In 2017, researchers from Bharati Vidyapeeth College of Ayurved published a trial study where they compared postpartum ayurvedic medical care to postpartum western care.
Ayurvedic postpartum care includes dry vaginal steaming referred to by the authors as “fumigation with medicinal herbs” or the local name written as “dhoopan” or “dhupan”.
In the trial group 25 participants received daily dry vaginal steaming and oral medicinal herbs for 7 days starting on the second day after giving birth. This was compared to the control group where, for the same time period, 25 participants received daily antibiotics, anti-inflammatories and topical ointment. Researchers did a thorough analysis of all participants measuring abdominal and perineal pain, inflammation, wound healing, uterine involution, presence of bacteria in lochia with swabs on the second and eighth day, vaginal pH and temperature measured daily before and after steam session and haemoglobin percentage on third day postpartum
Results: In every area of measurement, the combination of dry vaginal steaming and oral medicinal herbs performed as well as the western medicine methods. When it came to lochia, however, the steam group seemed to outperform the other group having considerably less lochia by the end of the week-long treatments.
Dry vaginal steam showed to have analgesic and anti-inflammatory properties; increased vaginal temperature by 0.5 degrees fahrenheit producing a soothing pain relief effect and anti-microbial effect; accelerated lochia expulsion and drying which decreases risk of inflammation and infection; helped support normal uterine involution; and reduced pH balance from 7.2 to 6.5 helping it get closer to it’s natural acidic state increasing the vagina’s natural defense mechanism.
The vaginal culture swabs showed no interruption of vaginal flora after vaginal smoking. Before steaming the vaginal culture swabs contained Klebsiellapneumonae, Enterococcus fecalis, Staphylococci, Streptococci, E-coli, etc. and the swabs continued to have all of the same bacteria after 7 days of steam sessions.