What are Asava and Arishta

Arishta and Asava are Ayurvedic preparations that are made by soaking the herbs in their powder form or as a decoction in a sugar or jaggery solution for a certain period. The decoction prepared in this manner is called Kashaya. Later, the soaked herbs are allowed to ferment so that alcohol is generated and the active ingredients present in the herbs are extracted. Asava and Arishta provide the advantage of having a better shelf life compared to the other Ayurvedic medicine forms such as tablets and capsules. The alcohol generated in this manner can also be used as a preservative. The methods of preparation of Arishta and Asava are discussed below:

Arishta

Arishta is prepared by using a coarsely powdered drug from which a Kashaya is formed. Later, the Kashaya is strained and stored in a vessel to allow the fermentation to occur. Jaggery, sugar, or honey may also be added to the Kashaya as required. The vessel should be covered with an earthen lid and its edges should be sealed with a cloth smeared in clay in seven layers.

The vessel is kept in a special room where a constant temperature can be maintained to ensure proper fermentation of the Kashaya (decoction). It can also be kept in a heap of paddy or an underground cellar. The lid is removed after a certain period, and the contents are examined to check whether the fermentation is completed. Then, the fluid is decanted from the vessel and it is strained after 2 or 3 days. It can be strained again and stored in a bottle after the suspended particles have settled down.

Asava

The sugar or jaggery is dissolved in the prescribed amount of water, and the mixture is boiled or all herbs and other ingredients are added in warm water. It is allowed to cool down and then, poured into a fermentation vessel. The powdered form of the drugs is then added to the vessel. The vessel is covered with a lid. Its edges are sealed with a cloth smeared with clay in seven layers.

The vessel is kept in a room where the temperature can be maintained at a constant level to ensure fermentation. Alternatively, it can be kept in a heap of paddy or an underground cellar. The lid can be removed after the recommended period, and its contents are examined to ascertain whether the fermentation has taken place. The fluid is then decanted from the vessel and strained after 2 or 3 days. It can be strained and stored in a bottle after the suspended particles have settled down.

Precaution

  • The filtered Arishta and Asava should be clear and devoid of any froth at the top.
  • It should not be allowed to become sour.
  • The preparation should have a characteristic alcoholic odor.

Side Effects of Asava and Arishta

Patients, especially children, may develop a few side effects due to the consumption of Asava and Arishta including gastric irritation, fever, and constipation.

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