In this chapter, we will learn in detail about herbal smoking, its benefits, indications, timing, contra indication etc. This is the 21st chapter of Ashtangahrudayam Sutrasthana, written by Acharya Vagbhata, son of Vaidyapathi Simhagupta.
Shloka recitation video
The person who wishes to take care of his health should inhale herbal smoke daily to treat or to prevent the onset of diseases of the parts above the shoulders, arising from – increase of Kapha and Vata. 1
Types of Dhumapana
Snigdha Dhuma – lubricating, also known as Mrudu (Soft) / Prayogika Dhuma – useful in Vata imbalance.
Madhya Dhuma – medium – useful in Vata and Kapha imbalance. Also known as Shamana Dhuma.
Teekshna Dhuma – strong, useful in Kapha imbalance. Also known as Virechana Dhuma (Purifying). 2
Person unsuitable for Dhoomapana
Dhuma Anarhah– person unsuitable for inhalation –
Inhalation of smoke should not be done for persons who are suffering from
Raktapitta- bleeding disease,
Virikta – who has undergone Virechana therapy,
Udara – ascites, intestinal obstruction,
Meha – diabetes, urinary tract disorders,
Timira – blindness,
Urdhwa Anila – upward movement of Vata,
Adhmana – Flatulence, bloating,
Rohini- a serious disease of the throat, diphtheria,
Datta Basti – who have been administered enema,
Who have just eaten fish, wine, curds, milk, honey, fats and poison;
Who are suffering from head injuries,
Pandu- anemia and
Jagarita – those who have kept awake at night. 2a – 3a
Side effects of herbal smoking
Side effects of herbal smoking –
रक्तपित्तान्ध्य बाधिर्य तृट् मूर्छा मद मोहकृत् ॥४॥ धूमो अकाले अतिपीतो वा तत्र शीत विधिर्हित: ।
Doing Dhumapana at improper time or in excess leads to
Rakta pitta- bleeding disease,
Andhya – blindness,
Badhirya – deafness,
Trut – excessive thirst,
Murcha – fainting, loss of consciousness,
Mada, Moha – delusion.
For this cold regimen should be adopted. 5
Proper time for herbal smoking
Dhumapana Kala– proper time for inhalation –
Indication for Mridu Dhuma – Mild, lubricating smoke should be inhaled
Kshut – at the end of sneezing,
Jrumbhita – yawning,
Vit – defecation,
Mutra – urination,
Striseva – copulation,
Shastrakarma – surgical operation,
Hasya – bouts of laughing,
Dantakashta – use of tooth brush.
Indication for Madhyama Dhuma –
Medium strength smoke should be inhaled
at the end of the night,
end of the meals and
end of Nasya therapy,
Virechana Dhuma – purgative, strong smoke should be inhaled
Nidra – at the end of sleep,
Nasya – at the end of Nasya treatment
Anjana – After applying collyrium
Snana – After bath and
Chardi – After vomiting. 5-6
Dhuma Yantra – Smoking Apparatus
The smoke apparatus should be prepared from the same material as of enema nozzle (from metals like gold, silver, iron etc);
It should have three chambers
It should be straight
It should permit the entry of the thumb and a Kolasthi- seed of jujube fruit through orifices at its root and tip respectively. 7
The length of the tube should be
24 Angula (width of one knuckle) for Mrudu (soft, Sneha) Dhuma
32 Angula for medium Dhuma and
40 Angula for strong Virechana Dhuma. 8
Method of herbal smoking
Dhumapana Vidhi – Method of inhalation –
The patient should sit straight, be attentive, with his mouth open and inhale the smoke through each nostril alternatively,
While inhaling from one nostril, he should close the other.
Inhalation should be done thrice – inhaling the smoke and letting it out together forms one bout;
Three such bouts should be done each time. 9
Smoke should be inhaled through the nose first if the imbalanced Doshas are localized in the nose and head.
If Dosha from nose and head are not coming out, but are adhering, inhalation should be done first through the mouth to make them move; and later through the nose.
When the Doshas are localized in the throat – inhalation should be done in reverse order- first by the nose and later by the mouth.
The smoke inhaled (either from mouth or from nose) should be let out only through the mouth; if let out through the nose, it produces loss of vision. 10-11
Smoking should be done thrice, with three inhalations and three exhalations alternately.
Snigdha- lubricating, mild kind of smoke should be taken for only set of three inhalation and exhalations, during day time.
Madhya- medium kind – two sets of 3 inhalations and exhalations and Shodhana- purgative, strong kind, 3 – 4 sets of 3 inhalations and exhalations.
Herbal smoking blends
Herbal Smoking Blends – Dhuma dravyani –
For Mridu Dhuma – mild kind of smoke – useful drugs are-
Aguru, Guggulu, Musta, Sthauneya, Shaileya, Nalada, Usheera, Valaka, Varanga, Kounti, Madhuka, Bilvamajja, Elavaluka, Shrivestaka, Sarjarasa, Dhyamaka, Madana, Plava, Shallaki, Kumkuma, Masha, Yava, Kunduruka, Tila, oil obtained from fruits and pith of trees, fat, marrow, muscle- fat and ghee. 13-15
For Shamana Dhuma – Madyama – medium kind of smoke – useful drugs are – Shallaki, Laksha, Prithvika, Kamala, Utpala, Barks of Nyagrodha, Udumbara, Asvattha, Plaksa and Rodhra; Sita, Yasthimadhu (licorice), Suvarnatwak, Padmaka, Raktayastika Kustha, Tagara and other scents – perfumeries.
For Teekshna Dhuma – Strong, Purgative kind of smoke – useful drugs are Jyotismati, Nisha (turmeric), Dashamula, Ala, Laksa, Shweta, Triphala, Substances which have strong smell and drugs of Murdha Virechana Gana- vide chapter 15, -13-18
Dhumavarti- preparation of smoke wick-
A reed (tall, grass like plant), twelve Angula in length, soaked in water for a day and night, should be wrapped in five layers, one over the other with a ribbon of cloth;
It is smeared with thin paste of drugs, its thickness being that of the middle portion of the thumb.
It should be dried in shade, removed of its reed, smeared with any suitable fat material (oil / ghee).
It should be inserted into the smoking tube, lit with fire and the smoke is inhaled. 19-20 ½
Herbal smoke for cough
Kasaghna Dhuma– Anti-tussive smoke for cough –
A tube either 10 or 8 Angula in length should be fixed to a hole made in a capsule of earthen saucers and the person suffering from cough is made to inhale smoke through the tube. 21
Notes- A burning coal / charcoal is placed inside an earthen pot. Powder of herbs is sprinkled over it and covered with another vessel, having a hole at its center. A tube is connected to the hole, through which the smoke is inhaled.
Benefits of Dhoomapana
Dhumapana Phala– benefits of smoke therapy-
Cough, dyspnoea, rhinitis, disorders of voice, bad smell of the nose and mouth, pallor of the face, disorders of hairs, discharges, itching, pain and in activities – diminution or loss of function of the ears, mouth and eyes; stupor and hiccup do not affect the person who inhales smoke- habitually. 22
Thus ends chapter – Dhumapana Vidhi- the Twenty First of Sutrasthana of Astangahrdaya Samhita.