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August 31, 1907


JAMA. 1907;XLIX(9):779. doi:10.1001/jama.1907.02530090055008

The value of a salt-free, or at least a salt-poor, diet in the treatment of edematous conditions is generally conceded to be a comparatively modern theory. That the fact was known, clinically at least, ten centuries before the christian era and probably much earlier is evidenced by the Charaka-Samhita. The Charaka-Samhita and the Susruta-Samhita are ancient Hindu medical works compiled from a still more venerable work, the Ayur-veda, which the Hindus say was written by the gods. The date of the compilation of the Charaka is probably 1000 B. C. and it corresponds to the Hippocratic treatises; in fact, there is little doubt that Hippocrates made free use of the work. The Charaka is written in Sanscrit of the most ancient construction. This ancient work, after describing the various kinds of "dropsy" and the appropriate treatment for each, recommends for "abdominal dropsy" (ascites) tapping. The postoperative treatment reads as follows:

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