What is Virechanam?
Virechanam is one of the Panchakarma procedures that helps to regulate the excess Pitta Dosha in the body. If you drink or eat something that are quite toxic to the body… and if our intestines can’t tolerate it, it will find an effective way to eliminate it immediately or flush it immediately, which we call it as diarrhoea or dysentery which is a condition where our body cannot tolerate that poison any more… it has to eliminate to preserve the energy of the body. This is the way to eliminate the toxins from the body, which it finds on it’s own. Now the same procedure we are artificially inducing it in a safe environment where the body
is prepared to eliminate some toxins and after that we give certain medications and diarrhoea is induced where we eliminate the toxins, this is called as Virechana.

What conditions can be treated with Virechanam?

Virechanam is very effective in conditions where there is excess Pitta or irregular Pitta. Now the functions and organs that are associated with Pitta are the digestion, the liver functions and to a great extent, the quality of the blood which also results on the quality of our skin. So it is very helpful to improve the digestion like, for example, if they feel digestive problems such as bloating sensation after having food for acidity or hyper heartburn, in such cases purgation is very good or if they have any fatty liver conditions – non alcoholic also, in such cases it is very effective or if they have constipation, constipation can lead to many other problems and we see a lot of constipation induced lower back pain and even in women with irregular menstrual cycle with fibroids or in endometriosis, where there is a block in the lower abdominal energy because of improper evacuation of the stool. In all these conditions, we have observed purgation giving a very good result.

How is Virechanam performed?

Virechanam is a process to regulate the excess or irregular Pitta in your body. When we say Pitta, what we mean is the metabolism or the digestive fire in the system. And it is the metabolism that helps to convert the food we take into energy. So when this becomes irregular Virechanam is very important. Now when we say the digestion or metabolism what mean is the fire element. Now the ideal time to do Virechanam is immediately after the sunrise… like for a tropical climate like in South India, ideal time will be between 8:00 a.m. and 9:00 a.m. and this has to be done in empty stomach. Now before we give the Virechanam medicine to induce purgation, we have to prepare the body with the oil massage and followed with the steam bath… so this helps to relax the body to release the toxins effortlessly. Now soon after that, the medication to induce purgation is given. In this medication, the dosage and the type will be decided by the doctor after doing the medical history. Now we need to know the bowel patterns in the last few months and years. For example, the patient says it is very difficult for them to go to toilet everyday or they go once in two or three days then the dosage will be more intensive or higher. And if the patient says they go to toilet everyday then it will be a milder dose…so that the cleansing is adjusted according to that. Now after the medicine is given within half an
hour or in some cases 2 to 3 hours the body will start flushing out the toxins through the lower elementary tract and according to the number of bowels that are being released, the patient has to hydrate himself or herself in a very good way. And after that, after few bowel moments they can take some rice soup or rice water to give some energy and they can rest rest of the day.

When is Virechanam avoided?

There is a list of conditions where Virechanam should not be done. If the patient is too young or too old and if they are having extremely low blood pressure or if they have conditions such as ulcerative colitis or Crohn’s disease where they see that they are releasing blood through the bowels or if they have bleeding piles, haemorrhoids or fistula or fissure; in all these conditions Virechanam definitely should not be done. And there is also another condition that we observe today, some patients say that after they have food they have a tendency to go to toilet immediately which is the possibility of a condition called Irritable Bowel Syndrome, in such cases also Virechanam is contra-indicated.