Pittaja and Kaphaja Shiroroga – Causes, Symptoms, Treatment

By Dr Raghuram Y.S. MD (Ay) & Dr Manasa, B.A.M.S

Pittaj Shiroroga is a type of Shiroroga i.e. disorders of the head or types of headaches. It is caused by vitiation of pitta.

It is also called as Pittaja Shirashula / Pittaja Shirobhitapa.
Read – Headache Caused By Vata Dosha – Causes, Symptoms, Treatment

Headache due to Pitta

Meaning and definition of Pittaja Shiroroga
When a person has headache in which his head is hot just like burning charcoal, there is severe burning sensation in the eyes and nose as if they are filled up with hot smoke / fumes and the pain reduces at night time due to cold, the person is said to be suffering from headache caused by aggravation of pitta.

It is said in the above said reference that the headache reduces in the night time due to the prevailing coldness. This concept can be extended and generalized to the administration of cold foods and comforts instead of limiting the explanation to night time.
Read – Tension Headache Ayurvedic Treatment, Remedies, Tips, Herbs

This means to tell that at any part of the day if cold foods, comforts and the medicines having cold potency are administered, the person suffering from pittaja headache feels comfort. This happens because pittaja headache mainly occurs due to increased heat and pitta naturally gets exacerbated by heat.
Therefore cold and coldness should always be antagonistic to pitta, immaterial of the part of day or year or time. Therefore when a person has symptoms of pittaja headache one should think of cold remedies without wasting time. Cold foods and comforts work as emergency medicines in the patient of pittaja headache and he immediately feels comfortable following these remedies.
Read – How To Balance Pitta Dosha? Line Of Treatment

Causes, symptoms – Pitta headache

Causes and Pathogenesis of Pittaja Shiroroga
Causes and pathogenesis explained in the context of ‘ Common causes and pathogenesis of all Shirorogas’ is also applicable to Pittaja Shiroroga.

Specific causes of pittaja headache

  • Katu – excessive consumption of pungent foods
  • Amla – sour foods
  • Lavana – salty foods
  • Kshaara – alkalis
  • Madhya – alcohol / wine / fermented drinks
  • Krodha – being excessively angry
  • Atapa – excessive exposure to heat of the sun
  • Anala – excessive exposure to the fire
    Read – How To Get Rid Of Headache? 20 Things That You Should Avoid

Pathogenesis –
The pitta aggravated due to the consumption and exposure to the above said etiological factors will get lodged in the head and cause the disorders of head and headache of pitta origin.

Symptoms of Pittaja Headache

  • Shirah dahyate – burning sensation in the head
  • Shirah rujyate – pain in the head
  • Shiro dhumayanam – person feels as if smoke is being eliminated from the head or the head is filled with hot smoke
  • Sheetam supooyate / sheetaischa mardavam – the headache reduces due to cold comforts, applications and foods
  • Nishi mardavam – headache subsides at night due to naturally prevailing cold during night
  • Dahyate chakshushi / akshi dahanam – burning sensation in eyes
  • Trushna – excessive thirst
  • Bhrama – giddiness / fainting
  • Sweda – Excessive sweating
  • Jwara – fever
    Read – Ayurvedic Pitta Diet – Food Suitable For Pitta Body Type

Modern correlation


Pitta type of headaches can be closely compared to ‘Bilious headache’.

Most of us would have experienced a bout of headache when we have indigestion. It may happen after an incompatible or unhealthy food. It also happens after taking foods which doesn’t suit us or foods which don’t get easily digested in us.

Pitta is the one which is actively involved in the digestion of food. When pitta is displaced or hyper active or even less active, it leads to early burnout or delayed digestion of food.
Read – How To Know That Your Digestion System Is Working Fine?

These events lead to undigested foods to be left out in the stomach and upper intestines for long time. These foods stagnate in the stomach and lead disturbances in the body. They include nausea, vomiting, gastritis, headache, feeling tired, and burning sensation in the body, flare up of skin and gut conditions, irritable bowel and lot more.

