Nasya Karma Procedure, Types, Benefits, Contra Indications

Nasya (nasya-karma) is a term to be applied generally for medicines administered through the nasal route. It is also known as navana and nasyakarma. The formulations used for the purpose of nasyakarma are called nasika kalpana.

Introduction

The learned physician should administered nasya karma in disease of head because nose is the gate way of head and as such drug administered by this route pervades the head and thus destroys the diseases of Shirovirechana, Shirovireka and Murdha virechana are the synonyms of Nasya karma.

Nasya treatment - nasal drops

Nasya Procedure for healthy people

Nasya is, putting nasal drops into both nostrils
For a healthy person, 2 drops of sesame oil or Anu taila (readily available in any Ayurveda store) is suitable.
Before instilling nasal drops, take a few drops of sesame oil on to your palm and finger tips and do gentle face and neck massage for 2-3 minutes.
After this, you need to give some sort of heat treatment.
It can be
– exposing to early morning sunlight,
– gentle exercise to warm up the face,
– washing face with lukewarm water
– gently heating a towel over a Dosa pan and patting over face, avoiding eyes.

After that, put the oil – 2 drops each to both nostrils.
Spit out all secretions that may get collected in your mouth.

This is preferably done on empty stomach, before tea, coffee, at least 30 minutes before bath, in the morning, after bowel evacuation.
If you get any doubts, if you have any underlying disease, please consult your Ayurveda doctor before taking up this nasya procedure.
If you do Jala Neti, then better to maintain a gap of 30 minutes between that and Nasya.

Synonyms, meaning

Snuff
Errhine
Sternutatory

Synonyms of nasya –

  • Shiro virechana, murdha virechana and shiro vireka – term virechana means purgation, thus nasya is a treatment of purging head of its impurities. Shira means head.
  • Nasta prachardana – here prachardana means to cause emesis. Nasya is to expel doshas accumulated in head by a similar procedure as that of emesis, it is like causing head to vomit and expel its doshas. Since kapha is main dosha located in head, term prachardana could have been used synonymous for nasal medication. This treatment is equally useful in combating vata and pitta aggravation in head.
  • Navana – also means sternutatory
Nasika Kalpana

Navana nasya

It is an important type of Nasya, which can be used always.
It can be mainly classified into Snehana and Sodhana.
Scholar sushrutha called it as Snehana nasya.
Navana is administered by instilling the drops of a medicated oil in the nose. Anutaila is used for this type of nasya.

In this type of nasya the pichu of karpasa is made and dipped into Sneha, the drops, formed after taking the pichu out of the Sneha, are dropped into the nostrils. Navana is gererally a sneha nasya and is known as nasya in general.

The naavana nasya is indicated in following conditions:

Classification

Types of Nasya:
Charaka has classified nasya as follows:
Charaka Siddhi Sthana

Navana: Snehana and Shodhana
Avapida: Shodhana and Stambhana
Dhumapana – herbal smoking
Dhumra nasya:
Prayogika; Virechaniya; Snehaniya
Pratimarsha: Snehana and Virechana

The above mentioned 5 types of nasyas are grouped according to their actions in the following three classes.
Rechana (Purification)
Tarpana (Nourishing)
Shamana (Retraining)

Charaka also described 7 types of nasyas on the basis of the usable parts of the nasya drugs:
Phala nasya – using fruits
Patra nasya – leaves
Moola nasya – roots
Kaanda nasya – stem
Pushpa nasya – flowers
Twak nasya – bark
Niryaasa nasya – extract / exudate

All the above mentioned drugs can be used for nasya in the form of Churna, kalka, swarasa, ksira. Kwatha, sara, udaka, dhuma, mamsarasa, siddha taila, Ghrita, Madya etc.

