Article by Dr Raghuram Y.S. MD (Ay)
Low back is an important area of our body. It connects the major part of the axial skeleton (skull, spinal column, ribs and sternum or collar bone). It consists of Lumbar and Coccygeal bones and hip bones. It is also a sensitive area as it undergoes a lot of stress during our day long activities. It is strained and over used (sometimes under used) when we stand, sit and work for long hours, run, jump, climb, bend, drive and play. Over a period of time it gives way and causes pain, catches and discomfort sufficient enough to disturb our daily activities.
Ayurveda provides a lot of time tested formulations and treatments for effective healing and cure of low back pain. Dashamula Kashayam (Decoction or herbal extract of 10 roots) and Eranda Tailam (Edible and medicated castor oil) forms a useful and highly effective combination in warding off the low back pain (lumbago).
When given alone or in combination with other disease modifying medicines (co-prescriptions) and therapies (external treatments like Kati vasti – i.e. medicated oil pooling in the low back area etc) it has always given a good result in my clinical practice.
In this write-up I would like to share with you all some details about this wonderful remedy.
Dashamula Kashaya – Eranda Taila Samyoga (Combination of Dashamula decoction and Castor oil) –
Dashamoolee kashaayena pibet vaa naagaraambhasaa.
Kati shuleshu sarveshu tailam eranda sambhavam.
(Ref – Yoga Ratnakara, Vata Vyadhi Chikitsa chapter, verse 164)
In all sorts of low back pains, one should consume the Dashamoola Kashaya (decoction of 10 herbal roots) or Nagara (Musta-Cyperus rotundus) Kashaya admixed with Eranda Tailam
The above said combination is highly effective in warding off:
Kati Shula / Kati Graha – Low back pain / Lumbar spondylosis / Lumbago / Stiffness of the low back area / Spondylolisthesis / Sacro-iliac pain / Hip pain / Low Back strain / Low Back discomfort
Trika Shula – Pain in sacral region / Coccydynia (tail bone pain)
Gridhrasi – Sciatica / leg pain / Inter-vertebral disc prolapsed (IVDP)
Spik shula – Buttock pain / Piriformis syndrome
Janu shula – Mild to moderate inflammatory and degenerative pain (arthritis) of knee joint
Vidbandha (Malabaddhata) – Constipation
Method of preparation
Materials needed –
- Roots of Dashamula (Roots of 10 herbs taken individually) / Coarse powder of Dashamula (10 herbal roots)
- Big vessel
- Sterile cloth / sieve
- Bottle or small vessel for collecting the filtered Kashayam
- Eranda Tailam – Medicated / edible castor oil
Method of preparing Kashayam
The word Dashamula / Dashamoola is made up of 2 words – Dasha meaning ten and Mula / moola meaning roots. Dashamula as a whole is a combination of the roots of 10 herbs. They are as below mentioned –
Laghu Panchamula – The roots of the below mentioned herbs are called Laghu Panchamula or Lesser Panchamula (Laghu=Lesser, Pancha = five, Mula / Moola = Roots):
- Shalaparni – Desomodium gangeticum
- Prishniparni – Uraria picta
- Brihati – Solanum indicum
- Kantakari – Solanum xanthocarpum
- Gokshura – Tribulus terrestris
Brihat Panchamula – The roots of the below mentioned herbs are called Brihat Panchamula or Greater Panchamula (Brihat = Greater, Pancha = Five, Mula = Roots):
- Bilva – Aegle Marmelos
- Agnimantha – Premna mucronata
- Shyonaka – Oroxylum indicum
- Patala – Stereospermum suaveolens
- Gambhari – Gmelina arborea
Laghu Panchamoola and Brihat Panchamoola put together are called Dashamula or Dashamoola
The roots of Dashamula are individually taken. They are readily available in the market. Root of each herb is pounded and its coarse powder is obtained. Coarse powder of each of the above said 10 herbs are taken in equal quantities. The combination is boiled with 16 times water in a big vessel. It is boiled until 4 times (parts) water remains, i.e. reduced to ¼ quantity of the content.
Say for example 2.5 grams of coarse powder of each drug summing up to 25 grams is boiled with 16 times i.e. roughly 400ml water and reduced to 100ml.
The decoction thus prepared is filtered through a sterile cloth or sieve into a bottle or small vessel. It is used in 2 divided doses i.e. 50ml in the morning and 50ml in the evening before food. If the disease demands administration of an extra dose, the quantity of powder of the herbs and water is proportionally increased.
