What is Special About?

Keralite Panchakarma



Dr Sanjeev Sood
Reader – Medicine, HOD – Panchakarma
Dayanand Ayurvedic College, Jalandhar
Visiting Prof
EISRA-Holland, ICAU-Belgium,
This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it

Panchakarma, a well recognized system of Ayurvedic medicine has unique techniques and these acknowledged techniques underwent revision and advancements in the flow of time. Panchakarma therapies are the foremost and Kerala has made its own platform due to the immense contribution made by traditional Ashtavaidyan practitioners. By them, parallel to the mainstream - “Keraleeya Panchakarma” - a modified form of Therapies were evolved, which was well revised by various doyens of the land.

What is Ashtavaidyan tradition of Ayurveda? 

Ashtavaidyan are traditional Ayurvedic physicians of Kerala and are from Brahman (Namboothiris) community. They are masters of the eight branches of medicine from which the word Ashtavaidyan is originated. For many generations, Ayurveda in the Kerala propagated in the family’s of these eight disciples which now a days is popularly known as Ashtavaidyan Ayurveda and Ashtavaidya are considered as esteemed traditional physicians of Kerala. They wrote several books incorporating their observations and clinical experiences. "Chikitsa Manjari", "Yogamithram", "Abhidhana Manjari", "Alathur Manipravalam", "Sindoora Manjari" and "Kairaly Commentary on Ashtanga Hridaya" are some of them. They were the disciple of Vagbhata and came under his family tree also, Vagbhata was youngest among the big three’s Brihat Trayee other two were Charak and Sushruta. Vagbhata authored the famous treatises of ayurveda named Ashtang Sangraha and Ashtang Hridaya and his disciples were earlier called “Ashtangavaidyan” and later apparently reduced to Ashtavaidyan. As mentioned earlier, all the families are addressed as Moosses rather than Namboothiris, except Aalathiyoor and Kaarathol who are called Nambis. Ashtavaidyan are given a slightly depressed status perhaps because they have to examine dead bodies, perform surgical operations. However, considerable respect and place are given to them by the (Brahman’s) Namboothiris community. Owing to the slightly lower status for Moosses, they are not permitted inside Yagya Shala, a place where Yagya are performed. Kerala is in a way is fortunate to have this tradition of Guru Shishya stream survived.In Kerala, Vaidya not practising ayurveda strictly on the lines of Vagbhata are considered Aryavaidyan and popular Vaidya of Varier family of Kerala is using the designation Aryavaidyan with their names which shows that they are not from the families of Ashtavaidya. So two parallel, Ashtavaidyan & Aryavaidyan traditions or Ayurveda prevailed in Kerala. Anyway, while the rest of the country followed Charaka and Sushruta, Kerala mainly followed Vagbhata’s Ashtang Hridaya.

Popular Panchakarma therapies of Kerala

In panchakarma most of the therapies are integrated with external oleation procedures and these procedures are basically done preliminarily to the main five procedures Vaman Therapeutic Emesis, Virechan Therapeutic Purgation, Niruhan Decoction based enema, Anuvasan Oil based enema and Nasya Nasal insufflations of panchakarma.  Basically Keralite Panchakarma had done advancements in different external oleation therapies only; all the other main procedures of Panchkarma are named and practised like the same in rest of India.

Pizhichil (Parishek)

Parishek type of Sweden is called Pizhichil in Malayalam ('zh' is pronounced as 'd'). Sushruta in twenty fourth chapter of Chikitsa Sthan described the details with various formulations for the same. Sushruta recommended Parishek for Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Vata disorders, Fractures, Wounds, Traumatic injuries & burns. Charak in twenty ninth and Ashtang Hridaya in twenty first chapter of Chikitsa Sthan recommended the use of Parishek in various vata disorders.

Procedures and uses

Pizhichil’ literally means ‘squeezing’. Here, warm medicated oil is squeezed over the patient’s body from a piece of cloth that is periodically dipped in a vessel containing the oil. Each masseur uses on hand to pour the oil while massaging with the other. Medicated warm oil is used for as a continuous stream for a definite period for the whole body excluding head & neck. The masseur usually begin by squeezing oil on to the shoulders and then down the hands of the patient who sits in an upright position. This therapy consists of both oleation (oiling) and sudation (sweating). Selection of oil depends on doshic predominance and constitution of the person. This treatment is very useful for Rheumatic diseases like arthritis, paralysis, muscle spasms, sexual weakness, ageing, general weakness, nervous disorders, degenerative diseases affecting the muscles and other Vata disorders etc.

Kizhi (Pind Swed)

Kizhi means bolus (Pind). Sweden done with a bolus is called Pind Sweden and Charak described the same In fourteenth chapter of Sutra Sthan, PIND SWED described by Charak is known as Kizhi in the vernacular language of Kerala. 

Procedure and Uses

Special herbal leaves or powders are mixed in oil and tied up in a muslin bag. This bag is used to massage the body or the affected parts with this special bolus after dipping it in warm oil. This treatment is for osteoarthritis, arthritis, spondylosis, sports injuries etc.

Navarakizhi or Njavarakizhi or Shashtik Shali Pind Sweden

Navarakizhi is part of the preliminary treatment prior to the main procedures of Panchakarma this is one of the most important among Keralite Panchkarma. This fomentation technique makes use of an indigenous rice variety Navara or Njavara or Shashtik, and Kizhi is Pind Sweden so putting both the words together makes it Navarakizhi. Vagbhata in Ashtang Hridaya’s twenty sixth chapter of Sutra Sthan described the procedure of Shashtik Shali Pind Sweden, in Keralite Panchkarma same is named as Navarakizhi. 

Procedure and Uses

Medicated oil is smeared on the head and body of the patient. The patient is then made to lie on a table. Pouches of Navara rice, cooked in medicated decoction and milk are soaked for a few minutes in a mixture of warm medicated decoction and milk. Temperature of this mixture is regulated depending on the tolerance capacity of the person. The body is then massaged with these rice bags, this procedure is done in seven different postures. After the treatment, the rice paste sticking onto the body is removed and warm medicated oil is once again applied on the body. Later the patient is given a bath in moderately warm water. By this process, the whole body or specific parts are made to sweat. This is performed by two to four therapists for about 60-90 minutes for a given number of days.This treatment makes the body supple and removes stiffness. It is a cardinal treatment for wasting muscular disorders like Polio Myelitis, Muscular dystrophies etc. It is very effective for Pain, rheumatism, emaciation of limbs, stroke, hypertension, sciatica, spondylosis cholesterol and certain kinds of skin diseases. It clears the obstructions, improves blood circulation, removes waste from the body, improves complexion and restores vigour. It promotes sound sleep, makes entire body strong, sturdy and well developed. It sharpens the senses and it slows down the ageing process. Besides medical benefits this wonderfully relaxing treatment leaves you glowing with health.



Home arrow Articles arrow Keralite Panchakarma Specialities

Buy ebook on
Pulse Diagnosis

Nadi Pariksha

9.90 Euro Only

Show Cart
Your Cart is currently empty.
Top Ten
Ashok (Saraca asoca)
Ashok (Saraca asoca)
Add to Cart

Ayurveda – Yoga – Vedic Astrology


   Design by Reflex Infosystems