Nāvanītaka

Herbal

This Treasure is paired with: Herbal (Medicinal plants)

  • 6th century?
  • Manuscript

A recipe for an oil to remove wrinkles and grey hair is one of many medical formulae in this Ayurvedic text. This leaf is part of a manuscript discovered in a mound near the caves of Min-Oi of Qum Tura in Afghanistan, and offered by a local treasure-seeker in 1890 to a British army officer investigating a murder in the region. Written on birch bark in Sanskrit, it is a compendium of medical, divinatory, and magical treatises, and includes two Buddhist texts, evidence of early Buddhist activity in the area.

Transcription

‘An oil to remove wrinkles and grey hair.
Take one prastha each of the juice of emblic myrobalan, oleander, Bhṛingaraja (Eclipta alba), and (sweet) oil, and boil these four prastha in a new vessel of iron. Then let it stand for a month in a box made of piasâl-wood (Terminalia tomentosa). This oil removes wrinkles and premature grey hair, and may even change the white colour of cows, dogs, asses, camels, and white-feathered birds.’
(The Bower manuscript, ed. A F Rudolf Hoernle; Calcutta, 1893–1912; p. 114)