Nasya therapy benefits types indication – Ashtang Hruday Sutrasthan 20

This chapter explains in detail about types, methods, indications and contra indication of nasal instillation of medicine – Nasya therapy. It is the 20th chapter of Ashtanga Hrudaya Sutrasthana, written by Acharya Vagbhata, son of Vaidyapathi Simhagupta.

Shloka recitation video

Nasya- Nasal medication is especially described for the treatment of diseases of the parts above the shoulders;
Nose is the gateway for the head, spreading through this, the nasal medication reaches all the parts of the head and neck and cures the diseases. 1

Three types of nasal medication

 Trividha Nasya – three kinds of Nasal medication:-
Nasya treatment is of three kinds –
1. Virechana Nasya – purgatory
2. Brimhana Nasya – nourishing and
3. Shamana – Palliative

Virechana Nasya

Virechana Nasya – It does purification. It expels the Doshas of head and neck out of the body. It is useful in
Shirashoola – headache,
Jadya – loss of movement of the head, heaviness, stiffness
Syanda – eye diseases
Galamaya – diseases of the throat,
Shopha – swelling,
Ganda – enlargement of glands,
Krumi – worm infestation
Granthi – tumor, fibroid
Kushta – skin diseases
Apasmara – Epilepsy and
Peenasa – rhinitis

Shodhana nasya is by the use of fats – (oils and ghee), suitable to the diseases and processed with appropriate drugs, in the form of Paste, decoction etc. and mixed with honey, salt and Asava (fermented infusion). 5

Brimhana nasya

Brimhana Nasya  – Nourishing type of Nasya treatment is required for
Vataja Shula – headache of Vata origin,
Suryavarta – Headache that increases by the day
Svarakshaya – loss of voice,
Nasa, Asya Shosha – emaciated – dryness of the nose and mouth,
Vak Sangha – Difficulty to speak
Krichra bodha – difficulty in opening of eyes and
Apabahuka- difficulty of movement of the arm. 3

Brimhana Nasya is by the use of juice of meat or blood of animals of desert- like lands, mixed with Khapura –plant extracts, resin, Gums etc.

Shamana nasya

Shamana Nasya – Palliative nasal medication is required in
Neelika – blue patches on the skin,
Vyanga – discolored patch on face,
diseases of the hair and of the eyes. 4

Shamana Nasya is by the use of juice of meat, blood milk or even water. 6

Other kinds of nasal medication

 Anya Nasya Prakarah – other kinds of nasal medication :-

Marsha and Pratimarsha are the two subdivisions of Sneha nasya– nasal medication with fat material based on the quantity –of fats used.

Avapeeda is from paste (Kalka), fresh juice, decoction and it is a strong purgation to the head. 7

Dhmana is in the form of powder- to be blown into the nose and is a purgative. It is administered by blowing it inside with the help of air from the mouth, the power held in a tube of six Angula in length, having opening at both its end. It pulls out the greatly imbalanced Doshas because it is in the form of powder. 8

Quantity of nasal drops

Nasya Matra – quantity of nasal drops:-
The amount of liquid that drops after immersing two digits of the index finger in any liquid and taking the finger out forms one bindu– 1 drop.

10, 8 and 6 such drops are the maximum, moderate and minimum doses, respectively of Marsha Nasya (oil / fat medication).

In respect of Paste (Kalka), fresh juice, decoction the doses are less by two bindu.  i.e. maximum, medium and minimum does of Avapidaka kind of nasya are 8,4 and 6 drops respectively. 9-10

Persons unsuitable for nasal medication

Nasya Anarhah – persons unsuitable to nasal medication :-

Nasal medication should not be administered to persons who
have just consumed water, wine, artificial poison (Garavisha – chronic poisoning) and fat (as part of Snehana therapy) or who wish to consume them, soon,
Who have taken food just then,
Who have already taken bath or who desire to take bath-soon,
Who  have had blood letting therapy- or severe bleeding due to other causes,
Who are having acute rhinitis,
Who are getting natural urges of the body;
Women who has recently delivered,
Patients of dyspnoea, COPD, Asthma and cough,
Those who have undergone purification (Panchakarma) therapies (Vamana and Virechana)
who have been given Basti treatment – just then,
At unsuitable seasons and
On cloudy days except in emergency  during diseases. 11-12 ½

Time and indications for nasal medication

Nasal medication should be administered in
Morning for Shleshma – increase of Kapha,
During midday for pitta,
In the evening or night for the healthy.
During Sharath (Autumn) and Vasantha (Spring), it should be given in forenoon.
During winter, it should be given in midday.
Evenings in Grisma –summer,
When there is sunlight during Varsha- rainy season.
It should be done both in evening and morning daily in the following diseases.
Vataja shiroroga – diseases of the head caused by Vata,
Hikka – Hiccup,
Ayama – tetanus,
Apatanaka ­- Convulsive disorders,
Manyasthambha – stiffness of the neck, and
Svarakshaya – hoarseness of voice, 13-15

In other diseases, it should be done on every alternative days for a week. 16

Procedure of nasal medication

 Nasya Vidhiprocedure of medication :-

The head of the person who has attended to this essential activities – elimination of urine and faeces, washing of the teeth and mouth etc. earlier, should be massaged with oil and given fomentation (mild sweating).
He should then be made to lie down on a cot in a room devoid of breeze,
the parts above his shoulders should be given fomentation (mild sweating) once again,
He is made to lie straight with his face upwards, extending his arms and legs,
the medicine slightly warmed with the help of hot water, should be taken either in a tube or soaked in a piece of cloth, and instilled into each nostril alternately, keeping the other one closed.

