Vamana in its Sanskrit iteration means to relieve Doshas (toxic) through the oral route. It is the first among the hailed Panchakarma and the first step in your total body health and well-being. In getting a Vamana you don’t directly go in the trance of getting an emesis, there are preparatory procedures call the purvakarma which you have to go through before you actually get a Vamana. The stomach is the chief site of your Kapha dosha functioning, so when you do get Vamana it helps in reliving the toxins and Kapha from the upper body.

There is the use of herbal medicines during emesis. Thus it guarantees that your body gets the gentle cleansing and does not go opposite to its nature. So the medicines used can be of two types 1) direct emetics which irritates your stomach and thus urges it to relieve its toxins 2) indirect emetics which activates the vomiting center in your brain and thus relieves the content from the stomach. The Ayurvedic medicines used in emesis usually elicit emesis by irritating the stomach, thus triggering the reverse peristalsis and reliving your toxic Kapha.

Vamana invariably leads to a state where the toxic and disease-causing Kapha dosha is removed from the body while there is a formation of “new” Kapha and this leads to all the benefits that healthy Kapha has including building up tissues and promoting longevity. Along with this, there are helpful effects of Vamana on common diseases like sinusitis, chronic cough, asthma, halitosis, rheumatoid arthritis, psoriasis, and poor skin health. Ancient Acharyas described the effect of Vamana as “like when you kill the root the tree gets shriveled up and dies when you remove your toxic Kapha all the root diseases of Kapha gets healed as well”.

In some people, there is an absolute contraindication for doing Vamana. When the Kapha in the body is depleted you should not absolutely get Vamana. Folks having dry and rough skin, those who are underweight, senescent and having an excess of Vata in their body should not get the procedure. This might cause what little left of Kapha in your body is depleted and the positive effect might not be seen. This may rather cause a deleterious effect on your body. It goes without saying pregnant; those with hypertension, heart disease, stroke, hypertriglyceridemia and conditions where there is an increased chance of bleeding should not go any type of panchakarma procedures.

The best time to practice is during the late spring or early summer (Kapha- provoking time)

and close to the full moon when the water element is high, one day after Snehana and Svedhana, after a good sleep, after food is digested, or after sunrise—6:00 to 9:00 or 10:00 a.m. (Kapha time). This allows you to relieve your Kapha but not necessarily get it too low. Vamana is done by feeding medicated tea.

To initiate the process of detoxification, firstly one prepares a strong emetic tea with components like licorice, calamus, chamomile, or madan phal. This will promote immediate emesis. When the tea is properly prepared, persons will not feel sick or uncomfortable. In order for Vamana to proceed easily, persons can drink large quantities of licorice tea prepared the night before as a cold infusion (soaking the herb in room-temperature water). Licorice collects toxins from tissues without it being absorbed into the body itself. The entire process lasts about one hour.

When Vamana is done correctly, more substance than the amount you ingested gets out of your system. It is the licorice fluid mixed with Kapha and toxins of your body. The feeling of cool calm and collected surmises the feels you get after a proper administration of Vamana therapy. After emesis, persons wash hands, face, and feet; and inhale herbal cigarettes. Sleep or rest is very important. The rest helps in building up of healthy Kapha which then normalizes your bodily function. After Vamana, you should follow a strict diet. For few initial days the diet should be semi-solid (mostly gruel) then you gradually build your appetite towards heavier (guru) food. This regimen of diet is known as the paschatkarma.

Then the path you take towards recovery or going into further purificatory procedures bifurcates. You could definitely opt to undergo the procedures of Virechana and Vasti, but a better option would be to build on the healthy Kapha, and then undergo the other purificatory procedure when your body gets complete recovery from the Vamana therapy.

All the procedures of panchakarma should be performed under the proper guidance of an expert Ayurveda practitioner.