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Basic Principles

Panchakarma consists of medicated emesis (vamana) to remove excess kapha, therapeutic purgation (viracana) to clear excess pitta, medicated enema (vasti) to eject excess vata, nasal drops or snuffs (nasya) for diseases of the head & neck and bloodletting (raktamokshana) in case of blood disorders. Five purification procedures for removing accumulated toxins and other waste material in the body. As the humors and tissues are related closely to each other, this discharge procedure affects the tissues indirectly by the strong elimination of related humor. For example, the pronounced elimination of kapha by herb induced emesis causes an effect on the nutrient tissue fluid pool, containing water and electrolytes, plasma, muscle, fat. Or the large release of pitta by selective purgation similarly causes an indirect effect on the total colouring material in the body or blood. Vasti is somewhat different, as it is meant to nullify excess vata and contains warm oleation substances. During its long contact with the membrane of the large intestine, it separates layers of faecal matter and thus enhances better absorption, which is responsible for the ultimate nourishment of all tissues. Nasya in turn cleans the sinus and thereby improves the function of sense organs.

Physical and mental diseases occur due to the vitation of somatic doshas vata, pitta and kapha and due to mental doshas Rajas and Tamas. Volitional transgression, effect of time and senses are the three primary causes responsible for vitation of biological and mental doshas. Food, drinks & environmental factors with similar properties to the doshas vitiates them and cause disease. Panchakarma's purificatory therapies balance out the three doshas, acting both as a curative and a preventive measure.

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