The Gerson Institute of Ayurvedic Medicine

Scott Gerson, M.D., Ph.D. (Ayurveda) Medical Director, Jupiter Medical Center Dept. of Integrative Medicine Division of Education and Research






Lake Mary Clinic, Gerson Ayurvedic Spa, and Panchakarma Facility: at 635 Primera Blvd. Lake Mary, Florida 32746

Jupiter Medical Center at The Calcagnini Center for Mindfulness
1210 S. Old Dixie Highway, Jupiter, Florida 33458, Suite M-117.2




 Telephone: (561) 263-MIND (6463); option 2 (407) 549-2800


The material below is given for strictly hisorical purposes and should not be construed as advise for treatment of any medical condition. Due to legal restrictions in the United States, none of the materials described below at prescribed for any reason at The Do not use these substances to treat yourself for any condition. Always consult with an experienced, licensed physician for any health concern.

Rasashastra is a specialized branch of Ayurvedic science which deals with the use of certain minerals, metals, and other organic and inorganic substances in the treatment of disease.

Although it developed relatively late in the history of Ayurveda, it is today considered a very important aspect of Ayurvedic medicine by those who are experienced in preparing and using these medicines. The processes by which non plant-based organic and inorganic materials are rendered safe and useful in the human physiology were understood and over time refined by the acharyas until rasashastra evolved into a highly complex branch of Vedic chemistry; it is sometimes still today referred to as Ayurvedic alchemy. The main difference between an herbal medicine and a rasashastra dravya is that the latter are much more potent and faster acting. Here in the West where due to the lack of true, genuine, and in depth education in many of its aspects, Ayurveda has wrongly acquired the reputation of being effective only for treating mild, chronic, "degenerative" conditions. This is not at all true. For through the science of rasashastra, medicaments have been developed which influence the disease process in often powerful and timely manners.

According to Ayurveda, everything in the material creation is permeated with divine or universal Consciousness and the wide spectrum of forms of matter are simply the crystallized manifestation of this energy. Metals and minerals contain a tremendous amount of concentrated energy. However, even the purest metal or mineral contains impure and potentially toxic materials which can damage the nerves, liver, kidneys, and other vital organs if not removed. Ayurveda prescribes various and detailed methods for purifying these substances and for converting them into healing substances. The following pages will review some of the more common metals and minerals used for healing in Ayurveda.


Method of Purification (Shodhan). Metals are purified using the following general procedure. Small pieces of the metal are heated until "red hot" and then quickly immersed in a series of shodhan dravyas (substance use to purify another material).

Usually the metal will be heated and immersed in sesame oil; then heated again and re-immersed in sesame oil; then again, ans so on for either five, eight, or more times. Then the process is repeated with another liquid shodhan dravya. Common dravyas (substances) used for this purpose in addition to sesame oil are: buttermilk, ghee, cow's urine, water, and decoction of various herbs.

After purification, the purified metals are converted into ash by repeatedly cooking it in a very hot fire anywhere from eight to forty-five times. This is done by placing the metal material in a small earthenware dish, covering it with a second one, and sealing the two with mud. This container is then placed directly into a fire which is fueled with cow dung cakes. The number of cow dungs used to create the fire determines the temperature, which is different for each metal. Certain metals (gold, silver, tin) require special methods, beyond the scope of this article.

Theraputic Uses

Gold (Suarna)

Gold is reputed to strengthen the heart muscle and increase energy and stamina. It is also considered to be a nootropic which improves memory and intelligence. Additionally it is used as an effective nervine tonic. Conditions for which it is used in Ayurveda includes anxiety, hysteria, epilepsy, coronary artery disease, congestive heart failure, arrhythmias, diminished lung function, and general debility. It is said to strengthen the feeble pulse. The resonance of gold and silver can also be harnessed by making gold or silver medicated water. This is done by placing a piece of gold (devoid of stones) into 1000 ml of water and boiling it until reduced to 500 ml.

Historical dose used: gold ash: 10 mcg/day

gold water: 1 tsp 3x/day

Widely used formulations: Brihat Vata Chintamani, Makardhwaja

Silver (Rajata)

Silver is a very important healing substance due to its cooling and antiseptic properties. It is most useful for treating Vata and Pitta ailments, especially conditions involving weakness, emaciation, and the sequelae of chronic fevers. It is also used for gastritis, inflammatory of the intestines, colitis, metrorrhagia (abnormal or excessive menstrual bleeding), and in diseases of the liver and spleen. It should be used with caution in Kapha individuals. Silver water is prepared using the same method as for gold water; silver vessels are used to heat milk which is consumed to improve general stamina and mental clarity.

Historical dose used: silver ash: 10-30 mcg/day

silver water: 1 tsp 3x/day

Widely used formulations: Brihat Vata Chintamani, Yogaraj guggulu

Copper (Tamra)

Copper was used to treat conditions of excess kapha (primarily) and vata (secondarily). Specifically, it found use in obesity, splenomegaly, lymphatic congestion, cough, and blood disorders. It is also in some formulations used to treaty osteoarthritis. Copper water is made in the same manner as gold water.

Historical dose used: copper ash: 10-30 mcg/day

copper water: 1 tsp 3x/day

Widely used formulations: Arogyavardhini, Kumari asava

Other Metals Used in Ayurveda



Diamond (Heerak)

Diamond are the hardest of all the gems (10.0 out of 10.0 on the hardness scale). It was traditionally used as a remedy in all forms of heart disease, especially those involving pump failure (congestive heart failure). Heerak was also used in chronic debilitating diseases such as certain forms of cancer, tuberculosis, and conditions of low ojas (immune energy).

Historical dose used: 100-250 mcg/day

Widely Used Formulations: Heerak Bhasma

Blue Sapphire (Neela)

Blue Sapphire is second only to Diamond in hardness (9.0/10.0); it occurs as a blue or light blue stone in nature. It is composed of aluminum, oxygen and cobalt. It is said to be tridoshahara (pacifies all three doshas). It was specifically used to treat all manners of toxins in the body, all forms of skin conditions, and obstinate urinary tract diseases. It was also reputed to be an aphrodisiac and a balavardika dravya (strength-increasing substance).

Historical dose used: 100-500 mcg/day

Widely Used Formulations: Neela Bhasma

Pearl (Mukta)

Coral (Praval)

Emerald (Tarkshya)