Panchakarma(पंचकर्म): A process of bio- detoxification


Aww Indian panchakarma, a part of ayurveda which is the oldest practiced health care system in the world. Ayurvedic healing or panchakarma practices are not just at the physical level because we are not just the corporeal soma as we look like, we are more than that i.e it includes the the healing of body, mind and soul. But today there is a great myth that panchakarma is only related to the oileation or massaging therapies. But my dear oleation and massaging are just the purvakarma of panchakarma not real senses of panchakarma i.e vamana, virechana, nasya, niruha and anuvasana.

As ashtanga yoga has eight limbs similarly ayurveda also have eight organs namely -

Kayachikitsa (कायचिकित्सा), Bala chikitsa (बालचिकित्सा or कुमारभृत्य), Graha chikitsa (ग्रहचिकित्सा or भूतविद्या) , Urdhvang chikitsa (ऊर्ध्वांगचिकित्सा or शालाक्यतंत्र), Shalya tantra (शल्यचिकित्सा) , Danshtra (दंष्ट्राचिकित्सा or अगदतंत्र), Jara chikitsa (जराचिकित्सा or रसायनतंत्र), Vrishan (वृषानचिकित्सा or वाजीकरण चिकित्सा. Kaya chikitsa is placed on the top among the sequence and in kaya chikitsa for curable diseases panchakarma is the best treatable method.


Panchakarma (पञ्चकर्म) is composed to two words Pancha+karma.
Pancha (पञ्च) = five, karma (कर्म)= action, activity, work or कर्तु: ईप्सिततम the most desirable work of a doer.

वमनं रेचनं नस्यं निरुह च अनुवसनम् I
एतानि पंचकर्माणि कथितानी मुनिश्वरै: II श.उ.
  1. Vamana: Induced emesis or medical vomiting.
  2. Virechana: Induced or medical purgation.
  3. Nasya: Errhine therapy.
  4. Niruha: Oily enema therapy.
  5. Anuvasana: Decoction enema therapy.

Acharya sushruta merges both niruha and anuvasana as one so called as basti. Because of importance of blood from surgical point of view he included Raktamokshan or blood letting in panchakarma. So according to acharya sushruta the procedures are as follow:

  1. Vamana

    “दोष हरणम् उर्ध्व भागम् वमन संज्ञकम् II(च.क १-४)” Vamana means to exit doshas or impurities from upper tract of the body through its nearest avenue i.e mouth so called as the the process of vamana. “अपक्व पित्तश्लेष्माणं बलादूर्ध्व नयेत्तु यत् II (शा.प्र.ख १-८४)” It is used to remove immature pitta and kapha as a result the stomach part is cleaned and become free from impurities.

  2. Virechana

    “तत्र दोष हरणं अधोभागम् विरेचन संज्ञकम् II (च.क.१- ४)” The process of removing the impurities from the lower part of the body or small intestines is called as the virechana” विरेचनम् पित्त हराणाम् (श्रेष्ठं)II (च.सू २४-४० )” It removes the vitiated pitta out from the body when squeaky cleaning of small intestines is accomplished.

  3. Nasya

    “औषधम् औषध सिद्धं स्नेहो व नासिकाभ्यां दीयते इति नस्यम् II (सु .चि ४० - २१) “The act of inserting medicated oils or decoction through the nostrils or “नस्त: प्रच्छर्दनं” the refinement made through nose is called as nasya” उर्ध्व जत्रु विकारेषु विशेषन्नस्य मिष्यते I नासाहि शिरसो द्वारं तेन तद्व्याप्य हंति तात् II (अ.हृ.सू.२०-१)” Nasya is of great importance for the diseases related to head because nose is consider as the door of bonce. In this process the medicated oils through nostrils penetrates into the head region and extract out the impurities.

  4. Basti

    “बस्तिना दीयते इति बस्तिःII (अ. हृ.सू.१९)The process in which urinary bladder of animals are used to admit herbal medicines in patients body. “ बस्तिर्वातेच पित्तेच कफे रक्तेच शस्यते I संसर्गे सन्निपाते च बस्तिरेव हित: सदा II(सु .चि.३४)”Basti is the best treatment for vatta but it is also used for pitta, kapha, three of them collectively and rakta.The basti in which there is preponderance of decoction is called as the niruha basti or asthapana basti. The basti in which there is primacy or supremacy of oils is called as the anuvasana basti or sanehik basti.

