Kwath Kalpana- Decotion in ayurveda

The dry or wet herb is coarsely powdered and boiled with water, the liquid obtained on straining it is known as Kwath.

Kwatha Kalpana is positioned third among the Panchvidha Kashaya Kalpana.

Kwath kalpana meaning

The kwath called decoction which is formed by boiling the herbs in large amount of water which is reduced to the said amount and then strained. And the kalpana means the preparations

Kwath kalpana decotion means it is concentrated liquid made by the boiling of medicinal herbs.

Synonyms :

  • Kwath
  • Kashaya
  • Shrita
  • Niryuha
  • Kadha
  • Decoction

Definition of Kwath

वह्नौ तु क्वथितं द्रव्यं शृतमाहुश्चिकित्सकाः ।। (च. सू. 4/7)

अर्थात् द्रव्य को जल के साथ अग्नि पर उबालकर जो द्रव प्राप्त होता है, उसे शृत (क्वाथ) कहते हैं।

The liquid formed by boiling the substance with water on fire is called kwatha or decoction.

पानीयं षोडशगुणं क्षुण्णे द्रव्यपले क्षिपेत् । मृत्पात्रे क्वाथयेद् ग्राह्यमष्टमांशावशेषितम्।। तज्जलं पाययेद्धीमान् कोष्णं मृद्वग्निसाधितम्।शृतः क्वाथः कषायश्च निर्यूहः स निगद्यते । (शा. सं. म. ख. 2/1-2)

अर्थात् यवकुट किये हुए एक पल द्रव्य में सोलह गुना (16 पल) पानी डालकर मन्द अग्नि पर पाक करे, अष्टमांश शेष रहने पर उतारकर छान ले। तत्पश्चात बुद्धिमान चिकित्सक इस कोष्ण (गुनगुने) क्वाथ को पिलावे । इस परिपक्व जल को शृत, क्वाथ, कषाय और निर्यूह कहते हैं।

Coarsely powdered 1 Pal (48 gms) of substance taken with 16 times water (i.e., 16 Pal), boiled on low flame and strained when ⅛th of the amount of water left (i.e., 2 Pal). The intelligent physician must administer this Luke warm decoction to the patient.

Process of Kwath kalpana

  • The part of the substance which is to be taken, such as Stem, leaves, fruit, seed, root etc., is dried in the sunshine.
  • Then on drying it is chopped, crushed or grinded into coarse powder.
  • If the herb is wet (ardra dravya), then it is washed and then used.
  • The powder is added to a vessel containing water (8 or 16 times the amount of powder).
  • This vessel is kept on medium flame until the water is reduced till ¼th left.
  • Then the vessel is removed from flame and strained.
  • The liquid left after straining is called kwath or decoction.

Precautions for kwath kalpana

  • The herbs for the formation of Kwatha should be coarsely powdered. The powder should not be fine as the decoction formed will not be clear as the small powder particles will settle in the kwatha.
  • After the formation of kwatha it should be properly strained with muslin cloth or fine strainer.
  • While preparing the kwatha, the vessel should not be covered with any lid, because on closing the lid the kwatha prepared is bad(Durjar) which is not easily digestible.
  • Kwatha must be prepared on low flame.
  • Kwatha must not be heated again and again.
  • Re-heated, bad odour and thick kwatha must not be used.
  • Fragrant and volatile oil containing substances must not be used for kwatha preparation, as volatile oils disappear on heating. For example, from Rose, Chandana, Saunf, Laung etc. kwatha must not be prepared.

Amount of water for Kwatha formation :

General amount taken :

According Aacharya Sharangdhar, water taken for the kwatha is 16 times the amount of powder and is reduced till ⅛th left.

The principle for the amount of water taken and the time period for its heating should be considered until the complete saara bhaaga (essential constituents) of the herb have been absorbed in the water.

Aacharyas have considered the amount of water keeping in mind the two factors which are the density (softness and hardness) of dravya and the amount of dravya.

