Basic Principle

Swarna Prashana- ayurvedic method of natural immunization

swarna prashana
Written by Sushant Bhandari

It is believed that every aspect of life is sacred, so each important stage, from conception to anteyeshti (death cremation) is distinguished as special rituals. These series of rituals are known as samskaras. According to the classical hindu texts, there are 16 special rituals, termed as Shodasha Samskara. They are connected with the major events of life such as pregnancy, childbirth, naming ceremony, education, marriage, etc. These samskaras enables us to live a complete fulfilling physical and spiritual life.
In Ayurveda, the word samskara introduced as “Samskaro hi Gunaantaradhanam” means qualitative improvement is carried out by incorporating the specific qualities.

Samskara described in Ayurvedic texts are based on the various stages of child growth and developments and hence provide a rational guideline toward his care during celebrating different ceremonies from very conception to childhood.

Through this article lemme delight you people with the concept of Swarna Prashana.
Swarna Prashana is one of sixteen samskaras mentioned in ancient texts for paediatrics.

( Swarna means gold & Prashana means administration.)
The term Swarna Prashana was coined by Acharya Kashyapa.

Sometimes known by other names like, Swarna amruta prashana, Swarna prashana, Swarna prashan, Swarn prashan, Swarna bindu prashana or Suvarna prashan.

Administration of processed gold in children is a unique practice mentioned in Ayurveda as “Swarnaprashana” by Acharya Kashyapa thousands of years back.

Ayurveda propounds that prevention is an equally important aspect of disease management as cure and thus strengthening the immune system is a natural way to help the body fight against the diseases causing ailments.

Basically, childhood is the period of growth spurts. In Ayurveda texts, various acharyas described countless useful dravyas (drugs), yogas (formulations) and mode of conducts for adult to enhance the immunity (Bala and Vyadhikshmatva) & similarly for the healthy ksheerapa (infantile period), ksheerannada ( 1-2 year age period) and annada awastha ( age period from 2-16 years).

Swarnaprashana in children can be mainly implicated in two contexts of Ayurveda; Lehana (supplementary feeds) and Jatakarma Samskara (newborn care).


Different Acharyas views on Swarna Prashana.

According to Acharya Charaka,

atō’nantaraṁ jātakarma kumārasya kāryam |

tadyathā- madhusarpiṣī mantrōpamantritē yathāmnāyaṁ prathamaṁ prāśituṁ dadyāt |

stanamata ūrdhvamētēnaiva vidhinā dakṣiṇaṁ pātuṁ purastāt prayacchēt |

athātaḥ śīrṣataḥ sthāpayēdudakumbhaṁ mantrōpamantritam ||          –   (Charaka Samhita Sharirsthana 8/46)

On first day of birth, the child should be given first feeding of honey and ghrita consecrated (or blessed) with mantra as given for this purpose. Thereafter, firstly milk from the right breast should be offered (or given) to the child. A water filled pitcher and consecrated with mantras should be kept near the head of baby, probably to maintain proper humidity in Kumaragara (maternity home).

Acharya Sushruta mentions on natal rites as:

tasmāt prathame’hni madhusarpiranantamiśraṃ , mantrapūtaṃ trikālaṃ pāyayet, dvitīye lakṣmaṇāsiddhaṃ sarpiḥ, tṛtīye ca; tataḥ prāṅnivāritastanyaṃ madhusarpiḥ svapāṇitalasammitaṃ dvikālaṃ pāyayet || – (Sushruta Samhita Sharirsthana 10/15)

The baby should be made to lick an electuary composed of honey, clarified butter and the expressed juice of Brahmi (Centella asiatica) leaves, Vacha (Acorus calamus L.), mixed with (half a Rati weight of) gold dust and given with the ring-finger of the feeder.

Acharya Kashyapa describes Swarnaprasahana in the context of Lehana.
Lehana depicts administration various herbal drugs, ghee preparations, and gold alone as supplementary feeds wherein precise indications are stated. This unique formula has been explained wherein gold should be triturated along with water, honey, and ghee on a clean stone facing eastern direction and made the Shishu (infant) lick the same.

Acharya Kashyapa has not mentioned the dosage for Swarnaprashana in specific. However, he has given general dosage of children according to age in the same context from birth. The same can be followed to fix the dosage of Swarnaprashana. A few other available references regarding per day dose of Swarna Bhasma from various texts are as listed below:

  • 1/4th–1/8th Ratti (15–30 mg) Swarna Bhasma.
  • 1 Gunja (125 mg)/As per age
  • 5–62.5 mg of Swarna Bhasma.
  • 2-4 drops

By taking these adult dosages as reference standards, dosage in children can be calculated.

