Gairika (Red Ochre)

Know what are health benefits and medicinal uses of Gairika (Geroo) in Ayurveda. Learn some remedies of Gairika to treat your health problems.

Gairika (Red Ochre) a silicate of Alumina and oxide of Iron. In Ayurveda know as Geru, it is used for medicinal purpose after purification. It is sweet, astringent, anti-phlegmatic, anti-bilious and cooling.

It shows beneficial effects in skin diseases, piles, bleeding disorders, ulcers, boils, urticaria, vomiting, hiccups etc. It is not used as single drug but as an ingredient of some compound preparations containing a large number of mineral drugs.

Geru(Girika) medicinal use

By Marco Almbauer – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=44716048

Vernacular Names

  • Sanskrit: Kasayakkal, Kavi, Svarna gairika
  • English: Ochre, Reddle
  • Gujarati: Geru, Sonageru
  • Hindi: Geru, Gerumitti
  • Bengali: Girimati
  • Kannada: Hojatha, Jajoo, Kaavi, Kemmannu
  • Malayalam: Kavimannu
  • Marathi: Geru, Sonakava
  • Punjabi: Geri
  • Tamil: Seemaikkaavikkallu, Kavikkal
  • Telugu: Kavirayi, Kaavi
  • Urdu: Geru (Teen-e-Rumi)

Origin and occurrence

Gairika is a natural hematite mineral found with other iron-titanium oxide minerals in igneous and metamorphic rocks as accessory mineral. Gairika is associated with magnetite. It sometimes contains minor amount of titanium and magnesium. Gairika occurs as an alteration product of other iron minerals or by degradation of highly ferruginous rocks in the form of weathered residual concentrations. It is generally found mixed with clay and other impurities.

Based on colour, there are two types of ochres found in the country

  1. Red ochre: Anhydrous iron oxide. It contain more iron and is used as medicine.
  2. Yellow ochre: hydrated iron oxide is yellow ochre

In India, Gairika deposits are chiefly found in Rajpur, Banaskantha, Jamnagar and Kuchchh in Gujarat, Bellary and Bidar in Karnataka, Gwalior, Jabalpur, Satna, Kailashpur, Madhogarh and Mandla in Madhya Pradesh and Udaipur, Alwar, Bikaner, Chittorgarh and Sawai Madhopur in Rajasthan. Other known occurrences are in Andhra Pradesh and West Bengal.

Physical properties

  1. Nature: Massive clayey
  2. Colour: Reddish brown
  3. Streak: Reddish brown
  4. Fracture: Uneven
  5. Lustre: Earthy
  6. Tenacity: Brittle
  7. Transparency: Opaque
  8. Hardness:5.5 to 6.5 but much softer in earthy variety
  9. Sp. Gr.:2.7

Shodhana or Purification

  1. Gairika:1 Part
  2. Go-dugdha: Q.S for Bhavana

Method:

Prepare fine powder of Gairika and Bhavana of Go-dugdha should be given three times with sufficient quantity, dry and use for therapeutic purposes.

Ayurvedic Properties and Action

  • Rasa (taste on tongue): Kasaya (Astringent), Madhura
  • Guna (Pharmacological Action): Snigdha (Unctuous), Visada (Non-Saline)
  • Virya: Sita (Cooling)
  • Vipaka (transformed state after digestion): Madhura (Sweet)

Action

  • Pitta-Nashak
  • Balya
  • Vran-ropak
  • Netrya
  • Kapha-hara

Benefits of Gairika

  • It has cooling and antibilious action.
  • It prevents hemorrhage.
  • It gives relief in hiccups.
  • Its topical application gives relief in burns, ulcers, boils, pustular eruption.

Therapeutic Uses of Shuddha Gairika

  • Netra roga (diseases of eyes)
  • Raktapitta (bleeding disorder)
  • Hikka (hiccup)
  • Vamana (vomiting)
  • Vish-vikar (disorders due to poison)
  • Rakta pradara (menorrhagia or metrorrhagia or both)
  • Kandu (itching)
  • Jvara (fever)
  • Daha (burning sensation)
  • Udara roga (diseases of abdomen)

Dose of Shuddha Gairika

  • 250mg-500 mg of Shuddha Gairika empty stomach with honey.
  • Externally, Gairik is applied on skin diseases, burns and scalds.

Important Formulations of Ayurveda containing Shuddha Gairika

  • Kumkumadi taila
  • Bhringaraja taila
  • Laghu Sutashekhara rasa
  • Kamadudha rasa (Mauktika yukta)

10 Comments

  1. Hi , where I live I rarely get cow milk . I did the bhawana of Geru once and it smells very sour after keeping in sun . Did I put too much milk that it didn’t dry ? I am confused . Can yu please supply purified Geru . I would be highly Grateful.

  2. I have lot of problems related to menstrual heavy bleeding, rakta pradara. How can i use geru.? I just take it dry directly 1 or 2 spoons a day.

  3. SHARED IN GOOD THOUGHTS FOR BETTERMENT OF HUMANITY

  4. shared in better thoughts for humanity

  5. can i use the clay w added water that i would use as paint as a face mask and is it beneficial?

  6. Hi, good artical. i have one doubt. is Geru also called Hirmich / Hirmich ? if not then can you please let me know what is Hirmich / Hirmichi ?

    Thanks

  7. please explain the purification of gairika with milk. Quantity reuired should also be mention

    • Already written in article, writing again
      take 10-20 gm geru, make fine powder, now give bhawana of cow milk QS(Quantity Sufficient), Bawana mean add milk in smaller quantity and keep mixing. Then dry this in sun sine. Again make power of this and add milk in smaller quantity and dry in sun sine. Keep this for 3-4 times.
      After this, finally make fine powder and give 250 mg to 500 mg with honey (Empty stomach)

  8. Good knowledge sharing

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