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Year : 2006  |  Volume : 38  |  Issue : 5  |  Page : 365-

Quantitative parameters of different brands of Asava and Arishta used in ayurvedic medicine: An assessment

WMB Weerasooriya1, JA Liyanage2, SS Pandya1,  
1 Gampaha Wickramarachchi Ayurveda Institute, Kandy Road, Yakkala, Sri Lanka
2 Department of Chemistry, University of Kelaniya, Kelaniya, Sri Lanka

Correspondence Address:
J A Liyanage
Department of Chemistry, University of Kelaniya, Kelaniya
Sri Lanka

How to cite this article:
Weerasooriya W, Liyanage J A, Pandya S S. Quantitative parameters of different brands of Asava and Arishta used in ayurvedic medicine: An assessment.Indian J Pharmacol 2006;38:365-365

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Weerasooriya W, Liyanage J A, Pandya S S. Quantitative parameters of different brands of Asava and Arishta used in ayurvedic medicine: An assessment. Indian J Pharmacol [serial online] 2006 [cited 2023 Jun 2 ];38:365-365
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Arishta and Asava have been used as medicines for over 3000 years to treat various disorders and are also taken as appetisers and stimulants.[1] Due to their medicinal value, sweet taste, and easy availability people are prone to consume higher doses of these drugs for longer periods. The manufacture and sale of Arishta and Asava occupies an important place in the ayurvedic pharmaceutical industry. The preparation and sale of 34 varieties of Arishta and 25 varieties of Asava has been legalised and listed in the official Ayurveda pharmacopoeia of Sri Lanka.[2]

Information on the quantitative parameters of Asava and Arishta to guarantee the quality and the safety of the product to the consumer is less. Therefore, establishing quality and standard parameters like alcohol level, pH, acid value and other constituents of these preparations are highly significant.

The objective of this study was to determine the level of alcohol, acidity and pH in commercially available Ashvagandarishta and Aravindasava to establish a routine procedure for standardisation of these Ayurvedic preparations.

Twenty brands of commercially available Ashvagandarishta and Aravindasavaya stored in sealed bottles under room temperature were randomly collected (island-wide). They were tested for percentage of total alcohol (v/v), ethanol, pH, and acid value. Acid value indicates the total acids present in the product. Acids are produced during preparation (especially in the fermentation process) and storage (oxidation of alcohols) and are responsible for the sour taste of those preparations. Electric ebulliometer (Model no 01121E, Laboratories Dujardin Sallerone co., France) was used to determine the total alcohol content.[3] Boiling points of the samples were tested and the alcohol percentages (v/v) were calculated using the scale disk of the ebulliometer. For the estimation of ethanol (v/v), 100 ml of each Ashvagandharishta and Aravindasava was distilled at 78.5oC. The evaporate was condensed into a flask, and the volume was measured. A bench type pH meter with microprocessor (Hanna, Italy serial no 249752) was used for the pH measurement after calibration with buffer solutions of pH 4 and 7 (Hanna). The pH values of the commercially available brands of Ashvagandharishta and Aravindasavaya were measured at the time of opening the bottle and seven days and 14 days after opening the bottle. During the 14 days, the drug bottles kept at room temperature were shaken well manually to mimic the normal practice during consumption and opened two to three times per day. Each brand of Arishta/Asava (10 ml) was diluted with distilled water (20 ml) and titrated with 0.1M sodium hydroxide. The acid concentration was calculated using phenolphthalein as the indicator.

Alcohol percentage (v/v) in each of the tested brands of Ashvagandharishta was different. The maximum was 13.13% and the minimum was 7.27%, with a mean value of 9.961.41%. The maximum and the minimum values of the tested brands of Aravindasava were 13.00% and 7.7%, with a mean of 9.951.44%. The results highlighted that the levels of alcohol in Ashvagandharista and Aravindasava were lower than those in fortified wines and distilled spirits. These contain 18 to 21% and 40 to 50% alcohol, respectively. In the commercially available Ashvagandharishta, the mean isolated ethanol was 6.550.87%, which is given by the minimum of 5.17% and the maximum of 8.23%. For Aravindasava, these values were 7.851.31%, 5.67% and 11.03%, respectively. Changing of the pH with time after the bottles were opened and the acid values of the commercially available Ashvagandarishta and Aravindasava are given in [Table 1].

Measured pH and acid values indicate that both Ashvagandarishta and Aravindasava have weak acidic properties. Therefore it can be concluded that the recorded levels of alcohol, acidity, and pH in commercially available Ashvagandarishta and Aravindasava could be used to establish and formulate procedures for standardization and quality controlling of these ayurvedic preparations.


1Alcohol consumption. Encyclopζdia Britannica Ultimate Reference Suite [CD-ROM]. 1994-2003. London: Encyclopζdia Britannica, Inc.; 2003.
2Department of Ayurveda. Sri Lanka: Ayurveda Pharmacopoeia; 1976.
3 Jayathilake AN, Wijeyaratne SC. Biochemical and microbiological changes of Caryota urens (Kithul palm) phloem sap'. Vidyodaya Journal of Science 1999;8:91-108.