Publication Type:

Journal Article

Source:

Annals of Ayurvedic Medicine, Issue 1-2, p.27-40 (2018)

Abstract:

Drug sources including plants have been codified using a polynomial system of nomenclature in the classical Ayurvedic texts. For this reason, a single plant is known by many names. Moreover, some of these names are also shared by other plants and this makes it quite challenging to fix the identity of a plant name mentioned in various formulations in different sections of the text. Nighantus or drug lexicons attempted to compile and codify plant names by grouping synonyms of one plant together. However, the information in Nighantus are often in discordance with evidence gleaned from earlier texts, especially the Samhitas. At present, synonymy of plant names is fixed by convention and with reference to the Nighantus. In this paper, we argue that internal evidence from the Samhitas should also be carefully examined and objective parameters should be used to fix synonymy of plant names. An attempt has been made to standardize the nomenclature of Guduci to illustrate how synonymy of plant names can be fixed to reflect internal evidence from individual texts on the basis of objective criteria. The paper demonstrates how this exercise will help to authenticate the drug source identity used in Ayurveda. It also illustrates how the proposed methodology will enable critical analysis and understanding of the historical evolution and developments made in the nomenclature pertaining to a particular plant.

Body: 

Drug sources including plants have been codified using a polynomial system of nomenclature in the classical Ayurvedic texts. For this reason, a single plant is known by many names. Moreover, some of these names are also shared by other plants and this makes it quite challenging to fix the identity of a plant name mentioned in various formulations in different sections of the text. Nighantus or drug lexicons attempted to compile and codify plant names by grouping synonyms of one plant together. However, the information in Nighantus are often in discordance with evidence gleaned from earlier texts, especially the Samhitas. At present, synonymy of plant names is fixed by convention and with reference to the Nighantus. In this paper, we argue that internal evidence from the Samhitas should also be carefully examined and objective parameters should be used to fix synonymy of plant names. An attempt has been made to standardize the nomenclature of Guduci to illustrate how synonymy of plant names can be fixed to reflect internal evidence from individual texts on the basis of objective criteria. The paper demonstrates how this exercise will help to authenticate the drug source identity used in Ayurveda. It also illustrates how the proposed methodology will enable critical analysis and understanding of the historical evolution and developments made in the nomenclature pertaining to a particular plant.

Cite this Research Publication

Ram Manohar P., Aramya, A. R., Nedungadi, S., Mani, M., and Manohar, S. P. Ram, “Fixing Basonym and Synonyms of Guduci (Tinospora cordifolia.(Thnub) Miers.) listed in early literature of Ayurveda - An approach to standardize Ayurvedic drug nomenclature”, Annals of Ayurvedic Medicine, no. 1-2, pp. 27-40, 2018.