Anju1*, Mohammad Idris2
1Research Associate, Central Council for Research in Unani Medicine, New Delhi, India
2Principal & Head, PG Department of Ilm-us-Saidla, Ayurvedic & Unani Tibbia College & Hospital, Karol Bagh, New Delhi, India
*Address for Corresponding Author:
Central Council for Research in Unani Medicine, New Delhi, India
Murdarsang is an exotic inorganic Unani drug whose description is traced to the times of Greco-Roman physicians, such as Hippocrates, Galen and Dioscorides. Dioscorides (circa 1st century CE) mentioned it in detail in his celebrated book ‘Kitab al-Hashaish’. Etymologically, it is known as ‘Litharge’ in English lexicon which is derived from Greek ‘Litharguros’ (lithos meaning stone and arguros for silver) which forms as a ‘waste’ during the last stage of silver smelting. It is the mainly used externally, especially in almost all types of marahim (Unani ointments). It is also used in Ayurveda. Several Ayurvedic formulations contain Murdarsang. Chemically, it is monoxide of lead (Plumbi oxidum). Besides its medicinal use, it was used in refining process of silver in the minting technology during the Mughal times. It is one of the mineral forms of lead (II) oxide, PbO. Murdarsang (Litharge) is a secondary mineral which forms from the oxidation of galena ores. During the first century CE, both Dioscorides and Pliny, the Elder, discussed in great detail the preparation of lithargyros ‘silver stone’ and spuma argenti ‘scum of silver’. The golden scum is obtained from the actual vein.
Keywords: Murdarsang, Lead oxide, Plumbi oxidum, Unani classical literature