Acharya Sushrutha classified nasya as:
Sushruta Samhita, Chikitsa Sthana 40/21)

1. Shiro virechana
2. Snehana

Each type is further classified into
Nasya
Siro virechana
Pratimarsha
Avapida
Pradhamana

Vaagbhata has classified nasya having in views their actions into the following 3 types:
Virechana nasya
Brmhana nasya
Shamana nasya

According to scholar Sharangadhara:
Nasyabhedo dvidha proktho rechana : snehanastatha|
Rechanam karshanam proktham snehanam brahmanam matam| (sha.sam.u.k 8/2)
Rechana nasya (karshana) – 2 sub types – Avapeeda and Pradhamana
Snehana (Brmhana) -2 sub types – Marsha and Pratimarsha

Vataja Shiroroga – headache, disorders pertaining to head and brain due to Vata Dosha imbalance
Danta patha – loss of teeth
Kesha patha – hair loss
Smasr patha – moustache loss
Tivrakarna Shula – excess earache
Karnachweda – ear disorder
Timira – night blindness, eye disorder involving blindness
Swedopaghata – side effects of Swedana
Nasa roga – nasal disorders
Mukha Shosha –dry mouth
Avabahuka – Frozen shoulder
Akalaja Valee – premature skin wrinkles
Akalaja palita – premature greying of hairs
Daruna prabodha
Vata pittaja Mukharoga – oral disorders of Vata and Pitta Dosha.

Navana Kala, Matra

Navana kala – Su. Ch. 40/241 and Dalhana: Time for administration of Navana Nasya:
In Kaphaja roga – Forenoon
In Pittaja roga – Noon
In Vataja roga – Afternoon

Seasonal administration of Nasya to a healthy person:
Sheeta kala – Noon
Sharad and Vasanta – Morning
Grishma rutu – Evening
Varsha rutu – When the sun is Visible

Navana matra – Su. Ci. 40/36: Dose of Navana Nasya:
Uttana – 8 drops
Madhyama – 6 drops
Hina – 4 drops

Example:- Shad Bindu Taila
Read related: Shadbindu Tail – Benefits, How To Use, Ingredients, Side Effects

Avapeeda nasya

Avapeeda nasya is the nasya consisting of the extract (juice) of a drug, administered through nasal passage.
Four, six, eight drops of the Swarasa are recommended to be put in each nostril. Depending upon the pharmacological action of drugs used for Avapida nasya.

It is of two types.
Stambhana nasya.
Sodhana nasya.

Avapida nasya is indicated in the following conditions:

Vishabhighata – toxicity, poisoning
Sanyasa – syncope
Muurcha – unconsciousness
Moha- delusion
Apatantraka – neurological disorders
Mada – intoxication
Apasmara – epilepsy
Shirobhedana – headache
Krodha – anger
Bhaya – fear
Manasa roga – mental disorders
Chittha Vyakulawastha – anxiety
Krusha Roga – weak patient
Bhiiru – fearful
Sukamara persons – soft people
Stri – women
Raktapitta – bleeding disorders like nasal bleeding, Ulcerative colitis and menorrhagia etc.

Pradhamana Nasya

Dhmapana or pradhamana nasya:
Pradhamana is a specific sodhana nasya.
In pradhamana nasya, churna (powder of drugs) is administered ( inhaled ) by nasal passage with the help of nadi yantra. Its dose is described by scholar Videha as one mucyuti (a pinch).

The drugs generally used for Pradhamana Nasya –
Saindhava lavana – rock salt
Lashuna – garlic
Guggulu – Commiphora mukul
Katphala,
Maricha – Black pepper
Vacha – sweet flag etc.
These are mixed in equal parts and powdered along with the gall stones of a fish and kept dry. The powder may be used as pradhamana nasya.

Pradhamana nasya is indicated in following conditions:
Mental diseases
Poisoning
Krimija Siroroga

Example :- Katphala nasya – Su.u. 26/22.
Fine powder of katphala twak (Myrica nagi Thumb) should be blown into the nostril through a pipe 6” long. Katphala nasya is indicated for kaphaja Shirorogas.

Dhuma Nasya

Dhuma nasya is defined as medicated fume taken by nasal route and eliminated by the oral route. If dhuma is taken by oral route is eliminated by the nasal route, is harmful for the eyes.

