Ayurveda is the sacred percept of regulation which guides us about all aspects of life. In recent years, a renewed interest has been shown by many people’s throughout the world, to know more about contributions that have been made or can be made in future by Ayurveda towards the treatment of psycho-somatic diseases as whole. Ayurveda refers a vision to understand undisclosed and unknown physical & mental factors of life.
Ancient Indian literature includes Ayurveda, which is not merely a medicinal science rather is a guide to know the way to live. Ayurveda has a unique approach to the mind-body system, and has a distinctive Approach to the concept of health, disease, diagnosis and therapeutics including material medica encompassing plant kingdom, minerals, metals. In addition also has a varied attitude towards healthy diet, safe nutraceutical medications and life style management, which all together forms a total health care package.
Ayurveda recognizes health as balance state of Doshas (bio-energies), Dhatus (body tissues), & Agni (metabolic activities) imbalance of either in terms of excess nutrition or malnutrition affects the balance and results into diseases. Management of these imbalances is based on substituting the depleted constituent and elimination of those accumulated in excess.
Ayurveda – science of life describes many types of treatments in view of healthy and diseased person.
Shadvidhopkrama (Combination of six types of treatment principles);
Langhana (Reduction therapy)
Brimhana (Nutritive therapy)
Stambhana (Astringent therapy)
Langhana is one of the most important Upkrama to re-establish the balance of vitiated doshas.
The word langhana is derived from the word laghu which means light in terms of weight. Aim of langhana is to make the body light by relieving heaviness.
Acharya charaka states: modalities (or treatment/lifestyle/medicine /panchakarma therapies) that bring lightness and thinness of body is called langhana.
Nowadays improper or ill planned life style activities have become a nurturing cause for various disorders. Disturbance in the daily routine like late night sleeping, waking up late in the morning, excessively consumption of junk food, and excessive stress has turned to be the causative factor for many non-communicable Diseases.
These diseases affect the digestion & disturb the digestive power, which leads to production of Amadosha. Ama is the root cause of all diseases according to Ayurveda. Langhana is a therapy that has been advised in all Santarpana Vyadhis (Nuritional Diseases). Diseases caused due to excess of nutrition are called as Santarpaniya Vyadhi in Ayurveda. Excess and daily consumption of oily, sweet, heavy foods, new cereals, fresh alcoholic drinks, and flesh of animals living near water, excess of milk, food containing sugar, day-sleeping and living sedentary life are the Causative factors for Santarpaniya Vyadhi (metabolic disorders). These metabolic disorders reduce life expectancy.
Langhana is said to be one of the most beneficial therapy to restrict these disorders. Scientific Studies has provided evidences about betterment in quality of life and life expectance due to langhana therapy. In addition it also helps to improve mental and spiritual Strength, confidence, courage and mental peace.
Pharmaco-Therapeutic properties behind Langhana:
Substances which carry out function of lightness have following properties:
Laghu (Light) – Herbs, medicine or diet, which primarily have lightness as its quality.
Teekshna (Sharp) – Langhana aims at removal of blockage in channels. Hence herbs/remedies with sharp/penetrating qualities are chosen for langana, which helps the medicine to enter the minute channels & eliminate the morbid matter.
Vishada (Clear/pure) – This quality clears the channels by removing stickiness.
Ushna (Hot) – Hot substances are light in nature hence they are generally used.
Ruksha (Dry) – Oiliness brings heaviness in the body, dryness being opposite helps in bringing Lightness.
Sukshma (Minute) – It helps the medicine to enter each and every minute channel of the body and brings lightness.
Khara (rough) & Sara (mobility) – Relieves the obstruction, eliminates morbid matter from the channels helps to clear channel and ensuring movement of body fluid in proper direction.
Types or method of Langhana:
Acharya Charak mentions 10 methods of Langhana.
– Vamana – Emesis therapy – It is a therapy of choice in conditions of excessive kapha Dosha vitiation.
– Virechana karma – Purgation therapy – It is a therapy of selection in conditions of excessive Pitta Dosha vitiation.
– Niruha basti – Decoction Enema – Enema prepared out of decoction of Herbal medicines can be administered in various Vata disorders.
– Nasya – Nasal drug administration – Herbs/Drugs with the action of cleansing the vitiated Doshas are administered through nasal route.
– Pachana – Administration of foods & medicine, which helps in enhancing the process of digestion are Pachana.
– Pipasa – controlling thirst is also a process of Langana.
– Upavasa – fasting/ restricted Food intake is a type of Langana Procedure.
– Vyayama – Physical exercise, where the excess caloric contents can be burnt off is also a Langana procedure.
– Maruta – Exposure to wind is also a type of Langana procedure.
– Atapa – Exposure to sun is also a type of Langana procedure.
Indications of 10 types of Langhana:
The process of eliminating the vitiated dosha through the oral cavity is called vamana. The vamana dravyas are Agni (fire) and Vayu (air) mahābhūtas dominant and due to their prabhāva (effect) they move upwards to expel the vitiated dosha through the upward route (mouth).
Drugs which are Uṣṇa (hot), Tikshaṇa (sharp), Sukshma (minute), Vyavayi (which spreads in body & later gets transformed) and Vikasi (causes laxity of tissues & joints after spread) by virtue of their own strength, reach the heart and circulate through the vessels. Because of their Agneya Guna (fire nature) they dissolve the solid Accumulated doṣhas and due to Tikshnata (sharpness) they separate the adhered doṣha located in the different channels of the entire body. Thus the vamana dravyas works to remove the doṣha though the upper part (mouth) of the body.
