Sri Lankan Ayurveda

Dominik Wujastyk d.wujastyk at UCL.AC.UK
Mon Aug 17 23:28:36 UTC 2009

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Several people have kindly requested a copy of my article on the history 
of cannabis in India.  A pre-publication draft PDF will be downloaded by 
clicking the link There are some misprints and 
typos.  It's a draft of the lecture, not a final publication.

The published version appeared in
Ana Salema (ed.)
Ayurveda at the crossroads of care and cure. Proceedings of the 
Indo-European Seminar on Ayurveda held at Arrábida, Portugal, in November 
2001 (Lisbon, 2002).  See

A reprint of this book is planned by Motilal Banarsidass.

Dr Dominik Wujastyk
Institut für Südasien-, Tibet- und Buddhismuskunde
Universität Wien
Spitalgasse 2-4, Hof 2, Eingang 2.1
A-1090 Wien

long term email address: wujastyk at

On Sat, 15 Aug 2009, Dipak Bhattacharya wrote:

> Many thanks! Could I have a scanned image of the paper?
> Best for all
> DB
> The inbox indicated attachments. But there was none.
> --- On Sat, 15/8/09, Dominik Wujastyk <d.wujastyk at UCL.AC.UK> wrote:
> From: Dominik Wujastyk <d.wujastyk at UCL.AC.UK>
> Subject: Re: Sri Lankan Ayurveda
> Date: Saturday, 15 August, 2009, 7:01 PM
> On Fri, 14 Aug 2009, Dipak Bhattacharya wrote:
>> This is very useful and encourages me to put a question. A student of mine working on Atharvavedic herbal plants says that he has some evidence for the currency of opium or a drug producing similar effects in the Atharvaveda. That, he thinks, was not marijuana. The existing theory is that opium was introduced in India much later. Is there any study or theory that opium was developed independently in India? I will see to it that any information given to us on this is gratefully acknowledged . Best DB
> Personally, I am certain that Papaver somniferum L. is not known before the second millennium AD in India.  One can see how confused medical authors are about it, even as late as the commentators on Sarngadhara's Sarngadharasamhita (ca 1400).  The Sanskrit name is a transparent borrowing from Greek.
> To establish earlier existence in S. Asia, one would have to
> tick several boxes, including,
> 1. convincing physical description of the plant
> 2. plausible account of it's effects on the human body (constipation, etc.),
> 3. plus the quality of being vyaapin.
> Cf my essay on cannabis, that is relevant in terms of methodology for this kind of study, and cites important earlier landmark studies, including one by Meulenbeld:
> Wujastyk, D. "Cannabis in Traditional Indian Herbal Medicine"
> in Salema, A. (ed.) Ayurveda at the Crossroads of Care and Cure. Proceedings of the Indo-European Seminar on Ayurveda held at Arrábida, Portugal, in November 2001 Centro de História del Além-Mar, Universidade Nova de Lisboa, 2002 pp. 45-73.
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