Oral, Ear And Head Therapy – Ashtanga Hrudaya Sutrasthana 22

Let us learn about few oral, ear and head therapy, their benefits, procedure etc. It is the 22nd Chapter of Ashtanga Hrudaya Sutrasthana, written by Acharya Vagbhata, son of Vaidyapathi Simhagupta. The chapter is called Gandushadi Vidhi Adhyaya, because it starts with explanation of Gandusha – mouth gargling.

Shloka recitation video

Types of Gandusha

Types of Full volume mouth gargling – Gandusha Prakara –
Note: Gandusha is a treatment procedure wherein the patient holds the liquid medicine in his mouth, to its full capacity, for a specific time period.

Gandusha is of four kinds, viz –
Snigdha – lubricating, with oils and fats – for Vata imbalance disorder
Shamana – palliative – for Pitta imbalance disorder
Shodhana – purifying – for Kapha imbalance disorder
Ropana – healing. 2.

Snigdha Gandusha – lubricating full mouth gargle is by the use of oil processed with herbs of sweet, sour and salt tastes.

Shamana Gandusha – palliative full mouth gargle is by herbs of bitter, astringent and sweet tastes.

Shodhana – purifying full gargle is with herbs of bitter, pungent, sour, salt tastes and possessing Ushna – hot property.

Ropana – healing full gargle is with herbs of astringent and bitter tastes. 3.

Liquids used for Gandusha

Gandusha Drava – liquids used –
Fats – oil, ghee etc., milk,
Honey with water,
Shukta – fermented gruel,
Madya – wine,
Mamsarasa – juice of meat,
Mutra – urine of animals or
Dhanyamla – wash of grains fermented by keeping overnight,
These liquids are commonly used in Gandusha.

The liquids may be mixed with a kalka (herbal paste).
The liquids may be cooked or raw.
The liquids should be comfortable to touch and to hold in the mouth.

Sesame seed paste for strong teeth

Tilakalkodaka – Sesame seed paste with water –
दन्तहर्षे दन्तचाले मुखरोगे च वातिके ।
सुखोष्णमथवा शीतं तिलकल्कोदकं हितम् ॥ ५ ॥
गण्डूष धारणे
dantaharṣe dantacāle mukharoge ca vātike|
sukhoṣṇamathavā śītaṃ tila kalka udakaṃ hitam||5||
gaṇḍūṣa dhāraṇe
It means
तिल कल्क उदकं सुख उष्णमथवा शीतं हितम् गण्डूष धारणे – tila kalka udakaṃ sukha uṣṇamathavā śītaṃ hitam gaṇḍūṣa dhāraṇe – water mixed with sesame seed paste, either in lukewarm or cold form, is useful to hold full mouth gargle in conditions mentioned below –
दन्तहर्षे – dantaharṣe – tingling sensation in the teeth
दन्तचाले – dantacāle – loose / shaking teeth
वातिके मुखरोगे च – mukharoge ca vātike – diseases of the mouth caused by vitiated vata

It means, water mixed with sesame seed paste, either in lukewarm or cold form, is useful to hold full mouth gargle in conditions mentioned below –
dantaharṣe – tingling sensation in the teeth
dantacāle – loose / shaking teeth
mukharoge ca vātike – diseases of the mouth caused by vitiated vata.

In conditions like
Dantaharsha – tingling of the teeth,
Dantachala – shaky teeth, and
Diseases of the mouth caused by Vata, Gandusha with sesame seed paste mixed with water – either lukewarm or cold, is useful. 5

Taila (sesame oil), Mamsarasa (meat soup), Ghrita (ghee) Ksheera (cow milk)
For daily use, either sesame oil or meat soup is good.

When there is local or general burning sensation (Daha), ulceration and wounds caused by foreign bodies, poison wounds, alkalies (Kshara) and burns by fire, it is best to hold either ghee or milk. 3 – 6.

Honey – Holding honey in the mouth removes the sliminess of the mouth, heals the ulcers quickly, relieves burning sensation and thirst. 7.

Holding Dhanyamla – fermented grain wash in the mouth removes distaste, dirt (of teeth and tongue) and bad smell from the mouth.

The same – Dhanyamla without salt, used cold, is best to remove dryness of the mouth.

Holding Ksharambu – water containing alkalies in the mouth quickly breaks up the accumulation of Kapha.

Holding comfortable warm water brings about lightness and cleansing of the mouth. 8 – 9.

Gandusha procedure

Gandusha Vidhi – procedure –

The person should sit in a place devoid of breeze (Nivata) but in sunlight (Sa Aatapa).
His shoulders and neck should be massaged and fomented;
Keeping his face slightly lifted up, he should hold the liquid in his mouth till the mouth gets filled with Kapha or till the nose and eyes start secreting liquid. 10 – 11.

Difference between Kavala and Gandusha

Difference between Kavala and Gandusha –
Filling the mouth with liquids fully not permitting any movement inside is Gandusha.
Taking liquid into mouth and moving it around by gargling for specific time period is Kavala.

Kavala – mouth gargles

Diseases of the neck, head, ears, mouth and eyes,
Praseka – excess salivation, diseases of the throat,
Dryness of the mouth, nausea,
Tandra – stupor,
Aruchi – anorexia and
Peenasa – rhinitis are curable by Kavala – mouth gargles. 12.

Pratisarana – coating the mouth with herbs

Pratisarana – applying herbs to the interior of the mouth with the finger – is of three kinds, viz.
Kalka – in the form of paste
Rasakriya – solidified decoction and
Curna – powder
It should be done in diseases of Kapha origin with the same herbs as suggested for Gandusha. 13.