  5. Raktamokshan

    Rakta mokshan simply means bloodletting or to remove the impure blood “ तद्विधशुद्धं ही रुधिरं बलवर्ण सुखायुषा I युनक्ति प्राणिनां प्राणः शोणित ह्यनुवर्तते I (च.सू. २४-४)”. Purified rakt helps to attain power, good complexion and a satisfied long life. In ayurveda it is also considered as the lifeline of humans/individuals. The detoxification of blood is done by different ways such as leech application etc.

Pre panchakarma procedures (पूर्वकर्म)

Ayurveda bestows pre panchakarma procedures and directed that before execution of cleansing therapy we should commence poorva karmas such as snehana (oleation) and swedana (induced sweating) to remove the amas or toxins out of the body. Shirohara which is very popular nowadays comes under poorva karmas.

  • Snehan

    The word sneha simply means oils and the procedure through which whole body oleation is done is called as the snehan. Further snehana is of two types internal and external snehana. In external oleation full body massage given by pouring lots of oil on your body while in internal oleation, oils are consumed which softens the toxin to eliminate them. Massaging of different parts of the body, shiro abhyanga, shiro basti, karana poorana, shirodhara they all comes under snehana.

  • Swedana

    Sweda means sweat and the procedure through which sweating is induced is called as the swedana. It is a very good treatment for vatta and kapha related disorders. In swedana we put you in the steam chambers to generate perspiration so that it dilates the body channels and allows the toxins egress.

Purpose of pancha karma (पंचकर्म का प्रयोजन)

Whenever we come under the claws of diseases, we find ourself helpless, powerless and defenceless as result we automatically switch on to the medicines or rush towards the medical practitioners. But we are unaware of the most important fact that medicines just treat the disease symptomatically i.e from its surface not from its roots. It means that after having medicines there are chances of recurrence of diseases. However panchakarma is the the technique that fully abolishes the impurities from our body and ends the chances of reoccurrence ever i.e make our body clean and clear.

  1. Panchakarma in healthy persons

    Panchakarma shows its positive effects on the body such as

    1. Increases the digestive fire
    2. Abolish diseases from their origin
    3. Helps to remain healthy
    4. Senses become delightfull
    5. Brain works with efficiency
    6. Glorifies complexion
    7. Increases your internal power
    8. Nourishes the body
    9. Helps to pullulate
    10. Increases the semen
    11. Process of aging is delayed
    12. The disease-free longevity is received
  2. Panchakarma enhance the properties of drugs

    Before you obtain any medicines it is recommended in ayurveda to firstly proceed through the panchakarma treatment because it cleans all the systems of body and prepare a ground for the action of the medicines.

  3. Panchakarma oust toxins by their nearest routes

    Pancha Karmas also called as panch shodhanas because they cleans and purifies the body to their full extent internally as well as externally and removes the impurities from their nearby and convenient course.

    1. Mouth - Vamna
    2. Nose - Nasya
    3. Anus - Virechana
    4. Ureteral orifices - Basti
  4. Panchakarma according to diseases

    They panchakarma procedures varies according to the diseases.

    1. Vamana: it is indicated in leprosy, diabetes, tuberculosis, irritable bowel syndrome, mania, epilepsy, anemia, nausea, vomiting, obesity, oedema, chronic coughing or in breath related problems etc.
    2. Virechana: Fever, haemorrhoids, fistula, ulcer, thyroids, intestinal worms, blemishes, jaundice, elephantiasis, constipation and anorexia etc.
    3. Nasya: Sinusitis, diseases of mouth, headache, pain in teeths, ears, eyes and nose, fumbling in voice, facial paralysis, teeth sensitivity, diseases related to neck region etc.
    4. Basti: Headache, backache, in lean and skinny person, pain related to thighs, joints, thorax, pelvis breast, facial paralysis, hemiplegia, paraplegia, oliguria etc
    5. Raktamokshan: Leprosy, septicemia, diseases related to liver, black moles, blemishes, freckles, body's foul smell, obesity, belching, alopecia areata etc.