Pitta constitution people and those have high pitta over a period of time will generally suffer from these conditions often. The more chronic the condition, the worse are the conditions, headache to be precise in this context. Many of us might have also experienced that our headache comes down once we vomit the stomach contents. This is typical of pittaja headache.
Read – Ayurvedic Home Remedy To Improve Digestion

Since this type of headache occurs due to the errors of metabolism and pathological manifestations of gastrointestinal system, it is also included under ‘constitutional headache’.

This type of headache occurs due to one or more of these conditions – sluggish digestion, anorexia, indigestion, gastritis, chronic constipation, liver disorders, ileitis, colitis etc diseases.

This type of headache is also caused or triggered by living in damp conditions, excessive exhaustion and stress, excessive consumption of alcohol and during menstruation in women. In women this type of pain may occur before or after the monthly periods.
Read – Ayurvedic Diet And Lifestyle During Menstruation (Periods)

Predominant symptom is severe headache. One will also suffer from pain in the eye. The patient will have nausea and may also vomit at times. The person will have bloating and distension of abdomen at times. Pain is usually severe when the person is hungry, when the stomach is producing acids and when there is bile in the intestine. If the person takes timely food, there may be relief in the headache. People who do not take timely food or fast excessively will suffer from constitutional or bilious headaches.

Modern line of treatment would be to cure the causative diseases and also to keep away the etiological factors. Apart from this medicines and measures to keep the bilious surge under control are adopted. Analgesics to mitigate headache should be given for immediate relief.
Read – Migraine – Ayurvedic treatment, Herbs, Home Remedies

Shloka – Pitta shirorog

Treatment for Pitta headache

Ayurvedic treatment for Pittaja Headaches
All pitta alleviating remedies, comforts, therapies, food and lifestyle changes will help in reversing and treating pittaja headaches effectively

Principles of treating Pittaja Headaches

Snehana – administration of medicated fats
Medicated fats are administered as a part of oleation treatment. Here, the medicated fats are given in metered doses, in ascending form until the body gets saturated with the fats. This is done to prepare the patient for purgation treatment.
Read – Oleation – Snehakarma Dose, Benefits, Side Effects, Management

Virechana – purgation therapy
Purgation therapy is an ideal treatment choice in all high pitta conditions and all diseases or sub-types of diseases manifested due to abnormal increase of pitta.
Read – Virechana Therapy – Right Method, Side Effects, Management

Purgation therapy is also ideal in treating pittaja headache. Proper purgation should be administered following oleation therapy. Purgation shall be administered using one of the below mentioned –

  • Raisins
  • Triphala (read more here)
  • Sugarcane juice
  • Milk
  • Ghee / medicated ghee
  • Milk mixed with ghee

Other treatment options –

  • Drinking of milk
  • Sheeta lepaah – application of pastes which have coolant properties
  • Navana – nasal therapies (read more here)
  • Jeevneeya sarpi – ghee processed with Jeevaniya group of medicines should be used for drinking or for preparing foods / mixed with foods. It can also be used for errhine therapy, enema therapy, and for application over the head. This is an ideal medicine for curing all diseases caused due to vitiated pitta and blood.
    Read – Jeevaneeya Gana Herbs of Charaka: Review, Medicines, Benefits

Abhyanga – herbal oil massage
Himasagara taila or Himanshu taila which are not only medicated, but also coolant oils shall be used for massage.

