Bhasma is a type of traditional medicine that has been practiced in China, India, and neighboring countries for hundreds of years. Used to treat a variety of diseases, bhasma medications are made by combining various ingredients, extracting the toxic elements from them, and then heating the mixture until only ash remains. These medicines are made from combinations of minerals and herbs and are taken orally once they have been prepared. Though it has not been proven effective in medical trials, anecdotal evidence has shown that some people recover from illness after taking bhasma medicines.
The basis for these bhasma medications are metals or gems. Before they can be consumed, these minerals must be processed under the supervision of individuals who have undergone extensive training in this type of medical practice. The minerals are ground into a fine powder and purified to remove components that could be harmful. Mercury and herbal mixtures are combined with the powder so that these substances can bind to the harmful inorganic molecules in the gem or metal powder. Once the harmful components are removed, the substance is purified with water and then heated. The purified and chemically altered gem or metal is heated to an extremely high temperature in order to turn it to ash. Traditionally, an earthen pot is used to hold the medicine while it is heated. Once the substance has been turned to ash, it is called bhasma.