Water Purification in Ancient India Saved Lives

by Phume Mdluli
Water Purification

Ancient India was much more modernized that what society is now. Ancient India contributed to education thanks to imminent scholars like Aryabhatta, Sushruta, Brahmagupta, Bhaskaracharya, Vysayana and more. It was also home to the most planned and modern cities namely Mohenjo-Daro and Harappa. If you remember your school education, you will be able to recall facts about these cities which including sanitation, proper planning, water treatment and storage and even sewage management. Although they were built out of stone, it featured an extremely well planned city and showed the path of how modern India should have been. Since these rich civilizations were built on the banks of the river Indus, they found ingenious methods of water purification and preservation.

Seed Purification Method

Ancient Indians used seeds of Moringa Olifera tree to de contaminate drinking water. The process involved crushing the seeds and then mixing them with water to remove impurities. Moringa trees also grew well in scanty regions and hence were used by inhabitants in various dry and humid regions of India. Modern Canadian scientist conducted a research, where they found that Moringa seeds effectively kill over 90% bacteria present in the water. Lily roots and Nirmali seeds were also used instead of Moringa. The seed purification method was extensively used in Southern India.

Use of Copper Vessels

The Vedic period was also known for its usage of the right of utensils when eating or drinking. The sages in those times were conscious enough to know the benefits of various kinds of metals and how it could directly contribute to our health. Since electricity was not invented during that time, there was no water filter which could be considered as one of the best electric water purifier. Purification was done by consumption of water in copper vessels or cups. Copper is a miracle ingredient in our body which is known to kill harmful bacteria like Salmonella and E Coli. It also helps in making red blood cells and collagen in our body. It therefore improves skin condition and overall blood circulation. Due to the production of collagen it is known to slow down aging by removing free radicals from our system. It is also beneficial in prevention of cardio vascular diseases and in arthritis or joint pains.

Use of Clay Utensils

In earlier time’s water bought from a spring or a pond were stored in huge clay pots. Clay pots kept the water cool in summer and also acted as a water purifier. Clay pots were essential in maintaining your health and fitness. A clay pot is devoid of any chemicals and therefore is proven to boot metabolism. It also increases the pH level of water, thus making it alkaline. Water became automatically cooler as breeze passed through the porous surfaces of the clay. This was a refrigeration concept in India and prevented sun strokes and all heat related ailments.

Use Filtration Method

Sushruta Samhita is an ancient text written by the most popular doctor and surgeon of ancient India, Sushruta. In it he mentioned that water must be passed through a layer of sand and gravel before consumption. It should then be boiled and cooled completely before drinking it. This process was largely practiced by Indians during that time. it was an effective remedy to clear out suspended materials from the water.


This type of method was used to remove air borne impurities that was present in the water like dry leaves and twigs, dust, coarse earth particles and others. The raw water was passed through a winnowing sieve. The impurities were collected on the sieve and later thrown away, giving you fresh clear water to drink.

Cloth Filtration

In this method a white cotton cloth was used to filter water. Dust, sand, small stones, leaves, dead insects and others were removed by passing the water through the cotton cloth. This method is similar to winnowing and was only used in filtration of large particles present in water. It was mostly used when water was collected from the well. Usually well water was extremely muddy and odorous. Hence Sal wood was burnt and the ash of it was mixed together with the water and passed through the cloth. The ash helped in removal of the odor.

Ceramic Filtration

After the introduction of ceramics, ceramic filters took the world by storm. They were made of clay mixed with combustible materials like saw dust, wheat husks or rice husks. They acted as filters and removed harmful bacteria like E Coli. It also acted as a method of storage. Water stored for 16 hours in these ceramic filters were considered ideal for consumption.

Chlorine Filtration

As days advanced the above techniques were replaced by chemicals. The most common ones used were chloride and alum. Chlorine released hydrochloric acid in the water, which killed several types of microorganisms. However, this technique lost its popularity in treatment of drinking water, as it could not kill the protozoa and was used only in swimming pools. It is in fact used still today in treating pool water and making it effective for swimming.

Modern Day Water Purification Method

Modern system of water purifiers hugely run on electricity. In fact, electric water purifiers are recommended for everyone who can afford one. It provides maximum sterilization and purification of water. There are many electric purifiers available in the market but the best electric water purifier is loaded with unique purification processes. You should familiarize yourself with all of them before purchasing an electric purifier. They can be listed as:

  • RO or Reverse Osmosis
  • Ultraviolet or UV
  • Ultrafiltration or UF
  • Activated Carbon
  • Sediment Filter


To conclude we can say that our forefathers had much better awareness and consciousness regarding a safer way of life. They knew the importance of pollution and contamination. Although you can use all the above mentioned ancient techniques to purify water, they best hassle way nowadays is to invest in a best electric water purifier. Not only does it save time, but the technology ensures an overall well being for everyone.

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