Rasa Vimana

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Vimana Sthana Chapter 1. Taste-based factors for the measurement of diseases and drugs

Rasa Vimana
Section/Chapter Vimana Sthana Chapter 1
Preceding Chapter None
Succeeding Chapter Trividhakukshiya Vimana
Other Sections Sutra Sthana, Nidana Sthana, Sharira Sthana, Indriya Sthana, Chikitsa Sthana, Kalpa Sthana, Siddhi Sthana
Translator and commentator Joshi V.K., Ghildiyal S.
Reviewer Panja A.
Editors Khandel S.K., Bhagwat M., Deole Y.S., Basisht G.
Year of publication 2020
Publisher Charak Samhita Research, Training and Skill Development Centre
DOI 10.47468/CSNE.2020.e01.s03.002


The word ‘Rasa’ literally means taste sensation, essence, fluid, mercury, flavours. This chapter is related with the tastes of food substance and its importance in diet related to health. Dosha and rasa are the prominent factors for the assessment of diseases and drugs respectively. There are six rasas - madhura (sweet), amla (sour), lavana (saline), katu (pungent), tikta (bitter), and kashaya (astringent). These have pacifying and provoking effect on physiological status of dosha in body. This effect of rasas on dosha is due to conjunction of rasas and dosha by virtue of their similar and dissimilar properties. Their proper use in accordance with the body constitution maintains health, otherwise they vitiate the dosha (increase or decrease) which leads to various disorders in the body. This interaction of rasa and dosha is described in details. Eight specific factors of dieting and twelve guidelines about eating food have been described in this chapter, which are of immense value for those seeking a healthy and long life. These rules set the criteria for categorizing food as wholesome or unwholesome.

Keywords: Rasa, taste, diet, codes of conduct for taking food, principles of diet, dietary guidelines, ashta vidha ahara visheshayatana.


The chapter Rasa Vimana deals with rasa and dosha, since rasa is the primary trigger for the action of drugs on dosha. Three rasa act as either enhancers or suppressors for each dosha. Once the action of a particular rasa on a dosha is known, the effect of dravya can be predicted in the same manner and after knowing the action of dosha one can understand the disease process. Prolonged usage of certain food articles is known to vitiate dosha. For example, if a person is consuming kshara (alkali) and lavana (salt) for a long time, he is advised to decrease the quantity gradually to prevent the effect on dosha. Typically, it is advised to take meals that have all the six rasas, since that helps neutralize the effect of any particular rasa on a dosha.

Thus, considering the beneficial and harmful effects of food, eight types of dietary regimen have been described in Ayurveda, collectively called ashta ahara vidhi vishesh aayatana, with special instructions like eating freshly prepared warm food that is unctuous, neither more or less in quantity, is suitable to the individual’s capacity to digest, is suitable to the location, and that the food is not eaten too slow or too quickly.

Another agent discussed in this chapter is drugs used in pacifying aggravated dosha. The use of a dravya in a specific scenario depends on its intrinsic rasa and guna and its effect on a dosha. In cases where the use of a food article or an agent/dravya results in direct action that is well understood, is called prakriti samavaya. For example, taila (oil), ghrita (clarified butter) and madhu (honey) are known to pacify vata, pitta and kapha respectively.

This rule is, however, not applicable for all afflictions or agents because when a dravya is combined with another dravya in different quantity and/or of varying purity, then the outcome could be quite different than that of a basic dravya. Such outcomes are known as vikriti vishama samavaya. Rasa, dravya, dosha and vikara prabhava are based upon these two principles. The three dravya mentioned earlier (taila, ghrita and madhu) are largely used in formulations of other drugs, as diet, or as anupana (concomitant drug). These three do not have any side effects. On the other hand, pippali (piper longum), alkaline and saline substances invariably vitiate dosha on frequent use and are advised for limited use.

