Panchkarma -Penta bio purificatory measures

There are two main aims of Ayurveda

  1. Prevention of disease
  2. Cure of the disease

So, there are two kinds of treatments

  1. Palliative (Shamana)
  2. Eradicative (Shodhana)

Panchkarma is basically a shodhana (cleansing) But it is also a rejuvenation therapy.

Purification + Rejuvenation are two mainstays for Health.

Human Body is composed of innumerable transport channels (strotas). They are the transport system.
Healthy and Pure channels are able to transport healthy nutrition to tissues and stagnation of unhealthy products of metabolism cause disease.

According to Ayurveda:
Health is a state when
Agni is- balanced
Vata, Pitta and Kapha doshas are – equilibrium
Mala (wastes) -properly eliminated
Dhatus are -functioning normally
Mind senses and consciousness are -harmonized.

3 main Karma

  1. Poorva karma (Pre –Purificatory Measures)
  2. Pradhan karma (Main Purificatory Measures)
  3. Paschat karma (Post Purificatory Measures)

Poorva karmas :

  1. Snehana (Oleation)
  2. Swedana (Sudation)


  • Prepare body for cleaning
  • Liquefy toxins and bring to abdomen
  • Ripen the doshas

Snehana (Oleation)
Done with oil/ ghee
Beneficial in pacifying Vata, reduces dryness, fatigue, pain.


Swedana (sudation)

  • Done after snehana
  • Decoctions are used for fomentation.
  • Relieves stiffness, heaviness and cold
  • Pacify vata and kapha

Sagni (with heat contact)
Niragni (without heat contact)

Prepurificatory measures are also a treatment modality as whole

Pradhana Karma (The main/principal procedure)

Vamana:Induced emesis/vomitting
Virechana:Induced purgation
Nasya:Nasal administration
Raktmokshana:Blood Letting

1. Vamana

Expulsion of toxins through mouth
Indications: Eradicates Kapha dosha, indicated for Kapha disorders Chest congestion, bronchitis, asthma, recurrent cough and cold, psoriasis, hyperacidity, sinusitis.
Method: Snehana (Internal oleation) with indicated ghee for 1-7 days Check for signs of proper oleation like passage of ghee in stool, and oily skin etc.
Full body steam bath with external oleation for 2 days
Special diet to stimulate and liquefy kapha – black grams, sweet fruit, milk, sugarcane etc is given a day before vamana.
In morning 7-9 a.m. mixture of milk and decoctions is given empty stomach. Vacha powder and madanphal powder are given with honey. Vomiting starts.
Special diet and conducts are followed.

Vaman is not done in – peptic ulcer, children, elderly, pregnancy, cardiac problems and when hungry.

2. Virechana

Expulsion of doshas from anus
Eradicates pitta dosha.
Liver and gall bladder disease, paralysis, acidity, constipation, skin disorder,
chronic fever.

Snehana for 1-7 days and then massage and sudation for 3 days.
Medicine is given, generally in afternoon time.
10-20-30 purgation may occur.
Hot water is sipped, feet are massaged.
Rest and warm light diet is followed.
Not indicated in: acute fevers, tuberculosis, cardiac problems, pregnancy.

3. Vasti/Basti:

Basti yantra : an apparatus : the shape of a bladder
Eradicates Vata
Two types:
Anuvasan: oil enema – given after meals
Asthapan: decoction enema – given before meals


Karma3018 anuvasan + 12 asthapan
Kala:1610 anuvasan+ 6 asthapan
Yoga85 anuvasan+ 3 asthapan

Indicated for:
Paralysis, sciatica, rheumatoid arthritis, Parkinson’s, Muscle pain, Chronic fever, Female disorders.

Not done in
Chest injury, Diarrhea, Vomiting, Cough, asthma, Piles and Pregnancy.

Matra vasti
Oil is administered in small dose.
Can be given daily
Good for fatigue.

4. Nasya
Nose :

Door to Head
Doorway to brain/consciousness
Route of Prana Circulation.

For headache, migraine, sinusitis, Eyes, Ear diseases, Disease of Above shoulder region.

Snehana and svedana is done locally
Patient lies down with head tilting down
Medicines put in nose
Gargle and dhoompana is given.

5. Rakta Mokshana : Blood letting

For vitiation of Rakta disorder
Also for Pitta diseases
Shringa: Horn
Siravedha: Puncture
Jaloka: Leech
Indicated For: Repeated infections, high blood pressure, skin diseases, eczema, acne, lukoderma, enlarged liver and spleen.

Keraliya Panchakrma:
Practised in Kerala and southern part of India. Now a day done everywhere in India and worldwide.

Pinda sveda
Kaya seka
Anna lepa
Kati basti
Janu basti
Greeva basti

Pashtat karma (Post purificatory Measures):

  1. Sansarjan Krama (Light – normal diet)
  2. Rasayana therapy (Rejuvenation)

General Guidelines for Panchakarma therapies:
Precautions after Panchkarma:

  • Use lukewarm water for drinking, bathe etc.
  • Use light diet, sattvik food, green gram, bran, milk, Green vegetables
  • No tea/coffee
  • Stay calm.Take rest.
  • No prolong standing/ walking/Strenuous exercise.
  • No day time sleep.
  • No loud speaking.
  • No suppression of urges.
  • No direct sun, breeze, Smoke, dust etc.
  • No cold food.
  • No incompatible food.

Some Diseases and their Management through Panchkarma

Abhyanga: Mahanarayan tail, bala tail, maha vish garbh tail.
Internal oleation: Ashwagandha ghrita
Vasti: bala taila, ksheerbala taila
Janu vasti; sahacharadi taila, narayana taila

Abhyanga: ashwagandha tailam, dhanwantar tailam
Nasya: Ksheeer bala taila, shadbindu taila
Vasti: ashwagandha ghritam, dashmool siddha taila
Shirodhara: Ksheer bala taila, Brahmi taila.

Abhyanga: bala taila, dashmoola taila
Svedana: Nirgundi, dashmool decoction
Kati vasti: Sahacharadi taila

Skin Diseases:
Virechana: Tikta ghrita, Triphala ghrita
Raktamokshna: Blood letting

Nasya : Anu taila
Shirodhara: Bala taila, Brahmi taila, Ksheer bala taila

Nasya : Shadbindu taila.

Shiroabyanga: Almond oil, Brahmi taila
Shirodhara: ksheerbala taila, brahmi taila