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What is Basti in Panchakarma?

Updated: Mar 10

Basti karma or Vasti is a very unique and powerful therapy. This is one of the Panchakarmas where the medicines are administered into the body through the anus (sometimes through the urethra or the vagina also).

Except for the administration route, basti is very different from the enemas given with water/glycerine etc. Basti is a therapeutic enema which does much more than cleansing the bowels.

The preparation of the basti dravya/medicine is a scientific, methodical and elaborate process. It is a completely painless procedure.

The word Basti/Vasti means bladder. In the olden times, urinary bladders were used as enema bags to hold the medicines. Thus, the procedure came to be called Basti.

Basti is the treatment of choice in all Vatha diseases. It also reaches the main seat of Vatha dosha, which is the colon directly, without having to pass through the upper part of the digestive system.

Basti in Panchakarma | Shreshtha Ayurveda

Basti is hailed in the Ayurvedic classics as one of the most important among the other therapies. The Acharyas call it ‘Ardha Chikitsa’ -half of the all the total treatments and therapies mentioned. Here is some more information about this unique therapy called Basti.

  • Vatha dosha is the most important dosha of the Tridoshas and is the primary moving force of the body. Hence the balance of Vatha Dosha is imperative for health and harmony. Basti regulates Vatha dosha and therefore helps in the treatment of multiple diseases.

  • The Pakvashaya or the pelvic region is the main seat of the Vatha dosha. Since, Vasti is administered into the colon, it is acting directly in the seat of Vatha dosha, making it capable of controlling all the 5 kinds of Vayu (Prana, Uadana, Apana, Samana and Vyana). This makes Basti a very effective line of treatment for the treatment of many Vatha rogas.