What is Nasya?

Nasya is derived from the word ‘nasa’ dhatu which means ‘gati’. Gati is a way towards internal structures through the nose.  Nasya is one of the five procedures performed in Panchkarma therapy that is used for the maintenance of health and eradication of diseases from their roots as mentioned in Ayurveda.
In Ayurveda, and Nasya Kriya is a therapy that involves the instillation of medicine through the nose either in the form of powder, oil, ghee, liquid or smoke. Nasya karma therapy corrects the vitiated Doshas of the Urdhvanga and thus ensures the smooth functioning of the brain and ultimately the whole body. Nasya karma is highly effective in improving the functioning of the endocrine glands and nervous system. The medication administered through nasal route referred to as Nasyaaushadhi shows local as well as a systemic effect where it reaches the brain and acts on higher centers controlling different neurological, endocrine and circulatory functions.
Nasya is a traditional method that helps the nasal cavity's natural cleansing mechanism and lubricates its fragile tissues. It's often utilized together with a saline rinse. However, as saline liquids may leave the gentle tissues dry, Nasya oil provides the soothing and moisturizing benefits of sesame oil and calming herbs.

Benefits of Nasya

By regular and proper Nasya treatment, skin, shoulder, neck, chest and face becomes thick, powerful, well developed and glowing. The body part and sense organs become powerful and the greying of hair slows down or stops.Ayurvedic treatment of sinusitis involves liquefying and expelling aggravated body energies by means of specific Ayurvedic herbs and diet in addition to nasal therapies and programs. The Panchakarma treatment of Nasya is very helpful in dealing with sinusitis.

The following summarizes the benefits:

- Outstanding for kapha imbalance.

- It assists for excess kapha, mucous, congestion.

- It lubricates the nasal passage, preventing allergies.

- Prevents headaches, earaches, sore throat.

- Relieves tension from neck, shoulder and head area.

- Gives more mental clarity, calms the nervous system.


Nasya Types

According to Dr Vasant Lad, a global educator & pioneer in Ayurveda, the nose is the doorway to understanding as well as the pathway to our internal pharmacy. Medications that are administered through the nasal passages influence the brain, prana vata, tarpaka kapha, sadhaka pitta, and majja dhatu. Administer nasya on an empty stomach an hour before or after a shower or exercise. Lie down with the head tilted back and place 5 drops of nasya in each nostril. Sniff deeply, then stay lying for a moment or so, to permit the nasya to permeate.

 

Different types of Nasya are classified based upon various factors like form of the drug, mode of action, and route of administration.

 a) Navana Nasya-  It is a type of Nasya classified on the basis of route of administration where the drug is administered through the Transnasal route.

 b) Snehana Nasya- Performed to provide strength to all the dhatus present above the supraclavicular region.

 c) Shodhana Nasya- It's a purification procedure, that involves eliminating the doshas from the body through the nasal route of drug administration.

 d) Avapida Nasya- Nasya karma that involves the administration of plant juices/ paste or extracts to benefit the individual from disease ailment.

 e) Dhuma Nasya - It involves the administration of the medicated fumes through the nasal route, where the active components are absorbed in desired sites and eliminated by the oral route. 

f) Marsha and Pratimarsha Nasya-  Classified based on the transnasal administration of Sneha.

g) Rechana Nasya- Elimination of vitiated Doshas from supraclavicular part of the body where the medicated drug is administered by the transnasal route.

h) Shamana Nasya- Nasya performed to alleviate the Dosha situated in Shirah (head).

i) Brimhana Nasya/Tarpana nasya- Eliminates vata dosha, and strengthens the physical and mental health.

Nasya treatment or kriya

Nasya kriya is useful in the treatment of a variety of diseases. The following are only some examples.

 

1. Nasya treatment in a coma

Coma referred to as sannyāsa in Ayurveda is a condition that occurs when the doṣhas are acutely vitiated This condition weakens the individual from inside and brings about absolute unconsciousness in the patient. In this condition, proper administration of medicine does not help subside coma and it becomes a challenge to administer medicines to the comatose patient. However, Nasya karma or application of nasal drops, fumigation, and powders have been indicated in such conditions that are known to bring a remarkable recovery in the form of coma reversal, regained sensorium along with increased muscle power. Nasal delivery of drugs can bypass the obstacles for the blood-brain barrier  (BBB)  allowing direct drug delivery in the biophase of the central nervous system (CNS) and thus provide relief from various CNS disorders.  

