Virechana

Definition - What does Virechana mean?

Virechana is a Sanskrit word that means “laxative” or “purging” and may refer to any substance used to induce purging. Virechana is one of the therapies used in ayurveda, the traditional Indian medical system. More specifically, it is one of the panchakarma toxin-eliminating treatments.

Virechana is used to treat skin diseases, various bowel and gastrointestinal disorders, diabetes, asthma, headaches and gynecological problems.

The other panchakarma therapies are rakta moksha (bloodletting), vamana (induced vomiting), basti (enema or colonic) and nasya (nasal irrigation). By using one of the panchakarma treatments to remove toxins, the Ayurveda practitioner balances the doshas, or energies that control the body's functions.

Yogapedia explains Virechana

Virechana is designed to balance pitta dosha and cleanse the blood. This dosha is believed to control metabolism, digestion and the body's energy. In preparation for virechana, the person undergoes vamana treatment, then is put on a special diet.

There are two main types of virechana:

  • Snigdha virechana, which is castor oil either by itself or with a special fruit powder. This is used when the pitta dosha is associated with vata dosha.
  • Rooksha virechana, which employs a medicine derived from the trivrit herb and is administered when kapha dosha is associated with pitta.
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