Mukhalepa – facial packs

Mukhalepa – Application of paste of herbs over the face, Facial creams


Mukhalepa – application of paste of herbs over the face is of three types –
Doshaha – removing the Doshas,
Vishaha – removing poison and
Varnakara – improving complexion. 14.

It should be applied warm for Vata and Kapha and
For Pitta imbalance, it should be cold.


Its three thickness –
Minimum – 1/4th Angula (Finger breadth)
Medium – 1/3 Angula
Maximum – ½ Angula thickness. 15

It should be allowed to remain till it becomes dry; when dry, it vitiates the skin colour, hence it should be removed soon after it becomes dry. While removing, it should be moistened for easy removal.

After removal, a gentle oil massage should be given. 16.

Things to avoid

Things not to do – The person should avoid day sleep, speaking for long hours, exposure to fire and sunlight, sorrow and anger during the procedure.


It should not be administered to persons suffering from
Peenasa – rhinitis,
Ajeerna – indigestion,
Nasya – who have received Nasya therapy,
Hanugraha – lock jaw,
Aruchi – anorexia,
Jagarana – loss of sleep.


If properly done, it cures
Akalapalita – premature graying of hair,
Vyanga – discolored patch on face,
Vali – wrinkles,
Timira – blindness and
Neelika – bluish vision (a type of blindness) 17 – 18.
The following six recipes are ideal for the six seasons commencing with Hemanta (early winter) respectively.

  1. For Hemanta (early winter) – Marrow of Kola, root of Vrisha (Vasa – Adhatoda vasica), Sabara and Gaurasarsapa (White mustard).
  2. For Shishira (winter) – Root of Simhi, Krisna tila (black sesame), bark of Darvi and dehusked Yava (barley).
  3. For Vasantha (Spring) – Root of Darbha, Hima; Usheera, Shirisha, Mishi and Tandula (rice grains)
  4. For Greeshma (summer) – Kumuda, Utpala, Kalhara, Durva, Madhuka and Chandana (Sandalwood).
  5. Varsha (Rainy season) – Kaliyaka, Tila, Usira, Mamsi, Tagara and Padmaka.
  6. Sharath (Autumn) – Talisa, Gundra, Pundrahva, Yasti, Kasa, Nata and Aguru. 19 – 21.

For those who are habituated to application of paste of herbs on the face, the vision becomes keen, the face never dull, but smooth and brilliant resembling a lotus flower. 22.

Murdha Taila – Oil treatment for head

Murdha Taila – application of oil to the head is of 4 types.
Shiro Abhyanga – smearing oil and mild massage,
Shiro Pariseka– pouring oil in continuous stream,
Shiro Pichu – keeping cloth soaked in oil over the entire area of scalp,
Shiro Basti – making the oil accumulate on the head with the help of a compound.

Each successive one being more effective. Means, Shirobasti is the most effective among the four.

Shiro Abhyanga

Applying oil and doing mild massage should be used in case of dryness, itching and dirtiness.


pouring oil in a thin stream is useful in ulcerations of the scalp, headache, burning sensation, wounds, and suppuration in the scalp. It is also known as Shirodhara.

Shiro Pichu

Oil soaked cloth / cotton swabs, applied over the scalp – useful in case of falling of hairs, cracking of the skin and feeling of burning sensation.


making the oil to accumulate on the head in cases of

Netrasthamba – lack of movement of eyeball
Prasupti – loss of sensation of the scalp,
Ardita – facial palsy,
Jagara – loss of sleep,
Nasa Asya Shosha – dryness of the nose and mouth,
Timira – blindness and
Daruna Shiroroga – dreadful diseases of the head. 23 – 26.

Procedure of Shirobasti

Shirobasti Vidhi –
The person who has been purified – with Vamana, Virechana etc., should be gently massaged with oil and given mild fomentation.
Then at the closing of the day (evening) he should be made to sit on a stool of the height of the knee, a strap of leather made from the leather of either cow or buffalo, twelve Angula in width ( 8 – 9 inches) and equal to that of the head in circumference should be wrapped around the head, just above the ears, covered by a piece of cloth over the forehead, and fastened tight with a thread.

The joints and intervening spaces should be packed with paste of black gram flour in order to prevent leakage of oil. Then, medicated oil prescribed for the disease, should be poured over the head, in luke warm condition, to a height of one Angula over the skin of the scalp.

Time of retention

It should be held till secretion of fluid appears in the mouth and nose, or for a period of

10,000 Matra Kala for Vata
8,000 Matra Kala for Pitta and
6,000 Matra Kala for Kapha

1 Matra Kala = time required to blink the eye once.

For a healthy person, it is 1,000 Matra Kala.
After this period, the shoulders etc. should be massaged, after removing the oil over the head.
Seven days shall be the maximum period for this therapy. 27-31.

Karna Purana – filling the ears with oil

The ears should be filled with medicated fat/oil, root of the ears massaged, till the pain or the disease subsides and for a period of one thousand Matra Kala in case of healthy persons. 32.

Matra Kala

The time required for the finger of the right hand to move around the right knee once or the time required for closing and opening of the eyelids once is defined as a Matrakala. 33.

Benefits of Murdha taila

Murdhataila Phala – benefits of oiling of the head –
Oiling of the head prevents/cures falling, graying and matting of the hair, cracking of skin of the scalp, diseases of the head due to Vata imbalance, produces clarity of sense organs, imparts strength to the voice, jaw and head. 34.
Thus ends the chapter Gandushadi Vidhi – the 22nd in Sutrasthana of Astanga Hridaya.

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