Shirobasti – pooling of medicaments over the head
Ghee or milk should be used for pooling over the head.
Read – Shirovasti: Indications, Benefits, Procedure, Limitations

Lepa – anointments of medicinal pastes
Amalakyadi Lepa – paste prepared using Emblica officinalis and other coolant medicines. The below mentioned ingredients should be ground in rose water and applied on head –

Naladadi Lepa – paste prepared using the below mentioned ingredients should be mixed in ghee and applied in pittaja headache –

Shatavryadi Lepa –paste of below mentioned herbs need to be applied on head of the person suffering from paittika headache –

Mrunaladi Lepa – Paste of below mentioned herbs shall be applied over the head of the patient suffering from the paittika headache –

Chandanadi Lepa –paste of sandalwood etc herbs made by rubbing them in milk (the same ingredients mentioned in the Chandanadi parisheka ahead) is applied on the head.

Shtadhauta ghrita – ghee washed 100 times should be applied over the head. Same ghee shall be used to give head massage.
Read – Shatadhautha (Shat dhouth) Ghrita Benefits, How To Use, Ingredients, Side Effects

Parisheka – sprinkling / stream pouring of medicated liquids on the head
Chandanadi parisheka – decoction prepared with the below mentioned herbs should be sprinkled or stream poured on the head of the patient suffering from pittaja headache –

  • Sandal wood, Licorice
  • Sida cordifolia, Water lily
  • Capparis sepiaria
  • Khas grass

Nasya – nasal medication / errhines
Twak patradi nasya – Cinnamon, Cinnamomum tamala and sugar should be ground in rice wash, filtered and used as errhine.

Madhuyashtyadi ghrita nasya – Ghee prepared with milk processed with decoction of licorice, red sandalwood, Alhagi camelorum and Cynodon dactylon should be used for providing errhines. Alternatively, ghee processed with licorice, raisins and sugar should be used for nasal medication.
Read – Durva (Bermuda Grass) Cynodon dactylon Uses, Research, Remedies, Medicines

Rasa dravya – herbo-mineral preparations
Below enlisted herbo-mineral preparations shall be used individually or together mixed along with ghee and sugar as after drink or vehicle or with gulkand  or mixed in powder of cardamom, ghee and sugar to cure paittika headache.

  • Swarnamalati vasanta
  • Chandrakala ras (read more)
  • Mukta bhasma
  • Yashada bhasma
  • Raupya makshika
  • Swarna makshika
  • Danti bhasma
  • Pravala bhasma
  • Shukti bhasma
  • Varata bhasma

Individual dose of each of the above said preparations / compounds is 125-250 mg. When used in combination, the dose may differ.

Kaphaj Shirorog – By Kapha

Kaphaj Siroroga is a type of Shiroroga i.e. disorders of the head or types of headaches. As the name indicates, it is caused by vitiation of kapha.
It is also called as Kaphaja Shirashula / Kaphaja Shirobhitapa.

Kaphaja – caused by vitiated kapha
Shiroroga = disease of the head / headache
Read – Headache Caused By Vata Dosha – Causes, Symptoms, Treatment

Meaning and definition of Kaphaja Shiroroga
When a person has headache in which his head is anointed or filled with kapha, with a feel of heaviness and stiffness in the head and the head is cold on touch, the face and the region around the eyeballs (eye socket or orbit) appears to be swollen, the person is said to be suffering from headache caused by aggravation of kapha. This condition is called as kaphaja shirobhitapa / kaphaja shirashula.
Read – Tension Headache Ayurvedic Treatment, Remedies, Tips, Herbs

Causes and Pathogenesis of Kaphaja Shiroroga
Causes and pathogenesis explained in the context of ‘ Common causes and pathogenesis of all Shirorogas’ is also applicable to Kaphaja Shiroroga.

Specific causes of kaphaja headache
Though specific causes for kaphaja headache have not been enumerated in the texts, the below mentioned can be considered as the etiological factors for kaphaja headache –

  • excessive consumption of sweet, salty and sour foods
  • excessive consumption of foods which are heavy to digest
  • Sheeta – cold climate, spring season, cold foods and comforts
  • Snigdha – excessive consumption of oily or fatty foods
  • Divaswapna – excessive sleeping in the day time
  • excessive sleep
  • Sukha – leading a sedentary life etc.
    Read – How To Get Rid Of Headache? 20 Things That You Should Avoid

Pathogenesis –
Kapha aggravated due to the consumption and exposure to the above said etiological factors will get lodged in the head and cause the disorders of the head and headache of kapha origin.

Symptoms, correlation

Symptoms of Kaphaja Headache

  • Gurutva / Bharikam – heaviness of the head
  • Pratisthabdha shira – stiffness in the head
  • Himam – feeling of coldness in the head
  • Shuna akshikuta – swelling around the eye (eye socket, orbit)
  • Shuna vadana – swelling of the face
  • Manda rujam – mild pain in the head
  • Supta shira – numbness in the head
  • Stimita shira – the person feels that his head is tightly tied with a wet cloth
  • Tandra – stupor, sleepiness, drowsiness
  • Alasya – lethargy, laziness
  • Arochakam / aruchi – anorexia, tastelessness, not being able to appreciate taste of food or differentiate different tastes
  • Sira nispandhata – filling of blood vessels in head and neck
  • Nishi adhikam – symptoms / pain becomes intense at night time
  • Karna knduyate – itching in the ears
  • Vami – vomiting

Read – Migraine – Ayurvedic treatment, Herbs, Home Remedies

Probable modern correlation
Kapha type of headaches can be closely correlated with ‘Reflex Headache’. Here the headache occurs due to and as an effect of pathology or disease at some other part of the body. It may occur due to the effect of nasal disorders, sinusitis, rhinitis, reduced eyesight, dental disorders, otitis media, and diseases of stomach or uterus. Due to the impact or effect of one or the other kind of these diseases there will be mild pain in the head in case of kaphaja headache.
(Read here)

Sanskrit verse – Kapha headache

Ayurvedic treatment for Kaphaja Headaches
All kapha alleviating remedies, comforts, therapies, food and lifestyle changes will help in reversing and treating kaphaja headaches effectively.

Principles of treating Kaphaja Headaches

Shodhana – cleansing treatments for head
The below mentioned cleansing measures should be initially administered so as to purify the head of its morbidity and vitiated doshas. They are –

  • Swedana – sudation therapy should be administered using the herbs having dry, hot and fiery properties
  • Dhuma – medicated smoking should be administered
  • Nasya – nasal medications / errhines to cleanse the head of its impurities
  • Pradhamana – sternutatory / blowing of medicinal powders into the nostrils (type of errhine)

By these measures, the doshas will be eliminated and the channels of the head will be cleansed.
Read – Nasya Karma Procedure, Types, Benefits, Contra Indications

Lepadi kriya – anointments and other measures to be done after head cleansing
After having cleansed the head in a proper way by administrating the above mentioned measures, the below mentioned measures should be adopted –

  • Kaphaghna Pralepa – applications of pastes prepared using herbs having kapha mitigating properties should be done on head
  • Kaphaghna annapana – foods and drinks which mitigate kapha
  • Purana sarpi pana – medicated old ghee is given for drinking
  • Teekshna basti – strong enemas are administered
  • Daha – cauterization is preferred if vata is associated with kapha
  • Raktamokshana – in other conditions and associations of kapha, other than vata, bloodletting is done.
    Read – Raktamokshana Benefits, Types, Procedure, Indications

Since it is kapha induced headache, the below mentioned measures are also useful remedies –

  • Shirovirechana – head cleansing errhines
  • Upavasa – fasting or eating food in moderation
  • Vamana – therapeutic emesis (read here)
  • Gandusha dharana – gargles with medicated liquids

The above mentioned treatments need not be done all at a time. They need to be selected as per need and implemented, seeing the condition of patient, related disease which is causing the headache, symptoms of headache limited to the head and the quality and quantity of kapha exacerbation.
Read – How To Do Fasting? A Step By Step Guide For You

Lepa – anointments for kaphaja headache

Saraladi lepa

The below mentioned herbs should be ground in water, mixed with salt and applied on the head of the patient suffering from kaphaja headache –

  • Sarala – Pinus longifolia
  • Kushta – Saussurea lappa
  • Lata karanja – Caesalpinia crista
  • Devadaru – Cedrus deodara
  • Rohisha – Cymbopogon martinii
  • Apamarga – Achyranthes aspera (read here)

Tagaradi Lepa

The below mentioned ingredients should be ground with water, and applied warm on the head of the person suffering from kaphaja headache.

