Snehana – Oils and Fats Treatment – Ashtanga Hrudayam Sutrasthana 16

Here we are explaining in detail about the procedure of Snehana,  treatment by drinking fat, that is administered just before performing emesis (Vamana) Panchakarma therapy. It is the 16th chapter of Ashtanga Hrudaya Sutrasthana, called as Snehavidhi Adhyaya.

Qualities of oils and fats

Qualities of oil and fats –  Snehana Dravya Guna –
The Snehana substances – used for oleation therapy have the following qualities –
Guru – heaviness
Sheeta – cold
Sara – easily moving, mobility, spreading
Snigdha – unctuous, oily
Manda – mild,
Sookshma – minute
Mrudu – soft
Dravam – liquid
The substances used for imparting dryness to the body (Rookshana) are of opposite qualities to the above-mentioned.

Oleating substances

Oleating substances – Sneha Dravyah –
Sarpi (ghee, clarified butter),
Majja (bone marrow),
Vasa – muscle fat and
Taila (oil) – are considered best among oleating substances;
Among these, Ghee is the best. Because,
Madhura – sweet in taste
Avidahi – it does not cause burning sensation
Janmadyeva sheelanat – it is congenial to the body since birth. 2 – 3a.

Among them, Ghee is the most efficient for Pitta balance and Taila is the least efficient for the same. 3b.

When compared between the four, ghee is very light to digest. Oil is heavier (hard to digest) than ghee, muscle-fat is heavier than oil, marrow is heavier than all.
Mixture of two oleating substances is called as Yamaka.
Mixture of three is called as Trivrit and
All four combined is called as Mahasneha. 4b.

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Person suitable for oleation

Snehyah – persons suitable for oleation :-
People who require Snehana therapy are –
Svedya, Samshodhya – Those who are to be administered sudation and purification therapies,
Madya Stree, Vyayama asakta – who indulge more in wine, women and exercise;
Chintaka –  who think too much,
Vruddha – the aged,
Bala – the children,
Abala – the debilitated,
Krusha – the emaciated, fatigue;
Ruksha – who are dry,
Ksheena asra retas – Depleted blood and semen,
Vatarta – who are suffering from diseases of Vata,
Timira – ophthalmia, blindness,
Who suffer from chronic disorder 5 – 6a.

Person unsuitable for oleation

Asnehya – persons unsuitable for oleation :-
Patients who should not be given Snehana therapy are –
Atimandagni – Those who have very weak digestion power
Teekshnagni -or very strong digestive power
Sthula – obese
Durbala – very weak
Urustambha – stiffness of thighs
Atisara – diarrhoea, dysentery
Amaroga – indigestion, Ama condition, altered metabolism
Galaroga – diseases of throat
Gararoga – chronic poisoning
Murcha – fainting, loss of consciousness
Chardi – Vomiting
Aruchi – anorexia
Shleshmaroga – diseases of Kapha imbalance
Trushnaroga – excessive thirst
Madyapeedita – chronic alcoholic
Apaprasuta – lady who has undergone abortion
Nasya, Basti Virechana – people who undergo nasal medication, enema and purgative therapies. 6-8a.


Ghrita (ghee) is best suited for those who desire improvement of intelligent, memory, intelligence etc. 8b.


Taila (oil) is suited in diseases like
Granthi – tumour,
Nadi roga – sinus ulcer
Krumiroga – worm infestation
Shleshmaroga – diseases of Kapha imbalance
Medoroga – obesity
Marutaroga – Diseases due to imbalance of Vata
for those who desire thinning and sturdiness of the body, and who have hard bowel movements. 9.

Muscle fat and marrow

Vasa and Majja – Muscle-fat and marrow are suited for persons
Vatatapa – who are depleted of their tissues from exposure to breeze, sunlight, long distance walk, carrying heavy load, women (sexual activity) and physical activities;
Ruksha – who are dry, who withstand strain, who have very strong digestive activity, and in whom Vata is obstructed in its normal pathways.

Vasa – Muscle-fat is suited for pain of the joints, bones, vital organs and abdominal viscera; so also for pain of burns, assault by weapons, displacement of vagina (prolapsed), earache, and headache. 10 – 11.

