Alabu Avacharana – Bloodletting Method Using Bottle gourd

Article by – Dr Renita D’Souza
Alabu avacharana is an ancient method of bloodletting (rakthamokshana) using bitter bottle gourd. In Ayurveda bloodletting is considered one among Panchakarma.

Alabu Avacharana

What is Alabu and Alabu avacharana ?
Alabu – Bitter bottle gourd
Alabu avacharana – Method of bloodletting using bitter bottle gourd


Blood vitiated by Kapha
Arthritic pains
cysts, tumors

Characteristics of Bottle gourd

Bitter taste, dry and penetrating in nature, hence it is ideal to remove the blood vitiated by kapha.

Types of Alabu

Types of Alabu depending on the shape :
Deerga alabu – Elongated
Vrintha alabu – Spherical.
Read related: Bottle Gourd Uses, Home Remedies, Side Effects, Research

Synonyms, features

Synonym of Alabu:
pinda phala

Features of Alabu:
Length – 12 angula (24 cm)
Circumference – 18 angula (36 cm)
Diameter at orifice – 3-4 angula (6 – 8 cm)wide
Medium sized ripe fruit is selected, its internal contents (pulp and seeds) are removed. Wide opening is made at its top (or bottom) and dried under the sun till it becomes hard.  it is then cleaned well both outside and inside before its use.
Read related  – Raktamokshana Benefits, Types, Procedure, Indications


Procedure of application of Alabu:
Affected site is washed with antiseptic solution. A torniquet is applied above the area. Multiple vertical incisions are made and an ignited wick anointed with oil is kept straight over the affected site. Fire extinguishes when opening end of bottle gourd is held firmly over the site, creating vaccum inside it which drains the blood out. Blood gets collected at the margins of bottle gourd.

Post procedure:
After the bottle gourd is removed, jathyadi taila/ ghrtha or padmakadi taila should be applied and dressed, for healing of ulcer.
Read related – Leech Therapy Procedure, Benefits, Side Effects, Treatment

Principle of action

Vaccum pressure created after fire extinguishes inside the bottle guard, drains the blood from the vein. This vaccum pressure is sufficient to draw only the peripheral blood about 10- 15 minutes duration.
Read related – Shringa Method Of Bloodletting Therapy – Procedure, Benefits

Modified method

Cupping method, wherein cupping glass is used and easy to apply.

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