The word ‘deepana’ literally means kindling, inflaming, setting on fire. In human biology, it means stimulating digestion. Deepana is a pacification treatment [A.Hr.Sutra Sthana 14/6] especially for kaphadosha. It is an essential prerequisite before therapeutic emesis (vamana) and therapeutic purgation (virechana). [A.Hr.Sutra Sthana 13/29]
|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,|
|Publisher||Charak Samhita Research, Training and Development Centre, I.T.R.A., Jamnagar, India|
|Date of first publication:||April 26, 2021|
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] 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
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] 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]
- Tastes (rasa): Salt (lavana), bitter (tikta) [Cha.Sa.Sutra Sthana 26/43], spicy (katu) [Su.Sa.Sutra Sthana 42/10] 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], coconut water [Su.Sa.Sutra Sthana 45/43], cow’s milk [Su.Sa.Sutra Sthana 45/51], breast milk[Su.Sa.Sutra Sthana 45/57], buttermilk, alcohol, honey, salt, asafoetida.
- Daily regimen: Bath [A.Hr.Sutra Sthana 2/16]
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]
Importance in management of disease
Deepana treatment is indicated in many diseases. Few examples are given below:
- Hot water is given in the treatment of jwara.[Cha.Sa.Chikitsa Sthana 3/144]
- Butter milk in kapha dominant gulma [Cha.Sa.Chikitsa Sthana 8/119] and all digestive disorders [Cha.Sa.Chikitsa Sthana 15/117], [Su.Sa.Uttara Sthana 40/182]
- For patients of tuberculosis (rajayakshma) suffering from bouts of diarrhea (atisara) [Cha.Sa.Chikitsa Sthana 8/134]
- For improving taste in mouth[Cha.Sa.Chikitsa Sthana 8/136]
- For the treatment of debility due to injury(kshatakheena)[Cha.Sa.Chikitsa Sthana 11/84]
- For the treatment of piles/hemorrhoids (arsha) [Cha.Sa.Chikitsa Sthana 14/250]
- For the treatment of ama stuck inside the intestine (pakvashaya) [Cha.Sa.Chikitsa Sthana 15/75]
- In the initial stages of kshayaja kasa.[Cha.Sa.Chikitsa Sthana 18/150]
- Vata dosha aggravation in the alimentary tract[Cha.Sa.Chikitsa Sthana 28/89]
- Vata dosha functions, obstructed by excess food (annavrutavata) [Cha.Sa.Chikitsa Sthana 28/196]
- Occlusion of apanavata by samanavata[Cha.Sa.Chikitsa Sthana 28/206]
- Occlusion of udanavata by apanavata[Cha.Sa.Chikitsa Sthana 28/211]
- For the treatment of distension of abdomen(adhmana) [Su.Sa.Chikitsa Sthana 5/26]
Time of administration
The deepana medicines should be administered with food. [Su.Sa.Uttara Sthana 64/75]
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] 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]
Medicinal formulations with deepana effect
- Talisadi churna[Cha.Sa.Chikitsa Sthana 8/146]
- Takrarishta[Cha.Sa.Chikitsa Sthana 14/75]
- Pippalyadi ghrita [Cha.Sa.Chikitsa Sthana 14/118]
- Dantyarishta [Cha.Sa.Chikitsa Sthana 14/147]
- Dadimadi ghrita [Cha.Sa.Chikitsa Sthana 16/46]
- Kantakari ghrita [Cha.Sa.Chikitsa Sthana 18/35]
- Ashtangalavana [Cha.Sa.Chikitsa Sthana 24/178] etc.
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.
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. 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
- 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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