Indian medical science - Ayurveda can claim its legitimate place among all other systems of medicine known to the world. But its glory and greatness is due neither to the progress in Surgery or Anatomy as taught by Susruta nor to the excellence of herbal durgs as taught by Caraka but to the exceptional and unique progress which Ayurveda made in the region of medical chemistry.
There were four different schools of treatment of diseases in ancient India, viz., treatments:
By Rasa, i.e, Mercury and Other Metals
By Herbs and Vegetable Drugs
By Charms, Incantations, etc.
By Surgical Instruments.
The work is entitled Rasa-Jala-nidhi (Ocean of Indian Chemistry of medicine) perhaps on the analogy of Rasarnava Saivatantra on the subject of alchemy. the analogy imparts divinity to the subject itself. The system is of divine origin. It goes back to hoary antiquity, as old as the Ramayana of Valmiki. Herodotus, the Greek chronicler testifies that ancient Indians know a good deal of chenmistry much earlier than the races of the world; that in chemistry of medicine and alchemy the ancient Aryans reached a high of degree of perfection and that there were Yogins in Indian who lived an unusually long life by the use of mercurial preparations.
This book on medical chemistry and Alchemy is a sort of compilation of Sanskrit verses transmitted to us from generation to generation, either through oral tradition or by way of citations occurring in ancient texts on medicine which fortunately for us have escaped the rowdiness of barbarous invaders in the medieval period of Indian history.