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Ayurvedic Medicated Oils (Tail or Taila or Thailam or Tailam)

Taila or Thailam - Ayurvedic Medicated Oil

Taila or Thailam are ayurvedic preparations in which base oil is processed with prescribed liquid media (herbal juice or decoction) and herbal paste using heat. The process involves boiling the prescribed quantity base oil with prescribed quantity of herbal juice, decoction or paste until only oil remains. Then oil is filtered and preserved in food-grade plastic or glass containers.

Taila are also called ayurvedic oils, medicated ayurvedic oils, Tail, Tailam, and Thailam. These oils are prepared using different herbs according to the purpose of its use. The common bases for these oils are sesame oil and coconut oil and rarely mustard oil. Sesame oil is very common base oil.

Basic composition of Taila (Thailam)

  • Sneha Dravya (Base Oil or fat) – called Taila, very commonly sesame oil
  • Drava Dravya (Liquid Media) – either herbal juice (also called Svarasa) or decoction (Kwath or Kashayam) or can also be both
  • Herbal Paste – Fine paste prepared from fresh herbs, also called Kalka
  • Gandha Dravya (Natural Perfuming agent) – not essential and rarely added

All ingredients should be fresh and should have good medicinal potency. Dried herbs for making decoctions should not be older than 6 months.

If the provided formulation has not specified the amount of ingredients, then the following ratio should be used, according to the general ayurvedic principle:

Sneha Dravya (Base Oil) 4 Parts
Kalka (Herbal Fine Paste) 1 Part
Drava Dravya (Liquid Media) 16 Parts


  • If Liquid Media milk (Ksheera), Buttermilk (Takra) or soup of animal origin, then Kalka (Herbal Fine Paste) should be one-eighth to that of the Sneha Dravya (Base Oil).
  • If flowers are used for making Kalka (Herbal Fine Paste), then Kalka (Herbal Fine Paste) should be one-eighth to that of the Sneha Dravya (Base Oil).
  • If the numbers of herbs or ingredients used for making Drava Dravya (Liquid Media) are four or less than four, then the total quantity of Liquid Media should be four times to that of Sneha Dravya (Base Oil).
  • If the numbers of herbs or ingredients used for making Drava Dravya (Liquid Media) are more than four, then the total quantity of Liquid Media should be equal to that of Sneha Dravya (Base Oil).
  • If herbs or ingredients for making Kalka (Herbal Fine Paste) are not described in the formulation, then ingredients described for making decoction or juice should also be used for making Kalka.
  • If there are no herbs or ingredients are described for making Drava Dravya (Liquid Media), then water should be used in an amount of four times to that of Sneha Dravya (Base Oil).

General Method of Preparation

The Taila preparation process is called Taila Kalpana. The following steps are followed.

Tail Murcchana Process

Tail Murcchana is an essential process for making ayurvedic oil that enhances the therapeutic potency and medicinal properties and removes ama dosha and bad odor of the crude Sneha Dravya (base oil). This process is described in details in Bhaishajya Ratnavali in 5th chapter JWARA CHIKITSA. The main purpose of this process is to detoxify the Sneha Dravya. According to some research studies, this process increases the saponification value and reduces the acid value. This increases the absorption of the medicated oil in the body because increased saponification value increases the concentration of fatty acids that have low molecular weight and reduced acid value decreases the percentage of free fatty acids.

Murcchana Procedure

  • Heat the base oil till its froth is lost or it stops forming froth or bubbles.
  • Remove the oil from the heat.
  • Now add Murcchana Dravya or Drava Dravya and Kalka Dravya of formulation in the specified ratio.
  • Stir the base oil continuously throughout this process to prevent charring or burning.
  • Continue this process till base oil became smokeless.
  • Then filter the oil and use in preparation of Ayurvedic Tail or medicated oil.

Murcchana Dravya

Bhaishajya Ratnavali has described Murcchana Dravya for different Sneha Dravya. Here we are writing for sesame oil.

Murcchana Dravya for Til Tail (Sesame Oil)
Sesame Oil 16 Parts
Manjistha 1 Part
Haldi ¼ Part
Lodhra ¼ Part
Mustak or Nagarmotha ¼ Part
Nalika ¼ Part
Amla ¼ Part
Behara ¼ Part
Harar ¼ Part
Ketki flowers ¼ Part
Vat ke Ankur ¼ Part
Huber ¼ Part

After Tail Murcchana Process, the Sneha Paka Process should be followed.

Sneha Paka

  1. Drava Dravya (Liquid Media) – Prepare the decoction or extract the juice of herbs as specified in a particular formula.
  2. Take the oil processed through the Murcchana Process.
  3. Mix base oil and Drava Dravya (Liquid Media) and add Kalka (Herbal Fine Paste) in it.
  4. Heat the mixture on low flame till only oil remains and water and moisture content gets evaporated.
  5. Do not forget to stir the mixture throughout the process to prevent charring.
  6. When oil is ready, then leave it for several hours, so that its temperature falls naturally.
  7. After that, filter the oil and discard the residues. Preserve the oil in food-grade glass or plastic containers.

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