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S`hodhana Dravya

Vaidya. Vilas Nanal


The Ayurvedic management of diseases can be divided into two main categoriesi.e. the S`hodhana Chikitsaa and the S`hamana Chikitsaa. The former has been praised by all the ancient authors since it eliminates the vitiated Doshika matter by removing the bulk of it physically out of the body mainly through the external orifices and rendering the Doshika matter ineffective, thereby reducing the chance of recurrence of disease to a minimum. The other modality of disease management is to be ideally employed only after the former has been administered successfully or when the condition of the patient makes it impossible to employ S`hodhana. The S`hamana methods convert the vitiated Doshika matter to a form, which is nonirritant. Non-obstructing the Srotasa_s without getting it out of the system. Hence the chances of recurrence of the same disease entity are more in this treatment.

It would be only logical to sequentially list the various stages that are involved in any S`hodhana Upakrama they are as under:

  • Poorvakarma:
  1. Snehana Karma
  2. Svedana Karma
  3. Utkleshana
  • Pradhaanakarma:
  1. Vamana Karma
  2. Virechana Karma
  3. Basti Karma
  4. Nasya Karma
  5. Asrik Sraavan`a or Raktamokshan`a Karma
  • Paschaatkarma:
  1. Samsarjana Krama
  2. Dhumapaanaadi Upkrama_s

The selection of the patient is also important. The physician has to diligently evaluate the person using the ten parameters viz. DushyaDes`haBalaKaala etc. Then based on his findings the appropriate Karma is selected. The Sneha Dravya is chosen and its mode of administration i.e. internal as well as external is decided. The period, remain flexible subject to the Samyak Snigdha Lakshan`a_s. The Svedana is affected after Snehana. These two stages of the Poorvakarma are essential.

The Snehana Dravya_s (substances capable of causing Oleation) have the following attributes.

Drava: fluidity, capacity to penetrate and occupy the smallest space of the internal environment
Sara: capability of initiating movement of the bodily elements along their proper pathways
Snigdha: oily, unctuous and capable of facilitating free movement of various bodily elements by eliminating friction
Pichchhila: slimy, sticky, does not give but tends to give off fine threads, important in the process of healing of wounds
Guru: heavy (on Agni)
S`heeta: cold to touch and effect (cold phase activity)
Manda: sluggish
Mrudu: supple, yielding rendering the internal environment loose, manageable

Owing to these properties the Snehana Dravya when administered in a large amount, both internally as well as externally, tends to annihilate the vitiated Vaayu by countering the Vaayu properties and then leaves the internal environment more supple, non-conducive to accumulation of vitiated Dosha_s.

Owing to laxity

Dhaatu_s do not harbor the Dosha_s, hence they resemble water plants, which are floating freely along the current, and ready to be carried away if and when a sharp object severs the thin band that holds it to the main body. Hence when Oleation is adequate the Dosha_s leave their anchor easily without damaging the delicate tissues.

The Svedana Dravya_s (substances capable of sudation, fomentation, sweating) have the following attributes:

Ushn`a: hot to touch and effect (hot phase activity), should induce sweating
Teekshn`a: intense, sharp, cutting, irritant
Sara: capability of initiating movement of the bodily elements along their proper pathways
Snigdha: oily unctuous and capable of facilitating a free movement of various bodily elements by eliminating friction
Rooksha: dry, rough, intensifying the Agni and Vaayu activity and indirectly causing Svedana
Sookshma: subtleness, capacity to penetrate and occupy the smallest space of the internal environment
Drava: as above
Sthira: steady, resists movement, conversion
Guru: as above

In a body saturatedwith Sneha and rendered turgid, Utkles`hana is administered to further increase the Doshika matter and bring it to the point of spill out of the As`haya or Srotas. Many times patient is surprised by the advise to take the items prohibited for management, for long times. If a clever hunter wishes to bring the tiger with in the reach of gun, possessing gun and bullet is not sufficient. There should be a bait, to which tiger hidden in the deep of forest, will be tempted to catch, by being with in the range of fire. The Utkles`hana items attract the Dosha_sdeep in tissues to hollows of organs. Such large bulk, temporarily attracted can be thrown out by suitable secretion promoting doses, the main stimulus for achieving elimination.

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Pradhaana Karma

The S`hodhana Dravya (substances capable of removing the vitiated Doshika matter physically out of the body through the external orifices) has the following attributes

Ushn`a due to this property the S`hodhana Dravya further liquefies the Doshika matter from the subtle S`haareera Paramaan`u (body cells)

Teekshn`a Due to this property the S`hodhana Dravya is capable of reaching the site of the diseasemanifestation without undergoing the process of digestion. Hence the action of these substances begins from the tongue itself.

Vikaasee Due to this property the S`hodhana Dravya is capable of creating space, separating the adhesions at Sandhi and Marma without damaging them. The latter two properties enable the S`hodhana Dravya to reach the Hridaya and the site without losing time and carryout their actions. This is possible because of the Praana VaayuBodhaka Kapha, and Rasa Dhaatu. The former two properties go through a regular process of Kledana and S`hoshan`a from the Mahaasrotasa and are carried to the Hridaya. This transportation is a result of the interaction between the Praan`a and Samaana Vaayu. These are Agni sent to the site of their action by way of Rasa Dhaatu and Vyaana Vaayu.

