Nasya is administering medicines through the nasal cavity. It is a preferred form of Panchakarma for the diseases above the shoulder. It can also be done as a preventive measure.
The nasal route of administration has been used for different therapeutic and prophylactic purposes for millennia. The drugs, which are administered through the nose, act Sthanika (locally) as well as Sarvadaihika (systemically). The dose of drugs required is very minimal. The metabolism of the drug is not required through the digestive passage and the action of the drug is faster and effective. Modern medical science too has started the administration of drugs through the nasal route by inhalation of vaporized, nebulized, powdered, or aerosolized drug, as well as by direct instillation.
What are the different types of Nasya?
Virechana Nasya– This is a cleansing nasya. It is used in all the diseases above the shoulder caused by Kapha imbalance. Like Sinusitis, Anosmia (lack/reduced sense of smell), Stiffness and pain in the neck, Epilepsy, Nasal block and hoarseness of voice. For virechana Nasya, oil processed with strong penetrating drugs, decoctions, powders, fresh juices are used. Eg. Apamarga taila
Brimhana Nasya– This is a strengthening nasya. It is mostly used in Vatha diseases like migraine headache, Tinnitus, deafness, aphasia, insomnia, Cervical spondylosis. The medicines used are nutritive in quality like Kshirabala tailam, Kalyanaka ghrita etc.
Shamana Nasya– This is a palliative nasya. This is mostly used in Pitta diseases like hairfalla/greying, skin pigmentation and Haemorrhagic diseases. The medicines like Anu tailam are used.
Just like the other Panchakarmas, nasya too has Purvakarma, Pradhana karma and Pashchat karma.
For Purvakarma (preparatory procedure), snehana and swedana need to be done.
Oil massage should be done on the face, head, neck, shoulders and thorax.
Steam needs to be taken to all these parts with the eyes closed.
The nasya medicine should be warmed slightly
Pradhana karma: The medicine is poured into each nostril in a single stream by closing the other nostril gently
Pashchat karma: The patient will feel the medicine in the throat. It must not be swallowed and should be spit out immediately.
The patient will rest for a few minutes and then gargle with hot water.
The steam inhalation or fomentation can be repeated.
What are the diseases treated using Nasya?
Nasya is extremely useful in all diseases above the neck.
Sinusitis, Allergic rhinitis, Cervical spondylosis, hair loss/greying of hair, Acne/pimples, Aphasia, Insomnia, Tinnitus, deafness, Anosmia, Epilepsy are some examples.
Unlike the other 4 Panchakarmas, Nasya is a procedure which can be done by the patient at home by themselves or with the help of an attendant.
But guidance and precaution by your Ayurvedic doctor is a must.
Ayurveda says ‘Nasa hi shiraso dwaram’.
Nose is the gateway to the head.
It is stated in Ayurvedic classics that, there is a very close relationship between the Nasa and Shiras (Brain). Even modern science accepts this concept because the nasal mucosa is the only location in the body that provides a direct connection between the Central nervous system (CNS) and the atmosphere.
Drugs administered to the nasal cavity rapidly traverse through the Cribriform plate into the CNS by 3 routes.
1) Directly by olfactory neurons
2) Through supporting cells and the surrounding capillary bed
3) Directly into the cerebrospinal fluid.
Thus, the relevance of Nasa hi Shiraso Dwaram can be proved thus (Nasal route is the direct entry to the CNS).
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