Basti therapy is primarily used for Vayu disorder. It is used to treat conditions of chronic constipation, sciatica, lower back pain, arthritis, infertility, mental conditions and neurological disorders.
Basti enhances digestion, body strength, voice, complexion, intelligence, prevents ageing and promotes longevity. There are two types of basti, each differing in their composition of ingredients.
Asthapana basti / Niruha basti – this basti is prepared mainly from a herbal decoction, taila, kalka, honey and salt. This is a very unique process and takes several hours to prepare.
Anuvasana basti unctuous enema and contains mainly sneha such as oil or ghee.
It is suggested that niruha and anuvasana are both used for eight days of basti treatment. One Anuvasana basti is followed by Niruha alternatively. The course is completed with one Anuvasana basti. In total eight basti are performed.
Enema is half of the medicinal therapy, or even the complete treatment. Charaka Si. Ch 1:39
How does the basti work?
Sushruta has scientifically described the effects of basti treatment. where he has given his importance to the qualities of the herbs administered. The active qualities of the herbs used in the basti spread from the colon and move all throughout the body. Sushruta relates this to water being poured at roots of a tree and eventually reaching up to the leaves.
Just as a tree irrigated with water at the root produces blue leaves, become beautiful with tender leaves, and during the course of time grows to produce flowers and fruits, similarly a person becomes young and beautiful by the administration of Anuvasana. Charaka Si 1:29
Enema though situated in the large intestine draws out impurity from head to the feet by its power just as the sun takes away sap of the earth even staying in the sky. Sushruta Chi 35:27