तैल प्रावृषि, वर्षान्ते सर्पिरन्यौ तु माधवे ।

Oil is ideal for use during Pravrit – first rainy season, ghee during end of Varsa i.e., Sharat- autumn.
The others during Madhava i.e. Vasantha – spring. 12a.

Proper time for oleation

Snehayogya Kala – proper time for oleation therapy :-
During temperate seasons use of oleating materials should be done during day time and when the sun is clear. 12b.
Oil may be used in emergency even in cold season and ghee, even in summer and even at night. 13a.
In diseases produced by increased Pitta and Vata and in their combination with predominance of Pitta – ghee should be used only at nights – during summer. 13.
Otherwise, diseases due to Vata and Kapha arise if fats are used at nights and diseases of Pitta if used during day. 13 – 14a.

Number of oleation recipes

Number of Oleation recipes – Sneha Samkhya –:-

Fats should be used properly either mixed with chewable and other kinds of foods or in the form of enemas, nasal drops, anointing over the body, holding in the mouth, putting over the head, into the ears  and eyes. 14b – 15a.

By its use with substances of different tastes and separately, without admixture, it will be sixty four number of recipes.

Sneha Vicharana – use of fat mixed with foods is poor – mild in effect because of its mingling with other materials and also because of lesser quantity. 15b – 16a.

यथोक्तहेत्वभावाच्च नाच्छपेयो विचारणा ॥ १६ ॥ स्नेहस्य कल्पः स श्रेष्ठः स्नेहकर्माशुसाधनात् ।


Acchapeya of Sneha – means consuming the oils / fats without mixing with food.


Sneha Vicharana means – consuming after mixing with food items.
Acchapeya method of administering fats is considered best as it serves the function of fats and lubrication quickly. 16b – 17a.

Dose of fats for Acchapana

Acchapanamatra – dose of fats for drinking :-
The dose of fats depends upon the digestive activity of the patient.
The heena matra (least dose) is the one, which digests in 2 yaama (1 yaama = 3 hours)
The medium dose (Madhyama matra) is the one, which undergoes digestion in 4 yama (12 hours)
The high dose (Uttama matra) is the one, which undergoes digestion in 8 yama (24 hours).

Hraseeyasi matra – the minimum quantity should be administered in the beginning after considering the condition of Dosha etc. 17b – 18.

The Hraseeyasi matra is the very little quantity of sneha, that is given to the patient, just to judge the digestive strength. After judging the digestion power, the right dose of the fat is decided.

Procedure for drinking fats

Snehapanavidhi – procedure of drinking fat :-

For Shodhana

As a preparation procedure to Panchakarma therapy, Acchasneha –  fat alone should be administered soon after digestion of previous food and in maximum dose.

For Shamana

For mitigation of Doshas, for palliating a disease, fats should be consumed when the person is hungry and without food – fasting and in medium dose. 19.

For Brimhana

For weight gain treatment, it should be given mixed with meat soup, wine etc. and consumed along with food, in small quantity – minimum dose. 20a.

This kind of mild oleation is suitable for children, the aged, those suffering from thirst, those who have aversion to fat, who indulge in wine, women and fatty foods daily, who have poor digestive ability, who lead a happy life, who are afraid of troubles, who are of soft bowel, who have little quantity of – increase of Doshas; during hot season and for the emaciated. 20 – 21.

If fats are used before food, it is useful in the treatment of diseases affecting the lower part of the body or to strengthen the lower part of the body.
If fats are used during the food intake, it is useful in the treatment of diseases affecting the middle part of the body.
If fats are used after the food intake, it is useful in treating the diseases of the upper part of the body or to strengthen the upper part of the body. 22.

Care after drinking fats

Care after drinking fats – Sneha upachara –

After Acchapana – (drinking of fat alone), warm water should be consumed.
It helps in digestion and clears the mouth coating.

But while taking Tuvaraka taila or Arushkara taila (very hot in nature), cold water is preferred.
In case of doubts regarding digestion of the fat, warm water should be consumed again;
Purification, clear belching, feeling of lightness in the body and desire for food – these 3 symptoms suggest that the fat has been completely digested. 23 – 24.

