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Growing up with Mercury in an Ayurvedic Family Tradition in Northern India

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In this personal narrative, Vaidya Balendu Prakash tells the story of how he grew up in a north Indian family lineage specialising in rasashastra, a clinical specialty of Ayurveda that deals with the complex processing of mercury and metals converting toxic materials into therapeutic forms, largely known as bhasmas. As a college student, Prakash was confronted with his father’s medical knowledge through a personal illness and accepted the challenge of continuing the family lineage. His training in both Western science and Ayurveda, his experiences and experiments with different ways of knowing about Ayurveda—through his father and through ayurvedic institutionalised learning—led him to document his research based on observation, combining ‘traditional’ knowledge and ‘modern’ research methodology in a unique way. In this contribution to ‘Field Notes’, he shares his insight into developing the standards for the processing of mercury and metal-based formulations, with the aim of ascertaining reproducibility. He has also developed ayurvedic treatment protocols for certain forms of cancer and chronic diseases.

Affiliations: 1: VCP Cancer Research FoundationDehradun,


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1. Prakash V. B. "‘Importance of Metallic Micronutrients in Ayurveda’" Heritage Amruth 2013 Vol 9 1 11 15
2. Prakash V. B. "‘Treatment of Relapsed Undifferentiated Acute Myeloid Leukemia (AML-M0) with Ayurvedic Therapy’" International Journal of Ayurveda Research 2011 Vol 2 1 56 59 [Crossref]
3. Prakash V. B. Effect of Metal-Based Ayurvedic Formulations in the Patients of Acute Promyelocytic Leukemia (A Pilot Study) 2005 Central Council of Research in Ayurveda and Siddha, Department of AYUSH, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Government of India.
4. Prakash V. B. , Mukherjee A. "‘Hepato-protective Effect of an Ayurvedic Formulation Prak-20 in CCl4 Induced Toxicity in Rats: Results of Three Studies’" International Journal of Pharmaceutical and Clinical Research 2010 Vol 2 1 23 27
5. Prakash V. B. , Parikh P. M. , Pal S. K. "‘Herbo-mineral Ayurvedic Treatment in a High-risk Acute Promyelocytic Leukemia Patient with Second Relapse: 12 years Follow-up’" Journal of Ayurveda and Integrative Medicine 2010 Vol 1 3 215 218 [Crossref]
6. Prakash V. B. , Madhusudan S. , Nitin C. "‘Acute and Sub-acute Toxicity Study of Ayurvedic Formulation (AYFs) used for Migraine Treatment’" International Journal of Toxicological and Pharmacological Research 2010 Vol 2 2 53 58

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