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Virya / Vipaka / Prabhava

Sweet / Sour / Salty

Pungent / Bitter / Astringent

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Virya / Vipaka / Prabhava



biological properties:           

The potency by which a drug acts is known as Virya. Actually it is the ultra chemical action of the drugs. It may be of two types-

 ·        Ushna (hot)

·        Shita (cold)

 Here please remember that their translation as hot or cold is not appropriate as these denotes only to the temperature status, while the virya is something more than that. 

Ancient scholar Charaka has given a specific explanation of it-           

  “the taste (rasa) of a substance is felt at the commencement  only i.e. when the substance come in contact  with  the tongue,  and the post digestive changes (vipaka)  are felt  when the final effects of digestion are produced; while potency (vipaka)  is observed  through ought its stay in the body beginning from its first entrance.  Potency is the power by which an action takes place.  Nothing can be done in the absence of potency (virya).  Every action is the result of potency.”



Attributes of drug assimilation

We know that when any substance, whether it is food or diet, is consumed, it gets absorbed and then gets transformed. Vipaka is the state of transformation of ingested substances.

Vipaka depends upon the panchabhautic composition of the substance.  It is of three types-


·        Madhura

·        Amla

·        Katu


Specific action/ potency: 

Prabhava is the specific property of a substance which produces actions different from and contrary to those ascribed to rasa, guna, virya and vipaka. Prabhava represents the characteristic and specific actions of substances which can’t be explained in terms of the pharmacological actions of their various individual constituent principles taken out separately. This concept clearly explains the fact that why whole drug is more effective and safe than its isolated fragments.                                                         



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