Virechana is a cleansing procedure in Ayurveda, specifically a part of Panchakarma, which involves the removal of toxins from the body through induced bouts of diarrhea. This process is not a simple case of diarrhea but rather a carefully prepared and executed procedure that takes about 12 days to complete. The first eleven days are dedicated to preparing the body for the final evacuation around the 12th day.
At Himveda, the process begins with a consultation to assess the need for Virechana. Virechana is typically recommended when there is an increase in Pitta or the fire element in the body, which can manifest as inflammations or signs of heat. Some conditions that may warrant Virechana include chronic skin eruptions, migraines, jaundice, bleeding, heartburn, gastritis, ulcers, etc.
Before proceeding with Virechana, the individual’s physical strength is evaluated, as the procedure can be taxing and unsuitable for those physically weak. If the person’s strength is deemed sufficient, Virechana is carried out.
Himveda Clinic offers Virechana treatment, which follows the traditional method. The treatment starts with the patient consuming ghee (clarified butter) internally. The dosage of ghee is gradually increased over 3-7 days.
Ghee days are followed by three days of Abhyanga oil massage and steam box therapy.
Using ghee or oils in a cleanse facilitates removing fat-soluble waste materials from the body. The heat of the steam makes sure the toxins combine nicely with ghee, and the combination is then mobilized towards the liver for excretion.
While waste materials soluble in water can be excreted through urine or sweat, fat-soluble wastes require fat to help eliminate them. Ghee can easily penetrate the fatty cell membranes of our cells and reach deeper tissues. Once there, it binds to fat-soluble toxins, and together, they are transported to the liver to be eliminated as bile. These toxins include fatty acids, environmental pollutants, pesticides, preservatives, parasites, cholesterol, and other fatty impurities.
The gall bladder, which stores and concentrates bile, is stimulated to contract through the consumption of ghee. This process helps to alleviate any congestion in the bile and liver.
Once this bile loaded with toxins reaches the small intestine, it is flushed out of the body through Virechana medicines, resulting in diarrhea.
Usually, because of our poor diet and lifestyle, we have less bile production. To preserve it, bile is reabsorbed seventeen times before being eliminated in the stools, similar to a car engine running on dirty engine oil. This can cause damage to the body, much like how dirty oil can stick to the engine’s pipes and circuits. Virechana aims to remove this build-up of toxins from the deeper tissues and eliminate associated symptoms. The symptoms usually manifest as increased body heat or Pitta. This is the body trying to burn the toxins by increasing the heat r inflammation. So, Virechana is a deep cleansing of the tissues and organs and not merely a cleansing of the intestines. Intestines act as a medium for receiving these toxins and throwing them out.
After undergoing Virechana, the body’s digestion may be weakened as it has eliminated bile, enzymes, and acids. A specific diet is followed to support the recovery process. Initially, simple carbohydrates are introduced, such as rice water. As the digestion improves, rice is mixed in water, and khitchari (a dish made with rice and lentils) is gradually added. This diet is typically continued for 2-3 days, depending on the severity of the diarrhea experienced during Virechana.
The patient must follow certain precautions during Virechana for the success of the treatment. One should be ready to rest, as much activity is not advised. Diet will be controlled, with no daytime sleeping or indulging in sexual activity.