Panch Karma's main emphasis is on cures, not palliative care. Symptoms may not be instantly relieved in the way that an asprin cures a headache. But the root cause of the illness is ascertained and eliminated from the body, so the symptoms will not return.
Extensive pre procedures draw the ama (toxins) from deep within the tissues into the digestive system. This is also palliative and strengthening to prepare the body for the elimination. Panch Karma will then employ one or more of the five actions to eliminate the ama from the body via the nearest exit.
When Charaka wrote the oldest book on Ayurveda he wrote of the five actions as:
- Vomiting (eliminates Kapha)
- Purgation (eliminates Pitta)
- Nasal cleansing (eliminates Kapha)
- Cleansing enemas (eliminates Vata)
- Rejuvenating enemas (eliminates Vata)
- Nasal Cleansing
- Blood letting (pitta)