Veeryam (वीर्यम्)

From Dharmawiki
Revision as of 19:20, 27 August 2021 by DrDevashree (talk | contribs)
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This article needs editing.

Add and improvise the content from reliable sources.

This article needs appropriate citations and references.

Improvise this article by introducing references to reliable sources.

Veerya (वीर्यम् वीर्य्यम्) refers to the energy or potency of a substance specifically a drug or a herb. In general it refers to energy, virility, strength, power or vigour. In the context of human beings veerya also means Shukra (semen) dhatu, which is believed to be responsible for regeneration and reproduction inhuman body. As per Dravyagunashastram (Pharmacology and materia medica of Ayurveda) Veerya is that property of substance which enables it to perform various actions inside or on contact with human body. At some places veerya is considered to be the thermal energy of a substance. Roughly it is equated with the active principle of the herb which is responsible for its specific pharmacological activity.


The term 'Veerya' is derived from the root 'Veera vikrantau' which indicates strength or capacity to affect something.

वीरयते विक्रान्तः कर्म समर्थो भवति अनेन इति वीर्यम् |

Meaning: The strength or energy which is performing an activity via drug is Veerya (potency) of the drug


In the context of pharmacology, veerya of a herb or any dravya (substance) is defined as 'the quality of a substance which is responsible for its action'. Acharya Charaka and Sushruta in their treatises have clearly stated the exact meaning of this term as follows,

वीर्यं तु क्रियते येन या क्रिया| (Char. Samh. Sutra 26.65)

Meaning: Veerya is that through which (a dravya or substance) performs actions.

“येन कुर्वन्ति तद्वीर्यम्” (sush. Samh. Sutra 40)

Meaning: Veerya is that quality/component of a drug/substance through which it performs action.

Veerya of medicinal substances

Ayurveda identifies 7 matters of priority in the universe which are known as Sapta-padarthas. Dravya (substance), Guna (attribute), Rasa (taste), Veerya (potency), Vipaka(final state of transformation), Prabhava(specificity in action) and Karma (drug action) are these 7 padarthas. Thus, in Dravya-guna shstra i.e. pharmacology of ayurveda, veerya is a matter of priority because it contributes in the action and effect of a substance precisely a herb used as medicine. However, it is not just herb but any substance used as a drug or food will have a specific veerya which enables that substance to perform some activity on consumption. Without veerya no substance can perform any kind of action. Thus the period for which a drug or medicinal formulation remains potent and possess ability to perform specific action in body is called as 'Sa-veeryata avadhi' in Ayurveda. This is specifically restricted to medicinal formulations use din Ayurveda. It can be correlated with the concept of shelf life or expiry date of drugs mentioned in western medicine. Beyond this period (which is specifically defined for each type of formulation), a drug is believed to loose its potency or efficacy. Therefore, the concept of veerya described in Ayurveda treatises in the frame of reference of pharmacology and pharmaceutics is of tremendous importance

Types of veerya

8 types


वीर्यमष्टविधं केचित्,

2 types



The Virya majorly categorized as two types (Dwividha Virya) and eight types (Asthavidha Virya) etc. cold (Shita) and hot (Ushana) Virya comes under Dwividha Virya while cold (Shita), hot (Ushna), unctuous (Snigdha), dry (Ruksha), heavy (Guru), light (Laghu), soft (Mrudu) and intense (Tikshna) Virya comes under Asthavidha Virya category. Pungent, sour and salt taste have hot potency with increasing order respectively; bitter, astringent and sweet taste are cold in potency in the same manner.

Saveeryata Avadhi ॥ Shelf life of medicinal formulations

The period for which the medicinal formulations retain potency or considerable efficacy and safety is called as Saveeryata avadhi. It is similar to the concept of shelf life of food and medicinal substances. The concept of expiry date of drugs is also the equivalent concept from modern pharmaceutical science. Ayurveda acharyas have specified the period in which different types of medicinal formulations retain the maximum strength and efficacy. Since the strength, power or active energy of substance is identified as it's Veerya, this period is known as Saveeryata avadhi (Sa-intact, veeryata-strength/potency, avadhi-period). Sharangadhara Samhita from laghutrayee is the first text/treatise of Ayurveda to mention saveeryata avadhi.

For example The collected raw herb is known to loose its potency in a period of 1 year when stored as it is. Some formulation methods enhance the potency and increase the saveeryata avadhi. Specifically fermented preparations in Ayurveda formulations known as Asavas and arishtas do not loose their potency over years. In fact those are considered to be more effective if stored for long time.[1]

Significance of Veerya

नावीर्यं कुरुते किञ्चित् सर्वा वीर्यकृता क्रिया||६५|| Char. Samh. Sutra 26.65)


  1. Sharangadhara Samhita (Prathamakhanda Adhyaya 1 Sutra 51-54)