 

2. In chronic sinusitis

Chronic sinusitis is characterized by symptoms like nasal blockage, nasal discharge, headache, insomnia, heaviness in the head. In Ayurveda chronic sinusitis occurs due to Kapha doshas. Shodhana must be done to fight problems of chronic sinusitis. Shodhna through Nasya is the chief procedure to eliminate Doshas from Shirah. The drug either in the form of churna, or liquid is instilled into the nostrils which reach into the blood vessels of the head and from there, through different Siras, it spreads to other parts like Netra, Shirah, etc  and removes the morbid Doshas in the form of nasal discharge, tear & salivation

 

3. Myopia

Nasya karma is the procedure that directly influences all the Indriyas above the supraclavicular region. The nose is the gateway to treat various systemic and nervous disorders. Myopia is a common vision condition that affects most of the individuals and is known to arise from vitiated Vata and Kapha Dosha. Administration of medicated oils through nostrils carries the medication towards the desired site and cleanse the channels. Thus Nasya karma provides overall clarity of vision by alleviating various symptoms of myopia.

 

4. Infertility issues

Nasya karma improves the functioning of the endocrine system and thereby it regulates the hormonal balance by stimulating the hypothalamus. Hypothalamus is the main organ in the brain which stimulates or downregulates the secretion of various hormones in the body including the stimulation of Gonadotropin-Releasing Hormone (GnRH). Nasya karma for infertility issues may stimulate olfactory nerves and limbic system, which in turn stimulates the hypothalamus and thus promotes regularizing GnRH pulsatile secretion, leading to ovulation in infertility conditions

 

5. In allergic rhinitis

Allergic rhinitis is the inflammation in the nasal membrane, which occurs when the immune system overreacts to allergens in the air. Nasya kriya performed for allergic rhinitis is known to reduce the allergen contact by establishing a barrier in the nasal mucosa that has been found to be effective in minimizing the early-phase immune response and therefore prevent the initiation of the late-phase immune response. It also helps improves mucociliary clearance by providing humidification of the mucosa.

 

Studies in Nasya for medical conditions

Science and research where Nasya kriya has shown its effectiveness in treating disease.

 

A randomized controlled clinical trial to assess the efficacy of Nasya in reducing the signs and symptoms of cervical spondylosis.[6].

The study recruited a total of 36 patients diagnosed as Cervical Spondylosis. The patients were randomly divided into a control group and the Nasya group. Initially all the patients were subjected to Rooksha sveda for 7days followed by Patra Pottali Sveda for another 7 days during which Gandharvahastadi Kashaya twice daily and Guggulu Tiktaka Kashaya once daily was administered on an empty stomach. After this, Nasya was performed in the study group with Dhanvantaram Tailam Avarti. The duration of Nasya was 7 days. Whereas, in the control group Kashaya alone was given. The duration of the treatment was for 21 days followed by a 1-month follow up.

 

The results showed that patients who received nasya found relief from clinical signs and symptoms of cervical spondylosis that reduced pain, stiffness in the neck, tenderness, radiation, and numbness and also improved range of movements of the cervical spine more effectively.


 

Summary

Numerous ayurvedic literature has shown a great importance of Nasya in drug absorption and transportation. It is a promising alternative route of drug administration that has its effects on the local, systemic and central nervous system. Thus, Nasya karma has a definite effect on multi-system diseases. Nasya possesses many advantages in terms of reducing systemic exposure, hepatic first-pass metabolism,  Rapid absorption, higher bioavailability, and a non-invasive technique.

References

1. Patil, Rajkala & Patil, Panchakshari & Thakar, AnupB. (2016). Efficacy of Nasya (nasal medication) in coma: A case study. Ancient Science of Life. 35. 232. 10.4103/0257-7941.188188. 

2. Chaudhari, Varsha & Manjusha, Rajagopala & Mistry, Sejal & Vaghela, D. (2010). Role of Pradhamana Nasya and Trayodashanga Kwatha in the management of Dushta Pratishyaya with special reference to chronic sinusitis. Ayu. 31. 325-31. 10.4103/0974-8520.77165. 

3. Gupta, Durgesh & Manjusha, Rajagopala & Dhiman, Kartar. (2010). A clinical study on Akshitarpana and combination of Akshitarpana with Nasya therapy in Timira with special reference to myopia. Ayu. 31. 473-7. 10.4103/0974-8520.82045.

4. Donga, Krupa & Donga, Shilpa & Dei, Laxmipriya. (2013). Role of Nasya and Matra Basti with Narayana Taila on anovulatory factor. Ayu. 34. 81-5. 10.4103/0974-8520.115453.  

5. Stölzel, Katharina & Bothe, Gordana & Chong, Pee & Lenarz, Minoo. (2013). Safety and efficacy of Nasya/Prevalin in reducing symptoms of allergic rhinitis. The clinical respiratory journal. 8. 10.1111/crj.12080.

6. Radhika, C & Kumar, G & Mihirjan, K. (2012). A randomized controlled clinical trial to assess the efficacy of Nasya in reducing the signs and symptoms of cervical spondylosis. Ayu. 33. 73-7. 10.4103/0974-8520.100316. 

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