Panchkarma Detox in Ayurveda

Ayurveda is an ancient sister science of Yoga, from India. As per this 5000 plus years old science, which is used to treat several conditions, ama [toxins] are thought to be the root cause of diseases. It is important to periodically remove these toxins from your system, to maintain optimum health and balance.

How does one determine that they have toxins in their body? Ayurveda says that the toxins manifest themselves in the form of a thick white coating on the tongue, stiffness and pain in the joints and muscles, tiredness or sluggishness after meals, hazy or unclear thinking.

Panchakarma is the king of all the ayurvedic detoxes and lasts from a week to about 60 days. Panchakarma literally means ‘five detox processes’, in Sanskrit. It is a transformative ayurvedic therapy to remove toxins and restore the natural constitution of the body. Over the years, the accumulation of toxins in the body, disrupts the flow of prana of the vital life force, which causes an imbalance in the five elements and the three Dosha constitution of our body.

The process of Panchkarma has about 7 stages which are:

1. Palliation [shamana] – A light digestible ayurvedic diet is given to cleanse the system of accumulated toxins [ama]. Encouraging abstinence from heavy activities, sleeping at daytime, excessive talking,travelling etc.

2. Pre Treatment [Purvakarma] – Involves igesting a fatty agent such as ghee for several days to gradually penetrate all 7 bodily tissues to release toxins.

3. Purgation [virechana] – An orally administered, herb induced purgative treatment that moves acidic secretions and impurities from the pitta regions to the rectum.

4. Graduated Diet [samsarjana krama] – To re-establish full digestive capacity to prevent further formation of new ama the diet following virechana must be very light to be gradually increasing over the next few days.

5. Enema [Basti]- Powerful technique where 50% of diseases can be resolved by this procedure alone.

6. Rejuvenation therapy [Rasayana] – After the main Panchkarma treatments, herbal preperations are prescribed to strengthen the immune system.

7. Post Treatment -Graduate slowly back to ‘normal lifestyle’.


Neelanjana Bharadwaj
Yoga Expert
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