Does Shalakya Tantra Plays an Important Role in Ayurveda?

Shalakya Tantra


Ayurveda, the ancient book of alternative medicine has an extensive chapter dedicated to the ailments of the eyes, nose, ears, neck and head. Known as Shalakya Tantra, it is a major branch of Ayurveda. It is taught generally in the latter years of the BAMS degree, there is a high scope of research in shalakya tantra till postgraduate degrees as well.

Students interested in the subject would be able to learn it from some of the best ayurvedic courses offered at colleges like the Sri Sai Institute of Ayurvedic Research and Medicine. Here, they would learn not just the different parts and internal structures of the organs but also the different diseases, and disorders and how to treat them. One will even learn how to perform surgeries on these organs.

What is Shalakya Tantra?

Shalakya Tantra is a branch of Ayurveda that deals with the diagnosis and treatment of eyes, nose, ears, teeth, head and neck. It is one of the eight major branches of Ayurveda, Kayachikitsa, Balachikitsa, Grahachikitsa Salakyatanthra, shalyatantra, visha chikitsa, Rasayana and Vajikarana. In modern medicine, this branch is known as otorhinolaryngology (ORL) or more simply ENT. Within Shalakya Tantra, there are more divisions such as Varti, Anjana, Karnapoorana, Ashitarpana etc.

As these organs are more delicate, there is a need to separate instruments and trained professionals to diagnose and treat them. This is also indicated in the name itself where ‘Shalakya’ means probe meaning using an appropriate tool to provide medication to the affected organ. Shalakya tantra treatment includes minor procedures and also major surgical procedures as well. This branch of Ayurveda aims at not only correcting any physical issues but also reversing them to prevent future recurrence.

The origin of Ayurveda dates back to when the original Vedas were written. Shalakya tantra in Ayurveda can be traced back to Nimi who was the King of Videha. It is said that Nimi gained the knowledge of Shalakya Tantra from the God of the Sun himself. Thereafter, they put it together in a written form.

Also Read: The Importance of Dravyaguna in Ayurvedic Medicine

Panchakarma and Kriyakalpas procedures in Shalakya Tantra

Shalakya Tantra has five major types of treatments or Chitiksa, based on the target organ. They are Netra Chikitsa, Karna Chikitsa, Nasaroga Chikitsa, Mugharoga Chikitsa and Shiroroga Chikitsa. Each type of treatment further has more treatments some of which have been highlighted below for reference.


Aschyotanam refers to putting drops or medicine into the eyes for any type of eye illness. This is usually done from a height of two Angulas or two fingers. Aschoyatanam is done for many different eye symptoms such as ruk or pain, kandu or scratching Daha or burning, raga or redness, paka or inflammation among others. There are three major types of drops used for a fixed number of times, Snehana Schyotana 10 drops, Lekhanaaschyotana 8 drops and Ropanaaschyotana 12 drops.


Another type of treatment for the eyes is Sekam. Here, different types of medicinal concoctions are applied to the eye. Unlike Aschuotanam where drops are administered into the eye, Sekam is done over the eyes. The goal of Sekam is to create a cooling and soothing feeling in the eye. It is extremely calming and a good de-stressing treatment for the mind and eyes. Over time, Sekam can help improve vision and also strengthen all the muscles in the eye.

Nasyam with Dhoomapanam:

Many ayurvedic treatment facilities offer nasyam with dhoomapanam as a part of Shalakya Tantra for the nose. This treatment targets the nose, throat, head and sinuses. During the treatment, the patient’s chest, head and shoulders are given a massage using medicated oils followed by a massaging of the area around the nose, palms, chest and foot. This is a recommended chikitsa for people suffering from congestion, seasonal allergies, sinusitis, headaches or migraines and runny noses.

Karna Purana:

Karna Purana is a treatment for the ears. Taught at some of the best ayurvedic colleges this involves medicated oils in the ears. The oil helps lubricate all the inner parts of the ear canal while also dislodging any impurities present. At the end of the procedure, the patient experiences clear hearing and significant tension and headaches. A sense of calm is created that helps address insomnia. For issues involving stabilization, dizziness and even some tooth diseases, experts recommend Karna Purana.


While all treatments mentioned above have largely targeted one specific organ, there is a type of treatment that targets a large area. Sirobhyangam is a special massage technique where certain pressure points on the head and face are targeted. The masseuse will put pressure on these points to remove toxins and bring about a sense of balance. Sirobhyangam relieves stress and anxiety and improves vision and nasal cavity while also clearing up the skin and improving blood circulation.


Shalakya tantra also has treatments for the head. Sirolepam treatment is where oils are massaged onto the top of the head and the hair. The massage is meant to target not just the scalp but also the hair to promote shine, hydration and lower hair loss. This is more of a beauty treatment procedure that also helps with reducing headaches and calms the mind too. All of this is done by stimulating the hair follicles.

Also Read: A Brief History Of Ayurveda

Importance Of Shalya Tantra In Ayurveda

Modern medicine uses a lot of chemicals and pharmaceuticals with different ingredients to address ENT issues. Many of these medicines have a lot of side effects besides targeting the main issue. Oftentimes, ENT procedures are invasive and can cause undue stress to the patient. The best alternative here is opting for shalakya tantra at an Ayurveda centre.

All treatments and services of shalakya tantra are non-invasive and gentle to the human body. They not only target the symptoms the patient is experiencing but also the root cause of the problem. Patients also do not need to become dependent on any artificial medicine. There is an overall improvement in the quality of life of the patient. The best part of shalakya tantra is that all medicines and oils used in the different treatments are made from completely natural ingredients.


Ayurveda has years of experience and knowledge backing it up. There are procedures for every possible issue humans can experience. The ENT counterpart of Ayurveda called Shalakya Tantra is a popular division. This branch has many treatments and procedures for the eyes, nose, ears, mouth, head and neck. Whether it be for random pains or redness in the eyes, Shalakya Tantra has a treatment for everything and more.