On reaching the site, which is turgidand full of Dosha, ready to ooze out. The action of the former two properties begins. The Dosha is separated from the Rasa and is dislodged from the site if vitiation through either the gross Aas`haya_s or the subtle Srotas. This dislodged Dosha intermingles with the circulating Rasa and is brought back from the Naabhi to the Hrudaya. From Hrudaya to the appropriate site in the Mahaasrotasa viz. Aamaas`hayaPachyamaanaas`haya or Pakvaas`haya. This process of rendering the Dosha liquid and loose is termed as Vishyanda is due to the Ushn`a property. The process of cutting loose the Dosha is termed as Chhedana is due to the Teekshn`a property. This liquefied and separated Dosha intermingles with the Rasa, but it cannot mix or dissolve in it because the whole internal environment is saturated with the previously administered Sneha. This Dosha floats on the periphery of the lubricant from the inside and does not permit water to accumulate within; similarly the body also does not permit accumulation of Dosha within. Each An`u (molecule) of the vitiate, floating Doshika matter is selectively reabsorbed in Mahaasrotas. If the S`hodhana Dravya were AgniVaayu predominant it would accumulate in the Aamaas`haya and would result in Vamana.

Similarly if the S`hodhana Dravya was Prithvi Jala predominant it would accumulate in Pachyamaanaas`haya and would result in Virechana. This re-absorption by each An`u is termed as An`upravan`a Bhaava and the free-floating movement of the Dosha in the Rasa is termed as Pariplava. Hence now it would be apparent from the foregoing discussion that the S`hodhana Dravya_s acts in two-fold manner on coming in contact with the body. Firstly from the tongue itself it starts being Rasagaami due to their Vyavaayi and Vikaasi properties. On reaching the site of the disease they enter the affected S`haarira Paramaan`u, begin their role of generating space by liquefying the occluding Doshika matter, cutting it loose from its attachment. The second stage is their sequential KledanaIran`a from the Mahaasrotas to the Rasaayani_s, their carriage to Hridaya and from there to the site of disease by following the three fold movement of Rasa along the Rogamaarga_s and on reaching the target the action is compounded, thereby giving rise to a Paramaan`u which is very turgid and ready to offload its liquid contents into the RasaKleda which carries it to the Naabhi to be carried to the Hridaya and finally from there it is carried to the appropriate site in the Mahaasrotas to be removed out of the body. This circular movement of the S`hodhana Dravya_s, is facilitated by the previous Snehana and Svedana in adequate measure. Thus the internal friction is eliminated and the internal environment is supple thereby the chances of injury to the delicate inner lining (Kalaa_s) are negligible. But if the Poorvakarma are short of the needed (Heena yoga) or done in excess (Ati yoga) or done improperly (Mithyaa yoga) then the Vyaapatti_s (complications) set in which can be of very grave consequences)

These stages of the action of S`hodhana Dravya_s can be studied as under:

  1. Administration of the drug
  2. Wait for 48 min. for Vamana to have effect. This time is necessary for the drug to mix with the saliva first and set in the chain of events that would eventually bring about Vamana. In these 48 min. the Praan`a Vaayu, the Tarpaka Kapha, the Saadhaka Pitta, the Avalambaka Kapha, the Hridaya, the Rasanendriya, the Vyaana Vaayu, the Rasa Dhaatu the Aamaas`haya etc.are activated thereby facilitating the easy execution of Vamana
  3. The induction of Sveda. It implies the liquefaction of the Dosha_s at the site. This is due to the Ushn`a activity. The hot phase activity renders the Dosha in the Dhaatu_s liquid; this is indicated by profuse sweating.
  4. Induction of Lomaharsha which leads to Horripilationi.e. standing of the body hair, this stage is due to the onset of Pariplava of the Dosha from the Dhaatu to the circulating Rasa
  5. Kukshi Samaadhmaapana. Bloating of the stomach, the person starts feeling a sensation of fullness of the abdomen. This is due to the Doshika matter, which has reached the Mahaasrotas. The appropriate part can be palpated to reveal distension, a feeling of dullness or heaviness is the subjective feeling
  6. Induction of Hrillaasa. Manifestation of nausea, excessive salivation is indicative of a Dosha, which is ripe and ready to go out of the body as Vamana. This is due to a fluid predominant state of the Aamaas`haya. In case of Virechana this is manifested as an irresistible urge to defecate, grumbling of the abdomen, frequent passage of flatus.
  7. Vamana /Virechana. Initiation of the Pradhaana Karma, which continues till all the accumulated Doshika matter, is effectively removed out of the body to exhibit the Samyak yoga Lakshan`a_s.

The Paschaat Karma. This is essential to render the internal environment non-conducive for accumulative Doshika activity, thereby reducing the chance of recurrence of the same disease to a minimum. The Agni (gastric fire) carries out its functions in a fluid state and in administration of S`hodhana Upakrama_s. The body fluids are lost in a substantial amount, thereby leaving Agni ineffective, weak; unable to digest the food ingested, if it is not rekindled then recurrence is a certainty. The fluid, which was lost, has to be replaced by following a sequential procedure called as the Samsarjana Krama. In this procedure the patient is initiated on dietary regimen with:

  1. Langhana depending upon the state of S`huddhi he is advised fasting. This renders the Mahaasrotas devoid of vitiated Dosha, which are the remnant of the bulk, which was removed earlier; due to its amount it is incapable of causing disease but due to its vitiated digest AamaDosha_sDhaatu_s, Praan`a in that order. Hence this Langhana is essential.
  2. Administration of Peyaa
  3. Administration of Vilepi
  4. Administration of Akrit Yoosha
  5. Administration of Krit Yoosha
  6. Administration of Akrit Yoosha
  7. Administration of Krit Yoosha
  8. Administration of Odana
  9. Administration of Pathya Aahaara

From the foregoing discussion the healing action of the S`hodhana Dravya_s is apparent. They have a twofold action from the point and moment of entry, at the site of disease, their return to the Mahaasrotas via the Hridaya and their final action of S`huddhi Prakriyaa.

Vaidya. Vilas Nanal
Sr.Scientist AyuSoft. Pune

Last updated on February 26th, 2021 at 10:03 am

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