Oleation – Snehakarma Dose, Benefits, Side Effects, Management

Oleation means, administering a person with any kind of fat – may be herbal ghee, herbal oil, animal fat or bone marrow to the patient, ahead of Panchakarma treatment. The purpose of Panchakarma treatment is to expel imbalanced Dosha out of the body. Oleation helps to mobilize the Doshas from the disease places in the body. Hence, it is considered as the preparation step for Panchakarma. 

Charaka Samhita Sutrasthana 13th chapter
Ashtanga Hrudaya Sutrasthana 16th Chapter

Oleation therapy

Definition of Snehana

That which induces sneha (unctuousness, oiliness), vishyanda (liquefaction), mardavam (smoothness) and kleda (moistness or dampness) on consumption (or application) is called Sneha.

Before oleation treatment, at first, patient is administered with spicy medicine such as Trikatu Choorna, Chitrakadi Vati etc for a period of three days. This is to boost digestion strength and to relieve ama (a product of indigestion).
After once good digestion strength is established, person is given with ghee / oil  etc fats to drink for 3 – 7 days, based on digestion strength.

Substances used for Snehana

Substances used for Snehakarma – Oleation treatment:
Cow ghee, sesame oil, animal muscle fat and bone marrow are the four types of fats that are usually administered.
Among them, ghee is the best, because of
Ghee has the power to assimilate effectively the properties of other substances. (Samskara Anuvartana)
Ghee is congenial to human body since birth and
It does not cause any burning sensation.

Among them, Ghee is very light to digest. Ghee the most efficient for Pitta balance and Taila is the least efficient to balance Pitta.
When compared between the four,  Oil is heavier (hard to digest) than ghee, muscle-fat is heavier than oil, marrow is heavier than all, to digest.

Yamaka Sneha

Yamaka Sneha – Fat mixes:
Sometimes, rather than one ghee or oil etc, a mixture of 2 or more fats is used for oleation. Mixture of two oleating substances is called as Yamaka.
Mixture of three is called as Trivrit and
All four combined is called as Mahasneha.

Order of administering Sneha

Sneha should be administered first. Later Swedana (sudation, fomentation, sweating treatment) should be given. Shodhana or cleansing treatments should be administered only after Snehana and Swedana.

This shows that Snehana, a procedure which operates by using sneha, is a mandatory treatment and comes first-hand in the sequence of Shodhana or Panchakarma therapies.

Video explanation

Effect on body weight

Does Snehapana – drinking of large quantities of fat, as part of treatment cause weight gain? How does it help in treatment?
Prior to vomiting and purgation Panchakarma detoxification, for 3 – 7 days large doses of ghee or any fat is given. During this time, the patient is to take only limited diet, that too after the fat has been digested.
This can be called as fat diet – fasting.
Recently, a randomized clinical trial in 100 people with fasting mimicking diet with low in calories, sugars and protein but high in unsaturated fat,
reduced body weight and body fat
Lowered blood pressure
Decreased the hormone – IGF-1. This hormone is implicated in aging, diabetes, cancer, and cardiovascular disease. (research)

So, Snehana with high fat diet with restriction on other types of food is in fact very useful in reducing the body weight, and the said disorders. It sets up the patient’s strength to take up the next course of treatment – i.e. vomiting and Purgation treatment (Vamana and Virechana).

Qualities of fats

Qualities of fats – Snehana Dravya Guna –
The substances used for oleation therapy have the following qualities –
heaviness, cold, easily moving, mobility, spreading, unctuous, oily, mild, minute, soft and liquid.