Dhuma nasya is of 3 types
Prayogika
Snehana
Vairechanika

Its indications are as follows:
Shiroroga
Nasa roga
Akshiroga

Length of Dhumra netra:
For Vairechanika nasya – 24”
Snaihika nasya – 32”
Prayogika nasya – 36”

Marsha, Pratimarsha Nasya

Both consist of introduction of Sneha (taila) through the nostrils. It is well tolerated and is a very much convenient procedure. Pratamarsha and marsha are in principles the same but they have the following distinctions:

Pratimarsha, marsha Nasya differences

Pratimarsha Nasya

Marsha Nasya

Preventive in nature

Curative

Never produces complications

May produce complications

Dose: 2 drops morning and evening

Dose: 10 drops, 8 drops, 4 drops as Uttama, Madhyama and Hina matras respectively

Can be performed on people of all ages and in all seasons

Needs consideration of Rutus and Vayas

Slow acting and less potent

Quick acting and highly potent

Consists of less sneha dravyas

Consists of more sneha dravyas

Pratimarsha indications

Pratimarsha is indicated in the following conditions:
Talpothita kala
Traksalita danta kala
Graha niragachata kala
Vyayamottara kala – after exercise
Vyavayottara kala – after sex
Adhva parisranta kala – after walking a long distance
Mala Mutra Visarjanottara kala – after defecation and urination
Kavalottara kala – After mouth gargle / oil pulling
Anjanottara kala – After anjana treatment (collyrium)
Bhojanottara kala – after food
Vamanottara kala – after Vamana therapy
Divaswapnottara kala – after getting up from day sleep
Sayankala – Evening
Sirobhyangottara kala – after head massage
Hasyottara kala – after excess laughter

Nasya indications

Indications of Nasya karma:
Shirasthambha
Manyasthambha
Pinasa
Dantasthambha
Hanusthambha
Galashaluka
Galashundika
Shukragata Roga
Timira
Vartma Roga
Vyanga
Amsashula
Upajihwika
Ardhawabhedaka
Karnashula
Grewa Roga
Skandha Roga
Nasashula
Mukha Roga
Aksishula
Sirahshula
Ardita
Apatantraka
Apatanaka
Galaganda
Dantashula
Raji
Dantaharsha
Arbuda
Vakgraha
Swarabheda
Gadagadatwa
Krathana

Nasya contraindications

Contraindications of Nasya karma:
Bhukta Bhakta – soon after food
Ajirna – in a person having indigestion
Pitasneha – soon after intake of ghee or oil
Pitamada – in a person intoxicated with excess alcohol
Pita toya- who has consumed excess water
Ksudharta – who is suffering with excess thirst
Snehadi pitukama – who is desirous of taking oil / ghee
Snata Sira – who has just taken head bath
Sramarta – who is excessively tired
Matta – intoxicated
Snatu kama – who is just about to take bath
Murcchita – unconsciousness
Sastradandhata – who is severely injured by sharp instruments
Vyawaya klanta – tired
Virikta – soon after Virechana treatment
Vyayama Klanta – tired due to excessive exercise
PanaKlanta – tired due to excess alcohol
Garbhini – pregnant
Nawa Jwara – fever – fever of recent onset
Sokaistapta – grieving
Anuwasita – who has just undergone Anuvasana Basti
Nawa pratishyaya – rhinitis of recent onset
Apatarpita – who has just undergone weight loss treatment
Pitadrava – excess consumption of liquids
Trsnarta – with excessive thirst
Gararta – afflicted with Gara Visha – toxic conditions
Kruddha – excess anger
Bala – in children
Sutika – during early lactation period
Vegawarodhita – who has suppressed his natural urges
Rakta Sravita – with excess bleeding
Shwasa – dyspnoea

Nasya Aushadhi Kalpana

Nasya Ausadhi kalpana – commonly used:
Churna – kalpana
Katphala Churna
Trikatu Churna
Katu tumbi Churna
Pippali Churna
Maricha Churna
Vidanga Churna

Sneha Kalpana
Anu taila
Sadbindu taila
Jatyadi taila
Padmakadi taila
Panchaguna taila
Kumkumadi taila
Vacha
Ghrta
Ghanasara yoga

Some of the Nasya Kalpas indicated by Sharangadhara —
Gudadi nasya: – It is indicated in diseases of eyes, ears, nose, head, neck, lower jaw, throat, shoulders and back.
Madhuka saradi nasya: It is indicated in apasmara (epilepsy), unmade (insanity) sannipatha (severe fevers) and apatantraka (tetanus)

Saindavadi nasya: It relieves excessive drowsiness, tandra.
Marichadi nasya: It forms a good pradhamana nasya.

