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A Short Introduction To Panchakarma.


Panchakarma literally means five methods of body purification. These methods are employed in the healthy to prevent diseases and to improve the immunity as also in the sick to treat a number of diseases. These methods are also employed as a part of the Rasayana therapy (Rejuvenation) that has gained tremendous relevance over the years. There are certain preparatory methods to be done before the actual Panchakarmas are performed. They are called as Purvakarma in Ayurveda and involve internal administration of medicated oils/Ghee (Snehan), external application of oils and fomentation (Swedan).

These panchakarmas are

1) Vaman
2) Virechan
3) Nasya
4) Basti And
5) Raktamokshan.


These procedures are briefly discussed over here.

1) Vaman:

This can be termed as medically induced emesis. After proper external and internal oleation of the body and fomentation specially prepared decoction are given to the patient to drink and emesis is induced. The procedure is to be done with utmost care and only under medical supervision. This procedure is indicated in the healthy in the Vasant ritu (spring season) to prevent diseases due to Kapha dosha. Vaman is highly beneficial to treat diseases of the Respiratory system like Asthma, Bronchitis, sinusitis, Allergic rhinitis and other diseases like Hyperacidity and various skin diseases like Psoriasis, Eczemas and Pemphigus.

2) Virechan

This involves purgation by Ayurvedic method. The preparatory procedures are same as Vaman. In healthy individuals the procedure is done in Sharad ritu (autumn season) to prevent the diseases arising due to Pitta dosha. Virechan is indicated in various diseases of the abdomen and a number of skin diseases.

3) Nasya

This means instillation of medicines through the nasal route. The medicines may be in the form of powders or medicated oils/Ghee. There are various types of Nasya and they are to be performed according to the need of the patient. Nasya therapy is primarily used in treating diseases like sinusitis, rhinitis, hair fall, Epilepsy, facial paralysis and paralysis and various other psychological and neurological disorders. Nasya is also known for improving the intellect of an individual.

4) Basti

Here medicines in the form of decoction (Niruha Basti) or oils/ghee (Anuvasan) are administered through the anal route. These are called as medicated enemas. These enemas have a high medicinal value and are used primarily in treating diseases due to Vata Dosha. Basti is helpful in treating diseases like Arthritis, Backache, Sciatica, osteoporosis and diseases of bowels like Irritable bowel syndrome, ulcerative colitis and a number of other diseases. The type of Basti and the duration of treatment are to be decided according to the need of the patient. Basti has got a prime place in the Ayurvedic method of treatment and is referred as the half medicine in Ayurveda.

5) Raktamokshan

These refers to Blood letting by various methods like shira veda, Jaloka- avacharan (Leech application) etc. The process is basically meant for purification of the blood and to treat blood related disorders, skin diseases, High blood pressure and other diseases.
The use of leech in the treatment of many skin diseases is now well known and accepted all over the world. Leech therapy is used in treating diseases like Eczema, Vitiligo, non-healing ulcers, varicose veins, pigment disorders, haematomas etc. Various scientific studies have established the efficacy of this leech therapy.

Massage and Fomentation Therapies