Tharpanam one of the powerful unique therapy for the eyes.




Nethrachikitsa is a speciality in Ayurveda. It deals with the care of the eyes and the cure for their ailments. Most of the textbooks of Ayurveda have chapters on nethrachikitsa. These chapters explain a number of dis­eases of the eyes, by name, and their treatments.

One can see references on different therapies, evolved through time, meant ex­clusively for the treatment of the diseases of eye. One major therapy employed here is tharpanam (more specifically nethratharpanam).

What is tharpanam?

The Sanskrit word tharpanam means ‘an act of nourishment’. Here tharpanam is a therapy which nourishes the eye specifically. So this therapy is prescribed in condi- tons which demand nourishment, i.e., where vision is facing a threat of degeneration, major as well as minor. It is the therapy of choice, according to Ayurvedic principles, in conditions of vatha and/or pitha predominance.

How tharpanam is done?

Tharpanam is done by retention of medicated fats – ghee is used the most often – on the orbits. Orbits are the two bony sockets on face which accommodate the eye balls. So a leak proof retention-rim is made around the orbits.

Battered flour from black gram  is used for this purpose. Then medicated ghee, warmed to liquefy, is poured into this rim. It is retained there for a prescribed period of time and then drained out.

Urad Dal

The ghee (or other medicated fat) is prescribed after proper evaluation of the type and status of the disease. During retention, the patient is prompted to keep the eyes open to the maximum time possible. Once the ghee is drained after the prescribed time, the rim is removed and the skin is mopped to clean with a wet cloth.

Mild fomentation of the lids is advised in specific cases. A course of tharpanam may go up to a period of 14 days at a stretch.

General care during Treatment

During the days of treatment, the patient is not allowed to expose his eyes to bright illumination. Dark goggles are advised for this purpose. This restriction may extend for an equal number of days following the treatment. Reading, watching television, working on computers etc are all restricted. Complete rest is given to the eyes.


Tharpanam is done for both the eyes simultaneously. At night, during the course of the therapy or during the Pnchakarma therapy, a floral bandaging is used on the eyes. Generally, Jasmine flowers are used for this.

This is continued though out the treatment and the rest period. Often, internal medicines are prescribed to support the action of tharpanam. Head bath is allowed on a case-specific manner. No siesta is permitted.

There are some basic dietary modifications advised during the treatment. This may be considered as common to almost all sorts

of Ayurvedic treatments. Spicy stuffs are avoided. Sour dishes like pickles, frozen foods and drinks, fried items like chips and pap padam, etc are not served. Boiled water is given to drink.



Degenerative eye diseases and long-standing inflammations are the target of tharpanam. They include Progressive Myopia, corneal diseases like Keratoconus and dystrophies, Muscular Degeneration, Retinitis Pigmentosa, optic nerve atrophy, Lazy Eye, dry eye syndrome, Uveitis, and Glaucoma. Tharpanam is selectively done in certain of Diabetic Retinopathy with remarkable clinical improvement.


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