  • Drava – Liquidity
  • Sukshma – Minuteness (capable of penetrating deep)
  • Sara – Flow, slide
  • Snigdha – Unctuous
  • Pichchila – Sticky, Slimy
  • Guru – Heavy
  • Sheetala – Cold
  • Manda – Slow
  • Mrudu – Smooth

Properties of ghee

Ghee balances Pitta and Vata,
it is conducive to Rasadhatu, Shukradhatu (semen) and Ojas. It has cooling and softening effect on the body. It adds to the clarity of the voice and complexion.

ghrita - cow ghee

Ghee indications

Indications for the administration of Ghee:
For person with Vata Pitta body type,
Those suffering from Vata and Pitta imbalance disorders,
Those desiring good eye sight,
Patients with chest injured,
For the old, children and weak,
Those desirous of longevity, of strength, good complexion, voice, nourishment,
progeny, tenderness, luster, Ojas, memory, intelligence, power of digestion,
wisdom, proper functioning of sense organs and those afflicted with injuries due to burns, by weapons, poisons and fire.
Ghee is best suited for those who desire improvement of intelligent, memory, intelligence etc.

Properties of oils

Properties of Taila – oils:
Oil alleviates Vata, It does not aggravate Kapha, it promotes body strength.
It is useful in disorders pertaining to female reproductive system.

Sesame Oil - Til tail

Oil indications

Indications for the administration of oils:
Intake of oil is prescribed even in the winter for those who are having Kapha in excess,
who have excess fat in throat and abdomen, Vata imbalance disorders
tumour, sinus ulcer, worm infestation, obesity
those suffering from Vata imbalance diseases and
those desirous of strength, slimness, lightness, sturdiness,
steadiness, tenderness and smoothness of the skin,
those having worms and other infection in their bowels,
those having Krura koshta (unpredictable bowel – sometime soft, most of the times hard)
those afflicted with wound sinuses,
those who are accustomed to the intake of oil,
and who have hard bowel movements.

Animal fat properties

Properties of Vasa – fat:
The fat is prescribed for the treatment of injury, fracture, trauma,
uterine prolapse, earache and headache.
It enhances the virility of a person. It helps in oleation and is ideal for those who do daily exercise.

Bone marrow properties

Properties of bone marrow:
The marrow enhances, strength, Shukra (male and female reproductive system), Rasadhatu, Kapha Dosha, Medodhatu (fat) and Majja (marrow). It improves strength, specially of the bones and is useful for oleation.

Muscle fat indications

Indications for the administration of muscle fat:
Intake of muscle fat is prescribed for those who can stand the wind and the sun,
those with  rough skin,
those who are emaciated due to the bearing of heavy loads or exertion from long walks,
those with depleted semen and blood,
those with less Kapha and Medas (fat),
those having excruciating pain, in bone joints, veins, ligaments, vital organs, abdominal viscera,
those whose channels of circulation are affected by strong Vata,
those with excellent digestion strength and those who are accustomed to the intake of fats.
This is, however, to be administered only to such of the patients as are required to be given oleation therapy.

Samyak Snigdha Lakshana Video

Bone marrow indications

Indications for administration of bone marrow:
Intake of bone marrow is prescribed for those who have strong digestive power,
those who can withstand stress and  strain, greedy eaters,
those accustomed to the intake of oils and fats,
those afflicted with Vata and those with hard bowel.

Muscle-fat and marrow are suited for persons who are depleted of their tissues from exposure to breeze, sunlight, long distance walk, carrying heavy load, women (sexual activity) and physical activities; for patients who have pain of the joints, bones, vital organs and abdominal viscera; so also for pain of burns, assault by weapons, vaginal prolapse, earache and headache.
They are good for who are dry patients, who withstand strain, who have very strong digestive activity, and in whom Vata is obstructed in its normal pathways.

Choice of fats based on season

Oil is ideal for use during first part of rainy season,
ghee is best suited during autumn season
Muscle fat and marrow are suited during spring season 

Seasonal indications for different types of unctuous substances:
Ghee is to be used in autumn (Sharath Rutu),
Vasa and Majja (Fat and marrow) in the month of Vaishakha (April- may) and
Taila – oil during the rainy (Pravrit) season.
One should not take any of the oily substance when it is extremely hot or cold.

Persons suitable for oleation

Persons suitable for oleation – Snehya – Sneha yogya 
Oleation therapy in general is prescribed for those who are to be given Swedana (sweating treatment) or Panchakarma therapy,
those who have roughness in the skin,
those suffering from diseases due to Vata imbalance;
those who indulge in physical exercise, wine and women,
those who suffer from mental strain
who think too much,
the aged, the children, the debilitated,
the emaciated, fatigue;
who are dry,
Depleted blood and semen,
who are suffering from diseases of Vata,
Timira – ophthalmia, blindness.

Persons unsuitable for oleation

Persons unsuitable for oleation – Asnehya – Sneha Ayogya
Oleation therapy should not be administered to such of the patients who are
eligible for Rukshana(drying therapy)
to those in whom Kapha and Medas (fat) are aggravated,
those with Kapha symptoms like excess mucus secretion from mouth and anus,
those whose power of digestion is continuously weak or very strong digestive power
those suffering from thirst and fainting, the pregnant women,
those with dry palate, obese, stiffness of thighs, anorexia
those having aversion to food, those suffering from vomiting, diarrhea, dysentery
abdominal diseases,diseases due to improper digestion as well as metabolism,
those afflicted  with Gara type of poison (chronic diet-poison), excessive thirst
Ama condition, altered metabolism, diseases of throat, diseases of Kapha imbalance
the weak, emaciated, those having aversion to the intake of unctuous substances, fainting, loss of consciousness
those intoxicated and those being administered inhalation and enema therapies.
chronic alcoholic, lady who has undergone abortion
people who are to be given nasal medication and enema .

Course for fat administration

Course for fat administration before Panchakarma:
Minimum period is 3 days.
Maximum period is 7 days.
During temperate seasons use of oleating materials should be done during day time and when the sun is clear.

Time to administer fats

Time in the day, to administer fats – Snehapana Kala
In case of Vata and Pitta imbalance, oleation therapy should be administered in the evening.
When the Kapha is vitiated it is administered in mid-day
Oil may be used in emergency even in cold season. Ghee can be given even in summer and even at night.
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.
Otherwise, diseases due to Vata and Kapha arise if fats are used at nights and diseases of Pitta if used during day.


Complications of untimely administration of fats:-
If oleation therapy is administered during the day time in summer or to patients suffering from diseases dominated by the vitiation of Vata or Pitta, this may cause fainting, thirst, insanity or jaundice.

If one suffering from diseases of Kapha imbalance or from a disease during the course of the winter, if he is administered with oleation during evening, he will suffer from anaha (bloathing), anorexia (aruchi), colic pain and anemia.


Co-drink for oleation treatment:
Ghee is to be taken with the Anupana of hot water,
oil with anupana of Yusha (vegetable soup),
muscle fat and bone marrow with Anupana of Manda (thin gruel).or all these oily substances may be taken with the Anupana  of hot water.

Classification of fats

Sneha is classified in various forms.
On the basis of origin of Sneha –
Sneha is classified as Sthavara (derived from plants, seeds etc) and Jangama (derived from animals).

On the basis of action, the sneha is classified as –
Shodana Sneha – Here the medicated ghee or oils are given in higher doses so as to cause saturation in the body. The dosage is increased every day until all the cells of the body get saturated or the symptoms of proper administration (Samyak Snigdha Lakshanas) are obtained or until the patient develops aversion towards the medicine. It is usually given early in the morning on empty stomach, in large doses. It is given for patients for whom Shodana (body cleansing treatments like vamana – therapeutic emesis or virechana – therapeutic purgation) has been planned. After the body cells have been saturated with the Sneha, Swedana (whole body steaming) is given followed by administration of Vamana (therapeutic emesis) and or Virechana (Therapeutic purgation).

Shamana Sneha – The same medicaments are given in smaller doses when the extent and strength of the disease and diseased are low or moderate. It is given when the patient feels hungry, before food. The intention is to pacify the vitiated Doshas and not to expel them.

Brimhana Sneha – The sneha is given for strengthening purposes and also for promoting bulk. The medicated oil or ghee is given mixed with food.

Snehapana comprises of intake of monitored doses of Sneha which may be either in medicated form or natural form (achcha sneha).

On the basis of dose, sneha is classified as –
-Hrisiyasi Matra – Test dose (smallest dose)
-Hrishwa Matra – Low dose (which gets digested in 6 hours)
-Madhyama Matra – Moderate dose (which gets digested in 12 hours)
-Uttama Matra – High dose (which digested in 24 hours)

On the basis of processing, sneha is classified as
Mrudu Paka (sneha has equal quantity of medicinal paste and fat at the end of processing), Madhya Paka (the remnants at the bottom are smooth and doesn’t adhere to the stirrer) and Khara Paka (the medicine or paste gets black, charred, split and broken, slimy and can be made into a wick).

On the basis of mode of administration, sneha is classified as –
Bahya Snehana (external use) – Abhyanga (massage), Lepa (application of paste), Mardana (stroking), Udwartana (upward massage, from below upwards), Samvahana (mild massage), Padaghata (stroking with foot), Murdha taila (procedures done over the head with oils etc, like pooling, pouring etc), Gandusha (gargling), Karnapurana (ear drops), Akshitarpana (oil pooling over the eyes), Parisheka (sprinkling, showering, stream pouring), Pichu (padding) etc

Abhyantara Sneha (internal use) – Bhojana (in the form of food), Pana (in the form of drink), Nasya (nasal medication) and Vasti (enema)

2 methods of administration

Two methods of fat administration:
Sneha Vicharana means – consuming after mixing with food items. – this makes 64 combinations of fat recipes.
Acchapeya means – administering pure oil / ghee / muscle fat / marrow, without mixing or processing it. It is the best way to administer fats as it serves the function of fats and ensures quick lubrication.

Sneha Pra-vicharana – Twenty four recipes of oils and fats:
Oily preparations are of 64 types depending on their association with the drugs having six rasas (tastes) in isolation or variant combination. Together with the simple (unmixed) ones, these substances are of sixty four types. A  physician, being expert with the habit, seasons, diseases and individual requirements should accordingly administer these sixty four types of preparations of fats and oils.
Note: the term Sneha Pravicharana is used both for different forms of oil and fat administration and also for different types of oil and fat administration.
The following are the 24 forms of preparation of unctuous substances:-
Odana (porridge),Vilepi (a type of gruel prepared with four times of water),
Mamsarasa (meat soup), meat, milk, curd,
Yavagu (a type of gruel prepared with six times of water), pulse, curry, vegetable soup,
Kambalika (sour milk mixed with whey and vinegar),
Khada (butter milk boiled with acid vegetables and spices),
Saktu (roasted grain flour),
pastry prepared of sesame , Liquor, Linctus,
Bhakshya (foods that require hard chewing)
Massage, Enema, Douche, Gandusha -Gargle, Karna taila – ear drop, Dhumapana – Inhalation,
preparation soothing to the ears and eyes.

Acchapanamatra – dose of fats for drinking :-
The dose of fats depends on the digestion strength of the patient.
The heena matra (least dose) is the one, which digests in 2 yaama (1 yaama = 3 hours), so total 6 hours.
The medium dose (Madhyama matra) is the one, which undergoes digestion in 3 yama (9 hours)
The high dose (Uttama matra) is the one, which undergoes digestion in 4 yama (12 hours).

Maximum dosage

Indication for maximum dose of fats and oils (which digests in 24 hours)
Those who are in the habit of taking adequate quality of oils and fats and have resistance to hunger and thirst, whose digestion power is high, those who are themselves very strong, those suffering from
Gulma (abdominal tumor), snake bite,
Visarpa (Skin diseases characterized with spread),
insanity, dysuria, constipation should use maximum dose, which would get digested in 24 hours.

If properly administered, this high dose alleviates all ailments instantaneously; it eliminates the Doshas, it strengthens all the systems of the body; it rejuvenates the body, sense organs and mind.

Moderate dosage

Indication for moderate dose of fats and oils (which digests in 12 hours)
Those suffering from eruptions, boils, pimples, itching, papules, spreading type of skin disease, chronic urinary disorders and gout (Vatarakta); those who cannot eat much, those who are of laxed bowels and those with moderate strength are advised with fats and oils of moderate dose.
The oleation therapy, in this dosage, does not create much of complications nor does it affect the strength too much.

Low dosage

Indication for low dose of fats and oils (which digests in 6 hours)
The old, the children, those with tender health, those who have been brought up  in luxury, those for whom evacuation of bowel is not good, those with weak digestion, chronic fever, diarrhea and cough, and those who are very weak, are advised with low dose of oils and fats.
Benefits: This stimulates libido and gives strength. This is least harmful and can be administered for a long time.

Minimal dosage

Hraseeyasi matra – test dose –
the minimum quantity of fats administered to the patient, just to judge the digestion strength of the patient. After getting to know the time it takes to undergo digestion,the final dose of fat is decided.


Pre-oleation management:- Purvakarma for Snehapana
A day preceding to the administration  of oleation therapy, one should take food in proper quantity.
The food should be liquid, hot and Anabhisyandi (that does not obstruct the channel of circulation / that which does not leave a coating on body channels).
It should neither be too unctuous nor a mixture of two opposite qualities (hot and cold).
Oleation therapy should be administered when the food taken in the preceding night has been well digested.


 Procedure of drinking fat – Snehapana Vidhi –
Drinking of fat should be soon after digestion of previous food and in maximum dose.


Care after drinking fats – Sneha upachara –
After consuming ghee / oil / muscle fat / marrow, the patient is administered with hot water.
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;

How to know that the fat is completely digested?
Purification, clear belching, feeling of lightness in the body and desire for food – these 3 symptoms suggest that the fat has been completely digested

Diet during fat consumption – Warm liquid foods, which are not very oily, should be consumed, in limited quantity. Food should not have too many ingredients.

Regimen after oleation

Adoption of wrong regimen during the course of oleation therapy will result in serious complications
Ushnodhakopachari – While the oleation therapy, one should always use hot water, for drinking, washing, bathing etc.
observe Brahmacharya,
One should consume food only when hungry.
one should not sleep during day time
Na vegarodhi – one should not suppers urges for motion, urination, flatus eructation, etc.
one should avoid physical exercise, loud speech, anger, anxiety, cold and sun,
One should lie down or sit in a place well protected from wind.
One should avoid 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.

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

Concept of Koshta

Koshta means the digestion strength + bowel nature.
There are three types.
Mrudu Koshta – influenced by Pitta Dosha
Madhyama Koshta – influenced by all three balance state of Dosha
Kroora Koshta – influenced by Vata  & Kapha Dosha.

Test for Mridu koshta

Therapeutic test for the diagnosis of Mridu Koshta (laxed bowel):
People with mridu koshta would have purgation with following –
Sugar candy, sugarcane juice, mastu(whey), milk cream from the curd, curd, payasa(milk preparation), gruel made from sesame, rice and black gram, ghee, juice of Kashmarya (Gmelina arborea Linn), Haritaki – (Chebulic Myrobalan), Amla, Bibhitaki (Terminalia belerica Roxb), raisins and Pilu (Salvadora persica Linn), even hot water or fresh wine.

But these can not produce purgative effect for those with Krura Koshta (costive bowel)  because their intestine is too much dominated by Vata.
The in-between stage is called as Madhyama Koshta.

Snehapana Kala

Snehapana Kala – duration of fat drinking :
Three days for – persons of soft bowels (Mrudu koshta),
Five days for Madhyama Koshta
Seven days for persons of hard bowels  (Krura koshta) or till the symptoms of good oleation appear.
After that period it – fat becomes accustomed to the patient and does not give the desired effect.

Samyak Snigdha Lakshana 

Signs of oleation – Samyak Snigdha Lakshana 
Vatanulomana – Downward movement of Vata,
Deepto agni –  keen digestive activity,
Vachaha snigdham asamhatam – feces becoming fatty and non formed not solid, Snehodvega – aversion to fat,
Klama – exhaustion
Evacuation of the flatus, good digestive power, unctuous and soft stool, tenderness and smoothness of the body- these are the signs of proper oleation.

  • Agni deepti – kindling of digestive fire, feeling of good appetite and digestion
  • Sneha udwega – aversion to sneha
  • Asamhata varcha – loose stools
  • Anga laghava – lightness of the body and body parts
  • Gaatra maardava – smoothness of the body and body parts
  • Gaatra snigdhata – unctuousness or oiliness of the body and body parts
  • Pureesha snigdhata – unctuousness of oiliness of the body and body parts
  • Twak snigdhata – unctuousness or oiliness of the body and body parts
  • Vatanulomana – Vata moving downwards
  • Adhomarga sneha gamana – the administered sneha (oil or ghee) going through stools
  • Klamaha – tiredness
  • Shaithilya – feeling of laxity of body parts

Asnigdha lakshana

Signs and symptoms of incomplete oleation – Asnigdha lakshana
Hard  and dry stool, derangement of Vayu, weak digestion power, roughness and dryness of the skin- these are the signs of under oleation

  • Grathita pureesha – stools getting hard and in pellet form
  • Ruksha pureeshata – dry stools
  • Agnimandhya – sluggish digestion
  • Vayu pratilomata – Vata moving in abnormal (upward) course
  • Gaatra kharata – roughness of the body parts
  • Gaatra rukshata – dryness of the body parts
  • Uro vidaha – burning sensation in the chest
  • Dourbalya – weakness
  • Durvarnata – discoloration of the body
  • Kruchra anna pachana – digestion with difficulty
  • Susnigdha lakshana viparyaya – signs opposite to those of proper oleation

Ati Snigdha Lakshana

Signs and symptoms of over oleation: Ati Snigdha Lakshana:
Paleness, heaviness, stiffness, stool indicative of indigestion.
Appearance of pallor – yellowish white discoloration and secretions from the nose, mouth and rectum are the signs of excess lubrication.

  • Paanduta – pallor
  • Gourava – heaviness of the body
  • Jaadhya – stiffness of the body
  • Pureesha apakwata – improperly formed stools
  • Tandra – stupor
  • Aruchi – anorexia
  • Utklesha – nausea, water brash
  • Mukha srava – excessive watering of mouth
  • Guda srava – fluid discharges from anus
  • Ghraana srava – fluid discharges from nose
  • Guda daha – burning sensation in the anal region
  • Bhaktadwesha – aversion to food
  • Pravahika – dysentery
  • Pureesha ati pravrutti – diarrhea

Snehavyapat Lakshana

Bad effects of improper oleation – Snehavyapat Lakshana –
Fat drinking in improper dose, unsuitable kind, improper time, indulging in improper foods and activities produces dropsy, hemorrhoids, stupor, rigidity – loss of movement, loss of sensation / unconsciousness, itching, skin diseases, fever, nausea, pain in the abdomen, flatulence, dizziness etc.

Unctuous substances taken by a person with Pitta imbalance in duodenum and having strong digestive power, gets digested  quickly by virtue of the power of the digestive fire.
Strong digestive fire, having consumed the heavy dose of unctuous substance displaces the Ojas and aggravates the thirst with complications.
Even very heavy food is not enough to satisfy the digestive fire excited by oleation.
In the circumstances, unless he takes recourse to cold, water, the patient may die as a serpent lying in the midst of a heap of wood dies with the fire of its own poisonous breath.
Other symptoms observed are – drowsiness, Nausea, Acute constipation, Fever, stiffness, Unconsciousness, spreading type of skin disease, Pruritus, Paleness, Edema, Piles, Anorexia, Thirst, Obstinate abdominal diseases due to the malfunctioning of the intestine including duodenum, Stillness, Suppression of speech, Colic pain and diseases due to improper digestion and metabolism will occur.

Snehavyapat Cikitsa

Snehavyapat Cikitsa – treatment of bad effects :-
If a patient gets thirst due to  indigestion of the unctuous substances taken, the physician should administer vomiting treatment (Vamana)
If any of the above symptoms of indigestion of fat substance is observed, then Vamana, Swedana (sweating) or fasting (till the previous intake of oil / ghee gets digested) is prescribed.

Purgation may also to be administered with due regard to the strength of the disease depending on individual cases. Complications arising out of the inappropriate oleation may also be neutralized by the intake of Takrarista (Charaka  Chikitsa 14:72-75), unctuous drink and food, cow urine, Triphala Choorna 

The oleation therapy gives rise to many complications, if it is administered at inappropriate times or is not taken in the proper dose or taken in excess or (even if taken properly but) followed by improper regimen.

These are some of the techniques adopted:
Kshut, Trushna – Producing hunger, thirst,
Ulleka, sveda – vomiting and perspiration,
administering foods, drinks and medicines which are dry (cause dryness),
use of  Khala – menu prepared from curds, Yava (barley), 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.

Panchakarma treatment

Panchakarma treatment after oleation: 
Virechana (Purgation) is to be administered three days after the completion of the oleation therapy. During food prescribed during this interval of three days, the patient should take unctuous liquid and hot porridge together with meat juice.

The Vamana (vomiting treatment) is to be administered one day after the completion of the oleation therapy. The food prescribed during this interval of one day is the same as indicated above.

Regimen of Panchakarma followed after Snehana –
After oleation treatment, till Vamana or Virechana treatment, patient should drink juice of meat of animals of desert regions, mixed with fats, made liquid – thin and warm, then undergo sweating therapy;
after three days of such regimen, he should be administered purgation therapy,
In case of Vamana treatment, after a lapse of one day, Kapha should be increased by using things like curds, black gram food items like Vada etc. then emesis – therapy should be administered on the next day.

Rookshana before Snehana

Dry treatment ahead of Oleation, in high Kapha people:
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 Triphala, cow urine, Takrarishta 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

Sadya Sneha Yoga

Recipes for immediate oleation – Sadya sneha Yoga – 
For some types of patients, oleation cannot be done for even 3 days. For them, immediate oleation is done, with just one day administration of oil / ghee.
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 Sadyo sneha – immediate oleation/ lubrication and which are non-harming.
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 – yogurt water, whey from curds mixed with  (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.

Use of salt in Sadya Sneha

fats mixed with rock salt as Sadyo Sneha –
Oil / ghee mixed with rock salt is also used as quick oleation formula.
With more amount of salt are Sadyo 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.


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 in skin diseases (kushta), inflammatory conditions (Shopha) and diabetes (Prameha).  Because these substances may worsen the disease.

In these conditions, fats boiled with Triphala, Pippali, Haritaki, Guggulu, etc., should be used as found suitable, which will not produce abnormalities.

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.

Snehapana Phala

Snehapana Phala – benefits of drinking fats :-
Keen digestive activity,
Clean alimentary tract,
Well developed/strong tissues,
Good Physical strength,
Good skin health,
Powerful sense faculties,
Slow in getting old
Person lives for a hundred years is the person who is habituated to oleation.


Lipid droplets within cells help in fighting against infection by assisting white blood cells. (Research)

No Snehana after 7 days

In Snehapana, ahead of Panchakarma, where high dose of ghee is given, What could be the reason for not seeing good oleation symptoms (samayak snigdha lakshana) after 7 days of incremental administering of Ghee?

