Last Updated on Feb 15, 2013

Process of Panchakarma

There are five types of procedures in the panchkarma therapy. These include:

Vaman (forced vomiting), Virechan (forced diarrhea), Basti (medicated enema), Nasya (nasal administration of substances) and Raktamokshana (blood letting)

Vaman employs administration of certain emetic drugs that induce a severe spell of vomiting to clean the upper gut. One has to constantly supply fluids as else there could be dehydration. The procedure is best suited for diseases related to kapha dosha. E.g Bronchial asthma

Virechan concentrates on the lower part of the gut and uses purgatives to clean the bowel. When excess pitta (acid) is secreted and accumulated in the gall bladder, liver, small intestine. It helps root out fever, diabetes, asthma, skin disorders, joint disorders, digestive disorders, constipation, hyperacidity, vitiligo, psoriasis, and headaches.

Basti (Enema)

Basti is considered as the mother of all Panchakarma treatments as it cleanses the accumulated toxins from all the 3 doshas, Vata, Pitta and Kapha, through the colon. Medicated oil or ghee and an herbal decoction are given as enema to clean the colon and improve peristalsis. This procedure is usually applied for 8 to 30 days, based on the medical aspects. It is beneficial in conditions like colitis, convalescence, cervical spondylosis, irritable bowel syndrome constipation, digestive disorders, backache & sciatica, obesity, piles, and infertility.

Nasya (Nose Cleaning)

Nasya involves administration of medicated oil through the nose to cleanse the accumulated kapha toxins from the head and neck region. It benefits in diseases above the collarbone.


Raktamokshana is procedure of blood cleansing and is advised in very rare conditions. It is not a part of the general Panchakarma. It is a therapy advocated by Ayurveda for curing conditions like heart failure and varicose veins.

Diet is increased gradually in the first seven days after panchkarma therapy. The diet first is liquid, followed by semi solid and then solid. The last of the post procedure therapies is the rasayana and shamana therapy which consists of giving drugs to cure the disease and obtain relief from symptoms of disease.

Eating the Ayurvedic way also forms part of the Ayurvedic treatment method. Ayurveda emphasizes the consumption of a satvik diet and discourages wrong food combinations which must be adhered to for a healthy long life. It believes in consuming light food in a peaceful relaxed environment with good thoughts.


  1. John Vorstermans. “Panchakarma – a conceptual analysis” 2006, Pg 1 to 12
  2. Sharadini Dahanukar & Urmila Thatte – “Ayurveda Unravelled”2005, Pg 127 to 129

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