Amount of water according to density of herb :

  • For Mridu dravya (soft) – 4 times water
  • For Madhyam dravya (medium) – 8 times water
  • For kathin (hard) substance – 16 times water is taken.
  • If all mixed – 8 times water is taken.

Amount of water according to amount of Dravya :

If the amount of dravya taken is from

  • 1 Karsha (12 gms) to 1 Pal (48 gms) = water taken is 16 times
  • Above 1 Pal (48 gms) to 1 kudava (192 gms) = water taken is 8 times
  • 1 Kudava to Khari (188.416 kg) or 4096 Pal = then amount of water taken is 4 times that of powder.

The reason of the amount of water being more for less amount of dravya is so that the essential constituents (saara bhaaga) of the herbs is completely transmitted in the water. If less amount of water is taken it evaporates quickly and the herbal constituents are not completely obtained in the water. Hence, more water is taken for less dravya (powdered herbs).

Amount of water to be reduced :

Aacharya Sharangdhar has guided to reduced the water till ⅛th is left which others have said to reduce it till ¼th left.

  • For Laghu Paka Kwath – reduced till ¼th left
  • For Purnapaka kwath- reduced till ⅛th left

Types of Kwath :

There are 7 types of Kwatha Kalpana :

  1. Pachana
  2. Deepaniya
  3. Shodhana
  4. Shamana
  5. Tarpana
  6. Kledana
  7. Shoshi
Sharkara (sugar)¼th of Kwatha Vataj roga
⅛th of kwathaPitaj roga
1/16th of Kwatha Kaphaj roga
Madhu (honey)
(Opposite to that of Sharkara)
1/16th of KwathaVataj roga
⅛th of kwathapitaj roga
¼ of Kwatha kaphaj roga
  • Cumin seeds
  • Gugglu
  • Kshara
  • Lavana
  • Shilajatu
  • Hingu
  • Trikatu Churna

If any of the above are to be added then they are taken in the amount of 3 gms (1 Shan) and mixed in the kwath.

If any of the following are to be mixed as Prakshepa, then they are taken in amount of 12 gms (1 karsha).

  • Milk
  • Ghee
  • Jaggery
  • Oil
  • Urine
  • Any other liquid
  • Kalka / herbal paste
  • Churna

Uses of Kwath :

  • Kwath is used as anupana after medicines.
  • According Aacharya Charaka, kwath is used in formation of snehakalpana, Seka, Vranshodhana, Aashchyotana, Gandusha, Niruhvasti, Paana etc.
  • According other Aacharyas, kwath is used in formation of Arishta, asava, avaleha etc.
  • It is used as bhavana dravya in preparation of many formulations
  • Ghana (extract) is also prepared from kwath.

Punarnavashtaka kwath :

Or punarnavaadi kwath is made up of :

  • Punarnava
  • Haritki
  • Nimb
  • Daruharidra
  • Katuki
  • Patola Patra
  • Guduchi
  • Shunthi

When this kwath is consumed by mixing with Gomutra it helps in curing :

  • Pandu (Anaemia)
  • Kasa (cough)
  • Udar roga (abdominal disorders)
  • Shwasa (respiratory problems)
  • Shoola (pricking pain)
  • Sarvanga shotha ( full body inflammation)

Rasnasaptaka Kwath :

Ingredients :

This kwath when consumed by adding Shunthi Churna, is used in the following :

  • Janghagraha (thigh ache)
  • Katigraha (low back ache)
  • Parshva pida (side pain)
  • Prishta pida (back ache)
  • Uru pida
  • Aamavata

Kulatha kwath :

Constituents –

  • Kulatha seed – 192 gms (1 kudav)
  • Water – 3.072 litre

Method of preparation :

Add the grinded Kulatha seeds into water and heat it till ⅛th water is left in the vessel, then strain it with muslin cloth and use it.

Matra – 1-2 Pal (48-96 gms)

Uses :

  • In Sheeta jwara caused by virechana or vamana.
  • Krimiroga
  • Mutra roga (urinary disorders)
  • Ashmari (stones)
  • Aartavroga (menstrual disorders)
  • Used in Shodhana of metals.

Also Read All other type of Kashaya kalpana

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