5) Niruha basti: Another type of enema
The enema that includes herbal decoctions and milk for the purification of the bowels is ‘niruha basti.’ Since this basti supports Vata and other dosas and dhatus in the body, it is also known as ‘asthdpana basti.’ On the basis of its properties it is of many types like dipana basti, lekhana basti, brmhana basti, piccha basti, siddha basti, yuktarasa basti and so on. All of these are used according to the disease and its nature. A general introduction of niruha basti is given here.
Niruha basti is advisable in Vata diseases, upward movement of Vata, gout, malaria, abdominal disorders, flatulence, hyperacidity, low digestive fire, constipation, heart disease, calculi in the urinary bladder, pain, obstruction of urine, prameha (urinary abnormality) and metrorrhagia.
It should not be administered if the dosas are provoked, in debility, in pregnancy, vomiting, hiccoughs, cough, bronchial asthma, swelling of the rectum, hemorrhoids, diarrhea, dysentery, diabetes and skin diseases such as dermatitis.
‘Rakta’ means blood and ‘moksana’ is derived from ‘moksa,’ which means to ‘relieve’ or ‘let out.’ Hence, letting out blood is known as ‘rakta moksana.’ Therapeutic blood cleansing is a localized action. The main focus of pancakarma therapies like emesis and purgation is the purification of the vitiated dosa, but the main aim of blood-letting procedures is extraction of blood. Blood is a very important tissue. On being vitiated, it leads to many diseases. A vast number of diseases originate due to vitiation of blood. Hence for the protection of health and prevention of disease, vitiated blood withdrawal is important. Pitta and blood are closely related. An increase in Pitta is manifested in the waste products of blood. Hence in many Pitta disorders, toxins circulate in the bloodstream. Therefore, withdrawal of vitiated blood also helps in the elimination of Pitta from the blood – the manifested site of Pitta. Hence for Pitta disorders blood-letting is formulated with precedence. Blood-letting gives an immediate result but its improper application leads to many diseases. Blood-letting is of two types:
(a) Pracchana (Invasive procedure): To drain the accumulated blood from a particular point through incision.
(b) Sira vedhana (Vene-section): Vene-puncture is devised whenever vitiated blood circulates in the body.
(a) Jalauka (leech application): Deep-seated blood can be extracted by this method. It is advisable to extract blood vitiated by Pitta by the application of leech.
(b) Ghafi yantra (pot-cupping): This is used to drain vitiated blood which has settled in different layers of the skin.
(c) Alabu (vacuum extraction using bottle gourd): Blood vitiated by Kapha can be extracted by aldbu as it contains penetrating and hot properties.
(d) Srhga (cow’s horn application): This is used to extract blood vitiated by Vata, Different procedures are used according to the condition of dosa at the time of bloodletting, the condition of vitiated blood and based on suffering.
Just as the body and other substances have a combination of five elements, so does the blood. Blood is obviously very important. It is the blood which builds the body of a conscious person and also helps to sustain life. Hence it is important to save the blood in the body and prevent its excessive discharge.
In spite of being important, in certain circumstances blood has to be eliminated from the body. In skin diseases and carbuncles, blood-letting is an important procedure used for the treatment. Since such conditions develop due to increased toxins in the blood or due to an increase in the quantity of blood, blood-letting is vital to suck polluted blood from the body by means of leech therapy and through vene-section or vein puncturing.
Blood-letting is indicated for tumors and glandular enlargement; burning; intrinsic hemorrhages; elephantiasis; alcoholism; drug addiction; toxicity of the blood; varicose veins; abscesses; breast diseases; heaviness or laxity in the body; drowsiness; hepato-splenic disorders; skin diseases such as erysipelas, eczema, herpes, acne, leucoderma, urticaria, scabies, ringworm, itching, redness of the skin, allergies, carbuncles, ulcers and so on; headache; gonorrhoea, suppuration in the eyes, ears, lips, nose and mouth; lymphadenitis, axillary and inguinal lymphadenitis; jaundice; gout and piles.
Blood-letting is contra-indicated in anemia, debility, in babies and young children, people
of old age, pregnancy, menstruation, leukemia, edema and cirrhosis.
If blood-letting is followed by relief, reduced intensity of pain and the disease, feeling of lightness in the body and decreased inflammation, then it is an indication that the therapy has been administered properly.
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