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“Basti is half of the medicinal therapy, or even the complete treatment.”
Charak- Sid. Ch. 1 verse 39
Basti Karma has been listed as third in Panchkarma procedures, it occupies prime place in the present day context of clinical medicine, as it is being used in numerous unresponsive diseases of degenerative, musculoskeletal, locomotor and neurological nature with promising results. Basti alone is capable of curing many disorders. Basti prevents recurrence of disease and have immunomodulation effects.
Basti therapy is primarily used for Vata Dosha’s excesses, either alone, or as the predominant Dosha deranged. Basti is the Sanskrit name for urinary bladder. Originally the bladders of larger animals, like buffaloes and goats, were used as enema bags. The colon is related to all other organs and tissues, so by cleansing and toning the colon, the entire body is healed and rejuvenated. The colon is the main organ that absorbs nutrients. A healthy, functioning colon is essential for proper assimilation of nutrients.
Basti is unlike Western enemas or colonics. Enemas only cleanse the rectum and sigmoid colon (only the lower eight to ten inches of the colon) causing an evacuating effect. Colonics remove feces blocks but may weaken the mucus membranes and dry the colon. This further balances Vayu’s normal elimination process. Basti, however, treats the entire length of the colon from the ileocecal valve to the anus. Not only is feces flushed from the system but also ama is removed from the tissues. Furthermore, balanced and healthy colon function is restored as tissues and organs are rebuilt.
General Benefits: Basti is useful for many disorders including
- Musculoskeletal disorders (Sciatica, Lower back pain, Arthritis, Gout, Rheumatism)
- Neurological disorders like Parkinson’s, muscular dystrophy, paraplegia hemiplegia
- Mental conditions such as Alzheimer’s epilepsy, mental retardation, sensory disorders.
General Precautions: Basti is not used for Babies, Pregnant women, Diarrhoea, Colon, cancer Diverticulitis, Rectal bleeding, Polyps, Fever, some forms of diabetes.
Types of Basti:
Three types of Basti are told in our ancient classical text.
- Anuvasana (unctuous)—this enema remains in the body for some time without causing harm. Mainly herbal medicated oils and ghee are used. The amount of oil used in Anuvasana Basti is 48 or 96 grams (1.7 oz. or 3.4 oz.). It is administered through the rectum. It is given to all those who are suited for Niruha (non-unctuous Basti), especially those having strong digestion, to those not receiving oleation, and those with Váyu diseases (only). This form of enema is given before Niruha. This enema moistens dry tissues and organs, reduces hyperactive digestion, and Váyu disorders, including nervous conditions. It is done in the day during the spring and on colder winter days; and in the night during the summer, the rainy season, and on milder winter days. The day after Basti a warm ginger/coriander decoction is drunk to prevent any adverse effects from oleation.
- Niruha or Asthapana (non-unctuous) — this is a highly beneficial herbal decoction enema mixed with milk and a little oil. Niruha is given to those with abdominal pain, distension, tumours, gout, splenic diseases, diarrhoea (without other associated diseases), chronic fever, runny nose, obstructed semen, gas, or feces, enlarged scrotum, urinary stones, amenorrhea, or severe Vata disorders. It provides health to the healthy and gives strength to the tissues that are weak. Symptoms of proper Basti include feeling lightness in the body.
- Uttara Basti—is an upper-tract enema that uses a combination of decoction and medicated oils. It is delivered through the urethral and vaginal passages for the particular problems associated with these organs