'Pancha Karma' is the cornerstone to Ayurvedic management of disease. Pancha Karma is the process, which gets to the root cause of the problem and corrects the essential balance of 'Tridosha' in body. Pancha Karma is not only good for alleviating disease but is also a useful tool in maintaining excellent health.
Although panchakarma is often thought of as the entire procedure, it really is only one part of a group of therapies belonging to a class of cleansing procedures called 'shodanan'. There is also a group of milder techniques called 'shaman' for those not strong enough for shodanan.
There are five basic shodhans(Cleansing Methods)/Panchakarmas
1) Vaman: therapeutic vomiting or emesis
2) Virechan: purgation
3) Basti: enema
4) Nasya: elimination of toxins through the nose
5) Rakta moksha: detoxification of the blood
It is one of the panchakarmas mentioned in Ayurveda. It is a process by which drug is administered through the nostrils.
If 'Nasyakarma' is done properly and regularly it will keep the person's eye, nose and ear unimpaired. It also prevents the early graying of hair and beard. Nasyakarma will prevent the falling of hair. It will ensure growth of hair and alleviate diseases like cervical spondilitis, headache, facial paralysis, hemiplegia, diseases of nose, frozen shoulder, hemi crania, coryza, sinusitis, mental disorders parkinsonism and skin complaints. Nasyakarma will enhance the activity of sense organs and prevent the diseases of head (urdhwanga). It will prevent the early aging process.
Prior to nasya karma, sneha and sweda should be done to the patients Face, Forehead, Head, Ears and Neck. This prior snehana (oleation) and swedana (sudation or sweating) will help to loosen the adhesive doshas, thereby facilitating the subsequent elimination.
Pradhan karma (Main Procedure of Nasyakarma)
After the Purvakarma the patient is asked to lie down in a bed with his hand and legs kept straight. His head is maintained at a lower position by keeping the pillow below the neck. This position will facilitate the direct passage of the drug. Placing the medicine above hot water gently warms it and then it is made to flow in to one nostril, while the other is kept closed the same process is carried out in the other nostril also. For the administration of the drug a pichu (Cotton swab) or nadi(tube) may be used (dropper can be used).
The sole, shoulder, neck, ear and palm are gently massaged after the administration of the drug. He must pit out all the impurities and medicine that reach his mouth. The spitting is repeatedly carried out turning to both sides while the patient is lying. Swedakarma (sudation) should be repeated after the nasya treatment.
The process of nasya can be repeated twice or thrice if necessary. This process should be repeated for 7 days.
Mechanism of Nasyakarma
The nasya dravya (medicine) acts by reaching 'Sringataka marma'(a main vital point situated on the surface of the brain corresponding to the nerve centres, which consisting of nerve cells and fibres responsible for the function of speech-Broca's Centre, vision, hearing, taste and smell).
From where it spreads into various strotasas (vessels and nerves) and brings out vitiated doshas from the bread.
Sringataka is a composite structure consisting of four siras (arteries) in connection with four sense organs-viz, nose, ear, eye and tongue. The composite structure formed by the union of these four arteries is called sringata. As per the ayurveda school of thought for the evolution of a disease the vitiated doshas should be brought to the site from its original seat. This movement will be made through the srotasas (channels) and if there is any disturbance in the integrity of the srotasas it will result in the development of disease.
With regards to the Urdhwangarogas (diseases of head) there should be some disturbance in the normal functions of urdwanga srotasas (arteries, veins, nerves in the head). Sringadaka are the most important group of srotasas in the urdhwanga (head) and drugs acting through these srotasas are certain to bring about srotosuddhi (cleaning) in urdhwanga.
Action of drugs used in Nasyakarma
* By general blood circulation, after absorption through mucous membrane.
* Direct pooling into venous sinuses of brain via, inferior ophthalmic veins.
* Absorption directly into the cerebrospinal fluid.
Many nerve endings which are arranged in the peripheral surface of mucous membrance, olfactory, trigeminal etc will be stimulated by Nasyadravya (the medicine used to give nasya) and impulses are transmitted to the central nervous system. This results in better circulation and nourishment of the organs and the diseases will subside. Most of the drugs described for nasya therapy have got katu (bitter), ushna (hot) and theekshna (sharpness) properties. These drugs produce draveekaranam (liquifaction) and chhedanam (expulsion) of vitiated doshas. The kashaya rasa (astringent taste) drugs produce astringent effect while madhura rasa (sweat) drugs produce cooling and nourishing effect.
In conclusion it may be stated that The nose is the doorway to the brain and it is also the doorway to consciousness.Prana or life energy enters the body through breath taken in through the nose. Nasal administration of medication helps to correct the disorders of prana affecting the higher cerebral, sensory and motor functions.the brief study of the mechanism of nasya can be summed up in a single statement made in the ayurvedic classics, "Nasahi Shirasodwaram" ie., nose is a pharmacological passage into the head.