Sanskrit Text, Transliteration and English Translation

अथातो रसविमानं व्याख्यास्यामः||१|| इति ह स्माह भगवानात्रेयः||२||

athātō rasavimānaṁ vyākhyāsyāmaḥ||1|| iti ha smāha bhagavānātrēyaḥ||2||

Now we shall expound the chapter Rasa Vimana(Taste-based factors for the measurement of diseases and drugs). Thus said Lord Atreya. [1-2]

Importance and objective of vimana sthana

इह खलु व्याधीनां निमित्तपूर्वरूपरूपोपशयसङ्ख्याप्राधान्यविधिविकल्प बलकालविशेषाननुप्रविश्यानन्तरं दोषभेषजदेशकालबलशरीरसाराहारसात्म्यसत्त्वप्रकृतिवयसां मानमवहितमनसा यथावज्ज्ञेयं भवति भिषजा, दोषादिमानज्ञानायत्तत्वात् क्रियायाः|

न ह्यमानज्ञो दोषादीनां भिषग् व्याधिनिग्रहसमर्थो भवति|

तस्माद्दोषादिमानज्ञानार्थं विमानस्थानमुपदेक्ष्यामोऽग्निवेश! ||३||

iha khalu vyādhīnāṁ nimittapūrvarūparūpōpaśayasaṅkhyāprādhānyavidhivikalpa balakālaviśēṣānanupraviśyānantaraṁ [1] dōṣabhēṣajadēśakālabalaśarīrasārāhārasātmyasattvaprakr̥tivayasāṁ [2] mānamavahitamanasā yathāvajjñēyaṁ bhavati bhiṣajā, dōṣādimānajñānāyattatvāt [3] kriyāyāḥ| na hyamānajñō dōṣādīnāṁ [4] bhiṣag vyādhinigrahasamarthō bhavati| tasmāddōṣādimānajñānārthaṁ [5] vimānasthānamupadēkṣyāmō'gnivēśa!||3||

After comprehending the features of a disease in terms of its etiology, prodromal features, signs and symptoms, suitability, number, predominance of morbid factor, classification, proportional variation, intensity and duration, the physician should assess carefully the features of the drugs, agents, and the constitution of the patient (dosha, drugs, place, time, strength, body, constitutional dominance of one or the other dhatu, diet, suitability, psyche, constitution and age) because the therapeutic interventions depend on the knowledge of the features of dosha, etc. A physician having no knowledge of the features of dosha is incapable of controlling the disease. Hence O Agnivesha! For the knowledge of the features of dosha, etc., we shall describe this section on vimana (specific features) [3]

Effect of Rasa

तत्रादौ रसद्रव्यदोषविकारप्रभावान् वक्ष्यामः|

रसास्तावत् षट्- मधुराम्ललवणकटुतिक्तकषायाः|

ते सम्यगुपयुज्यमानाः शरीरं यापयन्ति, मिथ्योपयुज्यमानास्तु खलु


tatrādau rasadravyadōṣavikāraprabhāvān vakṣyāmaḥ| rasāstāvat ṣaṭ- madhurāmlalavaṇakaṭutiktakaṣāyāḥ| tē samyagupayujyamānāḥ śarīraṁ yāpayanti, mithyōpayujyamānāstu khalu dōṣaprakōpāyōpakalpantē||4||

To start with, we shall talk about the effects of rasa, dravya (substance), dosha and vikara (disorder). Rasas, as we know, are six – sweet, sour, saline, pungent, bitter and astringent. These maintain the body in harmony if used appropriately otherwise vitiate the dosha. [4]

Effect of rasa on dosha

दोषाः पुनस्त्रयो वातपित्तश्लेष्माणः|

ते प्रकृतिभूताः शरीरोपकारका भवन्ति, विकृतिमापन्नास्तु खलु नानाविधैर्विकारैः शरीरमुपतापयन्ति||५||

dōṣāḥ punastrayō vātapittaślēṣmāṇaḥ| tē prakr̥tibhūtāḥ śarīrōpakārakā [1] bhavanti, vikr̥timāpannāstu khalu nānāvidhairvikāraiḥ śarīramupatāpayanti||5||

Dosha are three – vata, pitta and kapha. In their normal state, these are beneficial to the body while in an abnormal state, these afflict the body with various disorders. [5]

तत्र दोषमेकैकं त्रयस्त्रयो रसा जनयन्ति, त्रयस्त्रयश्चोपशमयन्ति|

तद्यथा- कटुतिक्तकषाया वातं जनयन्ति, मधुराम्ललवणास्त्वेनं शमयन्ति; कट्वम्ललवणाः पित्तं जनयन्ति, मधुरतिक्तकषायास्त्वेनच्छ्मयन्ति; मधुराम्ललवणाः श्लेष्माणं जनयन्ति, कटुतिक्तकषायास्त्वेनं शमयन्ति||६||

tatra dōṣamēkaikaṁ trayastrayō rasā janayanti, trayastrayaścōpaśamayanti| tadyathā- kaṭutiktakaṣāyā vātaṁ janayanti, madhurāmlalavaṇāstvēnaṁ śamayanti; kaṭvamlalavaṇāḥ pittaṁ janayanti, madhuratiktakaṣāyāstvēnacchmayanti; madhurāmlalavaṇāḥ ślēṣmāṇaṁ janayanti, kaṭutiktakaṣāyāstvēnaṁ śamayanti||6||

Three rasas aggravate one dosha while the other three pacify it. For example, pungent, bitter and astringent (rasa) aggravate vata while sweet, sour and saline pacify it. Likewise, pungent, sour and saline rasas aggravate pitta while sweet, bitter and astringent ones pacify it. Sweet, sour and saline rasa aggravate kapha while pungent, bitter and astringent pacify it. [6]

रसदोषसन्निपाते तु ये रसा यैर्दोषैः समानगुणाः समानगुणभूयिष्ठा वा भवन्ति

ते तानभिवर्धयन्ति, विपरीतगुणा विपरीतगुणभूयिष्ठा वा शमयन्त्यभ्यस्यमाना इति|

एतद्व्यवस्थाहेतोः षट्त्वमुपदिश्यते रसानां परस्परेणासंसृष्टानां, त्रित्वं च दोषाणाम्||७||

rasadōṣasannipātē tu yē rasā yairdōṣaiḥ samānaguṇāḥ samānaguṇabhūyiṣṭhā vā bhavanti tē tānabhivardhayanti, viparītaguṇā viparītaguṇabhūyiṣṭhā vā śamayantyabhyasyamānā iti| ētadvyavasthāhētōḥ ṣaṭtvamupadiśyatē rasānāṁ parasparēṇāsaṁsr̥ṣṭānāṁ, tritvaṁ ca dōṣāṇām||7||

In case of the conjunction of rasa and dosha, rasas aggravate those dosha sharing similar properties and pacify those that have opposing or antagonistic properties. This explains six rasas for the three dosha. [7]

संसर्गविकल्पविस्तरो ह्येषामपरिसङ्ख्येयो भवति, विकल्पभेदापरिसङ्ख्येयत्वात्||८||

saṁsargavikalpavistarō hyēṣāmaparisaṅkhyēyō bhavati, vikalpabhēdāparisaṅkhyēyatvāt||8||

Details of mutual combinations and proportional variations with regard to them are innumerable because these variations are innumerable. [8]

तत्र खल्वनेकरसेषु द्रव्येष्वनेकदोषात्मकेषु च विकारेषु रसदोषप्रभावमेकैकश्येनाभिसमीक्ष्य ततो द्रव्यविकारयोः प्रभावतत्त्वं व्यवस्येत्||९||

tatra khalvanēkarasēṣu [1] dravyēṣvanēkadōṣātmakēṣu ca vikārēṣu rasadōṣaprabhāvamēkaikaśyēnābhisamīkṣya tatō dravyavikārayōḥ prabhāvatattvaṁ vyavasyēt||9||

Whether it is an agent (generically termed dravya in Sanskrit) with multiple rasas or a disorder having afflictions of various dosha, one should first critically analyze the role of each rasa or dosha individually and then determine the effect of the dravya and the disorder. [9]

न त्वेवं खलु सर्वत्र|

न हि विकृतिविषमसमवेतानां नानात्मकानां परस्परेण चोपहतानामन्यैश्च विकल्पनैर्विकल्पितानामवयवप्रभावानुमानेनैव समुदायप्रभावतत्त्वमध्यवसातुं शक्यम्||१०||

na tvēvaṁ khalu sarvatra| na hi vikr̥tiviṣamasamavētānāṁ nānātmakānāṁ parasparēṇa cōpahatānāmanyaiśca [1] vikalpanairvikalpitānāmavayavaprabhāvānumānēnaiva samudāyaprabhāvatattvamadhyavasātuṁ śakyam||10||

