Ayurveda is a system of medicine that has specialized therapeutic procedures like Panchakarma for treating chronic illnesses and maintaining health. Nasya karma is one among the Panchakarmas, and it is considered highly effective for treating diseases related to the head.
It involves administering medicated herbs via the nasal route. Various forms of these herbs are used, including oil, ghee, powder, decoction, and medicated fumes.
In today’s era, the prevalent respiratory illnesses like nasal congestion, allergies, chronic cough, sinusitis, rhinitis, COPD, asthma and bronchitis affect the community due to the incredibly polluted atmosphere. In Ayurveda, these problems are preventable by Nasya therapy.
Besides these Nasya therapy is extremely beneficial in all diseases related to Urdhvajatru (head and neck).
Nasya therapy is a purificatory and cleansing treatment that purifies and strengthens the nasal route. Nasya also improves our immunity and prevents any external infections. One can get Nasya treatment daily at home or clinic.
“औषधम् औषधसिद्धं स्नेहो वा नासिकाभ्यां दीयते इति नस्यम् |”
A Nasya or Nasyam is an intra-nasal instillation of herbal medicine or Sneh (medicinal oil), which affects the Urdhvanga (supraclavicular or head area). It’s a nasal medication.
Nasya’s are meant to expel the Kapha Dosha from the head. All Nasya’s are therefore called Virechana Nasya.
What is Nasya karma?
As one of the Panchakarma methods, Nasya is one of the specialized therapeutic applications of Ayurveda; it acts as a means of delivering drugs directly to the brain, which in turn works in the entire body.
It soothes the five Indriyas (Senses) and protects the body against external ailment entering via the nasal route.
How Does Nasya Karma Work?
The nose is one of the Panchagyaanendriya (five senses of wisdom) and is the organ of olfaction and respiration.
In Ayurveda, the nose is considered the route to the Sira (head). Therefore, Nasya medication eliminates the morbid doshas in the Urdhvaanga (upper part of the body). It acts on vital points and eliminates diseases-causing doshas.
As a result of Nasya Karma, vitiated Doshas located in Urdhvang or Urdhvajatru (supraclavicular region) are eliminated.
In Vagbhatta’s view, medication administered via the nose will enter the brain and calm the doshas.
Modern studies also indicate that medication administered through powder inhalation can stimulate the limbic system and hypothalamus.
Nasya Karma Treatment Types
|Name of Acharyas||Classification|
|Charaka||According to the mode of action|
Rachana, Tarpana, Shamana
According to the method of administration
Navana, Avapida, Dhmapana,
According to various parts of drugs utilized
Phala, Patra, Mula, Kanda, Pushpa, Niryasa, Twaka
|Sushruta||Nasya, Shirovirechana, Pratimarsha, Avapida, Pradhamana|
|Vagbhata||Virechana, Brimhana, Shamana|
|Videha||Sangya Prabodhaka, Stmabhana|
There are five types of Nasya according to Charak Samhita.
1. Navana Nasya
It is one of the most commonly used Snehana Nasya and can be taken daily. It involves the administrating drop of medicated oil via the nose. Anu tail is used to perform this method.
Different conditions in which Navana Nasya is indicated are sinusitis, Manyastamba (Cervical Spondylosis), Sirashool (headache), Adirta (facial paralysis), Hanustambha (Lock Jaw), Alopecia (hair loss), Karnashool (earache or ear disease) and early greying of hair.
2. Avapida Nasya
The application of Avapida Nasya is recommended in Apasmar (epilepsy), Krisha (weakness), Murcha (Syncope), Bheeru (fear), anxiety, Vaata Vyadhi (neurological disorder), Snakebite, and nose bleeding. It is also called Virechana or Shamana Nasya.
It involves the administration of herbal paste or extracts via the intranasal route.
3. Dhmapan or Pradhamana Nasya
It is also called Shodhana (purificatory) Nasya. It involves spraying or inhaling the powdered drug through the nasal orifice. It is indicated in Unmaad (Mania), Apasmaar (epilepsy), Chetanavikriti (distortion of mind), Krimijashiroroga (worm infestation), and Vishapeedita (poisoning).
Trikatu Churna is one of the important drugs in Pradhaman Nasya. In a recent study, Trikatu powder (Pradhaman Nasya) has exhibited positive outcomes in recovering a patient from Coma.
4. Dhuma Nasya
Dhuma Nasya refers to inhaling medicinal fumes through the nasal passages, which are then exhaled orally. It is indicated for nasal congestion, Pinasa (Catarrh) and throat disorders.
5. Pratimarsha Nasya
Prtimarsha Nasya (Snehana Nasya) involves introducing oil into the nostrils. The procedure is safe and convenient. The special characteristic of Pratimarssha Nasya is that it can be given daily at any age, at any time.
Nasya Administration Procedure
The Nasya karma procedure is divided into three steps.
1. Purvakarma (Earlier measures)
After passing out natural urges like urine and stool and having breakfast the patient is given a light massage on the scalp, forehead, face and neck followed by Mridu Swedan (steam therapy) in specific areas.
2. Pradhanakarma (Nasya karma)
The patient is laid in a Uttana (supine) position and a Sukhoshna (lukewarm) nasal medication is given dropwise according to the type of Nasya karma.
3. Paschatkarma (Post measures)
After administering nasal medication the patient is given a light massage on the palm, feet, ear and shoulder followed by medicated Dhumapana (Medicated fumes) and Kawal (gargle). An appropriate diet chart is allowed such as Laghu aahaar (light meals) and Sukhoshna Jala (lukewarm water).
