Literature of Ayurveda – Laghutrayi (Subordinate trio)

The  compendia  after  the  period  of  Vagbhata reflect  further  developments  in contemporary  fields  of  science  and  incorporation  of  more  drugs  in  therapeutics. Madhava nidana, Chikitsa sara, Bhaishajya-ratnavali, Bhavaprakasha, Sharangadhara Samhita, Rasaratna samuccaya, and Yoga ratnakara are few examples of the compliation of literature of the ancient and a relatively recent period.  Also, there are 12 nighantus (Pharmacopoeias), which are a source of nomenclature and properties of different drugs.

The following three compendia are collectively known as laghutrayi (Subordinate / Smaller trio)

  1. Madhava Nidana
  2. Shrangadhara Samhita
  3. Bhavaprakasha
  1. Madhava Nidana

Madhavacharya (12th century) wrote Madhava Nidana which contains 69 chapters exclusively on the diagnosis of the diseases (Nidana).

Salient features of Madhava Nidana

  • It is the first of its kind in the Ayurvedic text which exclusively focuses on only one topic which is diagnosis.
  • Amavata (Rheumatism) and Amlapitta (Acid peptic disorders) are described thoroughly for the first time.
  • Vatavyadhi (Neurological conditions) are elaborated very clearly.


  1. Sharangadhara Samhita

Sharangadhara (14th century) wrote this treatise which is elaborated in 32 chapters divided in three sections namely:

  1. Purva Khanda (Foremost section)
  2. Madhyam Khanda (Mid section)
  3. Uttara Khanda (Last section)

Topics of Purva Khanda

Basic fundamentals, classification of disease and examination of patient

Topics of Madhya Khanda

Pharmaceutical preparations e.g. juice, decoctions, tablets, purification of metals.

 Topics of Uttara Khanda

panchakarma procedures

Highlights of Sharangadhara Samhita

  • Some ideas are incorporated from Unani system of medicine
  • Systematic description of respiration process
  • Purification and detoxification of metals and preparation of bhasma (A calcined preparation in which the gem or metal is converted into ash )
  • Description of herbomineral compounds using parada (Mercury)
  • Usage of single herbs for treatment e.g. kanchanara in lymphadenitis


  1. Bhavaprakasha

This treatise has three sections and is compiled by sage bhava – mishra in 16th century.

Topics of Purva Khandha

Basic principles, purification of metals, panchakarma

Topics of Madhya Khandha

Diseases and their treatment

Topics of Uttara Khandha

rasayana, vajikaran

Highlights of Bhavaprakasha

  • Introduction of many new drugs in Materia Medica e.g. parasika yavani, pudina
  • Introduction of substitute herbs for originally prescribed drugs in brihatrayi
  • Three-fold and eight-fold examination of the patients
  • Description and treatment of Phiranga Roga (foreigners’ disease) – a sexually transmitted disease for the first time in ayurvedic texts