By Dr Renita D’Souza
Acharya Sushrutha mentioned Raktamokshana as one among the five purification procedure (Panchakarma). It is the procedure of letting out vitiated blood from the body.
Importance of Blood in the body:
Blood maintains and supports the body like roots supporting the tree. So the blood is considered as life(jeeva).
When blood gets vitiated by doshas it causes various diseases. Rakthamokshana is that procedure which expels out vitiated blood from the body.
Read related: Understanding Blood Functions, Vitiation And Treatment As Per Ayurveda
Types of Rakthamokshana
Shastra(using sharp instruments)- Prachana, Siravedha(puncturing)
Anushastra (without using instruments)- Jalauka (Leech therapy), Shrunga(Using cow’s horn), Alabu(Using pitcher gourd).
General indications for Raktmoksana
Swelling, burning sensation, suppuration, rashes, vatharaktha(Gout),
skin diseases, elephantiasis, toxic conditions of blood,
fibroid, tumor, mastitis, debility, heaviness of body,
conjunctivitis, sinusitis, herpes, liver abscess, spleen abscess,
suppuration and burning sensation in ears, nose, lips, oral cavity, headache, gonorrhea, bleeding disorders.
Contraindications of raktamoksan
Anasarca, emaciated person, pregnancy,
suffering from diseases such as anemia, hemorrhoids, ascites, consumption and dropsy.
Person fit for Rakthamokshanam
Person not afflicted with excess cold, hot, excess of sweating and exposure to sun. Prior to rakthamokshana person should take barley juice.
Symptoms of proper blood flow
Feeling of lightness of body, subsiding of pain and severity of diseases, cheerfulness of mind.
Cause for excess flow of blood
Rakthamokshana done during excess sweating, hot season and due to deep puncturing.
Treatment for Atiyoga
Treatment for excess blood flow:
Apply the paste prepared of –
1. Lodhra (Symplocos racemosa), Sarja (Vateria indica), Rasanjana (aqueous extract of Berberis aristata), Barley, Wheat made paste with Gairika (Red Ochre).
2. Paste of burned particles of snakes skin and silk cloth.
3. Sprinkle cold water over face.
4. If bleeding does not stop by these methods then stopped by Agnikarma(Cauterization) and Sharakarma (alkali application).
Cause for inadequate blood flow
Rakthamokshana done for person afflicted with cold, excess sleep, giddiness, unconsciousness, fear, debility, done at empty stomach, when not passed the bowel, urine and flatus.
Diseases of the skin, tumors, oedema and diseases arising from blood will never occur in persons indulging in blood letting(whenever required).
Season for Raktamokshana
Season for Rakthamokshana Panchakarma therapy:
Sharat rut (Autumn season).
Blood vitiated by vata, pitta and kapha should be removed from the body using Shrunga (horn of animals), Jalauka ( leech therapy) and Alabu(pitcher gourd) respectively.
For Vata Dosha vitiated blood, Shrunga – Horn method is used.
For Pitta vitiated blood, leech therapy is used.
For Kapha vitiated blood, pitcher gourd (Alabu) is used.
Leech therapy is considered easy and convenient blood letting therapy.
Types, method of application
Types of Leech:
12 types :
6 – Poisonous leeches and 6 – Non poisonous leeches
Method of application of leech:
Selected leeches are collected, to bite effected area which is washed priorly with antiseptic solution. Once they start sucking the blood, it is covered with moist cloth. Once it completes sucking the vitiated blood, they leave the site to fall off itself. Then the area is rubbed with turmeric powder which helps to stop the bleeding.
Indications for leech therapy:
children, old aged, frightful , debilitated, women and persons of tender constitution.
Shrunga (Blood letting using cow’s horn)
Selected cow’s horn is collected which is open at both end. Superficial multiple small incisions are made over the affected area which is cleaned priorly with antiseptic solution. The larger open end is kept over the incised area and blood is sucked through other end.
Alabu (Blood letting through pitcher guard)
Medium sized selected pitcher is opened at the top to remove pulp and seed, dried under sun till it is hard. Affected part is cleaned with antiseptic solution, multiple vertical incisions made over the site. An ignited wick is kept straight over the area and closed with the pitcher guard, the fire extinguishes creating the vacuum inside the pitcher which drains out the blood which gets collected at margins of pitcher.
Prachana (Blood letting by puncturing)
A tourniquet is applied slight above the affected area. Using a sharp instrumemt, multiple incisions are made avoiding vital structures. Incisions are made in upward direction, not very deep nor superficial, not very closely placed, should not be done transversely and made very quickly.
Venepuncture is considered superior. Just as bunds of channels in the fields break off, the standing grains are destroyed from its roots completely similarly, this procedure is able to destroy the diseases from its roots completely. In Shalya Tantra, Venepuncture is considered as half complete therapy for numerous diseases, as blood bieng the pathogenic factor in most of the diseases.
Procedure – A tourniquet is tied above the selected area. The vein is tapped with fingers to make prominent, which is then punctured using sharp instrument. Once the vitiated blood flows out completely, then the area is tightly bandaged to arrest bleeding.
Contraindications for venepuncture
Who has undergone excess sweating and Panchakarma therapy, pregnant woman, jaundice, indigestion, convulsions, paralysis, diarrhea, vomiting,
Asthma, cough, bleeding disorders, hemorrhoids, anemia,
traumatic injury, it should not be done in veins which runs transversely,
when tourniquet not been tied above the selected site,
when a vein is not engorged with blood, when the weather is extremes.
90. How Can Blood Donation Therapy help with hypertension?
As per Ayurveda, every healthy individual has to undergo seasonal detoxification (Panchakarma) to keep the body free from disease causing toxins.
High BP is associated with blood tissue, which in turn, is related with Pitta Dosha. Blood tissue and blood pipes are directly controlled by Pitta Dosha.
Read: Hypertension: Causes, Symptoms, Ayurvedic Treatment
Pitta Dosha naturally increases in all of us during Autumn season (September end to November). During this season, Virechana – purgation therapy is advised to everyone, to keep Pitta under balance. Virechana expels toxic Pitta out of the body. Similarly, blood letting is also useful in expelling out Pitta Dosha from the body. Blood tissue related diseases such as hypertension, bleeding disorders, allergies such as repeated hives, chronic skin diseases such as psoriasis are immensely benefited by blood letting therapy.
Autumn Season Healthy Regimen
If you are averse to get blood-letting therapy in an Ayurveda center, you can easily donate your blood once a year, during autumn season. Though blood donation is not exactly equivalent to blood-letting therapy, it is useful to some extent for sure.
For this reason, many healthy people are advised to donate blood by their Ayurvedic doctors. For all healthy people, blood donation, at least once a year is good. It improves your health and also saves someone else’s life. Then why not do it in Autumn season?
Note: This applies only to healthy people. For patients, it is advised to go with the advice of your consulting doctors. There are several conditions such as low hemoglobin levels, viral hepatitis, etc., where blood donation is contra indicated.