Basti is the Ayurvedic enema. During this treatment medicated oil, ghee, or decoction is administered into colon through the anus. It is one of the most important treatments of Panchakarma. Because vitiated Vata dosha is at the basis of the majority of diseases and because the main seat of Vata dosha is in the colon, about half of all diseases can be directly treated with Basti.
With Basti treatments, firstly, the aggravated Vata is being normalized, secondly, toxins, waste products, and Ama (undigested residues) are being eliminated from the system, and thirdly, the colon is nourished and its function repaired.
Charaka Samhita states that Basti therapy slows down ageing process, gives disease-free life, increases strength and lifespan, improves brain functioning, and gives pleasant voice and good complexion. Basti is useful for everyone – young, adult, and old.
There are several types of Bastis, the more important and frequently administered are Shodhana Basti (Niruha) und Matra Basti (Anuvasana).
Charaka Samhita says, the Shodhana Basti purifies the Colon from Kapha, Pitta, and Vata excess. It gives strength, and helps in increasing of semen and virility. From every part of the body, the doshas and malas (waste products) are eliminated.
When the Srotas (body channels and spaces) are clean by the Shodhana Basti then Matra basti will be more effective. It increases strength, improves complexion, and through oiliness it cures dryness, through heaviness it cures lightness, and through hotness it eliminates coolness - esp. in persons with vitiated Vata. It gives quickly happiness, strength, and improves digestion and appetite.
Matra Basti lubricates and nourishes the system after the rather rough and purificatory effect of Shodhana Basti. It is therefore completely normal if the Matra Basti stays longer in the colon, even several hours. It will naturally go out, at the latest with the next stool.
Shodhana Basti, on the other hand, is purifying. It eliminates waste matter and residue that has ANGESAMMELT maybe since long time (because of some unsuitable diet or wrong habits) in the colon. Therefore the urge to expel the Basti liquid will come soon, maybe within 5 minutes or even earlier.
For full effect Bastis should be repeated on several days after each other. According the severity of disorder, there are 3 main types of administering of Basti:
Basti is very effective in Vata related disorders, such as constipation, chronic fever, cold, sexual disorders, kidney stone pain, backache, sciatica and pains in the joints. Other Vata disorders such as headaches, emaciation, arthritis, rheumatism, gout, nervous disorders, etc. may also be treated with Basti.
Contra-indications for Basti include: diarrhea, bleeding of the rectum, chronic indigestion, breathlessness, emaciation, severe anaemia, pulmonary tuberculosis, frailty due to old age, children under seven years.