Basti literally means bladder, and in Ayurveda the term is used to mean enema (a bladder was traditionally used as the device that holds the liquid used in enemas). Enemas fall in two
categories, either purifying (niruha basti) or tonifying (anuvasana basti).

Basti one of the most powerful of all the main five procedures of Panchkarma. Charaka, as well as many other Ayurvedic scholars have unanimously praised the features of Basti. Basti like Virechana use pitta and vata dosha’s downward movment to remove related toxins and waste materials from the system. Basti cleanses the vata area, whose focal point is the large intestine.

Basti is the introduction of medicated liquids into the colon through the rectum. While it directly effects the colon, its is not a localized or symptomatic treatment. Basti treatments balance and nurture vata dosha. When vata functions normally, it helps bring toxins and waste matter out of the dhatus and eliminates them.

It treats localized symptoms of constipation by promoting evacuation. It clears faeces that have collected in the rectum and sigmoid colon- the last eight to ten inches of the colon.

Basti is a type of enemas using herbs – an essential step in the cleansing stage in the therapy known as pancha—karma therapy.