The word brimhana means building, nourishing or strengthening. This is one among the six basic treatment principles. [Cha.Sa.Sutra Sthana 22/4] The drugs or procedures which possess this property increase the bulk of the body [Cha.Sa.Sutra Sthana 22/10] and makes the body strong and firm.
‘Brimhana’ is the procedure by which the tissues get nourished and the body becomes compact. [Dalhana on Su.Sa.Sutra Sthana 45/113]
Santarpana [A.Hr. Sutra Sthana 14/2]
Properties of nourishing (brimhana) drugs
The nourishing (brimhana) material possess the following properties
- Smooth [Cha.Sa.Sutra Sthana 22/13-14]
Panchamahabhuta constitution of nourishing therapy (brimhana)
Action over dosha
Indications for nourishing therapy
- Based on body constitution: Persons with vata predominant constitution. [A.Hr. Sutra Sthana 14/8-9]
- Based on the strength and condition of person: Weak or emaciated persons, traumatized or injured person [Cha.Sa.Sutra Sthana 22/26], Pregnant woman, woman after delivery. [A.Hr. Sutra Sthana 14/8-9]
- Based on the age of person: Old aged
- Based on the daily activities: Who used to walk long distances, those who used to indulge in sexual intercourse daily, and those who used to take alcohol daily.
- Based on the season: In summer season (grishma) naturally the body strength tends to reduce, so nourishing therapy is indicated during this period. [Cha.Sa.Sutra Sthana 22/26] In winter season since digestive fire is more, one should take the diet which is more nourishing in nature. [A.S. Sutra Sthana 4/9]
- Based on other treatment procedures: Those who became weak after undergoing purification therapies [Cha.Sa.Sutra Sthana16/22]
- Persons who are indicated for fasting/reducing therapy (langhana). [A.Hr. Sutra Sthana 14/15]
- If excessive aggravation of fat/adipose tissue (meda) or kapha is present. [Cha.Sa.Chikitsa Sthana 29/156]
Methods for nourishing (brimhana) therapy
Nourishment of the body can be achieved through the following means
- Daily habits
- Psychological factors
- Therapeutic measures
Diet which provides nourishment (brimhana)
The best nourishing diet is meat. [A.S.Sutra Sthana 13/2] The meat of adult (mature) animals, fish, and birds which are found roaming in their suitable natural surroundings, which are healthy, is considered to be ideal for nourishing therapy. [Cha.Sa.Sutra Sthana 22/25] Especially meat of goat, sheep [Cha.Sa.Sutra Sthana 27/62] and hog [Cha.Sa.Sutra Sthana 27/78] provides nourishment. River fish is more stoutening than that of marine. [Su.Sa.Sutra Sthana 46/121] The eggs of swan, rooster and peacock [Cha.Sa.Sutra Sthana 27/85] are also nourishing in nature.
Breast milk [Cha.Sa.Sutra Sthana 27/224] and milk generally because of its unctuous and cold nature provides nourishment to body. [Cha.Sa.Sutra Sthana1/107] Ghee, relishing soups prepared with cereals [Cha.Sa.Sutra Sthana16/22] rice, blackgram, sugarcane, wheat and jaggery preparations, [Chakrapani on Cha.Sa.Sutra Sthana 21/29-34] curd, [Cha.Sa.Sutra Sthana 27/225] butter [Su.Sa.Sutra Sthana 45/92] and oil [Su.Sa.Sutra Sthana 45/113] are nourishing in nature.
Fruits of date, common fig, Indian hog plum, coconut, ripe peach [Cha.Sa.Sutra Sthana 27/127-129, 133] mango [Su.Sa.Sutra Sthana 46/153] wild lemon (madulunga) etc.[A.S.Sutra Sthana 7/176] have the nourishing property.
Regimens which provides nourishment (brimhana)
Mental factors which promotes nourishment (brimhana)
- Avoiding mental worries [Chakrapani on Cha.Sa.Sutra Sthana 21/29-34][A.Hr. Sutra Sthana 14/9]
Drugs having nourishing (brimhana) property
The group of 10 drugs which possess the nourishing property [Cha.Sa.Sutra Sthana 4/8(2)] are as follows
- Euphorbia prostrate (kshirini)
- Brasica juncea (rajakshavaka)
- Withania somnifera (ashwagandha)
- Fritillaria cirrhosa (kakoli)
- Lilium polyphyllum (kshirakakoli)
- Sida rhombifolia (vatyayani/shwetabala)
- Sida cordifolia (bhadraudani/pitabala)
- Pueraria tuberose (payasya/vidarikanda)
- Abutilon indicum (rishyagandha)
The time of administration of nourishing drugs (brimhana) is along with the food (sabakta annakala) [A.S.Sutra Sthana 11/54]
Therapeutic measures with nourishing (brimhana) effect
- Low dose unctuous enema (matra basti) [Cha.Sa.Siddhi Sthana 4/54]
- Oil massage (abhyanga)
- Fomentation with bolus of medicated rice (shashtikashali pinda sweda)
- Nourishing unction therapy (brimhana snehapana)
- Nourishing intra nasal drug administration (brimhana nasya)
- Nourishing enema (brimhana basti)
- Nourishing smoke inhalation (dhumapana)
- Rejuvenating therapy (rasayana)
- Aphrodisiac therapy (vajikarana)
Signs and symptoms of optimal nourishing (brimhana) therapy
- The person attains good strength and robustness
- Recovery from emaciation and related problems [Cha.Sa.Sutra Sthana 22/38]
- Clarity of sense perceptions
- Proper elimination of waste products
- Feeling of lightness of body and of taste [A.S.Sutra Sthana 24/15]
Signs and symptoms of excessive administration of nourishing (brimhana) therapy
- Excessive brimhana therapy results in obesity. [Cha.Sa.Sutra Sthana 22/38]
- Person may suffer from fever, scrofula, diabetes, abdominal enlargement, cough, accumulation of toxic metabolic waste (ama) and skin diseases (kushta). [A.Hr. Sutra Sthana 14/20]
Importance in preservation of health and prevention
Proper nourishment is essential to keep the body healthy. The therapeutic measures like elimination of doshas in due time and regular use of rejuvenating and aphrodisiac formulations nourishes the body [Cha.Sa.Sutra Sthana21/33] thus it improves the health and prevents the diseases.
Importance in the management of diseases
Generally for vata disorders nourishing (brimhana) is the treatment of choice. [Cha.Sa.Chikitsa Sthana 28/106] Nourishing therapy (brimhana) itself acts as pacifying therapy (shamana) also. [A.Hr. Sutra Sthana 14/7] The diseases caused by the depletion of body constituents should be treated through nourishing therapy (brimhana) [Indu on A.S.Sutra Sthana 19/13]
For the management of leanness nourishing therapy is advised. [Cha.Sa.Sutra Sthana21/29-34] Meat soup of carnivorous animals and birds are nourishing in nature especially to persons who became lean as a result of diseases like assimilation disorders (grahani), piles (arsa) etc. [Cha.Sa.Sutra Sthana 22/27]
If body becomes weak by chronic fever, nourishing therapies should be done. [Cha.Sa.Chikitsa Sthana 3/292] In abdominal tumors caused by vata [Cha.Sa.Chikitsa Sthana 5/183], for lean diabetic patients [Cha.Sa.Chikitsa Sthana 6/15], in respiratory disorders (shwasa) and hiccups (hikka) [Cha.Sa.Chikitsa Sthana 17/150], in the beginning stages of cough produced as a result of depletion of body tissues (kshayaja kasa) [Cha.Sa.Chikitsa Sthana 18/150] and for poisoning which results in vata aggravation [Cha.Sa.Chikitsa Sthana 23/170] nourishing (brimhana) should be done.
During loss of hunger due to fasting, gruel mixed with ghee given in between meals (annavapeditam) makes the body nourish. [Cha.Sa.Chikitsa Sthana 15/209]
In a study 72 healthy students were divided into two groups. One group was provided with a nourishing compound having Pueraria tuberose (vidarikanda), Triticum aestivum (wheat), Hordeum vulgare (Barley), sugar and ghee as the ingredients; and the other group with placebo. The group administered with nourishing compound showed significant improvement in anthropometric parameters like body weight, chest, mid arm and mid thigh circumference. Significant improvement in muscular strength and endurance; and cardio-respiratory functions were also noted by administration of nourishing compound.
Pueraria tuberose possess growth hormone inducing, nootropic, anxiolytic, adaptogenic, immunomodulatory and anti-oxidant properties. The similar properties of nourishing (brimhana) drugs might be the cause for its bulk promoting, strength enhancing and stress tolerating abilities (sport performance).
A case of Erb’s palsy treated with nourishing therapies like oil massage (abhyanga) and rice paste application (annalepa) associated with physiotherapy showed promising results. The power of the affected upper limb improved from zero to near normal. The disparity in length and mid arm circumference of affected and normal upper limbs was also reduced after the treatment.
In another study conducted on 34 patients having low BMI, supplementation of nutritional compound having Phoenix dactylifera (dates) and cow ghee as ingredients, showed highly significant improvement in weight, BMI and fat percentage. Skin fold thickness of biceps, triceps and abdomen was also increased. Dates are having high nutritional value as it contain abundant macro and micro nutrients.
List of theses done
- Nirali Doshi (2011). A clinical study on brumhan effect of prinan modaka and godhumadi modaka in the management of karshya in children. Department of Kaumarabrithya. IPGT&RA Jamnagar
- Shweta Patil (2013): A comparative study on the effect of vamana and virechana karma followed by brumhana snehapana (kantakari ghrita) in the management of tamaka shvasa w.s.r to Bronchial asthma. Department of Panchakarma, IPGT&RA Jamnagar
- Dobariya Nitinkumar Parsotambhai (2016): A study of Santarpaniya adhyaya of Charaka samhita in the context to principal of management for santarpan nimittaja vyadhi. Department of Basic Principles. IPGT&RA Jamnagar
- Brimhana [Internet] [Updated 2020 Oct 21; cited 2020 Nov 11]. Available from https://www.wisdomlib.org/definition/brimhana
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- Srilakshmi D, Chaganti S. A holistic approach to the management of Erb's palsy. J Ayurveda Integr Med 2013;4:237-40.
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