Dhumapana Vidhi Adhyaya Ashtanga Hridaya Sutrasthana 21

In this chapter, we are learning in detail about herbal smoking, its benefits, indications, timing, contra indication etc. This is the 21st chapter of Ashtangahrudayam Sutrasthana, written by Acharya Vagbhata, son of Vaidyapathi Simhagupta. 


The person who wishes to take care of his health should inhale herbal smoke daily to treat or to prevent the onset of diseases of the parts above the shoulders, arising from – increases of kapha and Vata. 1

Types of Dhumapana –
Snigdha Dhuma
– lubricating, also known as Mrudu (Soft) / Prayogika – useful in Vata imbalance.
Madhya Dhuma – medium – useful in Vata and Kapha imbalance. Also known as Shamana Dhuma
Teekshna Dhuma – strong, useful in Kapha imbalance. Also known as Virechana dhuma (Purifying). 2

Dhuma Anarhahperson unsuitable for inhalation –
Inhalation of smoke should not be done for persons who are suffering from
Raktapitta- bleeding disease,
Virikta – who has undergone Virechana therapy,
Udara – ascites, intestinal obstruction
Meha – diabetes, urinary tract disorders
Timira – blindness,
Urdhwa Anila – upward movement of Vata,
Adhmana – Flatulence, bloating
Rohini- a serious disease of the throat, diphtheria,
Datta Basti – who have been administered enema,
who have just eaten fish, wine, curds, milk, honey, fats and poison;
who are injured in the head,
Pandu- anemia and
Jagarita – those who have kept awake at night. 2a – 3a

Side effects of herbal smoking –
रक्तपित्तान्ध्य बाधिर्य तृट् मूर्छा मद मोहकृत् ॥४॥ धूमो अकाले अतिपीतो वा तत्र शीत विधिर्हित: । 

Doing Dhumapana at improper time or in excess leads to
Rakta pitta- bleeding disease,
Andhya – blindness,
Badhirya – deafness,
Trut – excessive thirst
Murcha – fainting, loss of consciousness
Mada, Moha – delusion
For this cold regimen should be adopted. 5

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Dhumapana Kala– proper time for inhalation –

Indication for Mridu Dhuma – Mild, lubricating smoke should be inhaled
Kshut – at the end of sneezing,
Jrumbhita – yawing,
Vit – defecation,
Mutra – urination
Striseva – copulation,
shastrakarma – surgical operation,
Hasya – bouts of laughing
Dantakashta – use of tooth brush.

Indication for Madhyama Dhuma
Medium strength smoke should be inhaled
at the end of the night,
end of the meals and
end of Nasya therapy,

Virechana Dhuma – purgative, strong smoke should be inhaled
Nidra – at the end of sleep,
Nasya – at the end of Nasya treatment
Anjana – After applying collyrium
Snana – After bath and
Chardi – After vomiting. 5-6

Dhuma yantrasmoking apparatus
The smoke apparatus should be prepared from the same material as of enema nozzle (from metals like gold, silver, iron etc);
It should have three chambers
It should be straight
It should permit the entry of the thumb and a Kolasthi- seed of jujube fruit through orifices at this root and  tip respectively. 7

The length of the tube should be
24 Angula (width of one knuckle) for Mrudu (soft, Sneha) Dhuma
32 Angula  for medium Dhuma and
40 Angula for strong Virechana Dhuma. 8

 Dhumapana Vidhi – made of inhalation –
The patient should sit straight, attentive, with his mouth open and inhale the smoke through each nostril alternatively,
While inhaling from one nostril, he should close the other.
Inhalation should be done thrice – inhaling the smoke and letting it out together form one bout;
three such bouts should be done each time. 9


Smoke should be inhaled through the nose first if the imbalanced Doshas are localized in the nose and head.
If Dosha from nose and head are not coming out, but are adhering, inhalation should be done first through the mouth to make them move; and later through the nose.
when the Doshas are localized in the throat – inhalation should be done in reverse order- first by the nose and later by the mouth.

The smoke inhaled (either from mouth or from nose) should be let out only through the mouth; if let out through the nose, it produces loss of vision -10-11

Smoking should be done thrice, with three times inhaling and three exhaling alternately.
Snigdha- lubricating, mild kind of smoke should be taken for only set of three inhalation and exhalations, during day time.
Madhya- medium kind – two sets of 3 inhales and exhales and Shodhana- purgative, strong kind, 3 – 4 sets of 3 inhales and exhales.