Brahmana nasya kalpana: It is indicated in diseases of head, nose, eyes, suryavarta, ardhavabheda, dantarogas, for debilitated persons. In those suffering from diseases of neck, shoulders and arms, Mukhashosha, Karnanada, disorders of vata and pitta, Premature greying and falling of hairs and moustaches.

Kukuma nasya: It is indicated in disorders arising from vata and rakta, pain in the forehead, temples, head, ears, suryavarta and ardhavabheda.
Mashadi nasyam: It relieves pakshaghata associated with kampa, ardita,
Manyasthambha and apabahuka.
Vibhitakadi nasya: It cures palita (greying of hairs)

Nasya medicine pathway

Drug pathway
Nasal cavity -> Olfactory epithelium -> Olfactory nerve -> Cibriform plate of ethmoid bone -> Anterior cranial fossa -> Medial and lateral olfactory area of cerebral cortex.

Fate of drug:
Chemical impulse
Electrical impulse
Neuronal impulse

Sanskrit verse

Nasta : karma cha kurvita shirorogeshu shaastravidha|
Dvaram hi shiraso nasa tena tad vyapya hanti taan || (Cha. Si.)
Aushadhamoushadasiddho va sneho nasikaabyam diiyate iti nasyam| (Su. Chi)
Nasyam tatkathyate dhiirairnasagrahyam yadoushadham
Navanam nasyakarmeti tasya namadvyam matam|| (Sha. U)

Nasya Yantra


A suitable Nasya Yantra may be devised according to the need depending upon the following outlines described in the text for Dhuma Nasya.

Tikshna or Virechana Nasya 24 angula
Snaihika Nasya 32 angula
Prayogika or Shamana Nasya 36 angula

Observation of atura – Vaya and Kala:
Rutu:- Nasya should be given in pravrt, Sharad and Vasanta Rutus. Time schedules in different seasons should be as follows
Grishma Rutu Before noon
Sheeta Rutu Noon
Varsha Rutu Day should be clear.

Age:- Nasya should not be given in persons below 7 years and after 80 years. Thus Nasya is indicated between 8 and 80 years of age.
However the following exceptions have also been admitted.
Pratimarsha may be administered at any age between birth to death while
Dhuma is indicated after 12 years of age. Sneha pana should not be given immediately before Nasya karma

Nasya Karma procedure

Procedure of Nasya karma:
atura, Mala – Mutradi Vega Nivrtta
Diet should be given
After sometime tooth brush
Adequate Dhumapana
Patient should lie down on Nasya Saiya
Put oil on scalp for massage
Mrudu snehana on head. According to Ayurveda texts swedana should not be given on the head. But it is only done for elimination of Dosha and liquification of Doshas
Tapa sweda should be given in following regions i.e. Shira, Mukha, Nasa, Manya, Griwa, Kanta
After Swedana smooth massage should be applied on following regions eg. Gala, Kapola and LalataPradesha
During Nasya the patient should close his one nostril and should inhale the drug through the other.

Nasya Dosage

Determination of Dosage in Nasya karma:
Scholar Sharangadhara describes the following dosage schedule for Nasya karma:
Tiksnaushadhi Matra
Churna 1 Shana (24 Rattis)
Drava 8 Bindu (8 drops)
Hingu 1 Yava (1/2 Ratti)
Saindhava 1 Masha (6 Ratti)
Dugdha (milk) 8 Shana (64 drops)
Jala (Ausadhi Siddha) 3 Tolas
Sharkara and other
Madhura guna dravyas 1 Tola

According to Sushruta nasya should be given for 21 days or till the appearance of adequate effects on the other hand according to Vagbhata, Nasya should be given for 7 days.

