The Buddhist monks, besides being great social reformers were also accomplished physicians coupled with the zeal and ardour to attend to the masses and render a supporting hand to the sick and ailing members of the society. Lord Buddha was himself a great physician, possessing in-depth knowledge about medicine. The Buddhist monks when suffered from seasonal diseases were prescribed to take four types of medicines, Kalika, Yamika, Saptahika and Yavajjivika. In the Buddhist pharmacopoeia, the kalikas were the pulp of boiled rice or any other grain known as Manda, porridge or boiled rice called Oddna, sour gruel or kulmasa, meat or mamsa and cakes prepared from flour or opupa.
The Yamikas were 8 types of drinks, such as Cocapanam, prepared from cinnamon bark; Mocapdnam amde of plantain trees, i.e. Musa sapientum; Kolapanam a drink prepared from Jujube tree; Asvatthapanam a drink prepared from the fig tree; Udumburapanam, made from berries; Mrdvikapdnam, prepared from grapes and Kharjurapdnam, prepared from dates. The Saptdhikas used by the Buddhists were: taila or oil; sarpi or ghee; phanita, juice of sugarcane; madhu or honey; sarkara or dry sugar. The Yavajjivika were mulabhaisajya or root medicine; ganda bhaisyajya or tubers; patrabhaisajya or leaf medicine; puspabhaisajya or flower medicine; 5 jatus or lac like silajatu; 5 ksaras like alkalis; 5 lavanas or salts and 5 kasdyas or astringents like haritaki. Among the Mulabhaisajyas there are Vaca-Acorus Calamus; Musta-Cyperus Rotundus; Haridrd-Curcuma longs; Attvisa-Aconitum heterophyllum; Arka-Calotropis gigantea.
The Gandabhaisajyas used by the Buddhist monks were: Chandana, Chavika-Piper retro-fractum; Padmaka-Prunus Cerasoides; Devaddru-Cedrus Deodar; Guduci-Tinospora Cordifolia and Ddruharidra-Berberis Aristata.
The monks also used Patrabhaisajyas as their medicines for curing diseases. These were the leaves of Patola-Trichosanthes dioca; Vdsikd-Genddrussa vulgaris; Nimba-Azddirachta indicd; Kosataki-Luffa acutangula; and Saptaparna-alstonia scholaris. To know more read: