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The word pachana literally means causing to cook or boil, softening, digestive. The act of cooking or baking [1]is also termed as pachana. As a treatment measure pachana chiefly denotes digestion or that which promotes digestion. It is one of the prime treatment for undigested food/toxins (ama) and it is advocated as a prerequisite for purificatory therapies and as a pacification therapy also.

Etymology and derivation

The word pachana is derived from the root ‘pach’ with ‘nich’ and ‘lyut’ suffix. [Shabdakalpadruma]


The process in which the digestion of undigested food/toxic waste products (ama) takes place without increasing the digestive fire (agni) is called pachana. [Sha.Pu.04/01][2]


Pachana, paka, vipachana

Contextual meanings

The term pachana represents the following

  • Digestion
  • Suppuration/ripening

Digestion: Whenever there is a presence of ama or dosha associated with ama, pachana should be done to digest that ama.

Suppuration: In the treatment of inflammatory swellings (sopha) and wounds, pachana (suppuration) is a treatment of choice.


Based on the method of administration – 2 types

  1. Internal administration
  2. External administration

Internal administration: The pachana medicine is administered internally for the digestion of undigested food/ toxins (ama). It may be in the form of medicines or food items that possess the pachana property.

External application: The pachana medicine is applied externally in the form of poultice [Su.Sa.Chikitsa Sthana 20/52][3], topical applications etc. Eg: Application of alkali (kshara) over inflammatory swelling (vrunsopha) for suppuration. [Su.Sa.Sutra Sthana 11/05][3]

Importance of pachana

Ama is considered similar to poison.[A.Hr Sutra Sthana 8/14][4] So that has to be removed from the body. Most of the treatment procedures are contraindicated in the case of ama. The best method to remove ama is to digest it which is attained through pachana.

Pachana property can be attributed to some of the drugs and food items. Pachana drugs have predominance of heat (ushna) [Su.Sa.Sutra Sthana 46/515][3] and drying property (ruksha guna). [Aaddammalla on Sha.Pu.04/01][2]

Table 1: A few examples for pachana drugs and foods
Drugs Food items
Mesua ferrea (Nagakesara) [Sha.Pu.04/01][2] Curd, buttermilk, vinegar [Su.Sa. Chikitsa Sthana 1/25][3]
Terminalia chebula (Haritaki) [A.Hr Sutra Sthana 6/153][4] Citrus fruit (jambheera) [Cha.Sa.Sutra Sthana 27/167],
Cyperus rotundus (Musta) [A.S.Sutra sthana 12/38][5] Jagala (a variety of wine) [Cha.Sa.Sutra Sthana 27/181],
Pippalyadigana [Su.Sa.Sutra Sthana 38/23][3] Asafoetida (hingu) [Cha.Sa.Sutra Sthana 27/299],
Vachadigana [Su.Sa.Sutra Sthana 38/26][3] Oil [Su.Sa.Sutra Sthana 45/112][3],
Haridradigana[Su.Sa.Sutra Sthana 38/27][3] Scum of gruel prepared with fried paddy (laja manda)[Su.Sa.Sutra Sthana 46/340][3]
Mustadigana [Su.Sa.Sutra Sthana 38/54-55][3]

Time of administration of drugs for pachana: Before and after food (samudgam). [A.S Sutra Sthana 23/20][5] According to Shargadhara the medicines for pachana should be administered at night. [Sha.Pu.2/12][2]

Taste (rasa) with pachana property : Salt (lavana), bitter (tikta) [Cha.Sa.Sutra Sthana 26/43], sour (amla) [A.Hr. Sutra Sthana 10/10][4], spicy (katu). [A.Hr.Sutra Sthana 10/17][4]

General indications for Pachana

Importance of pachana as treatment modality

  • Pachana is one among the four techniques mentioned in Ayurveda to stop bleeding.[Su.Sa.Sutra Sthana 14/39][3] By the application of powders at the site the bleeding can be stopped.
  • It is one among the methods to remove the unfixed foreign body from the body. [Su.Sa.Sutra Sthana 27/04][3]. By suppurating the foreign body it can be easily removed from the body.
  • It is one among the eight kinds of treatments advocated for inflammatory swelling (vruna sopha).[Su.Sa.Sutra Sthana 37/9][3] By the application of drugs that are hot in potency the pachana of swelling is attained.
  • It is one among the 60 methods of treatment of wounds. [Su.Sa.Chikitsa Sthana 1/8][3]
  • It is one among the pacification therapies(shamana). [A.Hr Sutra Sthana 14/06][4]
  • It is one among the ten types of topical applications (alepa). [A.S. Uttara Sthana 30/08][5]

Importance in management of disease

Pachana as an independent treatment is having the ability to pacify the dosha but the chance for recurrence of disease is more when compared with the purification treatment. [Cha.Sa.Sutra Sthana 16/20] Pachana can be advocated in the conditions of vomiting, diarrhea, heart disease, acute intestinal irritation, intestinal sluggishness, fever, constipation, heaviness of body, eructation, nausea, anorexia as a first line of treatment. [Cha.Sa.Sutra Sthana 22/21]

Pachana is advocated in fever (jwara) especially if it is originated from stomach (amashaya). This can be achieved by providing hot water as it possess the pachana action. [Cha.Sa.Vimana Sthana 3/40] If the fever patient is having morbid thirst, water having pachana properties can be administered. [Cha.Sa.Chikitsa Sthana 3/144] After the initial phase of fever (after 6 days) the decoctions having pachana property can be given. [Cha.Sa.Chikitsa Sthana 3/160] In the treatment of kapha dosha predominant intermittent fever (vishamajwara) pachana can be used as a treatment principle. [Cha.Sa.Chikitsa Sthana 3/295]

For the treatment of distaste in the mouth and to increase the appetite drugs with pachana property can be used. [Cha.Sa.Chikitsa Sthana 8/36]. In the treatment of wasting diseases (rajayakshama), if the digestive power is less, pachana medicines can be given [Cha.Sa.Chikitsa Sthana 11/84]

For the treatment of swelling associated with toxic waste products (ama), pachana medicines should be administered followed by purification treatment. [Cha.Sa.Chikitsa Sthana 12/17] If the glandular erysepalas is not cured by other treatments then suppuration of the lump must be attained by administering external applications having pachana property. After attaining suppuration both internal and external purification should be done. [Cha.Sa.Chikitsa Sthana 21/135]

In diarrhea with predominance of kapha dosha, pachana should be administered in the beginning.[Cha.Sa.Chikitsa Sthana 19/102] In the treatment of hemorrhoids the recipes for pachana can be given. [Cha.Sa.Chikitsa Sthana 14/65]

In the treatment of kapha dominate alcoholism, pachana can be advocated as a treatment measure. [Cha.Sa.Chikitsa Sthana 24/167]

In ulcers with kapha dominance also pachana is used externally and internally as a treatment modality. [Cha.Sa.Chikitsa Sthana 25/16]

As a general line of treatment for diseases caused due to vata (vatavyadhi), if dosha is associated with ama, it should be treated with pachana etc treatments. After removing the ama, oleation etc therapies can be given.[A.Hr Chikitsa Sthana 22/50][4] Debilitated patients having vata ailments who are contraindicated for purgation should be given evacuative enema followed by food mixed with pachana medicines. [Cha.Sa.Chikitsa Sthana 28/87]

If morbid vata lodged in the alimentary tract (kosta) or if vata is occluded by food, the digestion of humors is to be done with pachana drugs. [Cha.Sa.Chikitsa Sthana 28/90] [Cha.Sa.Chikitsa Sthana 28/196] If bloating of upper abdomen (anaha) caused by undigested food (ama), pachana is used as a treatment measure. [Cha.Sa.Chikitsa Sthana 26/26]

As a preparatory measure before purificatory therapy

The doshas if undergone pachana will never stick to the tissues (dhatus) again. So the doshas can be moved easily towards the alimentary tract (koshta).[A.Hr. Sutra Sthana 13/18][4] So pachana is advocated as a preparatory measure for purificatory therapies like panchakarma. [A.Hr Sutra Sthana 13/29][4]

To manage the complications

In therapeutic enema therapy, if enema is occluded as a result of excess intake of food should be managed by pachana therapy. [Cha.Sa.Sddhi Sthana 4/35]

Fissure in ano (parikartika), fatigue etc, caused as a complication of purificatory therapies should be treated by pachana medicines. [Cha.Sa.Siddhia Sthana 6/63] [Cha.Sa.Siddhia Sthana 6/93]

Current researches

As an objective criterion to assess the pachana activity food conversion ratio is used in experimental studies. It is calculated as the food consumed in gram percentage (gm%) by dividing fecal matter in gm% passed on the same day. As a result of improvement in digestion the metabolism of food takes place properly which results in an increase in nutritional part (sarabaga) and a subsequent decrease in waste products (kittabaga). So if waste products are less when compared with the food intake higher will be the food conversion ratio. In a study to compare the pachana activity of Oroxylum indicum (shyonaka) and its substituent Ailanthus excelsa (aralu), shyonaka shows more pachana activity.[6]

In another study to compare the efficacy of fasting (upavasa) and fasting with pachana in patients with less digestive fire, the fasting with pachana group shows better results.[7]

Digestants are substances included to promote digestion of food. Papain is a proteolytic enzyme obtained from raw papaya is used as digestants. Pachana drugs are chiefly used to manage indigestion. Bitter (tikta) taste is mostly found with the drugs having pachana effect.[8]

List of theses 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 Kaumara Bhritya, IPGT&RA Jamnagar.

More information

Langhanabrimhaniya Adhyaya


  1. Monier-Williams, Monier-Williams Sanskrit- English Dictionary, 1st edition; Oxford University Press, pacana, Page 614.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 Sharangadhara. Sharangadhara Samhita. Translated from Sanskrit by K.R. Srikantha Murthy. Reprint ed. Varanasi: Chaukhambha orientalia;2016.
  3. 3.00 3.01 3.02 3.03 3.04 3.05 3.06 3.07 3.08 3.09 3.10 3.11 3.12 3.13 Sushruta. Sushruta Samhita. Edited by Jadavaji Trikamji Aacharya. 8th ed. Varanasi: Chaukhambha Orientalia;2005.
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 4.5 4.6 4.7 Vagbhata. Ashtanga Hridayam. Edited by Harishastri Paradkar Vaidya. 1st ed. Varanasi: Krishnadas Academy;2000.
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 Vridha Vagbhata, Ashtanga Sangraha. Edited by Shivaprasad Sharma. 3rd ed. Varanasi: Chaukhamba sanskrit series office;2012.
  6. Makwana AJ, Patel BR et al. Comparitave pharmacological evaluation of shyonaka (Oroxylum indicum Vent.) and Aralu (Ailanthus excels Roxb.) W.S.R to its deepana pachana activity. International Ayurvedic Medical journal (2015) Voulme 3, issue 4 Available from
  7. Ami Rajani, Mahesh K Vyas, Hitesh A Vyas. Comparative study of Upavasa and Upavasa with Pachana in the management of Agnisada. AYU. 2010 DOI: 10.4103/0974-8520.77166
  8. Hemang.N. Joshi, K. Nishteswar, P.P.Sharma et al. Ayurvedic Pharmacological Principles of Deepana (Stomachic) and Pachana (Digestant) Drugs.The global journal of pharmaceutical research. 2012 Sep; Vol 1 (4) Available from