Diet during Snehapana

Diet during fat consumption – Foods which are liquid (drava), warm (Ushna), not producing excess moisture inside (anabhishyandi), not very oily (na atisnigdha) and not a mixture of many food materials, should be consumed by the patient in limited quantity. 25

Regimen after oleation

Ushnodakopachari – The person should only use warm water for all his activities.
Brahmachari – Should maintain celibacy. He should eat only when hungry.
Na vegarodhi –  should not suppress natural urges, not indulge in exercise, anger, grief, exposure to cold, sunlight, breeze, riding on animals, travelling in vehicles, walking long distance, too much of speaking, remaining in uncomfortable postures for long time, keeping very low or very high pillow under the head, sleeping during day, contact with smoke and dust; on the days of drinking fats and for same number of days afterwards also. 26-28a.

This regimen is the same generally for all purification therapies such as emesis, purgation, enema etc. and also for those debilitated by diseases. 28b.

In case of Shamana  Sneha – palliative oleation therapy, the regimen as suggested for the person who has undergone purgation therapy – in chapter 18 should be adopted. 29a.

Duration of drinking fats

Acchapana Kala – duration of fat drinking :-

Acchapana – drinking fat alone should be done for
Three days for – persons of soft bowels (Mrudu koshta),
Seven days for persons of hard bowels  (Krura koshta) or till the symptoms of good oleation appear.
After that period the fat becomes accustomed to the patient and does not give the desired effect. 29b – 30a.

Signs of oleation

Snigdha Lakshana – signs of oleation :-
Vatanulomana – Downward movement of Vata,
Deepto agni –  keen digestive activity,
Varchaha snigdham asamhatam – faeces becoming fatty and non formed not solid, Snehodvega – aversion to fat,
Klama – exhaustion
– are the signs of proper lubrication;
Opposite of these are the sign of dryness.

Appearance of pallor – yellowish white discoloration and secretions from the nose, mouth and rectum are the signs of excess lubrication. 30b – 31.

Complications due to improper administration

Snehavyapat Lakshana – bad effects of improper oleation :-

Fat drinking in improper dose, unsuitable kind, improper time, indulging in improper foods and activities produces dropsy, haemorrhoids, stupor, rigidity – loss of movement, loss of sensation / unconsciousness, itching, skin diseases, fever, nausea, pain in the abdomen, flatulence, dizziness etc. 32 – 33a.

Treatment for complications

Snehavyapat Cikitsa – treatment of bad effects :-
Kshut, Trushna – Producing hunger, thirst,
Ulleka, sveda – vomiting and perspiration,
Administering foods, drinks and medicines which are dry (cause dryness),
use of Takrarista (fermented medicine from buttermilk), Khala – menu prepared from curds, Uddala, Yava (barley), Shyamaka, Kodrava, Pippali (long pepper), Triphala, Ksaudra (honey), Pathya (haritaki), Gomutra – cow urine, Guggulu and such others – foods, drugs etc. prescribed for each disease are the methods of treating the diseases due to improper Snehana therapy. 33b – 35a.

Rookshana therapy

Virukshana – therapy to cause dryness :-
The features of proper and excess Viruksana – dryness are the same as those of proper and excess of Langhana – methods of making the body thin. 35b.

Panchakarma after Snehana

Regimen of Panchakarma followed after Snehana – The patient should drink juice of meat of animals of desert like regions, mixed with fats, made liquid – thin and warm, then undergo sudation therapy; after three days of such regimen, he should be administered purgation therapy, after a lapse of one day, Kapha should be increased by using things – food, drugs etc. which cause its increase and then emesis – therapy should be administered. 36 – 37a.

Persons who are muscular, fatty, having Kapha imbalance, and erratic type of digestive activity, who are accustomed to fats and who need oleation therapy, should be made to become dry first – by use of foods, drugs etc. and then administered oleation therapy followed with purification therapies; by this procedure complications of oleation will not arise. This method is enough to excite the vitiated Dosha to be eliminated 37b – 39a.

