7 Surprising Indian Inventions



The English term shampoo is derived from the Hindustani word chāmpo (चाँपो), and it was first used in 1762. In India, a variety of plants and their extracts have been used as shampoos from ancient times; evidence of early herbal shampoo has been discovered at the Banawali site of the Indus Valley Civilization, which dates from 2750–2500 BCE. Sapindus was boiled with dried Indian gooseberry (amla) and a few other herbs and the filtered liquid was used to make a highly efficient early shampoo. Sapindus, also known as soapberries or soapnuts, is mentioned in ancient Indian literature as Ksuna (Sanskrit: क्षुण), and the fruit pulp contains saponins, a natural surfactant. Ksuna extract produces a lather known in Indian literature as phenaka (Sanskrit: फेनक), which makes hair soft, glossy, and manageable. Shikakai (Acacia concinna), Soapnuts (Sapindus), Hibiscus blossoms, ritha (Sapindus mukorossi), and Arappu were also used for hair cleaning (Albizzia amara). In the 16th century, Guru Nanak, the founding prophet and first Guru of Sikhism, made connections to the soapberry tree and soap. Early colonial traders in India indulged in hair washing and body massage (champu) as part of their daily strip wash. When they returned to Europe, they brought their new habits with them, including the hair treatment known as shampoo.


In the year 628, (Hindu astronomer and mathematician) Brahmagupta defined zero and its operation for the first time. The Babylonians employed a space, and subsequently a zero symbol, to represent the ‘absence’ in their written Sexagesimal system, the Olmecs used a positional zero glyph in their Vigesimal system, and the Greeks utilized a Sexagesimal system from Ptolemy’s Almagest. In the written version of their decimal Counting rods method, the Chinese utilized a blank. The Bakhshali text was the first to use a dot rather than a blank to represent zero in a decimal system. The first known use of the zero may be found in the Bakhshali text, which dates from the third to the fourth century.

Cataract Surgery

Sushruta, an Indian physician, was familiar with cataract surgery (6th century BCE). The Jabamukhi Salaka, a curved needle used to dislodge the lens and push the cataract out of the field of vision, was used in India to conduct cataract surgery. Later, the eye would be bathed in heated butter and bandaged. Despite the effectiveness of this approach, Susruta warns that cataract surgery should only be used when required. Greek philosophers and scientists came to India, where doctors conducted these operations. Surgery for cataract removal was also brought to China from India.

Zinc Mining & Medicinal Zinc

Zinc mining and medicinal zinc: In India, zinc ore was first smelted. During the early Christian era, the zinc mines of Zawar, near Udaipur, Rajasthan, were active. The Charaka Samhita has allusions to zinc’s therapeutic applications (300 BCE). The Rasaratna Samuccaya, which originates from the Tantric period (c. 5th – 13th century CE), states that there are two sorts of zinc ores, one of which is suitable for metal extraction and the other for medicinal use. India was to use the distillation method, a sophisticated technology, to melt the first zinc obtained from a lengthy experience of old alchemy. The ancient Persians attempted but failed, to reduce zinc oxide in an open fire. The first known ancient zinc smelting site in the world is Zawar in Rajasthan’s Tiri valley. The distillation process for producing zinc goes back to the 12th century CE and is a significant contribution to science by India.


During the Gupta period (c. 280–550 CE), the predecessor of chess was invented in India. The roots of the game of chess are attributed to the Indians by both Persians and Arabs. In Old Persian and Arabic, the terminology for “chess” is ‘Chatrang’ and ‘Shatranj,’ respectively, names derived from the Sanskrit term ‘Caturaṅga,’ which means “four divisions or corps.” Chess became popular throughout the world, and numerous variations of the game arose as a result. This game was brought to the Near East from India and formed a component of Persian nobility’s princely or courtly upbringing. It was taken to the Far East by Buddhist pilgrims, Silk Road traders, and others, where it was modified and absorbed into a game that was often played on the junction of the board’s lines rather than within the squares. Through Persia, the Byzantine empire, and the growing Arabian empire, Chaturanga made its way to Europe. By the 10th century, Muslims had brought Shatranj to North Africa, Sicily, and Spain, where it evolved into the current game of chess.


Ayurveda and Siddha are two ancient Indian medical systems that are still used today. The Hindu literature contains Ayurvedic concepts (mid-first millennium BCE). Ayurveda is a traditional Indian medicine that has evolved through thousands of years and is being used today. It may be regarded as complementary and alternative medicine in an internationalized form. It is just “medicine” in rural areas far from metropolitan centers. आयुर्वेदः (āyur-vedaḥ) is a Sanskrit term that meaning “knowledge (Veda) for longevity (yur).” Siddha medicine is mostly practiced in South India and is conveyed through Tamil scriptures rather than Sanskrit literature. The Siddha treatment system’s primary raw ingredients are herbs and minerals.

Diamond Mining

Diamonds were discovered and mined for the first time in central India, when large alluvial quantities of the stone were discovered along the rivers Penner, Krishna, and the Godavari. The exact date when diamonds were originally mined in India is unknown, although it is thought to be at least 5,000 years ago. Until the discovery of diamonds in Brazil in the 18th century, India was the world’s only supplier of diamonds. In central India, Golconda was a major diamond trading center. Diamonds were then shipped all over the world, even to Europe. Sanskrit scriptures are the first to mention diamonds in India. The Kautilya Arthashastra describes the diamond commerce in India. Diamonds are mentioned in Buddhist texts dating from the 4th century BCE as a well-known and valuable stone, but no specifics about diamond cutting are mentioned. Strength, regularity, brightness, ability to scratch metals, and high refractive characteristics are described as desirable attributes of a diamond in another early third-century Indian account. “Foreigners wear it [diamond] on the belief that it may fend off bad forces,” says a Chinese text from the 3rd century BCE. Because diamonds were not found in China, the Chinese utilized them as a “jade cutting knife” rather than a jewel at first.

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