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Panchakarma

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Panchakarma is a Sanskrit word that means “Five actions” or “Five treatments”. This is a process used to clean the body of toxic materials left by disease and poor nutrition. Ayurveda says that imbalanced doshas create waste matter. This waste matter is called Ama in Ayurveda. Ama is a foul smelling, sticky, noxious, substance that needs to be evacuated from the body as thoroughly as possible. Panchakarma permanently eliminates these toxins from the body, allowing healing and restoration of the tissues, channels, digestion and mental functions. It involves daily massages and oil baths and is extremely pleasant experience. Ayurveda recommends Panchakarma as a seasonal treatment for toning mind and body system.

Prior to starting Panchakarma, oiling and heating of the patient is done to bring the excess doshas from the limbs to their proper reservoirs in the digestive tract, from which they can be expelled. The doshas are then excited by a procedure called utkleshana, a therapy that makes the excess dosha anxious to leave the body. One to three nights prior to the start of Vamana, the patient is asked to drink one cup of oil two to three times a day until the stool becomes oily, or he feels nauseated (This treatment is called oleation or sneehana). Kaphagenic diet is given to aggravate kapha. On the morning of the Panchakarma, Kapha aggravating foods such as basmati rice and yogurt with salt is given to further aggravate the kapha. Oil massage and fomentation are administered on the night before the day Vamana. The application of the heat to the chest and back will liquefy kapha.


 

Vamana (emesis):
This is the induction of emesis with the help of a certain combination of herbs. It is beneficial for disorders of the Kapha, like cough, asthma, chronic rhinitis, coryza, skin disorders, dyspepsia, anorexia, excessive salvation, epilepsy. Mental disorders, allergy etc. It is useful for reducing fat in the body.
There are many combination which are used for this purpose but usually a powder mixture of Madanphala (Randio spinosa), long piper, Vacha or sweat flag ( Acorus calamus) and Sidhe Noona ( a kind of salt) is effective to produce five to ten bouts of vomiting if used properly with Vamanaopaga ( Emesis inducing) medicines like Liquorices (Jesthimadhu-Flycerrhizza glabra).

Virechana:
This term is used for purgation induced with the help of certain medicines. It is beneficial in chronic fever, skin diseases, piles, diseases of the spleen, tumor, anuria, worms, headache, heart diseases, asthma, cough, epilepsy, jaundice, mental diseases, gout, edema, tympanitis, abscess, etc. It is the best treatment for Pitta diseases.
According to Acharya Bagbhata, the Virechana (purgation) therapy should not be adopted without administration of oleation and sudation therapy. If adopted it will produce undesired effects on the body just like a cane, when nor oleated and sedated properly, will not bend as desired but instead it breaks.
A numbers of herbs are used as a laxative. These include senna, prune, bran, flaxseed, husk, dandelion root, psyllium seed, cow’s milk, salt, castor oil etc.
Vamana is always given after a light liquid meal and Virechana is always given in an empty stomach.

Vasti (Enema):
Medicated enemas are used for various specific reasons. In general this treatment is used to flush the loosened Doshas out through the intestinal tract. There are over 100 specific enemas listed in Ayurveda.
Basti involves introducing medicinal substances such as sesame oil, calamus oil, and other herbal decoctions in liquid medium into the rectum. Basti is especially good for Vata disorders. It alleviates constipation, distention, chronic fever, common cold, sexual disorders, kidney stones, heart pain, vomiting, backache, neck pain and hyperacidity. Such Vata disorders as sciatica, arthritis, rheumatism and gout can also be treated by Basti. There are 80 Vata related disorders in Ayurveda. About 80 percent of them can be treated with medicated enemas. Since Vata is mainly located in the colon and bones, the medication is administered rectally.Vesti can be given through three routes:Ano-rectal route(Guda marga), Urethral route(Mutra marga) & Vaginal route(Yoni marge).
There are two types of Basti:
a) Asthapana/Niruha Basti or decoction Enema- It is given with large quantity about one liter of decoctions.
b) Anuvasana Basti or Oil Enema: It is mainly given with oils, Ghee etc.
The enema should not be given to persons suffering from chronic indigestion, bleeding form rectum, cough, breathlessness, diarrhea, diabetes etc.

Nasya: (Herbal Inhalation Therapy):
This treatment involves inhaling vapor from medicinal herbs that have been infused in boiling water. It is mostly used to eliminate Kapha-oriented problems of ears, eyes, nose and throat such as migraine, sinusitis, catarrh and bronchitis.
The nose is the gateway to the brain and to consciousness. Prana or life energy enters the body through breath taken in through the nose. Nasal administration of medication helps to correct the disorders of Prana affecting the higher cerebral, sensory and motor functions. Nasya is indicated for dryness of the nose, sinus congestion, hoarseness, migraine headache, convulsions and certain eye and ear problems.
Some of the medicines containing lipid soluble materials administered through the nostrils get absorbed into blood through vessels, crossing the blood brain barrier reaching the brain and thus producing the desired effect.
Types of Nasya:
a) Virechana (cleansing with use of powders or herbs).
b) Nutritional Nasya (for Vata)
c) Sedative Nasya
d) Nasya decoction
e) Oil Nasya
f) Nasal Massage.

Rakta Mokshan (Blood Letting):
Blood letting is used to eliminate toxin that are absorbed into the bloodstream through the gastrointestinal tract. Thos process purifies the blood. It is used for disorders such as repeated attacks of skin disorders like urticaria, rash, eczema, acne, scabies, leucoderma, chronic itching and hives. It is also effective for enlarged liver and spleen and for the treatment of gout.
Blood letting which should only be administered by a qualified physician, is useful to relieve several Pitta disorders such as acne and rash. If administered properly, it stimulates antitoxic substances in the blood stream, thus developing immune mechanism in the blood system. Blood letting should not be administered in cases in the blood system. Blood letting should not be administered in cases of anemia, edema etc.

 

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