Answers to Common Queries and Doubts

After reading up on our articles, a fair share of people has expressed doubts regarding the technical aspects and terms used in the description of our products. To answer these queries, we have compiled a detailed commentary on the terms, techniques and components used in the production and maintenance of our products.

What is Base Q.S. in Ayurvedic Formulations?

Often in semi-solid Ayurvedic formulations, you see three parts that make up the ingredients list.

  • Active ingredients
  • Base material
  • Color and/or Flavor

The Base is the component that makes Ayurvedic recipes semisolid and sticky. All the Active Ingredients required to make an Ayurvedic product are mixed with the Base.

Besides providing the foundation to the product, the Base also ensures that the active ingredients are efficiently absorbed through the skin while maintaining the desired consistency. The Base is created using a mixture of ingredients. The components of the Base are a trade secret and cannot be revealed to avoid duplicity of recipes.

What does one mean by Q.S.?

Q.S. stands for Quantity Sufficient.

The term Q.S. is used when the quanitity of a specific component in the product is not fixed.

The existence of the term Base Q.S. is necessitated by the need for a uniform weight per unit composition in all products. A difference in the quantity of the Active Ingredient in a product may arise due to variations in the potency of the raw materials used. If the potency of the Active Substance is lower than the required value, then a greater amount of it needs to be added to the product in order to ensure efficient activity is demonstrated. The addition of excess Active Ingredient is balanced out by decreasing the amount of Base Material added.

The same is applicable in reverse scenarios. In case the quantity of the Active Ingredient is decreased (due to increased potency), the deficit will be compensated by the Base material.

Hence to conclude, the base material is NOT harmful in any way. It is characterized, evaluated and certified by the Ministry of AYUSH in all Amrutam recipes.

How do Ayurvedic Recipes have long shelf lives?

According to Ayurvedic texts, different types of Ayurvedic recipes have different periods of optimum efficacy which is known as Saveerytavadhi. For instance, some recipes – Kalpana like Svarasa, Kwatha, etc. have a shorter shelf-life and are considered as Sadyo-Sevaneeya. On the other hand, recipes such as Sandhana in Ayurveda have a very long shelf-life.

The shelf-life of different recipes is determined based on the ingredients used. Several ingredients like Ghrita, Madhu, Guggulu, Lavana, etc. show preservative properties, apart from their pharmacological and therapeutic properties. In several studies, researchers observed that even Samskara like shoshana (drying) helps in the preservation process.

In ancient times, similar to how our grandparents used to preserve pickles, Ayurveda relied on natural practices to enhance the shelf-life of food items. Due to long periods of uncertainties, long months of rains, summers and winters – persevering food became vital as technology was primitive during those days.

Our ancestors used spices like curcuma, pepper, cumin and mustard to enhance the life-span of Ayurvedic recipes. Similarly – we at Amrutam, based on years of our research use – make use of age-old methods and techniques described in key Ayurvedic textbooks like the Charaka Samhita, Bhav Prakasha Nighantu, Ras Tantra Saar, Ayurvedic Formulary of India, Pharmacognosy and many more to enhance the life of our products.  

To find an answer to all your queries, the best way is to embark on your journey to Ayurveda and start learning.

Since Ayurveda, is vast – it is a way of living in itself – the best way to start learning is to start practicing and reading.

Our book – Ayurveda Lifestyle – The Beginning will be a good introductory guide to familiarize and induct oneself into the world of Ayurveda.

What is a Preservative

“A Preservative is a substance that is added to a formulation to prevent or inhibit the growth of micro-organisms in the preparation. When the property of preservation is found in the substances seen in nature it can be termed as a Natural preservatives. This type of preservatives also acts against oxidation and mould formation of preparation.”