The coarse powder of Dashamula (10 herbs mixed together in equal proportions) is readily available in the market or Ayurvedic drug store in the name of Dashamula churna or Dashamula Kashaya Churnam or Dashamoola Kwatha Churnam.
As mentioned above, 1 part of the drug (Dashamoola choorna) is boiled with 16 times water and reduced to ¼ quantity of water. it is filtered and used hot and fresh.
Dashamula Kashayam is available as prepared and bottled Kashayam (decoction) and is dispensed by many pharmacies. This Kashayam can be used in case fresh decoction cannot be prepared. But the efficacy of the bottled Kashayam will be comparably less in comparison to the freshly prepared one. And the market available Kashayams are concentrated. They should be added with equal amounts of water before administration.
Method and dose of combination
The Dashamula Kashayam is taken in 50ml quantity (freshly prepared) or 10-15ml Kashayam diluted with 30-45ml warm water (readily available bottled kashayam).
To this 5-10 ml Eranda Tailam (edible castor oil) should be added after heating it passively by keeping the bowl consisting of the mentioned oil in a vessel consisting hot water. Eranda Taila is also available in the market (Ayurvedic store). You need to be careful while picking the castor oil. You should ask for edible castor oil because another variant of castor oil which is used exclusively for external usage like massage etc is also available which cannot be consumed.
Medicated Castor oil is available by the names – Gandharvahastadi Eranda Tailam and Nimbamritadi Eranda Tailam which are edible forms. They can be used in combination with Dashamoola Kashayam. The choice is left out to the wisdom of the consulting Ayurvedic physician.
The ingredients are mixed well and administered as oral consumption.
When to use and how many times to take?
The combination works best when given in the evening, at least an hour before dinner or at 6pm. A morning dose at 6 am or an hour before breakfast shall be added for better efficacy. In chronic cases of backache, an afternoon dose before lunch also shall be planned. The number of doses and timing of medicine is purely left out to the judgement of the consulting physician. The combination is also tried after food and at bedtime. Some people might have intolerance to Eranda taila, this matter is also taken care of. The severity of the condition (morbidity), the constitution and strength of the patient are taken into account before scheduling the medication. Eranda Taila is also added in higher doses in some severe and chronic conditions especially when deep cleansing is needed and when the strength and tolerance of the patient is at its best.
Enhancing the effect of the compound:
The effect of the compound will be enhanced when combined with a few treatments such as –
Kati Vasti / Kati Basti – Pooling of medicated oils in the low back area
Abhyanga – massage with medicated oils
Patra pinda sweda – leaf bolus fomentation
Churna pinda sweda – herbal powder fomentation
Shashtika Shali Pinda-sweda – rice bolus fomentation
Kati lepa – application of herbal pastes
Avagaha – tub bath in medicated decoctions / oils
Matra vasti – enemas with medicated oil and ghee given in metered doses etc
The formulation might not be the sole remedy for back pain and allied problems. It is the best shot when the condition is mild or moderate. But in severe and chronic conditions it should be taken along with other disease modifying herbs(compounds) and diet and effective external therapies like Kati Vasti (pooling of medicated oils in the low back area), Patra Pinda Sweda (leaf bolus fomentation), Matra Vasti (oil enemas), Virechana etc.
All people might not tolerate the taste, smell and or effect of Eranda Tailam.
The compound shall be avoided or used cautiously (after taking doctor’s consent or as per instructions of doctor) in those suffering from diarrhoea, sensitive or sore stomach, dysentery, haemorrhoids, vomiting or nausea (feel to vomit)
Usage of unmonitored and large dose of castor oil is dangerous. Castor oil has different impact on different constitutions, in different doses and in different conditions. The dose should be determined by the doctor and the medicines shall be taken under supervision.
Mode of action
Probable mode of action of the formulation –
The formulation has a herbal decoction – Dashamula Kashaya / Kwatha and a medicated oil – Eranda Taila (castor oil). Both compounds have multiple ingredients. That means to tell that the formulation as a whole has a combined effect of many disease alleviating , disease modifying and immune-modulating herbs. Such formulations are called Samyoga’s (effective combinations) in Ayurvedic science. Each individual drug in the combination might have a different action when used independently but when they are combined with other herbs or formulations we take the overall effect of the formulation ignoring the action of a single ingredient. Thus Dashamula has a different action on the body tissues and organs while Eranda taila has different impact. Their combination gives a totally different impact and effect.
Dashamula individually is known to alleviate Vata and the combination of 10 roots makes it a very effective time-tested anti-inflammatory compound. Taila or oil is said to be the single shot at alleviating the morbid Vata (and Kapha). Taila is the enemy of morbid Vata. Eranda or castor plant, especially its roots and seeds have been proved to be highly effective in alleviating inflammation and pain when given in medicinal forms. The castor oil prepared from the plant has a similar effect. Being in an oil form castor oil (medicated castor oil) becames a target medicine for destroying morbid Vata. It is said that Eranda taila or edible castor oil destroys the pain caused due to Vata in such a way in which a lion kills an intoxicated elephant. It means to tell that, if morbid vata is like an elephant, Eranda Taila is like a lion which kills it. When both Dashamula decoction and castor oil (edible) are given mixed with each other, the disease relieving and disease modifying impact becomes many times fortified.
The combination has a double action as analgesic. Pain, inflammation and stiffness associated with back pain are effectively taken care of. Dashamula rectifies sluggish metabolism and improves cellular functions, removes inflammation and enables smooth supply of nutrition to the depleted cells. It effectively digests the ama in the stomach and cells (intermediate products of digestion and cell metabolism which tend to block the channels and transport systems in the body owing to their sticky nature) and brings it to the gut. Eranda taila by the virtue of its laxative action flushes these metabolites out of the body.
Both Vayu and Ama are known to cause pain and discomfort wherever they are located in the body. The combination effectively combats and flushes out the morbid Ama and Vayu along with morbid Kapha. By regulating the metabolism, the Pitta factor too is taken care of. The inflammation and catches (stiffness) in the low back gets relieved when the formulation flushes out the morbid pitta and kapha respectively.
Moreover, Eranda Taila has a disease modifying and immune-modulating impact (acts as a Rasayana)
The effect of the formulation helps in avoiding the frequent recurrence of the back pain and stiffness. Thus it provides a good immunity and strength to the bones, muscles and other soft tissues comprising the low back area.
Dashamoola qualities and benefits
Jwara kass shwasa shoola mandaagni aruchi naashanam.
Reference – Yoga Ratnakara, Paribhashika chapter, Dashamula, verse 4
Dashamula alleviates –
- Vata – Morbid vata
- Jwara – fevers
- Shvasa – dyspnoea, breathing disorders
- Shula – pain, colic (analgesic effect)
- Mandagni – sluggish digestion / slow metabolism / weak digestion at gut and tissue level
- Aruchi – tastelessness
Eranda taila qualities and benefits
Qualities and benefits of Eranda Taila (castor oil):
Tailam erandajam balyam guru ushnam madhuram saram
Tiktam ushnam pittalam visram rakta eranda udhbhavam bhrusham
Eranda tailam krimi naashanam cha sarvatra shulaghnam marut pranaasham
Kushtaapaham cha api rasaayanam cha pitta prakopa anila shodhanam cha
Vardhma gulma anila kaphaan udaram visham jwaram
Vaata shula gajendranam eranda sneha keshari
Ref – Yoga Ratnakara, Taila Guna, verses 1-3
Rasa (Taste) – Madhura (Sweet), Tikta (Bitter)
Guna (qualities) – Guru (heavy), Ushna (hot), Sara (flowing), Visram (foul smelling), Balyam (strength promoter),
Doshic action – Alleviates morbid vata and kapha, tends to increase Pitta
It is highly beneficial in the below said conditions:
- Krimighnam (anti-helminthic, removes worms and parasites)
- Shulaghnam – relieves pain (analgesic) and colic
- Anila shodhanam – flushes out the morbid vata
- Kushtapaha – cures skin diseases
- Rasayana – Anti-ageing, immune modulator, rejuvenator, disease modifying
- Vardhma hara – cures hernia
- Gulma hara – Best in destroying abdominal tumours
- Anila-kaphan – Destroys morbid Vata and Kapha and diseases caused by them
- Udara – abdominal diseases
- Vishama jwara – intermittent fevers etc
To sum up –
As we see, the above mentioned compound formulation of Dashamula Kashayam and Eranda Tailam is a highly effective medicine in combating low back pain. It can be prepared at home also. Since the Kashayam and Tailam are readily dispensed in the Ayurvedic stores it doesn’t become a big deal to prepare and consume this compound. You can try this and discover a rejuvenated back but do not fail to take the consent or direction from your Ayurvedic doctor.
Click to Consult Dr Raghuram Y.S. MD (Ayu)