Even in USA only Indian families are robbed. The Jewel shops make this Akshayathrithiya a great event ,advertising it as buying gold that day will bring lot of wealth. It's high time the love for gold by our people will diminish.

  5. As usual, packed with knowledge. Gold has become synonymous with anything precious, so the relative adjective is also used with words like "word", "voice", etc, also with age, like "old is gold".

  6. Highly informative

  7. The article is worth weighing in gold