Vamana and virechana are two cleansing procedures which are attracting scientists towards itself due to their potential role in autoimmune diseases like rheumatoid arthritis, psoriatic arthritis etc.
The autoimmune phenomenon is triggered by immunological insults by invading microbes or specific protein substances entering into the system and acting as false antigen. This disturbs the homeostasis of the body systems. These cleansing procedures which are directed at clearing out the accumulated triggering factors, helps to restore the equilibrium of immune system by setting right the physiological processes of the body. It also sets the immune system in the right direction to discriminate the self and non-self.
Vamana, also known, as therapeutic emesis is one of the least understood of ayurveda’s five therapies known as PANCH KARMA (five cleansings) that include Vamana (induced vomiting), Virechana (purging through the lower channel), Nasya (nasal cleansing), Vasti (decoction enema) and Rakta mokshana (blood letting) karma. Vamana and Nasya, two of the five karmas, take place in the upper or Kapha zone of the body and use the upward movement of the dosha to remove ama. Toxins related to Kapha are primarily but not exclusively deposited throughout the upper part of the body. Twice a day, during the Kapha dominant periods, doshic action draws Kapha related toxins into the hollow structure of the stomach from the denser tissues, because this is where Kaphaja ama naturally collects, so Panchakarma uses vamana or therapeutic vomiting to eliminate the same. This is because the mouth is the easiest and most direct way to discharge these particular types of toxins. The body naturally wants to remove the toxicity, which impairs its functioning and Vamana is the natural procedure to throw away Kapha related impurities.
Most of the people associate emesis or vomiting with nausea and sickness and are repulsed to it. However, the emesis procedure used in Vamana is quite smooth and painless. This procedure for discharging excess kapha and kaphaja ama was designed to be accomplished with great ease. When the body is properly prepared and the treatment is correctly administered, Vamana is as easy as yawning and sneezing. It uses the body’s innate mechanisms for disposing of damaging substances. As a result, the patient gains immediate relief from the symptoms produced by toxins associated with kapha. This technique is being practiced in many countries like U.S.A., Mexico, Singapore, Malaysia and Japan successfully. This was revealed by the delegates at an International Conference on Alternative Systems of Medicine, which the author attended at Anandpur sahib on March 23-26th, 2000.
Vamana cannot be recommended for every one. Usually it is administered only for Kapha or Ama related disorders, like rhinitis, allergies, bronchial asthma, lung problems, chronic cold, loss of appetite, arthritis, atherosclerosis, elephantiasis, epilepsy, insanity, diabetes and some skin diseases like psoriasis, leucoderma, and eczema. It has also been helpful in some viral disorders like herpes zoster. However it is contraindicated in weak, emaciated patients, pregnant women, children, tuberculosis patients and patients with collapsed lungs and stomach ulcers. The ama is understood as a true mixture of undigested protein, carbohydrate, fat and bacterial content together termed as antigens. Through vamana these waste products, unwanted metabolites, body toxins; immune triggering factors are removed from the body resulting in cleansing effect and purification of the body.
The herbs used to produce the emetic effect provide the main key to successful Vamana. Herbs like Yashtimadhu Glycyrrhiza glabra, Anantaparni Tylophora indica, Nimba Melia azadirachta and Madanaphala Randia dumentorum stimulate the action of Vayu and Agni bhuta. Yashtimadhu provides an excellent medium for moving sticky, heavy & oily impurities out from the tissues. It stimulates the secretions without being absorbed into the tissues. It acts by moving through the body, collecting substances, which do not belong to the dhatu and is excreted. Patients having aversion to licorice can be given saline solution or sugarcane juice. Heating action (Ushan) of these herbs creates upward motion that lifts ama out of kapha seat in the stomach.
Vamana is always given early in the morning because at this time jalabhuta dominates the external environment and kapha dosha dominate the body’s internal environment. The procedure begins by giving the patient about 500 ml of thin sweet tasting porridge or milk. After this, patient receives an emesis stimulating herb. To ensure effortless emesis patient is given large quantity of warm licorice tea prepared as a cold infusion the night before. Within few minutes the patient feels hot; his stomach churns and begins to feel the urge to vomit. Salivary secretions fill his mouth and he spontaneously starts vomiting. Usually within an hour the entire procedure is finished.
1. Select Vamana karma in person with only highly vitiated kapha dosha.
2. Heart rate and blood pressure should be monitored.
3. Keep away the situations, which inhibit Vamana
4. Materials like hot water, cold water and emergency medicine should be ready.
5. After Vamana patient should take rest and avoid stress as well as physical or sexual activity for remainder of the day.
6. Whole of the process should be carried out under the medical supervision.