Sneh Kalpana: Preparation & Use of Medicated Oil & Ghritam in Ayurveda
In Ayurveda, medicated oils and ghritam (medicated ghee) are prepared using specific processes and principles described in detail in the classical Ayurvedic texts. These remedies are used by Ayurvedic physicians for many kinds of disorders affecting the different systems of the human body. Although most of the medicated oils are for external use, certain types of the oils and most of the medicated ghritam preparations are given orally.
Almost all of the classical texts of Ayurveda have described various methods to prepare medicated oils and ghritams, including Charaka Samhita, Sushruta Samhita, Ashtanga Hridaya and Sahastrayoga. Sharangdhar Samhita and Sahastrayoga are considered the most detailed books covering different herbal preparations and dosage recommendations.
Preparing and Prescribing Medicated Oil
Sneha Kalpana, also known as Sneha Pak, is the process of preparing medicinal oils using plants, herbs, minerals and animal fat. Medicated Ayurvedic oils have three components: Kalka, Sneha and Dravya. Kalka is an herbal paste and Dravya is mammal milk, buttermilk or Kanji. Unless otherwise noted in the recipe, the ratio of the three components is 1 part Kalka, 4 parts Sneha and 16 parts Dravya.
- Mridu Pak: Used for Nasya. During Nasya, the medicated oil is applied in the nostrils. Nasya is used mainly when there are Doshic imbalances in the head and neck. Commonly used oils for Nasya are Dhanwantaram Oil, Anu Oil, Kshirabala Oil and Shadbindu Oil.
- Madhya Pak: Used for Abhyantar (consumed orally).
- Khar Pak: Used for Abhyanga (massage and external application). Body massage with medicated oil. One of the most popular Sneh Kalpana, it liquefies the imbalanced or aggravated Doshas and allows the body to maintain healthy tissues, loosens deep rooted toxins within the system and then flushes them out through the pores. Some commonly used oils are Bala Oil, Narayana Oil, Dhanwantaram Oil, Kshirabala Oil, Sahacharadi Oil and Triphaladi Oil.
- Mukha Kalpana: Oil and ghritam are used in two ways: oral hygiene and therapeutics. They are called Gandusha and Kawala, respectively. When oil is swished in the mouth, it is called Kavala Graha. When oil is just held in the mouth, it is called Gandusha. Gandusha done with oil or ghritam is called Snigda Gandoosha. The most commonly used oils are sesame oil, coconut oil and Valiya Arimedas Tailam.
- Anuvasana Basti: It is an enema using medicated oils. The most commonly used oils are Saindhavadi Anuvasana Oil, Balaguluchyadi Oil and Patolanimbadi Vasti.
Sneh Paan: This is the internal administration of ghritams and some oils. Panchatikta Ghritam, Indukanta Ghritam, Guggulutiktaka Ghritam, Mahatiktaka Ghritam and Sukumara Ghritam. They are given for Shodhan, which is preparing the body for detoxification, as well as for nourishment. They should be taken under the strict supervision of experienced Ayurvedic doctors.
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