Smoke out your illness, the Ayurvedic way

Ayurveda, the ancient medicinal system, involves use of natural herbal medicines to treat various ailments. One form of medicinal intake is ‘Dhoompana’ which literally means smoking.

This treatment involves smoking of leaves or other parts of medicinal plants, mainly to cure respiratory and nervous disorders.

‘Dhoompana’ aids in balancing of ‘vata’ and ‘kapha’ doshas and used for both preventive and therapeutic purposes.

The physician, as per the specific medical condition, makes a patient inhale various medicated fumes (Dhoomavarthis). The latter is usually required to sit straight, with his/her mouth open, and then inhale the smoke alternatively through each nostril.

The fumes exiting out of ‘dhooma netras’ are inhaled through one of the nostrils while the other is closed. This is then exhaled through the mouth. The same process is followed alternatively using the other nostril.

Inhalation should be done thrice – inhaling the smoke and letting it out together form one bout; three such bouts should be done each time.

The treatment ‘Nasyam’ or nasal application of herbal oil is done prior to ‘Dhoomapana’. It is done to drain out excessive mucous clogs.

Benefits of Dhoompana:-

Relief from allergies

Combating sinusitis

Reducing headaches

Alleviating migraines

Treat running nose

Preventing other nasal infections

Recurrent allergic rhinitis

This is a fine treatment for various sinus and respiratory diseases. Acute sinusitis, asthma, sneezing, infections of the lower respiratory tract, cough etc are treated using ‘Dhoomapana’.

The removal of mucous toxins also rejuvenates a person’s mental status by giving him/her a total feeling of freshness. The smoke helps dry excess mucous, and also lowers pain-causing inflammations of sinus cavities and respiratory tract. The herbs and spices used in the procedure have special properties to act against mucous wastes.

While doing the procedure, proper care should be taken to avoid getting any infection. For this, exposure to cold, especially intake of cold food and drinks, should be avoided at all costs.


1. Snigdha-Mild          

2. Madhya- Moderate

3. Teekshna-Strong

­Snigdha Dhooma is used to cure certain vata diseases, mainly that affecting the head and neck region. Here the ‘Dhooma’ is prepared using medicines like Gulgulu, Mustha, Usheeram, Yashtimadhu, and Taila.

Madhya Dhooma is used in treatment of vatha-kapha disorders.  It is prepared with Padmarenu, Nalpamaraa bark, Lodhra, Yastimadhu and Kushtham.

Teekshna Dhoma is used in kapha conditions.  It is prepared with Haridra, Triphala, Vacha, and Dasamoola.

Eight “kaala” or time period for using ‘Dhoompana’ are as follows:-

After bath

After brushing

After eating

After vaman karm in Ayurveda

After sneezing

After nasya

After sleep

After anjana process


Signs of proper Dhoompan:

Heart, throat and sensory organs will feel detoxed, head feels light, aggravated doshas becomes normal.


When ‘dhoompana’ is taken in an inappropriate time or taken more than indicated it make cause deafness, blindness, bleeding, vertigo, or giddiness.


After virechana process

After vasti

In aggravated pitta dosha

Poisoned condition

In pregnancy

After exhaustion


After alcohol or milk intake




Head injury


‘Dhoompana’ should never be exhaled through nose. If this is done, it may affect eyes of the patient and can result in total blindness.

Avoid cold drinks, cold food, exposure to cold, dust, smoke during treatment period.

(The writer Dr Ankit Agarwal, BAMS, Uttarakhand, can be contacted at

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