Ayurvedic Panchakarma-How it helps in the Body’s Detoxification and Purification

Panchakarma came from Sanskrit words ‘Pancha and ‘Karma’, the former meaning the number five and the latter meaning action. These Sanskrit words when put together would come up with ‘five actions’ which directs us to the conclusion that Panchakarma is that ayurvedic treatment involving five various actions which purifies and detoxifies the body from toxins and wastes.

According to what Ayurveda believes in, whenever bodily doshas are not functioning well, wastes are created inside the body, which is called Aama (Charaka Samhita). This matter has a very foul smell which needs to be thoroughly cleaned which by the way can be definitely done with Panchakarma. In addition to this Ayurvedic treatment, an individual who wants to get rid or avoid the creation of Aama must eat proper diet in accordance to the person’s doshas and live a healthy lifestyle—that means getting enough rest and performing exercises regularly.

Panchakarma as an Ayurvedic treatment is highly personalized depending upon the prakriti (body constitution and tolerance). What this means to say is that this method is set in accordance to the individual’s disorder and constitution. It is dependent on the person’s specific needs and we are talking about the imbalances in the doshas, person’s figure or body type, etc. There is no need for someone to be scared about being given this treatment because the process is actually a very pleasant experience although it’s not recommended to be done on a regular basis. Panchakarma for body purification or detoxification may be done as a seasonal treatment.

Samdosha: Samagnishcha:Samadhatumalakriya:|

Prasannatmendriyamana: Swasthya Eti Abhidhiyatey:||

The above shloka emphasizes on the importance of all body systems that work in tandem, right from metabolism to central and peripheral nervous system. The quote means that when all the bodily doshas, dhatus (bloods and other components like bones) and also the excretory material (urine and stools) are being maintained properly (for production and expulsion) then they help maintain the body senses in harmony. This altogether is called as Swasthya –the health. This ultimately results in complete wellbeing or what we call homeostasis. Panchakarma is just to achieve this from deteriorated state.

You might be asking yourself or someone you know of as to how Panchakarma purifies or detoxifies the body. There are actually two pre-purification procedures to help the body let go of those accumulated toxins from the body, namely Snehan and Svedana. Let’s go ahead and get a brief overview of these two procedures.

  • Snehan. When we say Snehan, we are referring to ayurvedic massage of applying oil in an individual’s whole body with of course, special techniques in massaging. This procedure makes the tissues in the body more flexible and softer that results to body’s freedom from stress and the stimulation of the body’s nervous system.
  • Svedana. This on the other hand is a procedure that is given right after doing Snehan. It promotes sweating as induced by steam and if administered correctly this helps liquefy or soften the toxins and wastes in the body as well as speed up these dangerous substances’ exit from the body.

Now that we’ve gone through the pre-purification procedures, it’s about time that we talk about the five different actions of purification or Panchakarma. They are Vamana (Therapeutic Vomiting), Virechana (Laxation Therapy), Basti (Enema), Nasya (Nose Cleaning) and Rakta Mokshana (Blood Letting).

Below you will read on basic information worth getting to know about these five actions:

  1. Vamana. This is also known as therapeutic vomiting to others, a way to make the patient more comfortable especially if he or she does have congested lungs due to mucus accumulation. Vamana is given in order to get rid of Kapha toxins from the human body granting that this dosha is predominant which means that too much mucus is accumulated resulting to health problems such as colds, cough, bronchitis and asthma. The therapist may advice the patient to drink something to induce vomiting and we are not talking about one or two times vomiting here. The aim is at least 4 times but really, there’s nothing to be overly worried about. Doing this therapy would do nothing but make the patient more comfortable. After Vamana, a patient is highly recommended to take a rest and not hold back acts of sneezing, coughing, defecation, urination, etc. Granting that the therapy was done by a professional, Vamana should help make a person feel light, think clearly, breath freely and eat well.
  1. Virechana. For those who are not that familiar about this term, laxation therapy might be a household name. This is very useful with excess bile gets accumulated in the small intestine, gall bladder and liver. If this excess production of bile continues, a person might just suffer from skin inflammation, acne, nausea, rashes and a lot more of those intestinal problems. Virechana is a therapy that cleans up the entire gastro-intestinal system thoroughly. It’s very important to remember though that when a patient is undergoing a laxation therapy, diet is to be restricted. A patient must pay attention as to which foods he or she is not supposed to eat. If you think about it, the benefits of Virechana are in fact very wide. To name a few, this helps get rid of constipation, diabetes, asthma, headaches, hyperacidity, jaundice and irritable bowel movement.
  1. Basti. This is also known to others as enema which is done to wash away all toxins accumulated in the body after they have been loosened. When it comes to solving issues of all three doshas namely Vata, Pitta and Kapha, Basti or enema is one of the most trusted treatments. Why? Simply because it works. Enema uses effective substances in purifying the body and some of them are sesame oil and calamus oil. If your problem is cold, colitis, obesity, sexual appetite, vomiting, neck pain, constipation, backache, etc., you already should know that Basti can always help.
  1. Nasya. Of course, Nasya or cleaning of the nose should help purify the body by getting rid of toxins located in the throat, sinus and nose. We might not be aware of it but accumulations of toxins in these areas are the main culprits why we suffer from migraine, headaches and sometimes, throat problems. In Panchakarma, a person may be asked to inhale vapor from those herbs put in hot water.
  1. Rakta Mokshana. Last but not the least, also known as bloodletting, Rakta Mokshana works on eliminating toxins that are running through the bloodstream and going through the entire body. Aside from eliminating toxins, this process also purifies the body by producing anti-toxic substances that help boost the immune systems functionality.

There you have it, the basic things we need to get to know of as to how Panchakarma helps in purifying or detoxifying the body. What’s good to know here about Panchakarma is that it aims to make each of our lives more comfortable by setting us free from toxins that might lead to health problems if not acted upon right away.

Author: Dr Maulik Vyas

I am a holistic Doctor with 10 yr of experience in medical/health and wellness industry. Also, I am a professional content writer with 1000s of articles published across the web. I'm available for content writing, natural treatment consultancy, business ideas about healthcare/wellness industry. I am the proprietor of company named Mouls Incorporation.


  1. Panchakarma looks interesting to me. I have to find out more details about it, I’d like to see where I can get this treatment in US.

  2. Ashish Sharma says:

    Nice Write-up Dr. Vyas.

    I am suffering from chronic sinusitis and have tried all sort of remedies. Will this treatment be helpful?
    Though, I am unsure about any good ayurvedshala in Mumbai.

    Would appreciate your guidance.

    Kind regards,

    Ashish Sharma

  3. Hi,
    Some time back my brother had the Sinusitis, mostly due to allergy reasons. He tried several medicines but nothing helped. Finally he tried medicines to Detoxifiy his body and that improved it a lot. You can give it a try.

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