Herbal smoking blends – Dhuma dravyani –

For Mridu- mild kind of smoke, useful drugs are-
Aguru, Guggulu, Musta, sthauneya, Shaileya, Nalada, Usheera, Valaka, Varanga, Kounti, Madhuka, Bilvamajja, elavaluka, Shrivestaka, Sarjarasa, Dhyamaka, Madana, Plava, Shallaki, Kumkuma, Masha, Yava, Kunduruka, Tila, oil obtained from fruits and pith of trees, fat, Marrow, muscle- fat and ghee. 13-15

For Shamana- Madyama, medium kind of smoke useful drugs are- shallaki, Laksha,Prithvika, Kamala, Utpala, Barks of Nyagrodha, Udumbara, Asvattha, Plaksa and Rodhra; Sita, Yasthimadhu (licorice), Suvarnatwak, Padmaka, Raktayastika Kustha, tagara and other scents – perfumeries.

For Teekshna – strong, Purgative kind of smoke –useful drugs are Jyotismati, Nisha (turmeric), Dashamula, Ala, Laksa, Shweta, Triphala, Substances which have strong smell and drugs of Murdha Virechana Gana- vide chapter 15, -13-18

Dhumavarti- preparation of smoke wick-
A reed (tall, grass like plant), twelve Angula in length, soaked in water for a day and night, should be wrapped in five layers-one over the other with a ribbon of cloth;
it is smeared with thin paste of drugs, its thickness being that of the middle portion of the thumb.
It should be dried in shade, removed of its reed, smeared with any suitable fat material (oil / ghee)
It should be inserted into the smoking tube, lit with fire and the smoke is inhaled. 19-20 ½

Kasaghna Dhuma– Antitussive smoke for cough –
A tube either 10 or 8 Angula in length should be fixed to a hole made in a capsule of earthen  saucers and the person suffering from cough made to inhale smoke – through the tube. 21

Notes- A burning coal / charcoal is placed inside an earthen pot. Powder of herbs is sprinkled over it and covered with another vessel, having a hole at its center. A tube is connected to the hole, through which the smoke is inhaled.

Dhumapana Phala– benefits of smoke therapy-

Cough, Dyspnoea, Rhinitis, Disorders of voice, bad smell – of the nose and mouth, pallor of the face, disorders of hairs; discharges, itching, pain and in activities – diminution or loss of function of the ears, mouth and eyes; stupor and hiccup do not affect the person who inhales smoke- habitually. 22

Thus ends chapter – Dhumapana Vidhi- the twenty first of sutrasthana of Astangahrdaya Samhita.

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  1. Is agarbatti an ayurvedic dhumapana preparation?? are sambarani and karpura also dhumapana preparation??

    • Dr JV Hebbar says:

      Agarbatti is not Ayurvedic Dhumapana. If it is made with the suggested ingredients, it can be.
      Sambarani at the best can be a Dhupana drug for fumigating a house.
      Karpoora is not commonly used in any Dhumapana preparation. Please refer the list of commonly used herbs in the article above.

  2. I Came across some research about dhoomapana for hypothyroid..dhooma with haridra especially ..what is your opinion..the study I read showed significant improvement with facial puffiness and voice changes along with weight reduction

    Thanks for the nice post

    • Dr J V Hebbar MD(Ayu) says:

      Hi, herbal smoking with turmeric will definitely help in relieving allergies, face puffiness and voice changes. but I cannot guarantee a weight reduction just with herbal smoking.

  3. Sir, can we use all herbs which is used in ayurveda in herbal smoking. whether will get same or better result. During herbal smoking, the carbon content will create any adverse affects?
    Kindly clarify my doubts


  4. R Wheeler says:

    “who have just eaten fish, wine, curds, milk, honey, fats and poison”

    Fats meaning oils as well? (sesame, sunflower, olive, etc).. or just animal fat?

  5. Can you give an example or picture of the pipe used for dhuma?

  6. How long after taking “fish, wine, curds, milk, honey, fats” can one smoke?


  7. Sir can we use dhumapana to get rid of pimples

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