Raktamoksha (Bloodletting)
Traditional Ayurvedic Method for Purification and Cleansing of the Blood
Blood letting is used to eliminate toxins that are absorbed into the bloodstream through the gastrointestinal tract. This process purifies the blood. It is used for disorders such as repeated attacks of skin disorders such as urticaria, rash, eczema, acne, scabies, leucoderma, chronic itching and hives. It is also often effective for enlarged liver and spleen, hemochromatosis, and for gout. If administered properly, it stimulates the antitoxic substances in the blood stream, thus developing the immune mechanism in the blood system. It is not advisable to administer blood letting in cases of anemia, edema, and weakness or to aged and very young persons. Raktamoksha is the traditional Ayurvedic method for purification and cleansing of the blood. Toxins present in the gastro-intestinal tract are absorbed into the blood and circulated throughout the body. This condition is called toxemia, which is the basic cause of repeated infections, hypertension and certain other circulatory conditions. This includes repeated attacks of skin disorders such as urticaria, rashes, herpes, eczema, acne, leukoderma, chronic itching or hives. In such conditions, along with internal medication, elimination of the toxins and purification of the blood is necessary. Raktamoksha is also indicated for cases of enlarged liver, spleen and gout. Bloodletting also stimulates the spleen to produce antitoxic substances, which helps to stimulate the immune system. Toxins are neutralized enabling radical cures in many blood born diseases.

Pitta is produced from the disintegrated red blood cells in the liver. So pitta and blood have a very close relationship. An increase in pitta may go into the blood causing toxicity, and thus many pittagenic disorders.

Extracting a small amount of blood from a vein relieves the tension created by the pittagenic toxins in the blood. Bloodletting also stimulates the spleen to produce antitoxic substances which helps to stimulate the immune system. Toxins are neutralized enabling radical cures in many blood born disorders.

Bloodletting is contraindicated in cases of anaemia, edema, extreme weakness, diabetes and in children and elderly persons. It is also an illegal procedure within the United States.

Avoid certain substances such as sugar, salt, yogurt, sour tasting foods and alcohol are toxic to the blood. In certain blood disorders these substances should be avoided to keep the blood pure. Burdock root tea, sandalwood, saffron, manjista, guduchi, rose and lotus are herbs that help to purify the blood. Turmeric, goldenseal, pomegranate juice, neem, oranges, beets and raisins can also be beneficial for blood disorders.

Raktmoksha without letting :
For raktamoksha treatment other than blood-letting, there are blood-purifying practices involving herbs, gem therapy or color water therapy.

For blood purifying therapy look for substances that are bitter and astringent and have blood thinning properties. Burdock root tea is the best blood purifier. For blood carried disorders such as allergy, rash or acne the patient should take a milk laxative and the next evening begin burdock root tea therapy. The tea is made from one teaspoon of powder in one cup of hot water. If taken every night, the action of the herb will begin to purify the blood.

Beneficial gems and crystals are pearl, coral, amethyst, rose quartz and jade.

In the practice of colored water therapy, red should be used in vata disorders, blue for pitta and purple for kapha.

For any raktamoksha treatment or related alternative treatment it is beneficial to refrain from yogurt, salt, sugar, alcohol, marijuana, sour and fermented foods.

Raktamokshan are mainly classified into two types :

Shastra Prayoga
Pracchana: Pracchana is indicated to drain the accumulated blood from a particular point.
Sira vedhana: Venepuncture is devised whenever vitiated blood circulates in the body.

Anushastra Prayoga

Jalouka prayoga: Deep-seated blood can be extracted with the help of leech application. It is better to extract blood vitiated by pitta by means of leech application.
Sringa: To extract the blood vitiated by vata, sringa or horn is indicated.
Alabu: Blood vitiated by kapha can be extracted by Alabu as it consists of tikshna and ushna gunas.
Ghati yantra: To drain the vitiated blood, which has settled in different layers of the skin, ghati yantra is useful.

Patients suffering from chronic edema and inflammations, skin disorders, gout, tumors, boils, abscesses, disorders of liver and spleen, etc. are advised to undergo the bloodletting therapy. All the diseases caused by vitiated Pitta Dosha or impurities of blood are advised treatment of bloodletting.

It should not be carried out in the patients suffering from anaemia, malnourishment, ascites, piles, tuberculosis, and during pregnancy.

Before starting Raktamokshan, local fomentation is given. After that, leeches are applied at the desired site of blood letting. (Some times, it is simply extracted out through syringe and needle.) When the procedure is carried out properly, the leeches leave the site naturally after sucking out all the impure blood, and bleeding ceases spontaneously. There is significant decrease in the symptoms of pain, and inflammation, the severity of the disease is minimized.

Complication of improper blood letting
Signs of incomplete bloodletting are, itching, inflammation, cellulitis and pain at the site of blood letting. When done in excess, one could be subjected to weakness, headache, and weakness. To stop excessive bleeding in such cases, ice or astringent medicines should be applied on the area of bleeding.

Post Raktamokshan process
After completion of the process of Raktamokshan, turmeric powder is applied on the site of bloodletting. This acts as hemostyptic, antiseptic and blood purifier.