Journal of Alternative Medical Research

Basti (Medicated Enemata)

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Published Date: March 17, 2016

Basti (Medicated Enemata)

Deshpande RR

Department of Sharirkriya, Ayurveda College, Nigdi, Pune , India

Corresponding author: Deshpande RR, Department of Sharirkriya, Ayurveda College, Nigdi, Pune, India, Tel: 922-681-0630; E-mail:

Citation: Deshpande RR (2016) Basti (Medicated Enemata). J Alt Med Res 2(1): 111.




The word ‘Basti’ or ‘Vasti’ literally means bladder. In ancient times, bladders of animals were used to conduct this procedure. Hence, the procedure is named as Basti karma. Basti karma simply means medicated enema. In this process Medicated decoctions and oils are administered in the body through anus with the help of instrument specially made for Basti process.

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Action of Basti


The site of action of Basti karma is Pakwashaya i.e. lower gastrointestinal tract. It is the main site of Vata dosha. Hence enema is mainly useful for the treatment of vitiated Vata (Ashtang Hrudaya Sutrasthana 19/1).

Vata is the Bioenergy responsible for all voluntary & involuntary activities of the body. In normal or physiological states vata dosha is responsible for all important functions of the body like heart beats, Inspiration and Expiration, Peristaltic movements, musculo skeletal movements, urination, defaecation, Menstrual discharge, semen ejaculation and even delivery process. So basti can be helpful in preventive & curative aspect for all these conditions. Due to faulty diet and Life style, vata dosha gets vitiated and in this pathological state, it is responsible for many diseases. Basti karma helps to reset and maintain the balanced state of Vata dosha and thus helps in treatment of many diseases.

Hence, Basti karma is the most important and powerful treatment or procedure among all the five processes. Basti is said as half of the treatment of Ayurveda (Charak Samhita Siddhi Sthana 1/39). Basti is not only cleansing process as Vaman and Virechan .It performs various types of functions according to the type of Basti implemented e.g. Shodhan Basti acts as a cleansing process; Bruhan Basti is nutritive in function.

Basti is mainly of two types. 1) Anuvasan Basti – Mainly contains only sesame or medicated oils .This is usually given in small amount like 60 to 100 ml 2) Asthapan or Niruha Basti – It contains other material in addition to oil like decoction, herbal paste, honey, etc.

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Indications for Basti


General indications for both kinds (Niruha and Anuvasan) of Basti (Charak Samhita, Siddhi Sthana 2/18):

  • Mainly Basti is useful in the diseases occured due to vitiated Vata, problems of muscles and bones.
  • Diseases affecting the whole body (sarvanga roga) eg. Rheumatoid arthritis and localized diseases (ekanga roga) e.g. Sciatica, Spondylosis.
  • Digestive tract problems like abdominal pain due to gas, Constipation, Ulcerative colitis etc, retention of flatus, urine or stool.
  • Muscle atrophy, dystrophy.
  • Nervous disorders or Neurological problems (vatavyadhi) like Hemiplegia, Parkinsonism, Sciatica, Motor Neuron disease.
  • Heart problems like Palpitation, Angina pectoris.
  • Psychosis.
  • Disorders of udana vayu like Dry Bronchial Asthama, Dry cough, Hiccough. Diseases of  Apana vayu like Menstrual disorders, Infertility, Oligozoospermia.
  • Basti is recommended for all types of Vata dominant conditions where pain & stiffness are the main features.

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Anuvasan Basti


Main Procedure of Anuvasan Basti


Syringe of 100cc, gloves, simple rubber catheter no 10 or 12.

Preparation of patient

  • Oleation and fomentation (at least of lumbar and lower abdomen) should be done.
  • Patient should be with light breakfast (Charak Samhita Siddhi Stana 3 /15 to 19).

Preparation of basti

  • Warm the oil at 40 to 45°C
  • The quantity of oily substance is 1/4th that of substance used for Niruha.
  • In general 60, 120 or 240 ml is given.           
  • It should be always in lukewarm state. Too cold or too hot substances cause many adverse effects.

Administration of basti

  • Keep the patient in left lateral position.
  • Fill the syringe with warm oil.
  • Remove the air from syringe as well as from catheter.
  • Lubricate the catheter with the oil and insert through anus very gently.
  • Push the oil with equal speed i.e. neither very slow nor fast.
  • After removing catheter do tadan karma (Tapping) on lumbar or buttock region and ask patient to remain in same position for 5 to 10 minutes.
  • Basti pratyagam kal (Time for getting out sneha dravya, with or without stool) is of 12 hours. If substance is not excreted in 12 hours, wait for 24hrs. If substance is still not excreted and there are no adverse effects then neglect it.
  • But if adverse effects like bulging of abdomen, gas in abdomen, pain or discomfort in abdomen appear then use the following measures:
    1. Pessary
    2. Purgation with castor oil is given.
    3. Fomentation
    4. Use of Tikshna Basti- Cow urine or Gomutrasava is used.