Nasya drug dosage
Charaka has not specified the dose of Nasya, suggesting it should be given in accordance with the severity of the disease. Acharya Sushruta and Vaagbhatta have specified the dosage for the Nasya karma in the form of Bindu (Drop).
It is administered in each nostril as Hrshva (low), Madhyama (medium) and Uttama Matra (best) dose.
The recommended dose according to different types of Nasya is as follows.
|Type of Nasya||Nasya Drops in each Nostril: Hrshva, Madhyama, Uttama Matra|
|Snehana Nasya||8, 16, 32|
|Shodhana Nasya||4, 6, 8|
|Kalka (Avapida Nasya)||4, 6, 8|
|Pratimarsha Nasya||2, 2, 2|
|Marsh Nasya||6, 8, 10|
|Shaman Nasya||8, 16, 32|
|Dhmapan Nasya||Muchuti (3 pinch)|
Nasya Karma Indications
Different conditions in which Nasya karma is indicated are as follows:
- Ardita (facial paralysis).
- Pakshaghata (Hemiplegia).
- Keshapata (Alopecia or hair loss), and premature greying of hair (PGM).
- Karnashool (earache or ear disease).
- Dantapata (tooth decay).
- Shirahshula (headache).
- Akshi Roga (eye disorders) like Timira (senile cataract).
- Nasaroga (nose disorders) like Sinusitis and rhinitis.
- Manasaroga (mental disorders), like Unmaad (mania) and Apasmara (epilepsy).
- Mukharoga (Mouth disorders), Mukhshoola (mouth pain), Manyastamba (Cervical Spondylosis) and Hanustambha (Lock Jaw).
- Aruchi, Shirogaurava (heaviness in the head), Pinasa (Catarrh), Krimija siroroga (worm infestation), Ardhavabhedaka (migrain), Pratishyaya (Common cold) and Gandhagyananasha (Loss of smell).
- Mada (intoxication), Murchha (faint), Sanyasa (coma), Bhaya (fear) and Krodha (anger).
- Trishna Pidita (Excess thirst), weakness, Uvulitis, Tonsillitis, Laryngitis, Pharyngitis and skin diseases.
Besides these, Pratimarsha Nasya can be administered to anyone, at any season, even during times that are not suitable.
Nasya Karma contraindications
Nasya Karma is contraindicated in the following situations:
- Marsh Nasya is not given to children and people above 80 years of age.
- After the diet and Madyapeeta (drinking alcohol).
- In case of poisoning.
- After having a head bath
- After Raktamookshana (bloodletting)
- Those who have not passed their natural urge like urine, stool etc.
- After any physical trauma.
- In Pregnant women and soon after childbirth.
- In children, Nasya karma is prohibited, but Pratimarsha Nasya can be given at any Vaya(age).
- In Breathing troubles, coughing, and Amenorrhea and on unfavourable days Nasya karma is prohibited on unfavourable days.
Nasya Karma Treatment Benefits
Nasya is beneficial in all types of Siroroga as it reaches the brain via the Nasastrotasa (nasal channels) and extends to all vital points Netra (eye), Kantha (ear), Shringataka, and eradicates all disorders related to Urdhvaanga (head and neck region).
- People who take Nasya regularly do not develop diseases of the eye, ear and nose, and their senses are strengthened.
- Nasya works primarily on the Marma (vital points) and senses resulting in improved clarity of the Panchagyanendriya (five sense organ).
- It is effective in managing sinusitis and Manyastambha (cervical spondylosis). In a clinical study, Nasya proved its efficacy in managing Manyastambha (cervical spondylosis).
- People using Nasya do not suffer from diseases like Pratishyaya (common cold), migraines, headaches, or facial paralysis.
- Nasya helps prevent early wrinkles, hair loss and premature greying of hair.
- It improves face glow and voice quality.
- Using Nasya regularly prevents the early signs of ageing.
- It helps eliminate mouth disorders and disorders related to the head and neck.
- Nasya eliminates weakness, improves the sense of smell, and strengthens the jaws and teeth.
- It helps eliminate any associated mental disorders like Unmaad (mania) and Apasmara (epilepsy) and insomnia (sleeplessness). It calms the excessively vitiated dosha situated head and leads to better sleep.
- Besides all these benefits, it increases immunity and protects against external infections as well.
Nasya karma according to season
|Name of Acharyas||Season|
|Charaka||Pravrit (rainy season), Sharada (autumn) and Vasanta Ritu (spring)|
In an emergency: at any season.
|Vagbhatta||Grishma (summer) and Varsha Ritu (rainy season)|
Besides these, Pratimarsha Nasya can be given at any season daily in the morning and evening.
Course duration for Nasya karma
|Name of Acharyas||Duration (Days)|
|Charaka||In accordance with the|
severity of disease
Which oil is best for Nasya?
Sesame oil is considered ideal for daily Nasya practice, it is a type of Snehana (Pratimarsha) Nasya with minimal adverse effects.
Another example of Snehana (Pratimarsha) Nasya is Anu Taila which can be used daily in the morning and evening.
Are there any side effects of Nasya Karma?
Nasya has been found to be reasonably tolerated and no serious side effects have been reported from the use of the drug.
This is considered a suitable and safe method, although you may feel slight burning and irritation in the nose and throat, this may be due to the concentration of Nasya medicine or due to the type of Nasya karma given.
These are minor symptoms and are tolerable without any complications.