Ayurveda Panchakarma: Cure for Irritable Bowel Syndrome

Irritable Bowel Syndrome

I saw a physician who had suffered from irritable bowel syndrome for three years. This condition was initially caused by amoebic dysentery contracted during visits to Asia and had generated complications involving acute digestive disorders, food allergies and severe skin rashes. With one eight-day treatment regimen, almost all his symptoms disappeared. After six months, he returned to see me and commented that even after a stressful period, which included his father’s death, the symptoms did not return.

With each of these experiences my knowledge and confidence has grown. Over the years, I have had the opportunity to successfully apply the principles of Panchakarma therapy to many types of degenerative disorders. I have put into practice with my patients the instructions contained in the ancient texts, and have seen the effectiveness of this approach demonstrated again and again.
Research by Gabriel Cousens, M.D., has demonstrated Panchakarma’s ability to reduce organ and blood toxicity*. Dr. Hari Sharma of Ohio State University has explored the use of Panchakarma to remove blockages in coronary arteries, and has found remarkable results. Maharishi Ayurveda has also been very active in doing research on this healing modality. It is my hope for the future that many more medical scientists will become active in demonstrating the effectiveness of this ancient healing and rejuvenative science. It is also my hope that health-care around the world will move in its approach from mere management of symptoms to genuine cure of disease.


Panchakarma’s five procedures offer the most effective treatments for cleansing the body and eliminating the root of disease. They remove the substances which weaken the body and break down health, and restore life to balance and wholeness. As a result, the mind, body and senses become much more receptive to the food, medicine and rasayanas or rejuvenative preparations they receive to maintain health. These five therapies represent the ultimate in shodhana chikitsa, “treatment that eliminates the cause of disease.” In contrast, many medical systems offer only shamana chikitsa, the practice of palliating symptoms, rather than healing their cause.

As a word of caution, these procedures are very delicate and patient-specific in their application. It is better that Panchakarma therapy not be done at all than to be done incorrectly. Therefore, it should always be performed under the supervision of an Ayurvedic physician trained in the science of Panchakarma.

After finishing the major eliminative procedures, Panchakarma concludes with treatments designed to rebuild, nourish and strengthen the body, called Paschatkarma, or postprocedures. The importance of this final stage of Panchakarma, which we’ll discuss later, cannot be underestimated. The dhatus need to be nourished and, in some cases, reconstructed, and the digestive fires — the body’s metabolic processes — must be brought back to full capacity. Remember that almost all disease results from weak or incomplete metabolism. When the agnis are strong, health is strong.

* I was invited by Dr. Cousens to conduct and supervise a study at his Center in Arizona on Panchakarma therapy protocols which I divised in India. Eighteen patients were selected and evaluated by Dr. Cousens to experience one week of Panchakarma. Two scientific instruments were used in the evaluation of each patient. One, was an electric device modeled on the Voll technology. It measures the drop in galvanic resistence in the meridians. The second instrument used was a darkfield microscope amplified with a Nassens condenser. The method of evaluation was the German system as outlined by Enderlin. Though these two instruments are not widely accepted in the U.S. scientific community, they are in Europe.

The above study was a preliminary one, though the initial results were extremely encouraging. We were able to demonstrate, with scientific instrumentation, that there is a significant positive change in the individuals health profile through the intervention of Panchakarma.

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