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INVITED ARTICLE
Year : 2015  |  Volume : 36  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 118-124

Researches on mercurial preparations: The prime requirement for their acceptance in medical world


Ex-Head, National Centre for Compositional Characterisation of Materials, Hyderabad, Telangana, India

Correspondence Address:
Dr. J Arunachalam
302, Jyothi Pearl Apts, Srinivassa Nagar, Kapra, ECIL Post, Hyderabad - 500 062, Telangana
India
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/0974-8520.175541

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Ayurvedic and Siddha medicinal preparations containing mercury have been used over centuries in India. The recent WHO guidelines on the use of mercurials as well as actions by other international organizations into eliminating mercury in all forms have put the people practicing Rasa Shastra in a quandary. Active research in the mechanism of curative actions of mercurials is very much essential, to have widespread acceptance of the ancient practice. The toxicity of a substance depends on its bio-availability; the chemical form in which it is present and the biochemical reactions it participates. Mercury is usually administered as mercuric sulfide (Rasasindura or Linga Chendooram) which has a KSP value of 10–54. Despite this extreme insolubility, how mercury becomes bio-available under enzymatic conditions needs to be studied. Its bioaccumulation in critical organs and excretory pathways are to be ascertained. Research is also needed to establish whether Rasasindura or equivalent medicines induce the (excess) synthesis of sulfur containing biomolecules in human systems, which act as cell protectors against free radical-induced cell damage. The antioxidants themselves could be the curative agents; mercury being just a catalyst. It may also be possible that the exposure to mercury, even in very small amounts, could lead to the synthesis of specific metallothioneins in the human system, helping to detoxify the mercury exposure. The author is of the opinion that Ayurvedic practitioners/researchers should carry out long-term follow-up studies on human patients. The superiority of mercury based Ayurvedic preparations, as against modern allopathic medicines, in providing rapid and long lasting cure for specific diseases needs to document and published. In the absence of such supportive research literature, the use of mercury will become untenable, even for medicinal purposes.


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