Importance of Purification (Shodhana)
Ayurveda stresses on the need for purification of certain Ayurvedic toxic medications prior to preparing them. This purification process is termed ‘Shodhana‘ in Ayurvedic terminology.
Purification is necessary to tender chemical and physical purity to the drug. In the process, the Ayurvedic drug becomes therapeutically more effective and also less toxic.
The actual ‘Shodhana‘ process constitutes a specialized segment altogether. In fact, the therapeutic effect of any of the Ayurvedic medications depends to a large extent on two aspects: the correct and accurate amount of purification as well as that of the drug preparation process.
The following examples will make the statement clearer:
Particular gum resins like ‘Guggulu’ as well as certain drugs contain ‘Kushtha’ – a volatile oil. However, only a particular quantity of this oil is therapeutically recommended. The excess oil is removed by the boiling process. Other materials used in the boiling process are milk and ‘Go-mutra’ among others.
‘Aconite’ in its natural form is a cardiac depressant. It should not be taken in that form. However, after purification (‘shodhana‘), ‘Shodhita Aconite’ transforms into a cardiac stimulant.
Shodhana- Elimination Therapy
When the diseases are chronic it is difficult to treat through the balancing methods of shaman therapy as it takes a lot of time. Here comes the role of the elimination therapy that takes less time and cure the diseases in which the doshas are situated at a much deeper level. Shodhana therapies expel the aggravated doshas from the body by the use of different types of elimination therapies called the Pancha Karma.
It involves the use of the following five types of cleansing techniques:
- Vamana- emetic therapy (supervised vomiting)
- Virechana- laxatives
- Vasti- herbal enema
- Nasya- nasal administration
- Rakta Mokshana – blood letting
Some preparatory treatments are first induced in order to soften the dosha and move it to either the stomach or the intestine from where the dosha is eliminated using the above-mentioned techniques. Shodhana is also used as a preventive treatment to gain positive health.