What is Panchakarma

Panchakarma is a Sanskrit word which means Five Procedures of Purification or Detoxification. These procedures are- Vamana, Virechana, Vasti (Anuvasana and Nirooha), Nasya and Raktamokshana. Now I am going to introduce these procedures one by one.


Vamana1This is one of the Panchakarma therapy indicated for Kapha disorders. It is done by oral administration of powders or decoction of emetic drugs along with large quantity of specific liquid, by which the impurities and toxins are expelled through mouth. This is a procedure that needs utmost care and should be under strict medical supervision.

Indications of Vamana are Asthma, Cough, Psoriasis, Diabetes etc. You may also read article Virechana Karma- Purgation Therapy for more details.


virechana2 virechana1In Virechana, purgation done by oral administration of specific purgative drugs. Before Vamana and Virechana, sneha pana is done as a preoperative procedure (Purvakarma) followed by Abhyangam and Swedanam.

Indications of Virechana are Pitta and Vata predominant diseases, skin diseases, urinary disorders, diabetes, fissure in ano, hemorrhoids, flatulence, arthritis, hemiplegia etc. You may also read article Virechana Karma- Purgation Therapy for more details.


vasti1Vasti is a therapy undertaken by the administration of medicaments duly in the form of liquids through rectum (usually) or vagina or urethra (disease specific). It is the most important therapy of Vata disorders. There are many varieties of Vasti. Principally Vasti is of two kinds viz- Anuvasana (Oil enema) and Nirooha (Decoction enema), also spelled as Niruha vasti.

Anuvasana Vasti

Anuvasa Vasti is named such because it is administered just after intake of food. It is usually given with medicated oils or medicated ghee using specially designed equipment called Vasti Yantra. Due use of oil or ghee, Anuvasana Vasti is also known as Sneha Vasti. Anuvasana Vasti, Matra Vasti and Sneha Vasti are usually distinguished on the basis of quantity of oil or ghee. In Sneha, its quantity is 240 ml, in Anuvasana it is 120 and in Matra Vasti quantity of oil or ghee is 60 ml.

Indications of Anuvasana Vasti are Vata predominant diseases, flatulence, arthritis, constipation, urinary stone, lower back pain, sciatica, fistula in ano, amenorrhea, hemiplegia, some skin disorder, infertility, PCOD etc.

Niruha Vasti

Niruha Vasti is always given only after anuvasana vasti, means in between two anuvasana vastis. Niruha Vasti is also known as Asthapana Vasti and Kashaya Vasti. Decoction of herbs is the major proportion in the mixture (Vasti dravya- medicine which is going to be administered by Vasti) hence it is named as Kashaya Vasti. This Vasti is superior as compared to Anuvasana Vasti in respect of quantity, efficacy and absorption. The mode of application and indications are same as Anuvasana Vasti. Usually Niruha Vasti is given empty stomach or after very light meal/ breakfast. You may also read article Vasti Karma- Therapeutic Enema for details.


nasya1Nasya is also spelled as Nasyam. It is one of the Panchakarma specially employed to remove the doshas from the region above the clavicle (urdhva jatru gat), by means of instilling medicaments in the form of oil, juices, powder in to the nostrils. Medicated oils are widely used than others.

Indications of Nasyam are headache, brachial neuralgia, earache, chronic sinusitis, facial palsy, hemiplegia etc. You may also read article Nasya Karma  for details.



raktamokshanaRaktamokshana is a para-surgical procedure of Ayurveda system where Jalouka (leeches) or needle or scalpel/ blade is used for venupuncture for removal of impure blood.

Indications of Raktamokshana are vericose veins, filariasis, eczema, non healing wounds etc. Please read article Raktamokshana- Therapeutic Bloodletting for more details.

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