The process of expelling the vitiated Doshas through the downward route is known as Virechana. The Virechana dravya are Pṛithvi (earth) and Jala (water) mahabhuta dominant and due to their prabhava (effect) they move downwards to expel the vitiated Doshas through the downward route (anus).
Therapy in which the Aushadha Dravya (medicine) moves to umbilical region, lumber region and pelvic region, and eliminates the vitiated Doshas located in these regions with ease, and also nourishing the body is called Basti. Basti eliminates the morbid matter through anal route and bestows lightness to the body, hence it includes in Laṅghana.
Therapy in which the Aushadha Dravya (medicine) is administered through the nasal route is known as Nasya. Vitiated Doṣha which are situated in the region of Head, Neck, Throat and Upper respiratory tract are eliminated by the procedure.
Pipasa nigrahaṇa means restricted water intake. Thirst arises when body required water for its routine activity. If the urge for water is suppressed, body fulfills the need by taking water from tissues. Thus the watery content of the body reduced. Decreased watery content produces lightness as water is heavy by its natural property.
Vayu has dry, cold, light, mobile, subtle, rough qualities. By which it decreases the oiliness, heaviness, rigidity, stable qualities of Ama and Kapha. Hence it results in the lightness of the body.
Sun absorbs the moisture or soaks the liquid of the earth, in the same way exposure to sunlight de-moisturize the Ama, fat and Kapha. It reduces fat and increases strength & stability. It also stimulates digestive fire by enhancing the pitta, and also induces sweating and thirst etc. Ātapa sevana is indicated in some of skin diseases.
Pachana dravya does digestion of the food but does not increase the digestive fire. Pachana dravyas acts only upon undigested food materials at the level of doṣha, dhatu and malas. Pachana dravyas are fire and air element dominants thus they enter in the ama or undigested food and create space to make a path for fire to enter to perform its function. Thus the earth and water content of the body converted into the space and air by the fire element of pachana dravyas & leads to lightness of the body.
Fasting is used in different ways and is done for various purposes. Some people do spiritual fasting while others may fast for health issues. Some may have water fast, juice fast or may have vegetable or green juices. It does not matter how one fast it leads to limit intake of calories, which gives the ultimate benefits.
Fasting may be taken up as complete or partial restriction of food intake. By the complete or partial food restriction, digestive fire become free & gets ignited hence it digests the undigested food which is present in the body. There is a famous phrase says that stop the supplies and enemy will leave the citadel. It is the food which feeds the disease not the patient. The basic cause of all the diseases in human being is erroneous food intake which leads to formation of Ama due to imbalanced digestive fire. Practicing fasting in a systematic way is known to restrict number of occurrence of metabolic disorders.
Physical activity which is desirable and capable of bringing lightness, stability & strength in body is known as vyayama. This has to be practiced in moderation. Exercise produces lightness in the body; it gives the ability to do work, stability, resistant to discomfort and alleviation of doṣas. It stimulates the power of the digestion. Due to this karma of the vyayama has been included as one type of Laṅghana.
Types of Langhana indicated
(Strength of patient)
(Strength of disease)
Excess aggravation of Kapha, Pitta, waste material along with Vata
Digestive Disorders, Diarrhea, Vomiting, Fever, Constipation , Heaviness
Digestive Disorders, Diarrhea, Vomiting, Fever, Constipation, Heaviness, Kapha disorders
Digestive Disorders, Diarrhea, Vomiting, Fever, Constipation, Heaviness, Kapha disorders
Herbs which bestow Langhana effect:
Langhana group of herbs or the formulations, when taken induce the effect of langhana therapy and produces lightness in the body.
- Musta – Cyperus rotundus
- Triphala – Fruits of Terminalia chebula, Terminalia bellirica and Emblica officinalis
- Madhu – Honey
- Vidanga – Embelia ribes
- Shunti – Zingiber officinale
- Lauha bhasma – calx or ash of iron
- Shilajit – Asphaltum
- Mudga – Green grams
- Patola – Trichosanthes dioica etc.
Signs of Langhana:
– Proper elimination of flatus, urine & feces
– Feeling of clarity in eructation & throat
– Sense of purity in heart & lightness of the body
– Lack of drowsiness & excretion
– Appearance of sweat & appreciation of taste
Excess Langhana Effects:
– Skin cracking, crepitus sound in small joints
– Dryness of mouth
– Loss of appetite
– Anorexia, thirst
– Weakening of the power of hearing & sight
– Dizziness & loss of memory
– Bloating, emaciation of body, loss of power of digestion and body strength
Benefits of Langhana
– Ignites digestive fire & controls ama
– Removes stagnation and blocks in tissues & channels
– Lightness and sense of healthiness in the body
– Disappearance of lassitude or stupor
– Reverts the preliminary pathological processes
– Cleans the tissues, helps in their recovery and ends the progress of diseases.
– It also helps the purposes of Deepana and Pachana.
Ama Dosha Yukta Vata
(Ama associated with Vata)
Ama Dosha Yukta Pitta
(Ama associated with Pitta)
Ama Dosha Yukta Kapha
(Ama associated with Kapha)
Langhana is one among the key treatments in Ayurveda; it can be used in all types of patients with reference to Roga-Rogi Bala. When amadosha increases in body it disturbs the balance of tridoshas, blocks channels, and leads to heaviness. In such state langhana is best line of treatment, it helps in get rid of blockages of channels and brings lightness in body. According to Ayurveda langhana is a Therapy that enormously helps in maintenance of health and wellness.