  • Tagara – Valeriana wallichii
  • Nirgundi beeja – seeds of Vitex negundo
  • Shilarasa – Liquidamber orientalis
  • Musta – Cyperus rotundus
  • Cardamom
  • Agaru – Aquilaria agallocha
  • Devadaru – Cedrus deodara
  • Jatamansi – Nardostachys jatamansi
  • Rasna – Pluchea lanceolata
  • Erandamula – roots of Ricinus communis
    Read – Lepa Kalpana: Ayurvedic Dosage Forms For External Application

Pathyadi Lepa

The paste of the below mentioned herbs prepared by grinding them with water is applied to the patient having kaphaja headache.

Devadarvadi Lepa

The paste of the below mentioned herbs should be made by grinding them in kanji i.e. fermented liquid, mixed with oil and applied hot –

  • Devadaru – Cedrus deodara
  • Tagara – Valeriana wallichii
  • Kushta – Saussurea lappa
  • Jatamansi – Nardostachys jatamansi
  • Ginger

Shuntyadi Lepa

Equal portions of each of the below mentioned herbs is ground in the urine of buffalo and applied on the head of the patient suffering from kaphaja headache.

  • Ginger
  • Saussurea lappa
  • Seeds of Cassia tora
  • Devadaru – Cedrus deodara

Krishnadi Lepa

The below mentioned ingredients should be taken in equal quantity, rubbed / ground in water and applied hot on the head of the patient who is suffering from kaphaja headache.

  • Long pepper
  • Ginger
  • Musta – Cyperus rotundus
  • Licorice
  • Shatapushpa – Anethum sowa
  • Neela kamala – blue variety of lotus
  • Saussurea lappa

Dhuma – medicated smoking

Erandadi dhuma
A smoking wick should be prepared from the paste of the below mentioned ingredients and should be used for medicated smoking.

Ingudyadi Dhuma
Fruit pulp of Ingudi i.e. Balanites aegyptiaca and Meshashringi i.e. Gymnema sylvestre are grinded together. With their paste, a smoking wick is prepared. The person suffering from kaphaja headache is encouraged to smoke this wick.

Nasya karma – errhines / nasal medication
Katphala churna nasya – Fine powder of Katphala (Myric esculenta) is used as snuff. The patient suffering from Kaphaja headache uses this powder as snuff into his nostrils; he will get relieved from the headache.

Arkadi Nasya – Rice is impregnated with the latex of Calotropis gigantean. When the latex gets dried, the rice is once again dipped in its latex. This process is done for three times. Later the rice is ground and kept in an air tight bottle. This powder shall be used as snuff to get relieved from kaphaja headache. It is also useful in treating earache and fainting. Even the latex of Calotropis gigantean alone is very strong head purgative, when administered as errhine, the juice produces excessive sneezes and cure headache caused by vitiated kapha.
Read – Calotropis gigantea – Arka Uses, Dose, Side Effects, Ayurveda Details

Hayari Nasya – The fine powder of the below mentioned ingredients shall be used as snuff to cure kaphaja headache, coma and fainting.

  • Hayari – Nerium oleander
  • Hemakshiri / Hemajivanti – Sneeze wort / Dregea volubis
  • Katphala – Myrica esculenta
  • Javitri – Mace spice
  • Vacha
  • Trikatu – three pungents (long pepper, ginger, black pepper)

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