Recipes for immediate oleation

Sadya sneha Yoga – recipes for immediate oleation :-
For children, the aged etc., for those who cannot withstand the discomforts or avoidance of things prohibited during of oleation therapy, can be administered the following recipes which are Sadya sneha – immediate oleation/ lubrication and which are non-harming. 39.

Juice of meat prepared from more quantity of meat,
Peya – gruels, fried with more quantity of fats,
Powder of Tila mixed with fat and half boiled molasses (Phanita),
Krisara – rice cooked along with green gram, mixed with the same things as above,
Ksheerapeya – gruel prepared from milk, mixed with more quantity of ghee – butter fat and made warm;
Dadhi Sara – yoghurt water, whey from curds mixed with Guda (jaggery),

Panchaprasruta Peya – thin gruel prepared from one Prasruta each of ghee, sesame oil, muscle fat, marrow and rice (tandula).
These seven recipes are Sadyassneha – fat recipes which produce immediate oleation. 40 – 42.

And also fats mixed with more amount of salt are Sadya sneha because
salt is

  • Abhisyandhi (causes exudation in the tissues),
  • Arooksha – does not cause dryness,
  • Suksma – capable of entering into minute pores,
  • Ushna – hot in potency and
  • Vyavayi spreads all over the body first and later undergoes transformation. 43a.

Contra indication for certain substances in certain diseases – For the purpose of Sadya snehana, Jaggery, meat of birds of marshy lands, milk, sesame seed, black gram, Sura – beer and Dadhi – curds, yogurt should not be used for purposes of oleation in skin diseases (kushta), inflammatory conditions (Shopha) and diabetes (Prameha).  Because these substances may worsen the disease. 43b – 44a.

In these conditions, fats boiled with Triphala, Pippali, Pathya, Guggulu, etc., should be used as found suitable, which will not produce abnormalities. 44 – 45a.

For those who are debilitated by diseases, fats which are capable of increasing the strength of the body and of the digestive activity should be made use of for oleation therapy. 45b.

Benefits of fat administration

Snehapana Phala – benefits of drinking fats :-
दीप्तान्तराग्निः परिशुद्धकोष्ठः प्रत्यग्र धातुर्बलवर्णयुक्तः ।दृढेन्द्रियो मन्दजरः शतायुः स्नेहोपसेवी पुरूषः प्रदिष्टः ॥ ४६ ॥

He, who has very keen digestive activity, clean alimentary tract, well developed / strong tissues, physical strength, colour – complexion and powerful sense faculties, who is slow in getting old and who lives for a hundred years is the person who is habituated to oleation. In other words these are the benefits of oleation therapy if adopted often. 46.
Thus ends the chapter named Snehavidhi, the sixteenth in Sutrasthana of Astangahrdayam.

10 thoughts on “Snehana – Oils and Fats Treatment – Ashtanga Hrudayam Sutrasthana 16”

  1. Sir, What is the purpose of doing internal oleation ? Some say ghee coats the GI tract and prevents damage to the GI tract. Others say that Ghee dissolves excess doshas and brings them to the GI track for subsequent expulsion. What is your opinion ? If it dissolves excess doshas then why is internal oleation done again and again (before vaman then again before virechana so on and so forth) during panchkarma .Would the excess doshas not get expelled with the first panchkarma treatment only ?

  2. Acchapana Kala – duration of fat drinking :-There is a typo :After that period it – fat becomes accustomed . I suspect “it” should be “if”.

    • Hi, it means that
      After 7 days, the fat becomes accustomed (Satmyee bhavet) to the patient. Hence, the maximum time period for snehapana is told as 7 days only.

  3. In the article it is written that if fats are taken before food then they make the upper part of the body strong and vice-versa.How does it happen sir ?

    • There was a mistake in translation. Now corrected.
      Usually, for the treatment of lower part of the body or Apana Vata imbalance disorders, medicines are administered before food. For the treatment of diseases of upper part of the body (Udana and Vyana vata imbalance disorders), then the medicines are administered after food. This is the rule of time of medicine administration. There are many other criteria for deciding time of medicine administration. Read more about it here –

  4. Sir shloka number 17b states that the quantity of achapan Snehan is 2,4,8 yama. But you have told 2,3,4 Yama, is this correct?


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