Murdhni Taila (Anointing the Head with Oil)

Ayurveda treats mankind through a special and holistic way and it aims at removing the doshas from the root in chronic disease conditions. One such therapy is Murdhni Taila. It is considered ideal for relieving stress, anxiety, insomnia, and the ailments of the scalp. Application of oil (taila) on head (murdha) is the literal meaning of “murdha taila”. It is indicated for patients suffering from various scalp ailments, dryness of nose and mouth, sinusitis, neurological disorders, tinnitus, vertigo, and chronic skin diseases like psoriasis.

Benefits of Murdha Taila

  • Oiling the head cures/prevents greying and falling of hair, cracking of the skin on the scalp.
  • Prevents vata origin diseases of the head.
  • Produces clarity of the sense organs.
  • Confers strength to the voice, lower jaw and head.

Murdha Taila is of 4 kinds:-

Shiro Abhyanga– Smearing oil and mildly massaging the head. Indication: Dryness, itching and dirtiness.

Shiro seka/dhara– Sprinkling or pouring of medicaments in a continuous stream. Indication: Ulceration of the scalp, headache, burning sensation, wounds, suppuration of the scalp, neurological disorders and psoriasis.

Shiro pichu– Keeping a piece of cotton cloth dipped in oil on the vertex. Indication: Falling of hair, cracking of the skin and burning sensation.

Shiro basti – Retaining the oil on the head for some time. Indication: loss of sensation in scalp, facial palsy, insomnia, dryness of nose, mouth and blindness.

Shiro basti is considered as the most effective one amongst these.

Indications of Shiro basti

  • Chronic migraine
  • Facial paralysis
  • Dandruff
  • Insomnia
  • Loss of sensation in scalp
  • Defective vision, dryness of nose and mouth.
  • Strengthens voice

The Procedure

A person who has been purified (by emesis, purgation) etc. has to be given an oil massage (abhyanga) and mild fomentation (swedana). Then he is made to sit on a chair of the height of the knee (up to knee level). A strap of leather about 8-9 inches and equal to that of head in circumference, should be wrapped around the head, just above the head, covered by a piece of cloth over the forehead and fastened tight with a thread. The joints and intervening spaces should be packed with a paste of masha (black gram flour) in order to prevent leakage of oil. Then medicated oil, prescribed for the disease is poured over the head in luke warm condition, to a height of 1 angula (7-8 cms) over the scalp. It should be retained till secretion appears in the nose and mouth or for a period of 1000 matrakala, 53 mins (time required for closing and opening of the eyelids once is defined as matrakala) for diseases due to vata origin. 8000 matra kala for diseases due to pitta origin-around 43 mins. 6000 matrakala for diseases due to kapha origin-around 30 mins.

For a healthy person, 1000 matrakala -5-6 mins is sufficient.

After this period, the oil is removed from the head and other parts of the patient have to be massaged.

The treatment would take around 30 minutes to 1 hour depending upon the condition. It can be done for a maximum of 7 days. Six or seven sessions of this therapy should be done for beneficial results.

Shirodhara (the therapy of pouring oil on the forehead) is that part of Murdha Taila which serves to rejuvenate the body and eliminate mental exhaustion.  However, Shiro basti is a Panchakarma Therapy which is widely practised due to its superior health benefits.

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