Mahanarayan oil is used in Ayurvedic medicine as an adjunct to reduce joint ailments and nervous system disorders. Where is it obtained? What are its contraindications? Let’s find out!
Also known as mahanarayana thailam, mahanarayan oil is a preparation widely used in Ayurvedic medicine due to its anti-inflammatory, analgesic, and soothing qualities. It is made from a base of sesame oil processed with various medicinal herbs.
Anecdotal data suggest that its application through massage can soothe the symptoms of arthritic, muscular, and bone problems.
There are even those who take it in small doses to enhance its effects. But is it safe? Is there evidence? Here we tell you about it.
What is mahanarayan oil made of (recipe)?
Mahanarayan oil is prepared from sesame oil, camphor oil, and other herbs with pharmacological properties.
According to an article published in the World Journal of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences, the plants often used are as follows:
- Arjuna (Arjunarishta)
- Dashamoola (an Ayurvedic preparation combining ten different herbs, including Tribulus)
The process to elaborate this oil has been the same for about 1000 years:
To begin with, the oil is purified, and the extract of the herbs is added in a procedure known as murchan draya.
This is followed by another preparation step called kalka draya, which involves adding more pulverized herbs to make a paste.
Finally, the kwath draya step is performed, in which the preparation is heated to separate the water from the essential oils.
Main uses of mahanarayan oil
Most of the time, mahanarayan oil is used topically to reduce muscle tension and pain. Proponents suggest that its consumption in small doses (2 to 5 milliliters) promotes the relief of osteoarthritis and arthritis symptoms.
However, there is no scientific evidence of these effects. It is not even known if it’s safe or not.
Therefore, its main applications are usually external. In particular, massages of up to 40 minutes are recommended to help in the treatment of the following health problems:
- Stress and anxiety
- Joint and bone problems
- Muscular pains
- Sexual function problems
- Circulatory alterations
Potential benefits of mahanarayan oil
It is important to keep in mind that many of the properties attributed to mahanarayan oil come from anecdotal data.
To date, there is no scientific research to support the effects attributed to it. Nor is it known at what doses it is safe and effective.
Still, preliminary studies have talked about the beneficial effects of the herbs used in this product.
For example, a review article reported in the U.S. National Library of Medicine notes that turmeric, whose active compound is curcumin, helps reduce inflammation and pain when used topically.
Similar effects have been shown with ginger, neem, licorice, and other plants. Similarly, a publication in the Journal of Neuroscience states that camphor acts as an analgesic since it inhibits the activity of two participants of the transient receptor potential (TRP) channels associated with pain.
Risks and contraindications
The lack of research on this oil prevents us from knowing its level of safety and efficacy in the medium and long term.
Although Ayurvedic medicine considers it safe to ingest minimal doses of the product (except in poor appetite and digestive problems), this type of administration is not recommended.
It is feared that, in some people, topical application of the oil may cause unwanted reactions, such as redness and irritation.
Therefore, before using it in its entirety, it is ideal to do a small sensitivity test. Apply a minimal amount to an area of your skin (except your face) and wait at least 24 hours. If there are no symptoms, it can be used without problems.
Mahanarayan oil is contraindicated for pregnant and breastfeeding women, people taking medication, children, and patients with anorexia or food aversion. Any doubt in this regard should be resolved with your doctor.
Topical use of mahanarayan oil:
This oil has a relatively safe topical use, but the same cannot be said for oral ingestion.
Improper and imprudent use of this product leads to health complications. Whether it is inadequate dosage, misapplication, or ignorance of the instructions for use, inconveniences such as the following may occur:
- Inappetence and digestive problems
- Taste changes
- Formation of toxic metabolites
- Malabsorption syndrome
- Cold sensation
- Itching and skin discomfort
Final recommendations on mahanarayan oil
Therapies with mahanarayan oil should be done by Ayurvedic medical professionals. Otherwise, the aforementioned complications may occur.
It should be taken into account that this type of product is not regulated and, therefore, their composition may vary according to the manufacturer.
If you want to make it yourself, you should buy the ingredients in specialized natural product stores. As always, we recommend inspecting the label to ensure product source and quality.
In any case, remember that its use does not replace any conventional treatment and should not be considered a first choice to soothe, treat or cure any ailments.