Concept and Terminology
Lehva are linctuses or confections or thickened and Sweetened extracts, equivalent to confections, electuaries and conserves of the British Pharmacopoeia. Lehya are also known as Avaleha.
- The drugs enumerated in the recipe.
- A wide mouthed stainless steel vessel or a similar vessel made of other metals, tinned inside.
- Strong spatula for mixing the medicine during preparation.
- Fine sieve or fine cloth. (In factories while preparing these medicines on a large scale, the heating is carried out by super-heated steam jacketed vessels).
The mixing is done by electrically operated mixing machines Sieving is done by mechanical sifters.
Process of Preparation
The component drugs which enter into the composition of lehya are capable of being classified into the following
- The major drugs which are of prime importance.
- The sweetening agents. These include sugar, Sugar candy, jaggery and honey.
- Ghee. This keeps the lehya soft and preserves it.
- Flavouring agents.
- The liquid media. These may either be infusions or juices or simply water.
The major drugs are finely powdered after drying and sieved through a fine sieve or cloth. The sugar or sugar candy or jaggery is dissolved in the decoction, infusion or water and heated on mild fire in a wide mouthed container. The solution should be continuously stirred until the syrup reaches a stage which will form wiry extensions when pressed and drawn between the thumb and index finger. At this stage, the drug powders are added and stirred well to mix the powder in the syrup. When the mixing is almost complete, the vessel is removed from fire. (Violent heating or prolonged heating will result in a hard mixture). When the semi-solid mass is taken off the oven, ghee is mixed with it and made into a homogenous mixture. After the addition of ghee, the mixture is left to cool and then honey is added to it. Finally, the flavouring agents are added and mixed. The quality of the preparation depends upon the fineness of the drug powders and the efficient mixing of the ingredients at the correct stage during the process of preparation.
Lehya should be stored in wide mouthed glass containers. The Lehya are said to keep good for a year, without any change in quality.