What is Panchkarma?

PanchkarmaAyurveda defines Panchkarma as cleansing of the body. On breaking the word 'Panchkarma', one can understand that it literally means five actions or five procedures. The combination of these five are used to cleanse and harmonically restore balance between the human mind, body and emotions.

Panchkarma is known to be invented some 5000 years ago on the lands of ancient India. Based on the concepts of Ayurveda, Panchkarma states that the root cause of a disease is only the imbalance that has been created in the body due to the entry of certain toxins. Thus, it works on the principle of detoxification by using herbal means.

The five cleansing procedures of Panchkarma are as follows:

These methods are known to cure various physical ailments and provide rejuvenating effects to the mind and body. The selection of these cleansing procedures are strictly done as per the condition of the patient.


Panchkarma Vasti is one of the most important treatments in Panchkarma. In this, medicated oil or liquid (Enema) is introduced in the body of the patient through anus or vaginal canal. The enema, which usually is calamus oil or sesame oil, helps the body in getting rid of toxins via the intestinal tract. There are a total of around 100 enemas listed in the books of Ayurveda.

Vasti is known to cure physical ailments and ill conditions like constipation, chronic fever, kidney stones, common cold, heart pain, backache and hyper acidity. If done properly, the cleansing procedure also has the ability to cure arthritis, rheumatism and gout.


The medicated purification therapy known to cleanse the body of toxins accumulated in the gastro-intestinal tract of the human body, is known as Virechanam. In this bowel purgation procedure, a laxative mixed with milk or warm water is given to the patient. The solution when ingested, starts working against the toxins, stored in the liver and gall bladder.

Besides these two, other organs of the body like the small intestine, kidneys, stomach, spleen and colon also get benefitted by the process. Virechanam is recommended to people known to be suffering from tumors of the abdomen, anemia, jaundice, constipation, abscess, chronic poisoning and skin diseases.


Vamanam is a procedure that works in cleansing the body by inducing vomiting. In order to do that, the patient is made to consume certain remedies at different courses of the day. In the morning, diet of basmati rice or yogurt with salt is given to the patient. This gets followed by applying heat to the chest and back area.

After some time, the patient is offered a drink of licorice, honey and calamus root tea. If required, salt and cardamom can also be added to the herbal drink. This leads to vomiting (4-8 times) in no time. Post that, the patient feels relaxed and breathe easily. Vamanan is known to cure health conditions like chronic indigestion, sinus problems, cough, cold, anemia, loss of appetite, nausea, food poisoning, epilepsy and skin diseases.


Quite obvious from its name, Nasyam (Nose) is a Panchkarma therapy that uses herbal oils through the nostrils for cleansing. As nose is the gateway to head, herbal or medicated oil is manually poured in the nostrils. This helps in keeping the nose, eyes and ears of the patients healthy, if it is done on a regular basis.

Nasyam is also known to remove the signs of ageing like graying up of hairs on the scalp and beard. This cleansing procedure of Panchkarma is highly recommended for people suffering from bronchitis, cataract, dryness of the nose, facial paralysis, coryza, hysteria, hoarseness of the voice, migraine, shoulder pain, sinusitis and tonsillitis.

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