It could be due to 
1. Low dose of ghee administration. Ahead of Panchakarma, the dose of ghee is gradually increased. The dose is determined after ascertaining the quality of the digestive tract (Koshta). Due to miss-judging a hard digestive lumen as a soft one, and giving low doses of ghee can lead to underwhelming oleation. 

2. Wrong herbal ghee selection: Usually herbal ghees are selected based on the underlying disease. 
For example, 
Brahmi ghrita, Mahakalyanaka ghrita for psychiatric disorders, stress
Tiktaka ghrita, Mahatiktaka ghrita for skin and digestive disorders such as psoriasis, eczema, GERD
Shatavaryadi ghritham for urinary tract disorders, urinary calculi 
Sukumara ghrita for gastro-intestinal and gynecological disorders 
Patoladi ghrita for skin diseases etc. 

3. Extreme dryness in the patient, extremely kroora koshta, with severe dry bowels and constipation can lead to such problems. 

Sneha prakarsha kala is explained as the time by which the person gets congenial (Satmya) to Sneha (herbal oil or ghee). It is explained as 7 days. This is why, ahead of Panchakarma, the sneha administration period is not allowed beyond 7 days because the purpose of Snehana is not to nourish the body. It is to melt and mobilize the doshas, which are to be expelled.

16 comments on “Oleation – Snehakarma Dose, Benefits, Side Effects, Management

  • Jagdish Rana

    07/10/2014 - 7:10 am

    Very informative.Thanks very much.

    Reply to comment
  • Satish

    06/04/2015 - 5:09 pm

    Thanks ! very informative _ Satish

    Reply to comment
  • Sophie

    28/10/2017 - 12:21 pm

    Dr., I am overweight and have PCOS. Is it OK to take a tbsp of sesame oil or bitter/pungent olive oil in the morning. I have done this before and it curbs my appetite and helps my dry skin and hair. Just want to make sure this is OK for insulin resistance. Much appreciate your articles!

    Reply to comment
  • Ritu

    07/02/2018 - 11:14 pm

    Very informative and detailed article. Thank you!

    Reply to comment
  • Richa sharma

    21/05/2018 - 10:59 am

    Awesome notes????????

    Reply to comment

    25/05/2018 - 3:57 pm

    Very informative thanks a lot ????

    Reply to comment
  • Aditya Rana

    20/01/2019 - 8:01 am

    Thanks for the detailed and inforrnative information Dr. Hebbar. Am currently undergoing snehakarma at an ayurvedic clinic in Kerala!

    Reply to comment
  • Neeraj

    02/04/2020 - 9:39 am

    Is panchkarma recommended for acute mandagni patients? And how is oleation done if the digestion is already low due to mandagni?

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

      11/05/2021 - 5:37 pm

      1. Depends on the underlying disease.
      2. In such case, Deepana and Pachana is done by giving spicy medicines such as Hingvashtaka churna for 3 – 7 days.

      Reply to comment
  • Sonam

    05/06/2020 - 9:42 pm

    I am not a student of Ayurveda. I’m most probably one of the most naive people to click on your web page. I’m undergoing SnehaPana and honestly, it’s now that i truly understood what the treatment is. Your article has explained everything so well. Thank you very much for this.

    Reply to comment
  • Charan

    18/10/2021 - 6:35 pm

    What could be the reason for not seeing samayak snigdha lakshana after 7 days of incremental administering of Ghee?

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

      18/10/2021 - 6:59 pm

      Low dosage selection
      Wrong ghee selection
      Extremely high Agni or extremely high dryness

      Reply to comment
      • Charan

        19/10/2021 - 11:41 pm

        Thank you Sir. Really appreciate you for taking time and answering questions.
        Can I reperform within a month?

        Reply to comment

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