Cowrie commonly refers to the external shell of sea animal Cyprea moneta (commonly known as money cowry) found in coastal areas of the Indo-Pacific sea. In ancient times, cowries were used as money. They are also used for making ornaments. Chemically, it is Carbonate of Calcium.
In Ayurveda, Cowrie is known by many names such as Varata, Varatika, Kapardik, Kapardika etc. They are mainly of three types based on colour red, white and yellow. The one which has yellowish tinge, nodules on the back and oval in shape is called Varatika and used for medicinal purpose.
In Ayurveda, Varatika is used as a powder obtained by calcination of cowries. It is known as Kapardika or Varatika Bhasma कपर्दक (वराटिका) भस्म. It a mineral drug of animal origin. It has antacid, alterative, diuretic, anti-diarrheic, digestive and expectorant properties.
Kapardak Bhasma is used in treatment of Indigestion, Dyspepsia, Abdominal Pain, Peptic Ulcer, Sprue Syndrome, Intestinal tuberculosis, Cataract, Otorrhea, Enlarged spleen, liver, Asthma and Cough.
It is also used externally as caustic in various forms of ointments.
Cowrie/ Cypraea moneta Linnaeus, is found in Indo-Pacific shallow seagrass beds. It is broad shell with knobbly outline and raised dome, and upto 4 cm in length. Its common name is ‘money cowrie’.
Cowrie is insoluble in water. It is soluble in Hydrochloric acid with effervescence. It contain phosphate, fluoride and carbonate of calcium, magnesium phosphate, manganese and sodium chloride.
Synonyms for Cowrie
- Sanskrit: Varat, Varatika, Varti, Kapardaka, Kaparda, Kapardi, Kapardik, Kapardika, Charachar, Char, Bal Kridnak.
- Hindi: Kaudi कौड़ी, Sipi
- Siddha/ Tamil: Palagarai
- English: Cowry, Porcelaneous shells, Cowrie, Marine shell, Covries
- Urdu: Kauri
- Gujarati: Codi
- Marathi: Kauri
- Bengali: Beya
- Kannada: Kauri
- Oriya: Kauri
- Telgu: Gavalu
- Sindhi: Pingo
- Arabic: Sadaf
- Chinese: Shou Mu Li
- French: Porcelaneous Ecale
- German: Porcelane
- Persian: Kajak, Khar-mohara, Gosh Mahi
- Synonyms for Varatika Bhasma: Kapardak Bhasma, Kapardi (Varatika) Bhasma, Kapardika (Varatika) Bhasma
Classification of Cypraea moneta Linnaeus
- KINGDOM: Animalia
- PHYLUM: Mollusca
- CLASS: Gastropoda
- ORDER: Neotaenioglossa
- FAMILY: Cypraeidae
- GENUS: Monetaria
- SPECIES: Monetaria moneta
- Zoological Name: Cypraea moneta Linn.
- Chemical formula: CaCO3
- Colour: Yellowish white Grayish white
- Kapardak Bhasma: Dull White, Odorless, Tasteless, Fine Powder.
Constituents of Kapardak Bhasma
- Cowrie Bhasma contains phosphate, fluoride and Carbonate of Calcium, magnesium, phosphate and manganese. It is highly crystalline calcium carbonate in the calcite form with presence of trace elements like Mg, Al, K, Fe and Zn.
- Calcium 19.32%
- Magnesium 8.43%
- Potassium 3.49%
- Sodium 1.36%
- Organic Carbon 1.09%
- Sulphur 0.94%
- Nitrogen 0.72%
- Phosphorus 0.62%
- Iron (ppm) 113.6
- Manganese (ppm) 19.62
- Zinc (ppm) 1.48
- Copper (ppm) 0.42
- Boron (ppm) 0.06
- Molybdenum (ppm) 0.03
Benefits of Kapardika (Varatika) Bhasma
- It is rich in minerals.
- It is alterative, expectorant, and useful in gastrointestinal disorders.
- It stimulates urine production (diuretic).
- It is anti-diarrheal.
- It is expectorant and used in treatment of asthma and cough.
- It protects against ulcer.
- It is Kapha-vataghna.
- It is non-toxic.
- For external use, it is mixed with butter and used for leucoderma and skin diseases and for curing blemishes and clearing complexion.
Kapardika Bhasma Preparation (Ayurveda Prakasha)
1. Varata (Kapardika) Q.S.
2. Kanjika Q.S. for Svedana
Method of Shodhana: Kapardika is boiled in Kanji for 3 hours.
1. Kapardika Shuddha Q.S.
Method of Marana: Shodhita Kapardhika is placed on charcoal fire and heated till each piece swells. Then these are ground well and kept in bottle when cooled.
In some parts of the Country, one or two putas with Kumari svarasa or Nimbu rasa are given after the above said Marana process, traditionally. After preparing bhasma it should be kept in water for 24 hours to reduce Tikshanta.Thereafter it should be dried.
Ayurvedic Properties and Action of Varatika Bhasma
- Rasa (Taste): Katu (Pungent)
- Guna (Property): Ruksha (Dry), Tikshna (Sharp)
- Virya (Potency): Ushna (Hot)
- Vipaka (Post digestive effect): Katu (Pungent)
- Agnidipana (increases appetite)
- Pachana (improves digestion)
- Vrishya (aphrodisiac)
- Netrya (Good for the eyes)
- Vyadhi Prabhava: Parinam asula, Grahani, Kshaya roga, Sula, Netra roga, Sukra susti, Sphota, Karna srava, Agnimandya, Pitta roga, Rakta roga, Kapharoga.
Ayurvedic Formulation containing Kapardika
- Agnikumar Ras
- Lokanath Ras
- Kamdudha Ras (Moti Yukt)
- Pradarantak Ras
- Praval Panchamrit Ras
- Hiranya Garbha Pottali Rasa
Important Therapeutic Uses
- Kapardaka Bhasma, which is calcined cowries is used for therapeutic purpose since time immemorial. It is used in treatment of gastrointestinal symptoms and many other diseases.
- Agnimandya (Digestive impairment)
- Paktishula/ Parinamasula (Duodenal ulcer)
- Grahani (Malabsorption syndrome)
- Kshaya (Pthisis)
- Sphota (Boil)
- Rajayakshma (Tuberculosis)
- Sukraksaya (Oligospermia)
- Karna Srava (Otorrhoea)
- Netraroga (Eye disorder)
Dosage of Kapardak Bhasma
250 mg to 500 mg twice a day. The adjunct/ Anupan, which is an administered along with or just after the medicine to enhance its therapeutic action, for this medicine is Vasa svarasa (Adhatoda vasica juice)/ nimbu svarasa (lemon juice)/ trikatu kashaya (decoction prepared with equal quantity of Piper longum/ Piper nigrum and Zingiber officinale)/ honey, butter/ milk cream. Or take as directed by physician.
You can buy this medicine online or from medical stores.
This medicine is manufactured by Baidyanath (Kapardak Bhasma), Rasashram (Kapardi (Varatika) Bhasma), Patanjali Divya Pharmacy (Divya Kapardak Bhasm), Shri Dhootapapeshwar Limited (Kapardika (Varatika) Bhasma) and many other Ayurvedic pharmacies.