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Ayurveda > Panch-karma - Nasaya

By Dr. Satish Kulkarni

In this article we will learn about nasya— the administration of drugs through the nose. The nose is supposed to be a pathway to the brain. It is also presumed to be a way to mind. When vaat-pitta-kafa (the basic body constituents) are accumulated in the head/brain/mind, nasya is advised. The nose is the nearest possible way to drain dushti (toxic substances) that gets accumulated as a result of an imbalance of the vaat-pitta-kafa.

Nasya is recommended in health problems like sinus congestion, different types of headaches, convulsions and certain eye/ear problems. Nasya also helps in relieving mental tensions and soothing emotional turmoil.

Ayurveda mentions six main types of nasya:

1. Pradhamana nasya:
This procedure indicates the administration of medication through the nose such that it helps in cleansing. This type of nasya is mainly used for kafa prakop (aggravation of kafa). A heavy feeling in the head, congestion of nose/sinusitis, convulsions/epileptic attacks, parkinsonism, etc. are treated by way of pradhaman nasya. Black outs, unconsciousness without any obvious reason and hysteric attacks also respond to this type of nasya. The patient is advised to smell dry powders or recommended nasal irritants or these substances are blown into the nose with the help of a tube. Traditionally, vacha or brahmi powder is used in this treatment.

2. Bruhan nasya:
This type of nasya consists in the administration of medication through the nose such that it has nutritional value. This type of nasya is mainly used for vaat prakop (aggravation of vaat). This nasya is generally used in conditions like chronic headaches including tension headaches, dryness of sinuses, a loss of the sense of smell, etc. It is also used in psychological disturbances like anxiety, fear of unknown things, feeling of emptiness, negativity in thoughts, etc. Different types of medicated ghee (clarified butter)/oil /milk are used for this treatment. These are generally medicated with shatawari, ashwagandha or similar herbs.

3. Shaman nasya:
This procedure administers medication through nose such that it helps in sedation/ soothing. This type of nasya is used in pitta prakop ( aggravation of pitta). It is used to treat conditions like discharge through the nose, headaches related with hyperacidity, migraine, etc. Herbal medicated decoctions, mild tea and medicated oil are used in this type of nasya. Ayurvedic scholars recommend this type of nasya for ringing noise in the ears, tingling/numbness in the head, heat related disorders, repeated conjunctivitis as well as loss/thinning of hair.

4. Navana nasya:
This is particularly used in vaat-pitta or kafa-pitta disorders. In this nasya, decoctions enriched with oil are used.

5. Marshya nasya:
This includes administration of ghee/oil for a particular reason which itself is not a disease but is a result of some body disease/condition.

6. Pratimarshya nasya:
This procedure prescribes administration of a drop of ghee/oil daily or applying ghee/oil to the mucosal lining of the nose with the little finger, making sure that it is clean and dipped in medicated ghee/oil. This helps in lubricating the nasal passage. This nasya reaches the dhatu (body tissues) through the nose and helps in relieving trouble. It also helps in respiratory allergies. Ayurvedic scholars recommend this type of nasya to release stress and strain as well.

The other way of classifying nasya includes categorizing them into mild and strong nasya. Smelling flowers like rose, jasmine, champak, mogra and henna or administering the juice extract of these flowers, is considered mild nasya. Using substances like brahmi, ginger, garlic, onion, black pepper, etc. is considered strong nasya. Smelling or using mild or strong substances is chosen according to the need of patient.
To summarize, nasya is the smelling/administration of flower juices/medicines in the form of dry powder or medicated ghee, oil or milk. It helps in curing disorders associated with the head, brain and mind.

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Ayurvedic Milestones
Ayurvedic Thought
 Vaat, Pitta, Kafa, Dosh
 Dhatu, Mala, Fire
Pathology - Ama
 Ashtang Ayurved
 Agad Tantra
 Kaumar Bhrutya Tantra
 Shalya Tantra
 Shalakya tantra

Actual Case Notes
 Asthmatic Bronchitis
 Bleeding per anum
 Hair Loss
 Pregnancy Care
 Senile Debility
 Solution To Baldness
 Vaat Related Fever

Academic References
Ayurvedic Herbs


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