“Panchakarma: A Unique Technology of Bio Purification & Detoxification”
Assistant Professor, Dept of Panchakarma,
Faculty of Ayurveda, IMS, BHU
based on the lecture available at
Panchakarma: A Unique Technology of Bio purification & Detoxification” (Part-2)
The superiority of Panchakarma therapy is evident despite the availability of various other methods to combat health issues. Our Acharyas have emphasized this treatment modality, even though it is a bit complicated. The answer lies in its ability for evacuation. Panchakarma procedures facilitate the expulsion of morbid materials or vitiated Doshas from the body.
In Ayurveda there is two major forms of treatment: Shaman Chikitsa (palliative care) and Shodhan Chikitsa (bio-purification measures). Shodhan is considered more superior, as stated in the Ayurvedic texts. Shaman Chikitsa pacifies vitiated Doshas, leaving room for disease recurrence. In contrast, Shodhan Chikitsa expels Doshas and morbid matters from the body, ensuring a more complete cure.
Panchakarma Chikitsa mainly comprises Shodhan Chikitsa, incorporating an enormous range of procedures. These procedures, performed in conjunction or isolation with Panchakarma therapy, are called Upkrama or allied procedures. In the present era, Upkrama are often categorized as part of Panchakarma, such as Shirodhara and Abhyanga, familiar names in European nations.
The list of Panchakarma procedures is extensive, allowing for multiple procedures to be performed for a single disease. Panchakarma enables targeted Dosha eradication, aligning with Ayurveda’s concept of Dosha Pratyanik Chikitsa. Each process within Panchakarma has the capability to remove morbid materials from the body, with specific efficacy for certain Doshas. Eg. Vaman for Kapha, Virechana for Pitta, Vasti for Vata.
Panchakarma stands out due to its multiplicity of action. While its major action is Shodhan, it can also be administered for palliative and nutritive purposes. It serves as an essential prerequisite for Rasayana and Vajikaran Chikitsa, as well as for Shaman Chikitsa. The effects of Panchakarma include Shaman, Bruhan, Stambhan, with specific variations like Shaman Vasti, Bruhan Vasti, Stambhan Nasya, and Stambhan Vasti etc.
In summary, the reasons why Panchakarma is considered superior among all other treatment modalities include its evacuation ability, efficacy, extensive range of procedures, targeted Dosha eradication, and multiplicity of actions.
Clinical Importance of Panchakarma:
Panchakarma holds immunopotentiation qualities and performs bio-purification, aiding in health promotion, disease prevention, specific disease cure , and rehabilitation. It serves the dual purpose of Ayurveda: maintaining the health of a healthy individual in preventive, curative, and rehabilitative forms also cures the disease.
In terms of Swasthvritta, apart from Pathya Apathya, Panchakarma is the only treatment modality countering disease before its manifestation by offering seasonal Panchakarma.
Swasthasya swasthya rakshanam-
In seasonal Panchakarma, aligned with the concept that Doshas get naturally provoked in specific seasons, performing Panchakarma expels these naturally provoked doshas, preventing them to cause any harm to the body. For example, in Vasanth ritu (spring season), where Kapha is provoked, Vaman is performed. In Sharad ritu (autumn season), where Pitta is provoked, Virechana is preferred. In Pravat ritu (rainy season), where Vata is provoked, Vastikarma is recommended, preventing seasonal disorders.
Aaturasya Vikara Prashanam-
According to Doshic predominance, Panchakarma procedures offer specific bio-purification efficacy. In Vata predominance disorders Vasti chikitsa is recommended; in Pitta predominance disorders Virechana is preferred; in Kapha predominance disorders Vaman is suggested, and for Raktajavikara Raktamokshana is recommended. Panchakarma can be chosen based on the patient’s condition and the nature of the disease.
Ways of Application of Panchakarma:
Several principles govern the application of Panchakarma therapeutic measures:
- Sampurna Shodhan: All five therapeutic procedures are applied in a sequential manner.
- Karmataha Shodhan: Specific selected Panchakarma processes are applied according to the patient and disease to get maximum outcomes.
- Punha Shodhan: Panchakarma processes are applied at fixed intervals of time. Eg.As Acharya Chakrapani has told in the Kushtha Chikitsa, to abolish the Kushta roga, we have to perform Vaman in every 15 days, Virechan in every 30 days, the Raktamokshana in every six months, and the Nasya every third days.
- Nitya Shodhan: Daily administration of Panchakarma procedures, either for a limited period or until the disease subsides.There are Pratimarsh Nasya, Yuktrath Vasti, Mridhu Virechan, and there are conditions like in Jalodara roga it is told, ‘tasmat nitya meva virechate’. So Nitya Shodhan can also be performed.
- Kalanushar Shodhan: Seasonal Panchakarma is applied to remove naturally provoked Doshas occurring in certain seasons.
- Sadya Shodhan: Prompt administration of Panchakarma procedures in emergency conditions without Purvakarma.The two conditions can occur either the Doshas are highly aggravated in the fulminant condition of any disease or the condition of the patient is not permitting to hold the Purvakarma. Like in a case of someone has taken poison we have to undergo Sadhya Shodhan or in any kind of fulminant condition of any disease we can do Sadhya shodhan without administering the Purvakarma.
In conclusion, Panchakarma’s clinical importance lies in its diverse applications, serving preventive, curative, and rehabilitative purposes while its various principles govern its effective utilization in different clinical scenarios.
The benefit and utility of Panchakarma therapy is that it can be performed on a seasonal basis and its also is a crucial prerequisite for Shaman chikitsa, as well as a prerequisite for Rasayana and Vajikaran Chikitsa. As a diseased body can be compared to a soiled cloth. Just as we must clean a soiled cloth before colouring it, obstructed channels must be cleansed before administering medicines for Rasayan, Vajikaran, or Shaman purposes. Shodhan karma ensures the cleaning of channels, enhancing drug assimilation and maximizing the bioavailability of the drug. This results in obtaining maximum output and efficacy from the same drug after Shodhan Chikitsa. Additionally, Panchakarma is palliative and nutritive in nature, contributing to an intrinsic upregulation in the body’s metabolic system, aiding in self-healing in various conditions and diseases. It can also be applied as a daily routine, such as Pratimarshya Nasya, to eliminate the risk of head diseases, and various other Panchakarma procedures can be incorporated into daily routines to minimize the risk of diseases.
Despite having a radical and rational approach that is highly practical and clinically applicable, there is a recognized gap in emphasizing Panchakarma to its full potential at the implementation level. Hence, there is an urgent need for systematized scientific research in this field. The growing global popularity of Panchakarma poses new challenges for scientific research. Research should be conducted in a way that incorporates Ayurvedic philosophy and knowledge with modern-day tools and knowledge. In the era of science and technology, precision and perfection are paramount. Thus, standardization of Panchakarma procedures in terms of dosage schedule, exact procedures, and medicaments is urgently required. Uniformity in the schedule of classical Panchakarma practices and the development of markers and parameters to monitor the rate of Tridosha-specific bio purification during Panchakarma are necessary to ascertain specific bio purification efficacy on a scientific basis. All these efforts are crucial to establishing Panchakarma as a holistic therapy in the modern era.
In conclusion, Panchakarma offers multi-dimensional benefits, proving applicable to a wide range of preventive, health-promotive, curative, and rehabilitative care. It stands as a holistic therapy for global healthcare, promoting a healthy liver, a happy kidney, a smiling heart, a hungry tummy, a sweet pancreas, and ultimately a happy and healthy life.