The nose is the doorway to the brain and it is also the doorway to consciousness. The nasal administration of medication is called nasya. An excess of bodily humors accumulated in the sinus, throat, nose or head areas is eliminated by means of the nearest possible opening, the nose.
Prana, life force as nerve energy, enters the body through the breath taken in through the nose. Prana is in the brain and maintains sensory and motor functions. Prana also governs mental activities, memory, concentration and intellectual activities. Deranged prana creates defective functioning of all these activities and produces headaches, convulsions, loss of memory and reduced sensory perception. Thus nasal administration, nasya is indicated for respiratory disorders, sinus congestion, migraine headaches, convulsions and certain eye and ear problems. It will promote the functions of the sensory and motor organs above the clavicle. It specifically provides strength to the head, nose and neck. Indirectly it works on the whole body by improving the functioning of the endocrine glands. It prevents premature wrinkling, graying and falling of the hair.
There are six main types of nasya, as listed below.
1. Pradhamana (virechan) Nasya (cleansing nasya) uses dry powders (rather than oils) that are blown into the nose with a tube. Pradhamananasya is mainly used for kapha types of diseases involving headaches, heaviness in the head, cold, nasal congestion, sticky eyes, hoarseness of voice due to sticky kapha, sinusitis, cervical lymph adenitis, tumors, worms, some skin diseases, epilepsy, drowsiness, Parkinsonism, inflammation of the nasal mucosa, attachment, greed and lust. Traditionally, powders such as brahmi are used.
2. BrumhanaNasya (nutrition nasya) uses ghee, oils, salt, shatavari ghee, ashwagandha ghee and medicated milk and is used mainly for vata disorders. It is said to benefit conditions resulting from vata imbalances such as vata-type headaches, migraine headache, dryness of voice, dry nose, nervousness, anxiety, fear, dizziness, emptiness, negativity, heaviness of eyelids, bursitis, stiffness in the neck, dry sinuses and loss of sense of smell.
3. Shaman Nasya (sedative nasya) is used according to which dosha is aggravated but mainly for pitta-type disorders such as thinning of hair, conjunctivitis and ringing in the ears. Generally certain herbal medicated decoctions, teas and medicated oils are used.
4. NavanaNasya (decoction nasya) is used in vata-pitta or kapha-pitta disorders and is made from decoctions and oils together.
5. MarshyaNasya (ghee or oil nasya): alleviates pitta-vata and expels the toxin from head and neck.
6. PratiMarshya (daily oil nasya) is performed by dipping the clean little finger in the ghee or oil and inserting into each nostril, lubricating the nasal passage with gentle massage as described above. This helps to open deep tissues and can be done every day and at any time to release stress.
Substances Used in Nasya: brahmi, ginger, ghee oils, decoctions, onion, garlic, Piper longum, black pepper, curry pepper, rose, jasmine, mogra flowers and henna.