Wednesday, 21 September 2011

VAMANA (Therapeutic Emesis)

Vamana take place in the upper or kapha zone of the body and use the upward movement of the doshas to remove ama. Toxins associated with kapha are primarily but not exclusively deposited throughout the upper part of the body. Because this is where kaphic ama naturally collects. Panchkarma uses Vamana or therapeutic emesis to eliminate them. 

The emesis procedure used in vamana is quite smooth and painless, with little or no nausea, retching or discomfort. This procedure for discharging excess kapha and kaphic ama was designed to be accomplished with great ease.

The herbs used to produce the emetic effect provide the main keys to successful vamana. These herbs, such as yashti madhu (Licorice) and madan phal (Randia Dymotorum) stimulate the action of agni and vayu buta. They are hot, strong and penetrating. Their action permeates the fine channels in the kapha zone and stirs up and liquifies the ama.


To prepare for Vamana, Snehana and Swedana is administered for seven days, after which time the patient should show signs of complete internal and external oleation. The night before Vamana is administered, the patient takes food which stimulates kapha - sweet, heavy, cool, sticky, slimy and oily foods including yogurt, milk, bananas and urad dal. They increase the volume in the stomach, and this provides the impetus for kapha associated toxins to be expelled.

Just before going to bed, the patient is given an herb to stimulate stomach secretions which further increase the volume of its contents. This herb called, Vacha has been used by Ayurveda for many years. Its energy is hot and causes the ama in the stomach to thin out. Because heat rises, Vacha works in an upward direction, supporting emesis. Patients receive small doses of less than one gram. After taking Vacha, they consume no additional food or liquid until the vamana procedure is administered.

When patient awakens, the patient urinates and defeacates as usual, but refrains from eating and drinking. An empty stomach stimulates secretions from the surrounding tissues and encourages them to enter the stomach.


Vamana is always given early in the morning, when jala bhuta dominates the external environment and kapha dosha dominates the body's internal environment. Normal doshic activity causes maximum watery and mucous secretions to accumulate in the kapha zone during this time, bringing Kaphic toxins out of dhatus and into the hollow spaces of stomach.

The procedure begins by giving the patient approximately 300 milliliters of a thin, sweet tasting porridge made from wheat and milk. This promotes watery secretions, and again incerases the volume of the stomach's contents. After he eats the porridge, the patient receives an emesis- stimulating herb which contains a strong influence of agni and vayu bhuta. To insure that the emesis is as effortless and comfortable as possible, the patient receives a large quantity of warm licorice tea, prepared as a cold infusion the night before.

The patient is asked to drink as much Licorice tea as possible during vamana to fill the stomach completely. This helps to liquefy the contents, which facilitates their removal. Within a few minutes, the patient feels hot, his stomach churns and he begins to feel the urge to vomit. Salivary secretions fill his mouth and he sponataneously starts vomiting.


It is usually administered only for Kapha related disorders or ama. These include: all lung problems, bronchial asthma, allergies, chronic colds, rhinitis, diabetes mellitus, arteriosclerosis, rheumatic diseases, arthritis and some chronic skin disorders like eczema, psoriasis and leukoderma. It is also beneficial in some viral disorders, like Herpes Zoster.


Vamana therapy is contra-indicated for people who are emaciated or very weak, the elderly who are frail, young children and pregnant woman. People with tuberculosis, pleurisy, collapsed lung, Hepatitis, degenrative or cirrhotic diseases of the liver, severe heart diisease and problems with blood pressure should also not undertake vamana therapy.


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