Panchakarma: The Ayurvedic Science of Detoxification

By Dr. Rahul Dogra

Panchakarma is a bio-cleansing regimen which cleans the body tissues deeply specially from fat soluble

Dr. Rahul Dogra
Dr. Rahul Dogra

toxins. Panchakarma is mainly a detoxification therapy helps in the elimination of disease-causing factors and maintain the equilibrium of body, mind and soul.

Panchakarma was developed thousands of years ago by the ancient healing masters of India. In Sanskrit, panchakarma means “the five actions” (Pancha=five and karma=action/ Therapy).

Panchakarma is beneficial in the management of various systemic diseases e.g. Joint disorders (Osteo Arthritis and Gout), Musculoskeletal (Low backache and slip disc), Dermatological (Psoriasis and Eczema), Neurological (Paralysis, Migraine), Respiratory disorders (Sinusitis, Chronic Cough, Bronchial asthma), Gynecological disorders (Leucorrhea, Post-Menopausal syndrome), Psychiatric (Depression), De addiction etc. It is also widely prescribed in chronically incurable diseases and for improving the quality of life.


The Whole procedure is divided into 3 main stages, It’s Important to follow all the three stages of Panchakarma to achieve proper results.


  1. Purva karma (Pre-operative/ Preparatory procedures)
  2. Pradhan karma (Main procedure)
  3. Paschat karma (Post-operative care).

PURVAKARMAS (Pre-operative/ Preparatory Procedures)

The Preparatory Procedures are used to soften our tissues, so that lipid soluble toxins which get deposited into our tissues and are hard to eliminate can liquefy, and flow back into the digestive tract from where they are taken out. Purva karma treatments are to be performed before starting the Panchakarma treatments. These treatments are directed to preparing patient mentally and physically for the main procedure.

There are mainly three procedures in Purvakarma, which are:

  • Deepana Karma (Enhancing the Agni/ Digestive fire)
  • Paachana karma (Digestion of Ama/ Toxicated substance)
  • Snehana karma (Internal & External Oleation)
  • Swedana karma (Sudation)

Deepana and Paachana do kindling of Agni and digestion of Ama respectively. Snehan is given daily for kairali-1three to seven days. Snehana and swedana do liquefaction of Toxicated substance and assists in the movement of dosha from different body parts to digestive system. A specific suitable shodhana (Panchakarma therapy) is then given to expel the dosha (Toxicated substance) from the body.


It includes any Panchakarma therapy which is according to the discretion of the Ayurvedic doctor who has diagnosed the health problem through pulse diagnosis, lab examinations and checking the body constitution of an individual. Panchakarma covers all aspects of health which are preventive, promotive and curative.

Preventive and promotive panchakarma therapies are the therapies which one can take on regular basis like Full Body Massage, Nasya therapy etc.

Curative panchakarma therapies are the therapies advised by an Ayurvedic doctor for the cure of any particular ailment the person is suffering from.

These are as follows:

  • VAMAN (Emesis)
  • VIRECHAN (Purgation)
  • BASTI           (Medicated Enema)
  • NASYA (Errhine therapy)
  • RAKTAMOKSHANA (Bloodletting)

It is important to notice that a specific Panchakarma protocol is selected for each individual after complete physical examination and pulse diagnosis.

Rejuvenation Panchakarma therapies are the therapies which one should take for Rejuvenation, Relaxation, and harmony, for complete mental relaxation and to induce sleep. These therapies are:

  1. Abhyangam ( Full Body Massage)
  2. Shirodhara
  3. Rasayana Basti course for 30 days

Immune enhancing Panchakarma: Administration of Vaman (Emesis), Virechan (Purgation), Nasyam (Errhine therapy) and Basti (Medicated Enema).

Dietetic and Behavioral regimen for the person undergoing Panchakarma:

The rules of food intake should be strictly followed. The quantity taken is also of utmost importance. One should abstain from eating the moment one feels nearly satisfied. Food stuffs that are either too spicy or too acidic should always be avoided. One should have balanced diet which contain all the six tastes i.e. sweet, sour, pungent, salt, bitter and astringent, in suitable proportions.

Best suitable diets are old rice, old wheat, green gram, horse gram, barley, meat soup, cow ghee, cow milk, buttermilk etc.

One should avoid the following activities:

Loud speech, sitting for long duration, standing for long duration, long walks, riding vehicles, excessive coitus, excessive exercise, alcohol, exposure of excessive cold, winds, long journey, awakening at night, day sleep, suppression of urges, provocation of urges.

During the course of Panchakarma therapy it is necessary to have regular and adequate evacuation of bowels.  During the course of treatment, the use of a laxative, such as Castor oil, Triphala Choornam, Gandharvahastadi kashayam, Abhyarishtam etc. is advised so as to ensure satisfactory evacuation of waste from the GI tract.


All stimulants should be avoided. Such things will only help the senses to be active and buoyant temporarily, and then fall with greater force and reaction. For drinking purpose (generally for healthy) water boiled with dhanyaka, dry ginger and cumin seeds and cooled down should be used. For washing and ablution purpose too, warm water alone should be used.

For an average person drinking of six to ten glasses of pure cool water every day, preferably between meals, is necessary. The best time to drink water is during meals, with possibly one or two glasses at each meal.

A cheerful contented frame of mind is a decided asset in the success of any form of treatment. The cure will be greatly hastened if a cheerful, confident frame of mind is preserved, and all wearisome exertions are avoided during the course of the treatment.

AS Blogger Dr. Rahul Dogra is an Ayurvedic physician and Manager at Kairali Ayurvedic Group.



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