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The word ‘deepana’ literally means kindling, inflaming, setting on fire. In human biology, it means stimulating digestion.[1] Deepana is a pacification treatment [A.Hr.Sutra Sthana 14/6][2] especially for kaphadosha. It is an essential prerequisite before therapeutic emesis (vamana) and therapeutic purgation (virechana). [A.Hr.Sutra Sthana 13/29][2]

Section/Chapter/topic Chikitsa / Deepana
Authors Aneesh E.G., Deole Y.S.
Reviewed and Edited by Basisht G.
Affiliations Charak Samhita Research, Training and Development Centre, I.T.R.A., Jamnagar, India,
Correspondence email:,,
Publisher Charak Samhita Research, Training and Development Centre, I.T.R.A., Jamnagar, India
Date of first publication: April 26, 2021
DOI 10.47468/CSNE.2021.e01.s09.050

Etymology, derivation, definition and synonyms

The word deepana is derived from the word ‘deepa’, which means ‘kindling the fire’ with ‘nich’ and ‘lyu’ suffix. [Vachaspatyam]

Definition and synonyms

The diet or medicine or process which stimulates digestion is called ‘deepana’.[Sha.Sa. Purvakhanda 04/01][3] It is worthy to note the difference between deepana and pachana. Deepana process stimulates digestion at a primary level. Whereas pachana process additionally stimulates metabolism too.

Synonyms: Sandeepana, agni deepana

Deepana therapy

Effect on agni

Agni (processes of digestion and metabolism) is an important component of health. Qualitative or quantitative impairment of agni is the fundamental cause of all diseases. [A.Hr.Nidana Sthana 12/1][2] Deepana treatment intends to maintain equilibrium of agni.

A wide range of food items, medicines have deepana effect. The best form of food to kindle digestion is unctuous food like fats/oils (sneha).[Cha.Sa.Chikitsa Sthana 15/201] The medicines with deepana action have predominance of agni mahabhuta.[Su.Sa.Sutra Sthana 41/6][4]

  • Tastes (rasa): Salt (lavana), bitter (tikta) [Cha.Sa.Sutra Sthana 26/43], spicy (katu) [Su.Sa.Sutra Sthana 42/10][4] taste have deepana effect.
  • Properties: Hot (ushna) property shows deepana effect.
  • Herbs with deepana effect: Anethum sowa(shatapushpa), Tinospora cordifolia (guduchi), Azadirachta indica(nimba), Santalum album(chandana), Prunus cerasoides(padmaka), Piper longum(pippali), Piper nigrum(maricha), Zingiber officinale(sunti), Aegle marmelos(bilwa), Clerodendrum phlomidis(agnimanda), Cyperus rotundus(musta), Terminalia chebula(haritaki) etc.
  • Food and beverages: Hot water[Su.Sa.Sutra Sthana 45/39][4], coconut water [Su.Sa.Sutra Sthana 45/43][4], cow’s milk [Su.Sa.Sutra Sthana 45/51][4], breast milk[Su.Sa.Sutra Sthana 45/57][4], buttermilk, alcohol, honey, salt, asafoetida.
  • Daily regimen: Bath [A.Hr.Sutra Sthana 2/16][2]

Importance in the preservation of health and prevention

Deepana is highly important to maintain the equilibrium of agni (digestion and metabolism) to preserve health. In the rainy season, the digestive capacity is naturally weak due to seasonal effects. Therefore, the diet and medicines with deepana effect are advised in this season to maintain agni and prevent the diseases. [Su.Sa.Uttara Sthana 64/7][4]

Importance in management of disease

Deepana treatment is indicated in many diseases. Few examples are given below:

Time of administration

The deepana medicines should be administered with food. [Su.Sa.Uttara Sthana 64/75][4]

Prerequisite before purification therapy

Deepana treatment is given before purification therapies to improve digestion and detach dosha stuck in body channels or to body tissues. [Hemadri on A.Hr Sutra Sthana 13/29][2] Thus, it facilitates free movement of dosha and metabolic toxins for removal during purification therapy. If purification therapies are given without proper assessment of states of dosha, it may cause untoward effects.

After purification therapy

The digestive capacity is weak after the purification therapies. The light-to-digest diet with deepana effect is advised to normalize digestion. [A.Hr.Sutra Sthana 27/52][2]

Medicinal formulations with deepana effect

Contemporary views and current researches

Deepana effect can be studied in terms of factors stimulating digestion. The digestive hormones like gastrin, secretin, cholecystokinin may increase after deepana treatment. More specifically, the hormones ghrelin and leptin seem to play an important role in producing deepana effect.

Ghrelin is an orexigenic hormone secreted from the stomach. The concentration of ghrelin in plasma rises before food intake. It falls after the ingestion of food. While administered peripherally, there was an increase in food intake. It also activates a group of neurons in hypothalamus called as AgRP(agoutirelated peptide)neurons. Asprosin is another orexigenic hormone that activates AgRP directly. In animal studies, it is observed that AgRP neurons are activated when there is a deficiency in calories and becomes less active when fed. When the AgRP neurons were activated through chemical or light stimulus, they start to eat intensely in already fed animals. So these neurons are considered hunger-promoting neurons.[5]

Leptin is an anorexigenic hormone secreted by adipose tissue. Its main function is to maintain adequate fat storage in body. A fall in leptin level stimulates hunger.[6] Thus, these two hunger-promoting hormones can have a role in deepana action.

More research on deepana therapy is needed to study the exact mechanism of action.

List of thesis done

  1. Jaidev Gehija (2018): Efficacy of Paushtika biscuit with and without deepana pacahana in the management of karshya (Malnutrition) – An open labeled, randomized, comparative clinical trial. Department of KaumaraBhritya, IPGT&RA Jamnagar


Cha. = Charak, Su. = Sushruta, A. = Ashtanga, S. = Sangraha, Hr. = Hridayam, Sha. = Shargadara, Sa. = Samhita.

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  1. Monier-Williams, Monier-Williams Sanskrit- English Dictionary, 1st edition; Oxford University Press, dipana, Page 481.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 Vagbhata. Ashtanga Hridayam. Edited by Harishastri Paradkar Vaidya. 1st ed. Varanasi: Krishnadas Academy;2000.
  3. Sharangadhara. Sharangadhara Samhita. Translated from Sanskrit by K.R. Srikantha Murthy. Reprint ed. Varanasi: Chaukhambha orientalia;2016.
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 4.5 4.6 4.7 4.8 4.9 Sushruta. Sushruta Samhita. Edited by Jadavaji Trikamji Aacharya. 8th ed. Varanasi: Chaukhambha Orientalia;2005.
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