Updated: Mar 10
Glad to see the interest generated by the previous post which made an attempt to introduce the basics of Panchakarma. We received a fair number of questions and requests for more information.
Before moving to each of the 5 therapies, I would like to mention another classification of Panchakarma.
There are 2 main schools of Ayurveda- the physicians and the surgeons.
The surgeon school (headed by Acharya Sushrutha) combines Niruha Basti and Anuvasana Basti as one therapy and includes Raktamokshana as the 5th one. Raktamokshana is therapeutic blood letting.
Panchakarma is a vast science described in great detail in all the major texts of Ayurveda. With proper understanding and planning, the physician can achieve preventive, preservative, promotive, curative and rehabilitative benefits from the therapies.
It is prescribed in Rutucharya, to be used in healthy individuals also, as per the increase in the doshas due to change in seasons.
What is Vamana?
The word ‘Vamana’ means Emesis or vomiting. Vamana is induced therapeutic vomiting to evacuate the ‘bahudosha’ (When the doshas are in large quantities). This is a controlled procedure wherein medicines are used to induce the vomiting for a particular period of time and then stopped.
Vamana is mainly used in cases of increased kapha dosha. It is also used when the increased Kapha dosha is mixed with vitiated Pitta dosha. It is mainly used for the elimination of doshas lodged in the upper part of the body.
What is the procedure for Vamana?
The procedure is started by prescribing digestive and carminative medicines or herbs to increase the agnibala in the patient.
After 3 or more days of taking them, once the physician ascertains that the agni is good, medicated ghee/oil is prescribed to be taken for 3/5/7 days. The dosage and the specific ghee is selected according to the agni/shakti and the disease condition. The dosage is prescribed in increasing quantities day after day. This procedure is called Snehapana.
After Snehapana, the patient is given Snehana (Oleation) and Swedana (Sweating) therapies like Abhyanga and Steam bath.
On the previous night of the actual Pradhanakarma of Vamana, the patient is fed with food items like sweet curd, Urad dal, milk which increase the kapha in the body. This is done to facilitate the overflow of the Kapha on the next morning.
On the next morning, the patient is given the vomiting inducing medicine after a hot water bath. The medicines can be in the base of Madanaphala(Randia dumetorum) Kashaya into which other herbs are added according to the disease condition.
Once the vomiting bouts start, the physician will ascertain whether more medicines should be given or not. The bouts can be from 4-8 times.
Once the procedure is done, the patient is gently washed and rested.
Sometimes Vamana is done without any of the above mentioned Purvakarma. It is called Sadya Vamana. This may be during acute episodes of the disease or when the physician is sure that the Dosha is in such high quantity, that it is ready to overflow and come out immediately.
The paschat karma will be having light food for a few meals before getting back to his regular food habits. This is also called Samsarjana karma. Different types of Kanji (gruels) will be suggested by the physician. This is very important to get the full benefit of the Vamana as the agnibala of the patient who undergoes the procedure will be very low.
What diseases can be treated using Vamana?
Vamana is extremely useful in Asthma, Chronic respiratory diseases, severe Cough and cold, Thyroid diseases, Diabetes, Skin diseases, Kapha disorders affecting the ear, nose, throat and the neck, acne and pimples, Obesity, Fatigue and heaviness, weakness in the sense organs, impotency, fibroids and any other condition where the physician sees a necessity of eliminating the Kapha dosha.
This is a brief note on Vamana, one of the Panchakarmas.
As you can see, this is a therapeutic procedure which needs the supervision of your physician at every step. Meanwhile, if you have any questions, you can email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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