Did Ancient Indians Discover Macir (Makara) as a Perfume?

Sudheer By Sudheer, 18th Aug 2010 | Follow this author | RSS Feed | Short URL http://nut.bz/.n51m9bg/
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Did ancient Indians discover Macir (Makara) as a perfume?

Did ancient Indians discover Macir (Makara) as a perfume?

Macir* is mentioned by Dioscorides as an aromatic bark. Pliny says that it was brought from India. He describes it as a red bark growing upon a large root, which bears the name Macir from the tree that produced it. He prescribed a mixture of this bark with honey as a cure for dysentery. The word Macir is today neither found in the English nor the Sanskrit Dictionaries but it has been mentioned in the Periplus on pages 80 and 81.

The word Macir has been said to have been derived from the Sanskrit word Makara which in India was said to have been used in ancient times as a traditional Ayurvedic remedy for dysentery. Macir seems to have been the root-bark of the tree Holarrhena Antidysentrica which according to the notes appended to the Periplus was found throughout India and Burma in the lower Himalayas upto 3500 feet.

Both the bark and seed of this tree were among the most important medicines in the Ayurvedic system of medicine. According to the notes to the Periplus. "This tree found by the Portuguese was called 'Herba malabarica owing to its great merit in the treatment of dysentery they having found it on the Malabar coast. The preparation, generally in the form of a solid or liquid extract, or of a decoction, is astringent, anti-dysenteric an anthelmintic. The seeds yield a fixed oil, and the wood ash is used in dyeing.'' Thus this commodity which was exported from India in early times had multiple uses.

*The Periplus of the Erythrean Sea - Travelsand Trade in the Indian Ocean by a Merchant in the First Century, Translated from the Greek and Annoted by Wilfred H. Schoff, Longmans Green and Co. New York, 1912.

Source: http://www.hindubooks.org/dynamic/modules.php?name=Content&pa=showpage&pid=1378

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Ancient India, Macir, Perfume

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