When to take Swarnaprashana?

  1. On an empty stomach preferably in the morning.
  2. Do not have food at least for 30 minutes after consumption of Swarnaprashana.
  • On the day of Pushya Nakshatra.

Why Gold is indicated ?

Gold is one of the most ancient metals even used for preventive and curative purposes. It is one among the Sapta Loha (seven metals). Gold is such a noble metal, which is having substantial outcomes in the human body starting before conception until demise. Ayurveda recommends only purified and processed form of gold for internal administration. Its medicinal properties and uses are mentioned at different contexts in Ayurveda classics. Purified gold is indicated for its Vajikarana (Aphrodisiac) and Rasayana (Rejuvenator).

As the child grows, gold is also being recommended to be given alone or along with various herbal drugs for procuring better Agni (digestive power and metabolism), Bala (physical strength and immunity), Medha (intellect), Varna (color and complexion), Ayu (lifespan) etc. Swarna bhasma possesses Anti oxidants, Anti depressants, Anti cancerous, Antibacterial & Anti rheumatoid property.

The action of gold is described in the context of immunity which provides a holistic approach and a potential promise regarding immunotherapy. The pharmacological study showed specific and non- specific immune response which were modified in a positive manner in Swarna Bhasma treated mice. It also has a stimulatory effect.

Research reveals that Swarna Bhasma possesses immunomodulatory, free radical scavenging activity, analgesic antistress activity and safe. 56-57 nm gold ash acts on peritoneal macrophages, phagocytic index, free- radical scavenging activity, brain catecholamines, 5 HT and plasma corticosterone levels.

Shudha svarna also said vatashamaka, rasayana, dipana, netrya, medhya etc.

(Bhaisajyaratnavali 2/99-100 )

Gold compounds have Immuno-modulatory effects (C.K Hashimoto et.al. 1992) (14)

Benefits of Swarna Prashana

“Suwarnaprashanam Hyetanmedagni
Balavardhanam Ayushyam Mangalam
Punyam Vrushyam Varnyam Grahapaham”- Ka. Su. 18/ 4-5

  • Medha (improves intellect)
  • Agni (digestive and metabolic power)
  • Bala (strength)
  • Aayush (gives long life)
  • Mangalam (is auspicious)
  • Punyam (virtuous)
  • Vrushyam (aphrodisiac)
  • Varnya (increases complexion)
  • Grahapaham (eliminates the evil effects of planets).

The specific benefits of Swarnaprashana according to the duration of administration have been mentioned such as:

  • If administered for 1 month, the baby will become Parama Medhavi (highly intelligent).
  • If administered for 6 months, the baby will become Srutadhara (will be able to remember the things, which are just heard).

Swarna Prashana should be preferably given on pushya nakshatra day !!

The day of Pushya Nakshatra (a star in Hindu calendar) is very auspicious and according to Hindu religion all the Nakshatras have their own effect on different metals. The rays radiating on the Pushya Nakshatra day doubles the medicinal values present in gold. Pushya Nakshatra day comes once in 27 days.

Precautions:

  • Even slight negligence in the administered drug can cause serious adverse effects due to their highly sensitive body systems. So the gold used must be well processed.
  • All ingredients are safe and non-toxic but sometimes because of the altered ingredients dose may create side effects.
  • in certain conditions like acute fever swarna bhasma may increase the body temperature.
  • It is always advised to take a doctors opinion in such cases before taking swarna prashana.

Last but not the least, Swarnaprasana is a unique Ayurvedic process which improves your child’s immunity, memory and growth. So, give your growing child this unique advantage. The benefits of Swarnaprashana in children are multidimensional. In a nut shell, for positive health care program for children, Swarna Prashana can be the best option.

About the author

Sushant Bhandari

Sushant Bhandari is a student of BAMS- Bachelors of Ayurvedic Medicine and Surgery at IOM,TU, Kathmandu, Nepal. He is a student by day and blogger by night. Being an enthusiastic researcher & scholar of Ayurveda, he intends to expose the world with sacred ‘Science of Ayurveda’. His irrestible efforts to convey core messages of Ayurveda to the public shows his love for the subject.
Learn love Live Ayurveda.

2 Comments

  • Nice article. I am happy to see a generation dedicated in flourishing the science of Ayurveda.
    Regarding the subject discussed here, modern science has a strong claim and scientific evidences stating that consumption of honey in infant stage can be harmful as the colostridium spores present in honey invade the premature gastrointestinal tract of infants resulting in serious case of infant botulism. Is swarna prasan with aid of honey really safe then? And what are the challenges that come in practicing this Samskara in our coiuntry? Please throw some light in it too!
    Thank you!

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