After instilling, his soles, neck, palms, ears etc. should be massaged- mildly, he should then turn to his sides and spit out till the entire medicine comes out.

In this manner two or three nasal medications should be administered to him.
If he becomes unconscious, cold water should be sprinkled over the face, avoiding the head. 21

Nasal medication with fats

 Sneha Nasya- Nasal  medication with fat materials:-

Nasal medication with fat material should be given at the end of purgative Nasal medications, in consideration of the Doshas etc.

After medication is completed, the patient should lie with face upwards, for a period of uttering one hundred syllables (for 100 seconds),
Then he should inhale smoke of medicated herbs and gargle the mouth with lukewarm water many times to cleanse the throat. 21-22 ½

Symptoms of proper sneha nasya

Symptoms of good Sneha nasya (with oil or ghee) – (remember that Marsha and Pratimarsha are the two types of Sneha nasya)

Sukha Uchvasa – Expiration without difficulty,
Sukha swapna – sleep
Sukha bodha – easy awakening from sleep and
Akshapatava – keenness of sense organs
are the signs of lubricating nasal therapy properly done. 23

Symptoms of inadequate sneha nasya

Symptoms of inadequate Sneha nasya (with oil or ghee) –
Akshi stabdhata – Loss of  movement of the eyes,
Shosha Nasa asye – emaciation, dryness of the nose and mouth
Murdha shunyata – feeling of emptiness inside the head
are the signs of dryness- or inadequate lubrication.

Symptoms of excess Sneha nasya

Kandu – Itching,
Guruta – feeling of heaviness of the head,
Praseka – excess salivation,
Aruchi – anorexia,
Peenasa – rhinitis,
are signs of excess of ubrication therapy. 24

Symptoms of proper virechana nasya

Symptoms of Good Virechana (Purgation) Nasya therapy –
Akshikaghuta – lightness of the eyes,
Vaktra swara vishuddhi – clean mouth and clear voice;

Symptoms of inadequate and excess virechana nasya

Inadequate Virechana Nasya (purgative therapy ) causes exacerbation of the diseases and
Excess therapy leads to emaciation. 25

Pratimarsha Nasya

Pratimarsha Nasya is a type of oil / fat Nasya. Here the dose is very low. Hence, it is indicated in a wide variety of diseases.
It can be administered to
Kshata – wounded,
Kshaama – the emaciated,
Baala – the children,
Vruddha – the aged and
Sukhaatma – those who lead a happy conservative life;
It can be administered even during unsuitable time, season, day etc. It can also be administered during rainy season.


Contra indication for Pratimarsha nasya –
It is not suitable in
Dushta Peenasa – infective Rhinitis,
Madyapeeta – those who has have drunk wine,
Abalashrota – People with low hearing capacity
Krumidushita Murdha – head infested with worms,
Utklishta Dosha – in  whom, the Doshas are greatly imbalanced and moving from place to place;
In these conditions, it is not suitable  because it is of less quantity. 26-27

Time of administration

Pratimarsha Kala – time to administered Pratimarsha Nasya –

शिरो अभ्यञ्जन गण्डूष प्रस्राव अञ्जन वर्चसाम् ॥२८॥ दन्तकाष्टस्य हासस्य योज्यो अन्ते असौ द्विबिन्दुक: ।

After head massage
After Gandusha (gargling)
After Anjana – collyrium,
After defecation,
After tooth brushing,
After bouts of laughing ;

Its dose is two Bindu- 2 drops. 28

Pratimarsha cleanses, clears the channels, relieves fatigue, improves eye sight, bestows sturdiness to the teeth and mitigates Vata. 29

Unsuitable age groups for Nasya

Kriya Nisiddha Vayas – unsuitable age for therapies –

Nasya should not be administered to those who are less than seven years and more than 80 years of age;
Dhuma- inhalation of smoke of drugs should not be administered for children below 18 years;
Kavala- mouth gargling should not be administered for children below five years; Shodhana – purification (Panchakarma) therapies like Vamana, Virechana etc. should not be administered below 10 years and above 70 years of age. 30-31

Pratimarsha – kind of nasal medication is good from birth to death just like basti treatment. It provides the benefits like Marsha Nasya (oil, high dose if used daily, it does not need any control – regarding food and activities nor it has any risks like Marsha Nasya). 32

तैलमेव च नस्यार्थे नित्याभ्यासेन शस्यते ॥३३॥ शिरस: श्लेष्मधामत्वात् स्नेहा: स्वस्थस्य नेतरे ।

Medicated oil only is ideal for daily use of Nasya (Pratimarsha), because the head is the dwelling place of kapha and no fat other than oil, can keep it healthy. 33

Immediate and delayed action, more and less benefits are the results of Marsha and Pratimarsha respectively.
If there is no difference between then, who will resort to marsha which is associated with controls – regarding food and activities and risks?

