Tarpana Putapaka – Ayurveda Eye Care – Ashtanga Hrudaya Sutrasthana 24

Let us learn about two main Ayurveda eye care treatments – Tarpana and Putapaka, their indications, uses etc. This is the 23rd chapter of Ashtanga Hrudaya Sutrasthana, written by Acharya Vagbhata, son of Vaidyapathi Simhagupta.  The chapter name is Tarpana Putapaka Vidhi Adhyaya. Tarpana and Putapaka refers to two eye treatment methods.

Shloka recitation video

Tarpana Vidhi- procedure of Tarpana therapy


Indications for Tarpana eye care procedure:
When the eyes are fatigued, stiff, dry, rough or injured;
In patients of increase of  Vata and Pitta;
When there is irregularity – Asymmetry or loss of eye lashes,
In clouded unclear vision;
In patients of – diseases like
Krchronmilla –difficulty in opening eyes,
Shiraharsha, Shirotpata – redness and hemorrhage,
Tama – darkness in front of eyes,
Arjuna, Syanda, Mantha, Anyato Vata, Vataparyaya, and Sukraka;
After relief from redness, lacrimation, pain, swelling and exertions.


The patient should undergo purification of head – Nasya treatment and also purification of body – Vamana and Virechana.
Time for Tarpana can be either morning or evening.
The patient is made to lie down with his face upwards in a room devoid of breeze. 1-3 ½
A wall is constructed with the paste prepared from Yava (barley) and  Masha (black gram) around the eye socket –resembling a well to a height of two Angula –finger breadth.
Keeping the eyelids closed, medicated herbal ghee, which is liquefied by heating in hot water bed, should be poured into the well up to the level of tips of the eye lashes.
In diseases like Naktandhya (night blindness), Vatatimira, Krichradodha etc. muscle fat should be used instead of ghee.
The patient should then be asked to open his eyes slowly and retain the drug .


Time of retention

Matrakala- time required to utter a soft syllable should be counted up to
100 – for the diseases of Vartma – eye lids
300 – for the diseases of Sandhi – fornices
500 – for the diseases of Sita – sclera
700 – for the diseases of Asita – cornea
800 – for the diseases of Drishti – pupil, retina etc.
1000 – for the disease Adhimanta

1000 – for the disease caused by Vata imbalance,
600 – for diseases caused by Pitta,
500 – for healthy person and for diseases of Kapha imbalance.
These are the time for retaining the drug.

After the stipulated time, the ghee should be removed through a hole made at the outer canthus.
The person should be given Dhumapana (herbal smoking).
The person is advised not to look at the bright sky or bright objects.

Tarpana days

Tarpana therapy should be done daily in diseases of Vata,
On alternative days in diseases of Pitta,
At an interval of two days for healthy persons and in diseases of  Kapha.

Symptoms of excess or less Tarpana

Tarpana Atiyoga, Ayoga Lakshana 

Prakasha Kshamata – Ability  to withstand bright light
Good eye health
Vishada – clarity in vision
Laghu lochana – lightness in eyes are the symptoms of good Tarpana procedure.

Opposite of these are the symptoms of inadequate Tarpana, and appearance of disorders of Kapha imbalance is the symptom of Excess Tarpana. 4-11

Putapaka VidhiProcedure of Putapaka

Just as the body becomes fatigued after Snehana therapy (drinking fats), eyes become fatigued after Tarpana therapy ; In order to restore the strength to the eyes, Putapaka therapy should be done in diseases mentioned earlier. 12

Types of Putapaka

Snehana putapaka (with fat) – for Vata imbalance disorder.
Lekhana Putapaka (scraping type) – for Vata – Kapha imbalance disorder.
Prasadana Putapaka (soothing) – in weakness of the eyes, vision, in disorders of Vata Pitta and Rakta and for healthy persons. 13

Snehana Putapaka

is done by making use of fat, marrow, muscle fat and juice of meat of animals which live in burrows (Bhushaya), which bite (Prasaha), cut their food – cow, horse, ass etc, and  those which live in Marshy lands (Anupa), or with drugs of Jivaneeya gana- vide chapter 15 macerated with milk- 14

Lekhana Putapaka

is done by making use of Mastu (whey), water of yoghurt macerated with the paste of liver of animal and birds, pearl, ash of iron and copper, Saindhava- salt, Srotonjana (Antimony sulphide), Shankha (ash of conch shell), Phena- (sea foam), cuttlefish and Ala (orpiment). 15

Prasadana Putapaka

is done by making use of cow milk / breast milk macerated with the liver, marrow, muscle fat, muscle of intestines and heart of animals and birds and drugs of sweet taste, mixed with ghee. 16

Preparation method

 Putapaka Kalpanapreparing the recipe

The meat of animals and drugs should be made into balls of size of Bael fruit or of 1 pala (48 grams).
The balls should be wrapped in leaves of Urubuka, Vata or Amboja, Smeared with fats, and given a coating of mud.
After they become dry, they are placed inside the fire of wood of Dhava or Dhavana or of dried crow dung and cooked till the balls becomered hot in appearance.
After they cool off, the paste of drugs is taken out and juice extracted from it.
The juice should be used for Tarpana procedure, as explained above.
The juice should be retained for a period of 200 – 300 Matra Kala.
Snehana and Lekhana – 200 Matra Kala
Prasadhana – 300 Matra Kala
Juice should be Lukewarm for Snehana and Lekhana and cold for Prasadana.

At the end of the Snehana and Lekhana types, Dhumapana (herbal smoking) is indicated. 19

Signs of Putapaka therapy

The signs and symptoms of proper, inadequate or excess of Putapaka therapy are similar to those mentioned under Tarpana therapy. 20

Both Tarpana and Putapaka therapies should not be administered to those who are unfit for Nasya (nasal drops).

The patient who has undergone Tarpana and Putapaka therapies should adhere to healthy foods and activities for double the number of days of Nasya therapy. During nights he should bind the eyes with a pad of flowers like Malati, Mallika (Jasmine varieties).21

All efforts should be made to strengthen the eyes by following Nasya, Anjana, Tarpana etc, for once the vision is lost the different types of things of the world will all be perceived as one i.e. darkness. 22

Thus ends the chapter Tarpana Putapaka Vidhi- the twenty-fourth of Sutrasthana in Astangahrudaya Samhita composed by Srimad Vagbhata, son of Sri Vaidhyapati  Simhagupta.

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