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The Ancient Secret to Youthfulness: Exploring Rasayana – Ayurvedic Rejuvenation Therapy

Rasayana is one of the Ashtanga Ayurveda, eight branches of Ayurveda. The branch deals with the rejuvenation of healthy individuals, promoting longevity of life. The word Rasayana has two words ‘Rasa’, here, is the Ahara rasa formed after digestion, and then is the first Dhatu (tissue) formed. Ayana means pathway, channel, etc. Hence, Rasayana is the branch of Ayurveda that deals with rejuvenating an individual by providing nutrition to the tissues and cells, increasing the longevity of life, delaying the aging process, and reversing the process of disease.

Suitable age for Rasayana administration

The suitable age for administering the drugs for Rasayana is Purva vaya Avastha (age between 16 -30 years) or middle age between 30 years and 70 years.

Dosage of Rasayana therapy

There is no general dosage for Rasayana therapy. The drugs are administered assessing Vaya (age), Prakriti (constitution), Agni (digestion strength), Desha (place), Kala (time), Mano Avastha (mental strength), etc.

Benefits of Rasayana Therapy

  • Provides nourishment to all the tissues from Rasa dhatu till Shukra dhatu.
  • It gives strength to the body
  • It promotes intellect, mental functions
  • It boosts the immunity of a person and helps fight against the diseases
  • It imparts glow to the face and the complete body
  • It delays the process of aging like premature wrinkling of the skin and premature graying of hair
  • In diseased conditions, the process is reversed to restore the normal state of health
  • It enhances the voice of an individual
  • It enhances the longevity of life

Classification of Rasayana

Rasayana can be broadly classified based on the following factors:

  1. Mode of administration
  2. Mode of action
  3. According to the purpose
  4. Based upon the form of Bheshaja (medicine)
  5. Based on drug, diet, and lifestyle
  1. Based on the mode of administration, it is classified into three types: Kutipraveshika Rasayana (indoor regimen), Vatatapika Rasayana (outdoor regimen), and Droni Praveshika Rasayana (special regimen).
  1. Kutipraveshika Rasayana – This is an indoor regimen of rejuvenation therapy. As per the classics, the patient is kept under a Trigarbha kuti (cottage) for the therapy.

Requirements:

Suitable place: The place must be devoid of any fear, and it should have the availability of the physician and attendants continuously, Trigarbha kuti (cottage) should face towards east or north direction, have enough space, be properly ventilated, noise proof, well-lightened area.

Protocol to be followed by the patient: The person undergoing this type of Rasayana therapy is well-instructed and understands the whole procedure. The patient should be well-determined, and stress-free, with no mental disturbances. The patient should be ready to stay in the cottage for a long time and not keep any contact with the outside world. Before receiving the therapy, the patient must undergo Samshodhana karma (purificatory therapy) followed by Samsarjana karma (dietary regimen).

Administration of the Rasayana drugs: Considering the age, Prakriti (constitution), Agni (digestion strength), etc. factors drugs for the therapy are administered.

Indications of Kutipraveshika Rasayana

  1. One who has self-control
  2. Determined mind
  3. Disease free
  4. One who can bear the expenses of the treatment
  5. One who has time and freedom and can stay for a long time in a cottage.
  • Vatatapika Rasayana – This is an outdoor regimen of rejuvenation therapy administered to those who cannot stay indoors for a lengthy period and take the therapy. The procedure is explained to the patient. Purification of the body by Panchakarma procedure is given and the drugs are administered. This therapy benefits the person even after exposure to external environments like sun, air, dust, wind, etc.
  • Dronipraveshika Rasayana – In this form of therapy the person is made to stay in a droni (kind of a tub) made of wood (wood of Palasha tree as explained in classics). The droni is smeared with the medicated oil or ghee. The procedure is explained to the patient. Purification of the body by Panchakarma procedure is given. The patient is asked to enter the droni and the drugs are administered.

Based on the mode of action, Rasayana is classified into Samshodhana and Samshamana Rasayana.

  1. Samshodhana Rasayana – The drugs are administered to rejuvenate the body by eliminating vitiated dosha.
  2. Samshamana Rasayana – The drugs are administered to rejuvenate the body by mitigating the vitiated dosha.

According to the purpose served by Rasayana therapy, it is classified into three forms: Kamya Rasayana, Naimittika Rasayana, and Ajasrika Rasayana.

  1. Kamya Rasayana: The word Kamya means fulfillment of ‘desire’. Kamya Rasayana is administered to healthy individuals. It aims to promote the health.

This is further divided into three categories: Prana kamya Rasayana, Medha kamya Rasayana, and Shri kamya Rasayana.

  1. Prana kamya Rasayana – The drugs administered promote vitality and longevity of life. Examples: Triphala Rasayana (Triphala =Haritaki +Vibhitaki Amalaki), Haritaki Rasayana.
  2. Medha kamya Rasayana – The drugs for Medha kamya Rasayana aim to promote the intellect and increase the mental functions in an individual. Examples: Brahmi (Bacopa monnieri), Shankhapushpi (Convolvulus prostartus).
  3. Shri kamya Rasayana – Drugs administered for Shri kamya Rasayana promote strength, complexion, and luster. Examples: Amalaki Rasayana, Loha Rasayana.
  • Naimittika Rasayana: This form of Rasayana treats diseases. It helps in the recovery of prevailing diseases. Thus, it is disease-specific Rasayana.

Examples:

  • Pandu (Anemia) – Amalaki (Emblica officinalis), Lauha
  • Vata vyadhi (diseases of Vata dosha) – Rasona (Allium sativum), Guggulu (Commiphora mukul)
  • Mutra vikara (Urinary system disorders) – Gokshura (Tribulus terestris), Punarnava (Boerhavia diffusa)
  • Prameha (Diabetes mellitus) – Shilajatu (Asphaltum punjabianum), Amalaki (Emblica officinalis), Haridra (Curcuma longa).
  • Ajasrika Rasayana: This is the form of Rasayana given in the form of food and can be used daily for proper nourishment of the body, boosts immunity, and prevents the occurrence of diseases. Examples: cow’s milk, ghee, honey, etc.

Based on the form of Bheshaja (medicine), Rasayana is divided into Dravyabhuta Rasayana and Adravyabhuta Rasayana.

  1. Dravyabhuta RasayanaRasayana is given in the form of medicine (herbal or mineral preparation), and food.
  2. Adravyabhuta RasayanaRasayana is administered in the form of behavioral, moral conduct. No substances like food or medicine are given. Good personal conduct, good mental conduct, good moral conduct, good social conduct, and good religious conduct are the principles that need to be followed to maintain health and reverse the process of disease.

Based on the drug, diet, and lifestyle, it is Aushadhi Rasayana, Ahara Rasayana, and Achara Rasayana respectively. Aushadhi and Ahara Rasayana are considered under Dravyabhuta Rasayna as mentioned above. Achara Rasayana is nothing but Adravyabhuta Rasayana.

Contra-indications for Rasayana

The ancient classics of Ayurveda have mentioned the contra-indications for Rasayana.

  • Alasi – one who is very lazy.
  • Daridra – one who is poor.
  • Pramadi – one who is unwise.
  • Vyasani – one who is afflicted with habits like alcohol, smoking, etc.
  • Anatmavana – one who is intolerant/impatient.
  • Paapakruta – one who has committed sins.
  • Bheshajapamani – one who has no faith in the treatment and the physician.

    Precautions to be taken during Rasayana therapy

  • Avoid spicy, salt, sour, and pungent food items.
  • Avoid stale food, dry vegetables, and dry meat.
  • Avoid germinated pulses and cereals.
  • Avoid taking meals before the digestion of previous meals, and irregular intake of food.
  • Avoid alcohol and smoking.
  • Avoid day sleep, over-physical exertion, and indulgence in sexual intercourse.
  • Avoid worries, fear, anger, etc.

Conclusion

Rasayana therapy is one among eight branches of Ayurveda. It deals with the nourishment of the body, increasing the power of immunity, delaying the aging process, reversing the disease process, and thereby promoting longevity of life. The therapy can be given as an indoor regimen, or an outdoor regimen, for eliminating toxins from the body, to alleviate the vitiated dosha. Rasayana is administered in the form of food or medicine. Behavioral conduct is also a form of Rasayana that helps in maintaining health and preventing diseases. Madhyama Vaya is the suitable age for the Rasayana administration. Age, constitution, the capacity of digestion, the mental strength are some of the factors to be determined before giving the drugs of Rasayana.

References
  1. BRIEF CONCEPT OF RASAYANA, World Journal of Pharmaceutical and Medical Research, 2022, Volume 8, Issue 2, p.213-219.
  2. CONCEPT OF RASAYANA AND ITS UTILITY (REJUVENATION THERAPY): A REVIEW, International Ayurvedic Medical Journal, 2021 (November), p.2808-2814.
  3. Goyal M. Rasayana in perspective of the present scenario. Ayu. 2018 Apr-Jun;39(2):63-64. doi: 10.4103/ayu.AYU_300_18. PMID: 30783358; PMCID: PMC6369608.
  4. Baliga MS, Meera S, Vaishnav LK, Rao S, Palatty PL. Rasayana Drugs From the Ayurvedic System of Medicine as Possible Radioprotective Agents in Cancer Treatment. Integrative Cancer Therapies. 2013;12(6):455-463. doi:10.1177/1534735413490233

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