Ref: Preservatives in Ayurveda – A Review Vinyasa T E1 , Sharma Govinda2 , Vinay Kadibagil

Common Natural Preservatives

1. Madhu (Honey)

Often in Ayurvedic recipes, Madhu is used as an ingredient e.g. in Avaleha and Ayaskriti. Honey fights against bacteria by creating a viscous barrier. It acts as a sticky layer between the ingredients in the product and outside impurities. The acidic pH (4.0) of honey retards the growth of certain bacteria such as E. coli. Madhu has a water content of 0.5-0.6 which retards bacterial growth. Honey also contains glucose and an enzyme called Glucose oxidase. Under appropriate conditions, the glucose oxidase is capable of breaking down glucose to hydrogen peroxide which is a potent anti-microbial agent.

2. Shakkara (Sugar)

Ayurvedic Practitioners use Sugar in many formulations such as Sharkara Kalpana, Guda Kalpana and Khanda Kalpana. Sugar in high concentration causes bacteria to lose water by osmosis and it doesn’t have any cellular mechanism to fight the osmotic gradient. Being partly hydrolyzed into reducing sugar, it retards oxidation.

In hypertonic solutions, sugar desiccates the cell retarding microbial growth and rendering potential pathogens inert. The sugar concentration is expected to be 66.7% in solutions that are required for the prevention of growth of microorganisms. Syrup of I.P concentration is 66.7% w/w, syrup of U.S.P concentration is said to be 85% w/v. Both sugar concentrations are able to prevent microbial growth. In Ayurveda the ratio of sugar in Khanda Kalpana is 1:3-1:6, in Sharkara Kalpana it is 1:2, in Guda Kalpana it is 1:0.75 to1:1; all these concentrations arrest microbial growth.

Due to the preservative properties of Sugar, it is used in Amrutam Malts.

3. Self-Generated Alcohol

Fermentation is the incomplete oxidation of sugar into ethanol and carbon dioxide. The process is carried out in the absence of oxygen and is mediated by the enzyme invertase secreted by yeast cells. The drugs used in Asava and Arista are preserved by self-generated alcohol. The percentage of alcohol extends from 9% to 12% which helps in preservation. It contains Madhu-½ tola which acts as self-preservative.

Often used in Ayurvedic syrups.

4. Lavana (Salt)

Lavana has been used as a preservative in Indian cuisine since time immemorial. Salt is considered to possess Anti-bacterial activity. As bacteria need a moist environment to grow, salt is capable of preventing their growth. This is because salt is very good at dehydrating and absorbing water from anything it comes in contact with e.g. Pickles and Lavana Kalpana. Lavana Kalpana has an infinite shelf life if stored properly.

5. Desiccation

Desiccation literally means ‘to dry out completely’, or to preserve by removing the moisture. The water and heat liable components are extracted by continuous heating to remove the complete water content e.g. Ghanasara and Kshara
Commonly used in Churna/Powder based recipes.

6. Plant self-preservation

Guggulu contains resin and essential oil which act as preservatives. It has healing properties, as well as antifungal and antiviral effects. The volatile oil present in it has antimicrobial activity. Adding Guggulu in the Vati Kalpana mix increases its shelf life to five years.

7. a. Antioxidant

Auto oxidation causes rancidity and spoils the formulation which leads to discoloration and change in taste, texture and odor. This leads to essential ingredient loss and shortens shelf life. Antioxidants which are present in pharmaceutical formulations prevent oxidative degeneration of the active ingredients and thus prevent rancidity. The antioxidants have a great affinity to oxygen and when added to formulations they offer protection to other oxygen-sensitive components. E.g. Amalaki, Shatavari, Haritaki, Vibhitaki, Chandana, kumara. Tulsi, Brahmi, Yastimadhu, Ashwagandha, Haridra, Lashuna.

7. b. Taila

It contains naturally occurring preservative sesamol and sesamin. Taila also contains Vit E which is rich in antioxidants. It also contains a high percentage of polyunsaturated fatty acid (PUFA) which helps to maintain the liquid state at room temperature by preventing rancidity.

7. c. Ghrita

Ayurvedic practitioners use it in many formulations such as the Sneha Kalpana, Malahara, Avaleha and so on. It is a rich antioxidant source; it also contains beta carotene, vitamin A, D, E and K. Because of the antioxidant property it acts as a preservative. Ghritha is not hydrogenated or oxidized at room temperature.

