A General Introduction to Pancakarma Treatment

 Counter treatment

According to the Scriptures, treatment should be given on the basis of the visible symptoms. If the effect of the procedure is low, then the therapy can be repeated, but if the effect is more, then cold or hot, restorative or fasting therapy can be provided accordingly.

2)   Virecana: Purgative therapy

Purgation is when medication is used to eliminate waste matter from the intestines through the anal passage. Virecana is the cleansing of Pitta and the purification of blood toxins. It is an important process of purification. It is normally given in the autumn, but if a disease is serious, then it can be administered in any season.

  •     Use

This therapy is normally used for the purification of the body. It also counters the effect of Pitta aggravation. Its parallel use also provides strength to the sensory and motor organs, refreshes the brain, increases the digestive fire, stabilizes the tissues and correspondingly increases body strength’10‘.

  •     Indications

Purgative therapy can be used for diseases due to ama (undigested or semi-digested food), hemorrhoids, worms, flatulence and several skin diseases like dermatitis.

  •     Centra-Indications

Purgation is contra-indicated in children, people of old-age, debility, emaciation, a soft-natured person, pregnancy, a stout person, intoxication, the first stage of fever, post-delivery, diarrhea, persons with low digestive fire, wounds caused by weapons, a dry body constitution, immediately after vamana, ulcerative colitis and prolapsed rectum.

  •     Nature of bowel movements

The nature of bowel movements varies from person to person. These bowel movements are considered to be of three types according to the nature of peristaltic movements:

  1. a)    Soft bowel movement: In some people, due to increased Pitta, purgation takes place

very soon. Such persons have a ‘soft bowel.’ For them, mild laxatives in low doses are

used for purgation. Mild medicines like milk, water, oil or grapes are beneficial for such


  1. b)    Moderate bowel movement: If the Kapha dosa is predominant in the bowel, then one may require medicines with moderate strength (neither very strong nor very mild). For such people, peristaltic movements are of moderate intensity. For them, the laxatives used are Indian jalap, gentian and pods of Indian laburnum.
  2. c)    Hard bowel movement: If Vata is prominent, then it results in hard stools. Purgation

is very difficult for such persons and they are considered to have hard peristaltic movements. Strong purgative medicines like latex of the common milk hedge and purging nut are used. Hence, before purgation therapy, the nature of bowel movements is an important factor to determine the type of medicine to be used.

3)   Nasya: Inhalation therapy or Errhine

Therapy involving nasal administration to heal disorders of the head, eyes, ears, nose and throat is ‘nasya’ or ‘sirovirecana.’ It is also known as ‘navana.’ It is of two types:

  1. I)     Recana or karsana nasya (purgative errhine)
  2. II)   Snehana or brmhana nasya (oleative or nutritive errthine)
  1. I)    Recana or karsana nasya (purgative errhine): This nasya therapy eliminates Kapha and other dosas from the head. It involves the use of pungent oils and oils processed with extracts or decoctions of pungent drugs. The extracts or powders of pungent drugs are also used. This treatment is used in Kapha aggravated diseases (nose, ear, throat or head disorders), headache, hoarseness, chronic rhinitis, cold, edema, anorexia, epilepsy and skin disorders such as dermatitis.
  2. II)   Snehana or brmhana nasya (oleative or nourishing errhine): This therapy brings smoothness to the upper parts of the body like the head, nose and so on. It involves the use of oil or ghee or oil processed with extracts, decoctions, pastes or powders of medicines that are sweet in taste. This therapy is used in disorders of the head, nose, eyes, trigeminal neuralgia, migraine, headache, dry sinuses, premature graying of hair and hair fall, tinnitus, disorders of teeth, dryness in the mouth; stiffness in the neck, shoulders and steno-mastoid region, cervical spondylosis; lack of strength, Vdta and genetic disorders.
  •     Contra-Indications

This therapy is not prescribed during pregnancy, menstruation, after sex, eating or drinking alcohol.

  •     Substances used in nasya

These include decoction, extract, paste or powder of sweet flag (calamus) root, onion, garlic, ginger and black pepper processed in ghee or oil.

4)   Anuvasana basti: A type of enema

Ayurvedic enema treatment involves elimination of waste and medications through the anal pathway. It includes introduction of medicines into the rectum in the form of oil or oily decoctions in a liquid form to eliminate Vata disorders.

It includes oleation enema using ghee, oil and other oily substances and also the intake of such substances. It is known as ‘anuvasana’ or ‘snehana basti’ (oleation enema). It is also known as ‘matra basti’ because this basti is given in a specific dose of 100 ml or 50 ml.

  •     Use

This enema detoxifies the abdomen and brings to it smoothness and tenderness. It increases the body mass and strength, improves health and longevity, and also enhances the complexion.

  •     Indications

Dryness in the body, acute digestive fire, chronic constipation and Vata disorders are treated with anuvdsana basti.

  •     Contra-Indications

It is contra-indicated for children below seven years of age, people of old age, in dermatitis, obesity, diabetes, abdominal diseases, indigestion, anorexia, severe anemia, bronchial asthma, cough, tuberculosis, urinary diseases, excessive thirst, insanity and grief.

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