Therapeutic smoking is beneficial for health.

What is therapeutic smoking?
Therapeutic smoking is the type of smoking described in Ayurveda wherein medicated herbs prescribed for smoking are pounded and made into paste. This is pasted around the sara-stalk and then made into a cigar of the shape of a barley grain which has thickness of a thumb and is as long as the breadth of eight fingers. It is then dried in the sun and the sara-stalk removed. After greasing it with unctuous substance, this cigar can be ignited and smoked regularly with the help of a pipe. This is altogether harmless.
Size and shape of smoking pipe:
Smoking pipe should be straight, with 3 knots, having nozzle of the measures of jujube(zizyphus jujuba) stone and made of material similar to that of enema pipe. With this provision the smoke used as per the dose and time does not affect the sense organs as it is not inhaled directly but is systematically interrupted by the knots and the flow is co-ordinated through the length of the passage of the pipe. The length of the smoking pipe should be
• 24 fingers for eliminative type,
• 32 fingers for unctuous type and
• 36 fingers for habitual type.
Types of smoking:
• Routine/habitual (prayogik)
• Unctuous (snaihik)
• Eliminative (vairechana)
• Anti-cough (kasa-hara)
• Emetic (vamana)
Features of correct smoking:
• Clarity of mind
• Clarity of throat and sense organs
• lightness of head
• balance of doshas.
Regime of smoking:
Smoking comes as an inseparable part of daily rhythms mentioned in Ayurveda-texts. It is preceded by the regime of applying collyrium (medicated kohl) in the eyes and is followed by the regime of using nasal drops. This makes certain that the part of vitiated ‘kapha’ of head which is not easily eliminated by the application of collyrium is instantaneously eliminated by smoking; and further residue, if any, is eliminated by the use of nasal drops.
A complete self-control is considered to be an essential part of all the regimes prescribed in Ayurveda including smoking. Keeping this in mind, there are eight times prescribed for routine smoking. It is believed that the doshas get vitiated during these times. Smoking should be done thrice each time (three puffs each time) which implies that whenever cigars are
to be smoked consecutive three puffs are to be taken each time. One is required to pause a little after smoking once (consecutive three puffs) and then repeat smoking for the second and third times in the same manner. During the prescribed time, a person should smoke once for unctuous type, twice for routine type and three to four times for eliminative type of smoking.
If the disorder is located in chest and throat, smoke should be taken in through mouth while if the disorder is located in head, nose and eyes it should be taken in through nostrils. After taking in from either mouth or nose, the smoke should always be expelled only through mouth.
The prescribed eight times when one should smoke are:
• After bathing,
• After eating,
• After tongue scraping,
• After sneezing,
• After brushing the teeth,
• After inhalation of medicinal herbs,
• After application of collyrium,
• After waking up.
The time prescribed for unctuous smoking( snaihik) is the period when ‘vata’ gets vitiated because this type of smoking is useful for curing diseases due to vata. Similarly the period for eliminative smoking (virechanic) is when ‘kapha’ gets vitiated because this cures diseases due to vitiation of kapha. The routine smoking (prayogik) is responsible for maintenance of positive health.
Smoking should not be done in
• Intrinsic haemorrhage
• Head injury
• Post ingestion of fish, alcoholic drink, curd, milk, honey, fatty substances
• Post-enema
• Post-purgation
• Defects of vision
• Mental confusion
There are a number of herbs specified which are used in smoking. A few of them are
• pisum sativum,
• callicarpa macrophylla,
• nigella sativa,
• mesua ferrea,
• pavonia odorata,
• santalum album,
• cinnamomum tamala,
• cinnammomum zeylanicum,
• elettaria cardamomum,
• vetiveria zizanioides,
• glycyrrhiza glabra,
• boswellia serrata.
It is categorically stated in ‘Sutrasthanam’ of ‘Charaka Samhita’ that the diseases pertaining to head and neck arising out of ‘vata’ and ‘kapha’ ( however strong the disease may be)  do not affect the person who smokes through the oral route. It also strengthens hair, sense organs and voice. Smoking is helpful in the following conditions:
• heaviness of head,
• headache,
• rhinitis,
• hemicranias,
• earache,
• pain in eyes,
• cough,
• hiccups,
• dysnoea,
• obstruction in throat,
• weakness of teeth,
• discharge  from ear, nose and eye,
• purulent smell from nose and mouth,
• toothache,
• anorexia,
• lock jaw,
• torticollis,
• pruritis,
• infective conditions,
• paleness of face,
• excessive salivation,
• impaired voice,
• tonsillitis,
• uvulitis,
• alopecia,
• greying of hair,
• hair-fall,
• sneezing,
• excessive drowsiness,
• loss of consciousness,
• hypersomnia.
Complications of smoking:
Untimely done or overdone smoking causes
• excessive thirst,
• dryness of throat and palate,
• heaviness in head,
• impairment of speech,
• impairment of sight,
• impaired hearing,
• giddiness,
• haemorrhage.
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Therapeutic smoking
Therapeutic smoking is not injurious to health. Therapeutic smoking is the type of smoking described in Ayurveda wherein medicated herbs prescribed for smoking are pounded and made into cigar. This cigar can be ignited and smoked regularly with the help of a pipe. This is altogether harmless.
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