Bhela Samhita
Bhela was one of the six students of Atreya, alongwith Agnivesha. He is said to have composed a treatise called Bhela Samhita. This was not traceable for many centuries, but in the year 1880, a palm leaf manuscript of it, composed in Sanskrit but written in the Telugu script, was found in the Palace Library at Tanjore. This manuscript, written about 1650, abounds in mistakes and some of it has been disfigured beyond recognition. But whatever has survived gives evidence of the same ancient tradition as Charaka Samhita does. It has also eight divisions like the Charaka, and each section ends with : "Thus spake Atreya" as it is in Charaka Samhita. Bhela Samhita essentially corroborates what Charaka Samhita says. Occasionally, it differs from it in some details. 

Nava Nitaka 
The practice of Ayurvedic medicine entered a new phase when instead of the samhitas on medicine and surgery, compendia of prescriptions for various diseases began to appear. The first of such treatises which we have with us now is Nava Nitaka. This manuscript was discovered by a man of Kuchar, an oasis of Eastern Turkestan in Central Asia on the caravan route to China. This route was used by the Buddhist monks of India travelling to far off places. This man dug in the hope of getting some treasure in an area supposed to contain an underground city. He did not find any wealth but discovered a manuscript which was bought for a small sum by L.H. Bower, who had gone there qn a private mission from the Government of India. This manuscript was forwarded to J. Waterhouse, the then President of the Asiatic Society. It was deciphered and published by A.F. Hoernle, who spent 21 years on its study. Afterwards, the manuscript was sold to the Bodlein Library in Oxford. 

Nava Nitaka manuscript by its name or by its contents has been mentioned by different authors between the tenth and the sixteenth century. After that, this manuscript has not been mentioned by anyone until it was re-discovered. The present manuscript is composed of very defective Sanskrit mixed with Prakrit. It was written in the Gupta script of the fourth or fifth century. The material on which it is written is birch bark, cut into longish folios like the palm leaves of southern and western India. The contents suggest Buddhistic influence in its composition. 

According to Hoernle, the whole manuscript consists of not less five distinct parts. The author quotes from Charaka and Susruta and Bhela Samhita. The title 'Nava-Nitaka', meaning butter, is indicative of the manner of its composition; just as a small amount of butter is extracted out milk, so does this work contain the essential formulae extracted from other larger works. According to one scholar, the author of Nava-Nitaka was Navanita.

Nava-Nitaka for the first time gives details about the use of garlic various diseases such as consumption (rajya yakshma) and scrofulous glands in the neck. Tied with a thread, it was also hung on the door; this was supposed to check the spread of infectious diseases like small-pox. Garlic was recommended to be used in winter and spring. 

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Prof: Koti Madhav Balu Chowdary

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