External Medicine:

There are 32 types under External Medicine they are as follows:

1. Kattu

This is the application of medicines made of herbs/metals, organic & inorganic salts to the affected areas and bandaging it.

2. Patru

It is the application of paste obtained from plant extracts or by grinding raw drugs with or without heating them (or) A solution of medicine applied externally which when dried forms a protective film.

3. Ottradam

It is the application of fomentation using pulses, cereals, husk, lime, brick powder, leaves, salts or drugs like carum capticum (or) fomentation is a warm or even moist application to a part of the body, for the purpose of relieving pain, relaxing muscles, relieving spasms, griping, headaches etc.,

4. Poochu

This is the external application of leaf juice or oils, after gently heating them, applied by fricking method (liniment)

5. Vedhu

This is the inhalation of fumes or steam by adding raw drugs in the boiling water. The fumes are obtained by making a wick using clothes and raw drugs. The wick is burnt in a mild lamp using neam oil for steam application curcuma longa, vitex negundo or brick powder is used.

6. Pottanam

Small cloth bags containing powdered raw drugs and soaked in warm neam oil or other oily substances and applied over affected area of the body fomentation .

7. Thokkanam (Marthanam / Physical Manipulation therapy)

This is the physical manipulation of the body either by applying medicated oil or without.

8. Pukhai

This is the application of fumes to the different parts of the body. The fume is generated by using peacock feather, cumin seeds, horns of animals, snake skin etc., apart from that, prepared medicines like Agathiyar Kuzhambu, Kaushikar Kuzhambu are applied in a cloth wick and burnt in castor oil.

9. Mai

This is the collyrium for the eye. The carbon or smoke formed by burning dried wick, soaked in eclipta alba in confined air and mixed in coco’s butter (or) collyrium is a medicinal paint or a similar preparation applied externally to the eyes in cases of apoplexy, delirium, fever and other complicated diseases and venomous snake bites.

10. Podi thimirdhal

Rubbing the body with horse gram flour or turmeric powder with or without camphor is called podithimirdhal.

11. Kalikkam

Applying eye drops obtained by dissolving medicated pills in honey, breast milk, plant juice etc., is known as kalikkam.

12. Nasiyam (Nasal Application)

Some prepared medicines are used as nasal drops dissolving them in breast milk or fresh juice is known as nasiyam.

In the term nasiyam is the specific sense is particularly used with reference to the snuffing of an oleaginous matter in the brain. It may be used as an agent to bring out mucous matter.

13. Oodhal (Blowing with mouth)

This is a manipulation in which physician chews the medicated substances and blows aroma into the ear or the nose of the patient.

14. Nasikaparanam (Snuff)

Raw drugs are either powdered or soaked in milk or herbal juices dried, made into fine powders and applied into the nostrils.

15. Kalimbu (Plaster)

Pashanas are powdered with astringent drugs like terminalia chebula, Areca nut, quercus infectorius and ground well with butter and applied on wounds.

‘Kalimbu’ is nothing but a paste and the name itself indicates that the medicine is in the form of semi liquid. The semi liquid consistency of these medicines is attained by the addition of mucilagenous or pectinatceous media, oils, fats, butter or waxes.


Kalimbu – any soft unetuous substance or ointment prepared by mixing fat, wax or other glutinous substones with drugs or medicines and used as an external application for wound, sores, etc.,

16. Seelai (ointment)

Toxic drugs are ground in water or herbal juice a piece of cloth is soaked in this and applied to the wounds.

17. Neer (Medicated water for washing)

Some raw drugs are soked in water and make into decoctions, or toxic substances are greatly diluted and used to wash wounds, ulcers and cuts. They act as antiseptic.

18. Varthi (Elongated pills)

Some toxic substances are ground well with juices of plants or decoctions and a piece of cloth is soaked in this and a wick is prepared. This wick is used in deep ulcers and fistula.

19. Suttigai (Heat application)

This is a heat application using needle. Broken earthen pots or pieces of wood are also used in a specific area of the body.

20. Salagai (Probe)

It is an exploratory therapy using a probe which has a blunt end. It is also used in calculi.

A Surgeon’s probe with which the debth of extent of wounds are traced. It is an instrument made of iron or copper and it is about 10” long, slander at the middle and blunt at the two ends. It can also be used for applying collyrium to the eyes.

21. Pasai

Some drugs like guggulu are added to melted wax or castor and applied to wounds.

22. Kali (thick paste or a thick consistence)

Drugs like lepidium sativum seeds are ground with rice flour by adding water or milk, heated and applied to the affected area.

23. Podi (dusting powder)

Raw drugs are powdered and applied on wounds. Mostly astringent drugs are used for this purpose.

‘Podi’ means powder and here denotes dusting powder. Cuts, wounds and ulcers are usually dusted with podi category of medicines.

Drugs which possess healing properties, astringent and antiseptic actions are powdered well either singly or in combination with other drugs and sieved.

24. Murichal (Bone setting)

This is bone setting. A physical manipulation in which dislocated parts area brought to normal position.

25. Keeral (Incision)

This is incision of boils and removal of accumulated pus, blood etc.,

26. Karam (Caustic or corrosive substances)

Application of toxic drugs to areas to die excised or to chronic ulcer is called karam.

27. Attai – vidal (Leech application)

Leech application to locally affected areas, blocks or swelling is known as attai-vidal.

28. Aruvai (excision)

This is excision of the affected part of the body using specific surgical instruments.

29. Kombu – Kattal (Splints & bandages)

Immobilising fractured bone using splints and bandages after proper reduction is called kombu kattal.

30. Urinjal

Drainage of accumulated pus, blood etc., by sucking with proper drains is known as urinjal.

31. Kurudhi Vaangal (Blood – letting)

This is the process of blood – letting where there is accumulated blood.

Blood letting is done by

  1. leech application

  2. sucking using hollow horns (drains) and

  3. venesection (incisions of the blood vessels)

32. Peechu (Enema)

Synonym : Vasthi. This is the method of Enema using water or soap water to evacuate rectum. A medicated liquid used for giving enema.