It is just the glimpse of panchakarma procedure according to diseases but these procedures may vary according to the body type, living and working environment, temperament of an individual so one should consult the ayurvedacharya before going through these processes.

Panchakarma genealogy or panchakarma roots in various granths

  1. Rig Veda:
    अक्षिभ्याम् ते नासिकाभ्याम् कर्णाभ्याम् चुबुकादधि I
    यक्ष्मं शीर्षणय मस्तिष्का ज्जिह्लाया विवृहामि ते II ऋ. १० -१६

    Rig Veda states that it can separate sickness from the individual who suffers from the diseases of eyes, ears, chin, head and tongue however to remove these diseases (present above the clavicle) nasya karma is required hence we can easily say that the roots of panchakarma are also spread in the vedas. This particular mantra is also find its significance in atharvaveda.

    ग्रीवाभ्यस्त उष्णिहाभ्य: कीकसाभ्यो अनुक्यात
    यक्ष्म दोषांण्य मांसाभ्याम् बाहुभ्याम् विवृहामि ते ऋ. १० -१६

    Hey you!!! The person that deals with disorders related to neck, vessels, bones, limbs, shoulder region, i shall put them to an end. Here mentioning of removal of the diseases through vessels means raktamokshana is required.

  2. Atharvaveda

    In this granth certain pocus are introduced where vessels are worshipped to ceases the blood coming from them which interprets that this particular act is correlated with the raktamokshana

  3. In brahman granths

    In leprosy and head related diseases application of leech is indicated.

  4. In bodh granths

    आयुष्मान पिलिंगदवच्छ suffers from the disease related to vatta, then bhagawan buddha asks him to go for swedana chikitsa (treatment through sweating). In this particular granth 4 types of sveda are discussed namely:

    1. Sambhar sveda
    2. Maha sveda
    3. Udk sveda
    4. Bangodak sveda

    When पिलिंगदवच्छ suffers from the vatarakta (वातरक्त) or gout bhagwan buddha suggests him to go for blood letting. In bodh grantham's there are various stories related to vaidya named as “Jeevak” as for examples he gives clarified butter to the king of Ujjain Raja Prdhyot to induce emesis. There is one such incident of giving half emblica officinalis (औषध संस्कृत) to outset emeis of kakdas.

  5. Medicines in the golden age of greece

    The golden age of greek medicine hippocrates the father of medicine also includes the chapters related to the emesis and oil therapy. In this it is asserted that during six winter months a person should undergo with emeis because during this season/period catarrh is accumulated in the upper torso while in summer enema is suggested because of lumpish lumbar region and knees.

  6. Baburnama

    This book reveals the survival strategies of life (blood letting) in arab countries during wars when people suffers from the prickles pain and deadly diseases.

  7. 12th-18th century

    During this era antibiotics were not discovered so the main question is that how people get rid of from the diseases...? In the meanwhile people believe in the natural tactics and approaches for herbal medication and bio- detoxifications (pancha karmas).


Panchakarma as per ayurveda means purification of our systems through biological or natural means that rejuvenates the humans as a whole i.e clears the body and calms the mind along with spirit. It strengthens the immune system and remove vitiated doshas out from the body. Ayurveda’s (Nature’s veda) panchakarma (natural detoxification) reinstate the individuals by natural ways.

Natural or biological healing through natural or biological means is also appreciated by hippocrates:

Our food should be our medicine, our medicine should be our food. hippocrates

Leave a comment

All comments are moderated before being published

Team Vedicus

Community of Medical professionals and other experts, aimed at providing the best and authentic information for educating the public on health awareness.

Featured products

Arjun ChurnaArjun Churna
Sri Hans Arjun Churna
Sale priceFrom Rs. 58.00 Regular priceRs. 65.00
No reviews
Chiryata ChurnaChiryata Churna
Sri Hans Chiryata Churna
Sale priceRs. 90.00 Regular priceRs. 100.00
No reviews
Brahmi ChurnaBrahmi Churna
Sri Hans Brahmi Churna
Sale priceRs. 72.00 Regular priceRs. 80.00
No reviews
Save Rs. 10.00
Chiryata ChurnaChiryata Churna
Sri Hans Chiryata Churna
Sale priceRs. 90.00 Regular priceRs. 100.00
No reviews