8. Others

8. a. Arka

Arka is used as a preservative in primary Kalpanas like Kvatha. It is a unique preparation in which essential oils from herbal drugs are extracted through distillation methods. The essential oils and flavonoids present in the distillate act as a preservative.

8. b. Rasa Aushadhi

 The addition of Kajjali in various herbal powders along with triturating under pressure enhances storage by increasing the shelf life of the respective herbs. In clinical observation, researches noted that the efficacy of the drug increases after the addition of micro-quantum of well-prepared Kajjali. It is also helpful in reducing the dosage of herbal compounds. The addition of Rasa Bhasma and Sindura in Churna helps in preservation.

8. c. Panchabhoutka Sanghatana

The strong bond made between similar Mahabhutas of two Rasas acts as a preservative bond. Madhura rasa – Prithvi + Apa Lavana rasa – Agni+ Apa. If this bond breaks, the Prithvi and Agni in the above two Rasa would combine to produce Amla Rasa; this is why sweet substances turn sour when spoiled.

Such changes also take place within the drug or diet articles even without any preservative and this is why Madhura substance turns Amla after some time. – Amla rasa – Prithvi+Agni – Katu rasa – Vayu+Agni. If this bond breaks the Prithvi and Vayu may combine to form Kashaya rasa.

This is why Amla substance when spoiled turns into Kashaya Rasa. The same principle applies to the preservation of Kashaya by Tiktha Rasa. – Kashaya rasa – Prithvi+Vayu – Tikta Rasa – Akasha+Vayu

Safety Data Information for a few Amrutam Products

In the following sections, we have compiled information relating to storage, stability, disposal and other parameters for some of our products.

1. Bhringraj Shampoo Hair Therapy

This is one of our more famous products and we get queries regarding its storage and other criteria regularly. Information relating to several parameters is mentioned below:

  • Storage: Store in a tightly-closed container, in a cool, dry place. Avoid direct exposure to sunlight.
  • Stability: The product is quite stable in its normal form. Keep the product away from flames and excess heat as it may cause modifications to the active compounds. It should also be noted that the product is incompatible with Sodium Sulphate, and as a general rule must not be mixed with other materials.
Bhringraj Hair Therapy Query
  • Toxicological Information: The product is only meant for application on the scalp. Do not consume the Bhrinhraj Shampoo. Accidental consumption may cause Ulceration. If the product comes in contact with the eye, it may cause irritation and should be washed out with water to prevent damage.
  • Ecological Information: The product is entirely made up of natural ingredients and is completely biodegradable.

2. Amrutam Face Wash

The Amrutam Face Wash is another product that our customers regularly ask about. This Ayurvedic product heals damaged skin, cleans dirt and debris from pores in the skin and provides a feeling of refreshment. Some key points about it are:

  • Storage: Store in a tightly-closed container, in a cool, dry and well-ventilated space. Avoid direct exposure to sunlight.
  • Stability: The product is stable and functions normally when stored and used in recommended conditions. Avoid sparks, flames and excessive heat in order to keep the product from decomposing. Also avoid mixing foreign materials into the product, especially oxidizing materials.
Amrutam Face Wash  Query
  • Toxicological Information: The product is meant to be used on the face. Avoid exposing the eyes to the product as it may cause irritation and redness. Consumption of the product is also not recommended, although negative effects have not been observed in doing so. Seek medical help if you have accidentally ingested it. If the product enters the respiratory tract (nose), flush with cold water and breathe in deeply after cleaning it.
  • Ecological Information: Two ingredients used in the recipe, Carbapol 980 and Sodium Sulphate, are synthetic materials that may impact the environment if present in high concentrations.  Ensure that the product does not contaminate groundwater sources.

3. Amrutam Herbal Ubtan

The Herbal Ubtan is another skincare product that routinely attracts attention. Not only does the Ubtan help in moisturizing the skin, but it also cools it by extracting excess heat. Additionally, regular application of the Ubtan helps in increasing the flow of fluids. A few key points relating to it are:

  • Storage: Keep the product in tightly-stored containers in a dry, cool and slightly humid place. Avoid direct exposure to sunlight.
  • Stability: The product is stable under normal storage conditions. Avoid mixing it with materials like alcohol and dietary supplements and they may cause structural changes to the product’s active compounds. Also, avoid excessive heat and flames.
Herbal Ubtan Query
  • Toxicological Information: One may use the product normally without having to cover the eyes or nose. Avoid allowing the product to enter the eyes as it may cause slight irritation. Ingesting the product is to be strictly avoided.
  • Ecological Information: Since the product is made mostly of natural compounds, it is Biodegradable. However, one must avoid contaminating natural water sources with the product and should follow local laws when it comes to disposing of the product.

4. Kuntal Care Hair Oil

This simple yet efficient Hair Oil product is up next. It serves as an all-in-one package that promotes regrowth of hair, strengthens the roots, and restores luster. Some of the key points are:

  • Storage: Store the product in a tightly-closed container and keep it in a dry place. Relative humidity of 35% and room temperature of 40 0C is the optimum storage conditions.
  • Stability: The product is stable and serves its functions well when stored under recommended conditions. Keep the product away from excess heat and open flames. Also, avoid adding external materials to the product as it may alter product composition which may hinder the activity of the product.
Kuntal Care Hair Oil  Query
  • Toxicological Information: The product is safe for use and induces no harmful effects upon normal application. One must avoid consuming it as it may cause Diarrhea in some cases. Additionally, if it comes into direct contact with the eyes, it may induce itching and irritation.
  • Ecological Information: The product is entirely Biodegradable in nature.

5. Kuntal Care Hair Spa

The Kuntal Hair Spa is a Hair Care product that focuses on relaxing the individual by improving circulation in the scalp. It also improves the oxygen uptake by the hair follicles which allows for better growth of hair. A few important points regarding the product are:

  • Storage: Store the product in a tightly closed container and keep it in a dry place. Avoid exposure to direct sunlight. Relative humidity of 35% and room temperature of 40 0C is the optimum storage conditions.
  • Stability: The product is extremely stable in nature and has a long shelf life as long as the recommended storage practices are observed. Avoid exposure to heat and flames to maintain the integrity of the product.
Kuntal Care Hair Spa Query
  • Toxicological Information: The product is compatible with regular use. One must avoid inhaling or ingesting it as it may cause Diarrhea or other respiratory/digestive issues. If the product enters the eyes, flush with plenty of cold water.
  • Ecological Information: The product is made up of all-natural ingredients and extracts making it entirely biodegradable in nature. 

6. Kuntal Care Malt

The final product of this section is the Kuntal Care Malt. The effects of this product are similar to that of the Kuntal Care Hair Spa. The Malt helps in improving circulation, revitalizes the scalp, and promotes hair growth. Additionally, it improves the production of the Growth Hormone by stimulating circulation to the Pituitary Gland. A few key features regarding its storage and use are mentioned below:

  • Storage: Store the product in a tightly closed container and keep it in a dry place. Avoid exposure to direct sunlight. Relative humidity of 35% and room temperature of 40 0C is the optimum storage conditions.
  • Stability: The product is stable as long as it is stored under the recommended conditions. Avoid exposure to open flames or excessive heat.
Kuntal care Malt Query
  • Toxicological Information: The product is only meant for external application on the scalp. Avoid consuming or inhaling the product as it may have harmful effects on the body.
  • Ecological Information: The product contains a mixture of natural ingredients meaning that it is free of synthetic additives and is Biodegradable. However, one must take care not to contaminate groundwater sources with the product while disposing of it.

Reference 1: Preservatives in Ayurveda – A Review

Reference 2: Preservation of medicine preparation in Indian system of medicine


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0 thoughts on “Answers to Common Queries and Doubts

  1. :

    Elaborate and beautiful post! Really comforting. Hope it reaches all!

  2. :

    This post really is elaborate and comforting the customers. Hope it reaches all!

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