kalaaya (was: question)

Kenneth G. Zysk zysk at is2.nyu.edu
Fri Mar 14 13:58:31 UTC 1997

Dom: just a simply quiry about your comments. What is the Sanskrit for
"lameness" here. I'm thinking of conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis 
(aamavaata), which is definitely a crippling disease, almost endemic to
parts of India. 


On Fri, 14 Mar 1997, Dominik Wujastyk wrote:

> Not an answer, Madhav, but rather a jumble of notes which might spark some
> relevant idea. 
> A verse saying that tripu.ta (Lathyrus sativa) produces lameness occurs in
> the main text of the Bhaavaprakaa"sa, and is an important piece of medical
> history. 
> The edition of BP which I have is:
> Brahma"sa"nkara Mi"sra and Ruupalaalajii Vai"sya, 2 vols.
> (Varanasi: Chaukhambha Sanskrit Sansthan, 7th edition 1990).
> [Kashi Sanskrit Series vol. 130.]
> The verse occurs in vol.1, on p.650, as verse 59 in the
> Dhaanyavarga section of the Bhaavapraka"sanigha.n.tu (the BP's
> appendix on materia medica).
> Tripu.ta is sometimes also thought to be the same legume as kalaaya. 
> Nadkarni, however, says that kalaaya is Pisum Arvense, the field pea.  I
> think this is not correct, at least in pre-modern texts, because of the
> etiology of diseases associated with kalaaya/tripu.ta. Kalaaya is
> mentioned in even earlier texts than the BP as a legume that aggravates
> 'wind', which often involves symptoms of paralysis (e.g.., ardita, and
> other palsies, cramps, and convulsions), and is grouped with or even
> equated with tripu.ta.  It is mentioned in Caraka and Su"sruta.  However I
> cannot yet see an *early* passage actually saying that kalaaya causes
> lameness. 
> However, the pattern of etiology and identification with tripu.ta seems to
> point conclusively to kalaaya being Lathyrus sativa, which is well known
> (now) for its implication in the crippling disease of Lathyrism, so well
> described by Sleeman in his _Rambles and Recollections_, and more recently
> (and entertainingly) by Harold Klawans in his collection of neurological
> case studies entitled _Newton's Madness: further tales of clinical
> madness_ (London, 1990). 
> All the best,
> Dominik
> --
> Dominik Wujastyk               Wellcome Institute for the History of Medicine
> email: d.wujastyk at ucl.ac.uk          183 Euston Road, London NW1 2BE, England
> <URL: http://www.ucl.ac.uk/~ucgadkw/>                    FAX: 44 171 611 8545

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