Agada Tantra – the toxicology branch of Ayurveda

Agada Tantra, also known as Toxicology branch of Ayurveda, or Visha Chikitsa, is one of the eight branches of ayurveda, which refers to various methods of eliminating toxins from the body, apart from being an antidote for poisons. This branch deals with treatment of various natural toxins resulting from wild lives such as animals, insects, or birds, herbs, vegetables, plants, minerals, artificial poisons, water and air pollution. Agada Tantra also includes the negative effects of bad food habits and drugs, which could lead to chronic poisoning symptoms.

Agada Tantra describes two types of poisons “ the ‘natural poison’ and the ‘artificial poison’. The natural poison is classified as inanimate (Sthaavara), and the animate (Jangama). Among the inanimate poisons are those of plant origin and toxic minerals, metals, or those found within the earth. Among the animate poisons are venoms of animals such as scorpions, insects, snakes, etc. Artificial poisons are the poisons prepared by combining various kinds of animate and inanimate poisons.

Intoxication could be from various sources including plants, birds, insects, animals, and reptiles, and Ayurveda offers diagnosis and specific treatment for each category.

For Snake Bites

Ayurveda has detailed description about various types of dangerous poisons caused by snake bites. The treatment could vary in different traditions. If the type of snake is not known, it is identified by the type of bite and symptoms appearing on the person. As snake bite can lead to quick death, it is attended as an emergency treatment.

In case of snake bites, Ayurveda uses the Hrudayavarana Technique, wherein the heart is protected from the poison. This offers sufficient time to administer medication and treatments, so as to save life. Ayurveda believes that the best way to treat poison is to treat it with poison, which can act effectively against it. Such substances are first processed and converted into medicines.

Ayurveda also adopts other methods to remove snake poisoning from the body, such as inducing vomiting, drinking banana stem juice to remove poisoning, intake of basil leaves with water and such other techniques, depending on the type of snake bite and its toxicity.

For Insect Bites

Ayurveda believes that several allergic conditions of the skin are caused due to poisoning caused by creatures such as spiders, rats, lizards, cats and the like, each with their own specific symptoms. Ayurveda adopts various cleaning methods for poisons in the body, and recommends antidotes too. Ayurveda has solutions for a wide range of natural toxins originating from wild animals, plants, insects, birds, vegetables, herbs and minerals for such conditions.

For Pollution

The Agada Tantra branch of Ayurveda, also focuses on other forms of poisoning, such as through pollution, including water and air pollution, the basic causes of several epidemics.

For Food Poisoning

Food poisoning is a common condition, and Ayurveda uses its own methods to eliminate poisons from the body. Certain foods and drugs too, can manifest as chronic poisoning symptoms. Besides, herbal medicines, animal poisons, and minerals and stones including rubies and diamonds are used after effective processing.

However, all these medicines and treatment should be taken only from an authentic source. The treatment is ultimately given based on dosha concept of vata, pitta and kapha.