Instruction to patient

Instructions for the patients during Nasya:
As described by Charaka, Vagbhata and Sushrtha the following instructions should be observed by a patient while undergoing Nasya karma.
Swedana and Mardana on the Shira, Gatra and Manya
Shira (head) should not be excessive flexed or extended
Patient should lye Supine (Uttana ) for a time interval consumble for counting members upto 100
Avoid speech (Naprabhaset)
Avoid anger (Nakupyeta)
Avoid laughing (Nahaset)
Avoid swallowing of Nasya Aushadhi
Eliminate Kapha by Gandusha and Stiivana ( Spitting)

Post Nasya Regimen

Dhumapana
Kawalagraha and Gandusha Dharana
Diet – Warm water (Sukhoshna jala)
Light diet (Laghu ahara)

Following should be avoided:
Shitala Jala (cold water)
Dosha prakopaka ahara (abhishyandi)
Rajodhuma (dust and fume)
Sneha (oils and ghee)
atapa (sun and heat)
Madya (alcohol)
Shira Snana (bath by head)
Atiyana (travelling)
Krodha (anger)
Nidra (sleep)

Features of adequate Nasya

Laghawa (lightness in the body)
Nidra (good sleep)
Shira Laghutwa (lightness in the head)
Srotas Shuddhi (cleaning of channels)
Indriya prasanna (sensorial happiness)
Mana prasanna (mental happiness)

Features of inadequate Nasya

Indriya Rukshata (Dryness of senses)
Aprasama Roga (Non relief)
Kandu (Itching)
Anga gourawa (Heaviness in body)
Nasa, Netra, Mukha Srawa (Hyper secretion)

Features of excessive Nasya

Shirahshula (headache)
Indriya Bibhrama (confusion)
Kapha Srawa (salivation)

Nasya complications

Nasya Vyapada (complications):
The complications Nasya karma are many and they occur due to administration of Nasya when it is contraindicated due to technical failure

These complications occur through following two modes:
Doshotklesa — which can be managed by Shodhana and Shamana Chikitsa
Dosha kshaya — which has to be managed by Bramhana Chikitsa

Conclusion

When nasya karma is done adequately the following benefits can be gained
Prevention of eye disease
Prevention of ear disease
Prevention of nasal disease
Healthy hair
Prevention of pinasa, Ardhawabhedaka, Shirahshula, Ardita, Hanugraha.
Provides strength to scalp
Provides happiness
Improves voice
Improves senses
Prevention of urdhwajatrugala Roga
Delayed aging
Pleasant oral smell
Give strength to head, danta, shira, trika, bahu and uras
Prevention of vali, palita, khalitya and vyanga etc.

Can oil nasya and neti done together?
Oiliness + coldness is not useful in many conditions.
With anu taila nasya, we are making the nasal passage oily.  Along with it, if jalaneti is done, it will make the area cold. This can lead to worsening of cold, cough, sinusitis etc.
Hence, I would not recommend doing anuthailam nasya and jala neti together.
At least there should be half an hour gap between these two.

References

BOOKS AUTHORS
Charaka Samhita Dr. Ramkaran Sharma and Vaidya Bhagwan Das
Sushrutha Samhita Kaviraj Kunjalal, Bhishagratna
Sharangadhara Samhita Prof. K.R. Srikantamurthy
Bhaishajya kalpana Vijnanam Dr. Ramachandra Reddy
Text book of Bhaishaja kalpana Dr. Shobha G. Hiremath
Bhaishajya kalpana Dr. Siddhinandan Mishra
Bhaishajya Ratnavali Govinda Das Sen

2 thoughts on “Nasya Karma Procedure, Types, Benefits, Contra Indications”

    • Just 2 drops into each nostril is fine. In some people, it may cause nose irritation. Just do a trial for a few days. If you feel comfortable, continue.

      Reply

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