Panchkarma

The basic Ayurvedic principle behind Panchakarma:

According to Ayurveda, due to the effect of atmosphere, weather, improper diet and lifestyle habits etc, the toxins in the body accumulate. These toxins, in Ayurvedic term is called as ‘Ama’. Toxins can be of two types –


The toxins that enter into the body due to improper food / lifestyle – such as exposure to micro organisms through food, air etc.
The toxins that our body generates due to seasonal variations, improper diet etc – such as high fat consumption leading to excessive cholesterol, old age causing wear and tear in joints causing arthritis etc.

Any disease manifestation can be explained in terms of toxins and the related effect that it exhibits on Doshas, and on body (and mind) and its function.


1. Vamana – Emesis treatment – This refers to removing the toxins by means of vomiting. The person is made to vomit by giving many medicines. The vomiting continues for a short while. Vamana treatment is given after preparation procedures called Purvakarma. After the end of the procedure, a diet plan is advised to follow for 1 – 7 days time. Vamana treatment is usually given Kapha imbalance diseases. Vamana treatment may take from 3 – 7 days.
2. Virechana – Purgative Treatment – This refers to removing the toxins by means of purgation. The person is made to have loose motions for a short while, by administering medicines. Virechana treatment is given after preparation procedure called Poorva Karma. After the end of the procedure, a diet plan is advised to follow for 1 – 7 days time. and post virechana procedures. Virechana treatment is usually given Pitta imbalance diseases. Virechana treatment may take from 3 – 7 days.
3 & 4 – 2 types of Basti – Rectal Enema – The Ayurvedic enema is quite different from the regular enema given to relieve constipation. Basti treatment is adopted in wide range of diseases, predominantly of Vata imbalance. There are two types of Basti – Basti with oil and Basti with a mixture of herbal decoction, honey, salt etc.
Principle behind Basti Treatment – There are a few set of herbal active principles that do not undergo digestion, when given through oral route, either these herbal active components are destroyed due to acid in the stomach or due to metabolism of these components by liver (hepatic first pass effect). Thus, the Ayurvedic experts of ester-centuries found out the rectal route to administer the herbs, by which the herbal active components are directly made available for absorption at the level of intestines.
5. Nasya Treatment – Instillation of powders or Ayurvedic liquids through nose is called Nasya treatment. It is usually prescribed for diseases of ear, nose, throat, headache etc

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