Critical Evaluation of Water Purifying Methods In Ancient India w.s.r. to Ayurveda
Water is essential component of the human body. Impure water contains many impurities. Safe and palatable water drinking is essential for maintaining the health. Ancient Indian medical science, Ayurveda emphasizes on safe water drinking practices. Ayurveda had described different types of water sources like well, river, ocean, waterfall, pond etc. Ayurveda had mentioned the hazards of drinking unclean and unpalatable water. Ayurvedic acharya Sushruta had not only mentioned about the water purifying process but also about disinfecting the water to avoid the water borne diseases. As per Ayurveda, drinking unsafe and impure water may lead to diseases like edema, anemia, indigestion, skin diseases, cough, rhinorrhoea, abdominal pain, abdominal distension, fever, anorexia, conjunctivitis and goitre. Ayurveda had advocated the use of Nirmali seeds, Lotus root, Spirogyra root, cloth, pearl, Hessonite stone water and alum for purifying the water. Similarly, the ancient methods to disinfect the water include keeping the water in sunlight, boiling the water under heat, immersing the hot iron ball in the water etc. For making the water palatable and removing the bad odour from the water, Ayurveda had suggested to make it scented with lotus, pandamus (Ketaki), Mesua ferrea (Nagakeshar), Michelia (Champa), Stereospermum suuaveolens (Patala). In ancient water purifying process, water was used to stirred with Alum primarily. Alum is well known for settling the dust to the bottom. Cloth was used to arrest the impurities in water by straining. Later water was used to get treated with Strychnus potatorum seeds to make it clean. Later water was heated to boiling point to make it germ free. It is observed that drinking impurified water leads to water borne diseases. It is concluded that water purifying and disinfecting methods are very well described in ancient Indian medical science, Ayurveda.
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