Advantages of Properly Affecting Anuvasana (Samyakyog)

(Charak Samhita Siddhi Stana 1/43)

  • Timely removal of waste products (mala) with oily substances (Charak Samhita Siddhi Stana 1/43)
  • No adverse side effects
  • Provides nutrition for Dhatus
  • Lightness in the body
  • Strength of the body increases

Symptoms Suggesting Incomplete Action of Anuvasana Basti

(Charak Samhita Siddhi Stana 1/44)

  • Body ache
  • Dryness in the body
  • Nausea
  • Drowsiness

Precautions to be taken after Treatment

If basti dravyas are excreted in time then light meal is advised. If oily substances are retained in the body without any adverse effects, then patient have to drink lukewarm water treated with dhanyak and shunthi (for proper digestion of oily substances), Light diet is advised.

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Niruha or Asthapan Basti


Main Procedure


Enema pot, simple rubber catheter no.12, gloves

Preparation of patient

  • Oleation and fomentation (at least of lumbar and lower abdomen) should be done.
  • Patient should be with empty stomach.

Preparation of basti dravyas

  • First mix honey and saindhav homogenously.
  • Add oil and again mix drug homogenously.
  • Now add the kalka i.e. paste of drug and make the mixture homogenous
  • After kalka gomutra (if indicated) should be added and at the last warm decoction should be added.
  • Final prepared basti dravya should be homogenous and warm (around 40 to 45° C).
  • Once the mixture is prepared it cannot be heated.

5.2 Administration of basti

  • Give left lateral position to the patient.
  • Basti dravyas are filled in the Enema pot. Air should be removed through tube and catheter.
  • Lubricate the catheter with oil and insert in the anus slowly and allow the basti dravya to pass through the anus without the disturbance.
  • After basti karma, tell the patient for excretion if it demands.
  • After that the time taken for expulsion of medicinal decoction is called ‘Basti pratyagam kal’.
  • Wait and watch for basti pratyagam kal. It should be of 48 minutes. If Niruha Basti remains in the body for longer time, it causes pain and adverse effects. In such situation, following measures can be used:
    1. Use of stronger decoction for Basti
    2. Purgation
    3. Fomentation
    4. If the basti pratyagam kal is very short, then the desired effect cannot be achieved.
    5. In that case, go for Niruh Basti again.
    6. If it also fails then go for Niruh basti on the next day after Anuvasana or Matrabasti.

5.3 Age Specific Niruha Basti Dose

(Charak Samhita Siddhi sthana 3/31 & 32)

  • 1 - 10 years = 40 ml- 50 ml
  • 10 - 15 years= 200 ml 300 ml
  • 15 - 18 years= 300 ml 600 ml
  • 18 - 70 years = 400 - 500 ml to 1000 ml
  • Over 70 years = 400 ml 800 ml
  • In practice usually Up to 800 ml quantity is commonly used in adult.

Benefits of Niruha Basti

  • Prevents aging of the body
  • Promotes happiness, longevity, strength, agni, intellect, voice and complexion
  • Brings balance to the metabolism (cleanses dhatus)
  • It helps in curing all disease
  • It promotes a robust body
  • It enriches semen and ovum
  • Cleans ama from the channels of the body

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Some Other Types of Useful Basti


Madhutailik Basti

Madhutailik basti is a sub-type of Niruh basti in which madhu i.e. honey and taila i.e. oils are used in equal or much more quantity.


It is used for children, women, old age persons, for removal of vitiated doshas   and also for the improvement of complexion and voice. This Basti provides longevity of human being.

Substances used are honey and oil, approximately 90g each + Erand root decoction 180ml + Shatpushpa Churna 20mg + Saindhav (Rock salt) 10 Gm +  Madanphal Churna 10 gm.

Siddha basti

Increases strength, muscle power, improves complexion.

Substances used – Yava, Kulattha, Pippali, Yashtimadhu, Saindhav, Honey. Generally each substance is taken in 40 gm dose and water is added 4 times and after boiling till it remains 1/4th it is given in 250 ml dose.

Rajyapan Basti

Cleansing and tonifying in nature.


  • Indicated in Urinary tract infections, glomerulo nephritis, avascular degeneration or necrosis of hip joints, Inguinal and Scrotal pain, Musculoskeletal diseases like muscular dystrophy, neurological cases like Multiple sclerosis, Parkinson's disease etc.
  • It is recommended in dry allergic cough or in COPDs like emphysema, bronchiectasis, chronic fever, gouty arthritis, irritable bowel syndrome, Knee joint osteoarthritis etc. It is used in Auto immune conditions like Ankylosing spondylosis and Rheumatoid arthritis.


  • Decoction of Ashwagandha, Shatavari, Erandamool, Bala in a dose of 240 ml
  • Honey-20 ml
  • Rock salt- 5 Gm
  • Sesame oil- 40 ml
  • Ghee- 40 ml
  • Meat soup – 160 ml & Cow Milk – 160 ml


Rajyapan Basti increases the strength, it increases the sexual drive, improves the digestion and Vital sap.

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  1. Sushruta Samhita Chikitsa Sthana 35 /17 to 18.
  2. Sushruta Samhita Chikitsa Sthana 37 / 4 to 6.
  3. Sushruta Samhita Chikitsa Sthana 38 / 37 to 41.
  4. Ashtanga Hrudaya Sutrasthana Chapter 19 /61.
  5. Sharangadhar Samhita Uttarkhanda 5/1.

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Copyright: © 2016 Deshpande RR. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.