In the same way,
Acchapana – drinking of pure fat alone and
Vicharana- intake of fat mixed with foods etc.

Similar is the case of
Kuti Pravesika – one kind of rejuvenation therapy where the person needs to stay in a house for weeks together, taking Chyawanprash etc. and
Vatatapika- Rejuvenation treatment, wherein patient can do his routine work.

Similar is the case of
Anuvasana – fat enema and
Matra basti – fat enema with very little oil 34-36

Anu taila

Jivanti, Jala, Devadaru, Jalada, Twak, Sevya, Gopi (sariva), Hima, Darvi twak, Madhuka, Plava, Agaru, Shatavari, Pundrahva, Bilva,  Utpala, the two Dhavani, Surabhi, the two Sthira, Krmihara (Vidanga), Patram (Cinnamon leaf), Truti (Cardamom), Renuka, Kinjalka, Kamala (lotus) and Bala- are to be boiled in one hundred parts of rain water / pure water and decoction reduced to one tenth part;
To this decoction, equal quantity of sesame oil is added and cooked  for ten times.
(The decoction is added to the oil, boiled till water evaporation. Again, equal quantity of decoction is added, evaporated. This process is repeated for 10 times. During the tenth cooking, equal quantity of goats milk (equal to the quantity of oil) is added – and cooking is completed. This oil known as Anutaila, used as nasal drops, bestows great benefits. 37-38
Read more – Anu Tail benefits

Benefits of Nasya

Nasya Phala-  Benefits of Nasya treatment –
The skin, shoulders, neck face and chest become thick, well developed and bright;
The body parts and the sense organs become strong
Disappearance of grey hairs will be obtained by persons who become habituated to nasal medication. 39

Thus ends the chapter Nasya Vidhi- the twentieth in suthrasthana of Astangahrdaya Samhita.

10 comments on “Nasya therapy benefits types indication – Ashtang Hruday Sutrasthan 20

  • Prashant

    20/12/2013 - 1:46 pm

    So sir pratimarsha nasya can be done anytime- even after eating and taking a bath. Can it be done without doing the pre and post massage, steam etc ?

    Reply to comment
    • Dr JV Hebbar

      08/01/2014 - 5:30 pm

      It is better to do Pratimarsha after a massage. However, it can be done even without that.

      Reply to comment
  • Naresh

    21/02/2014 - 7:19 am

    Hi Dr. Hebbar,

    are there any risk factors in Nasya treatment. I cannot stand smoke and in some Nasya treatment medicated smokepowder is blown in the nose. does it cause head ache? which form of Nasya is best suited for Sinus patients without side effects.



    Reply to comment
  • arja P

    12/05/2016 - 10:19 am

    do one get benefits mentioned under heading nasya phala if using sesame oil or is restricted to anu oil only?plzzz guide

    Reply to comment
  • Raj Paul

    20/10/2016 - 7:44 pm

    I’m confused about marsha nasya duration. Does it have to be done every alternate day for 1 week. Eg. Mon, Wed, Fri, Sun, Tue, Thu, Sat.

    Reply to comment
    • Dr J V Hebbar MD(Ayu)

      25/10/2016 - 5:50 pm

      Hi, Marsha nasya is heavier dose of Nasya and needs to be undergone with a doctor’s supervision.

      Reply to comment
  • Manav

    08/09/2017 - 12:11 am

    Are there any rules laid down for snuffing? For example, is it ok to use trikatu powder or trikatu + brahmi/gotu kola powder snuff daily or regularly?

    Reply to comment
    • Dr J V Hebbar MD(Ayu)

      11/09/2017 - 4:57 pm

      Hi, powder snuffing is called Pradhamana nasya and it is not recommended to be done regularly on daily basis. It is done only when there is illness. Snuffing trikatu can cause lot of nasal irritation.

      Reply to comment
  • Siddharth

    17/02/2018 - 3:57 am

    What can be done if nasya and garavisha have been taken on the same day? Also what can be done if niruha vasti is don on the same day as nasya?esp if it gives rise to constipation?

    Reply to comment
    • Dr J V Hebbar MD(Ayu)

      26/02/2018 - 5:07 pm

      1. Treatment for Garavisha should be given.
      2. Niruha vasti and Pratimarsha nasya cna be given on the same day.

      Reply to comment

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