But this rule is not applicable universally because in case of complex disorders (and dravya) where the effect is not exactly in accordance with the cause due to multiple causative factors operating, with differing (often conflicting) modes of operation, it is not possible to determine the effect of the dravya or the disease on the basis of the effect of individual rasa or dosha. [10]

तथायुक्ते हि समुदये समुदायप्रभावतत्त्वमेवमेवोपलभ्य ततो द्रव्यविकारप्रभावतत्त्वं व्यवस्येत्||११||

tathāyuktē hi samudayē samudāyaprabhāvatattvamēvamēvōpalabhya tatō dravyavikāraprabhāvatattvaṁ vyavasyēt||11||

In such cases, the effect of the dravya or the disease is ascertained on the basis of their cumulative action. [11]

तस्माद्रसप्रभावतश्च द्रव्यप्रभावतश्च दोषप्रभावतश्च विकारप्रभावतश्च तत्त्वमुपदेक्ष्यामः||१२||

tasmādrasaprabhāvataśca dravyaprabhāvataśca dōṣaprabhāvataśca vikāraprabhāvataśca tattvamupadēkṣyāmaḥ||12||

Hence we shall describe the concept according to the effect of rasa (individual) and dravya (total) on one side and dosha (individual) and disease (total) on the other. [12]

Dravya prabhava (effect of dravya)

तत्रैष रसप्रभाव उपदिष्टो भवति| द्रव्यप्रभावं पुनरुपदेक्ष्यामः| तैलसर्पिर्मधूनि वातपित्तश्लेष्मप्रशमनार्थानि द्रव्याणि भवन्ति||१३||

tatraiṣa rasaprabhāva upadiṣṭō bhavati| dravyaprabhāvaṁ punarupadēkṣyāmaḥ| tailasarpirmadhūni vātapittaślēṣmapraśamanārthāni [1] dravyāṇi bhavanti||13||

The effects of the six types of rasa were described in an earlier verse. Now we shall describe the effect of dravya. Oil, ghee and honey are the substances capable of pacifying vata, pitta and kapha respectively. [13]

तत्र तैलं स्नेहौष्ण्यगौरवोपपन्नत्वाद्वातं जयति सततमभ्यस्यमानं; वातो हि रौक्ष्यशैत्यलाघवोपपन्नो विरुद्धगुणो भवति, विरुद्धगुणसन्निपाते हि भूयसाऽल्पमवजीयते, तस्मात्तैलं वातं जयति सततमभ्यस्यमानम्| सर्पिः खल्वेवमेव पित्तं जयति, माधुर्याच्छैत्यान्मन्दत्वाच्च; पित्तं ह्यमधुरमुष्णं तीक्ष्णं च| मधु च श्लेष्माणं जयति, रौक्ष्यात्तैक्ष्ण्यात् कषायत्वाच्च; श्लेष्मा हि स्निग्धो मन्दो मधुरश्च | यच्चान्यदपि किञ्चिद्द्रव्यमेवं वातपित्तकफेभ्यो गुणतो विपरीतं स्यात्तच्चैताञ्जयत्यभ्यस्यमानम्||१४||

tatra tailaṁ snēhauṣṇyagauravōpapannatvādvātaṁ jayati [1] satatamabhyasyamānaṁ; vātō hi raukṣyaśaityalāghavōpapannō viruddhaguṇō bhavati, viruddhaguṇasannipātē hi bhūyasā'lpamavajīyatē, tasmāttailaṁ vātaṁ jayati satatamabhyasyamānam| sarpiḥ khalvēvamēva pittaṁ jayati, mādhuryācchaityānmandatvācca [2] ; pittaṁ hyamadhuramuṣṇaṁ tīkṣṇaṁ ca| madhu ca ślēṣmāṇaṁ jayati, raukṣyāttaikṣṇyāt kaṣāyatvācca; ślēṣmā hi snigdhō mandō madhuraśca [3] | yaccānyadapi kiñciddravyamēvaṁ vātapittakaphēbhyō guṇatō viparītaṁ syāttaccaitāñjayatyabhyasyamānam||14||

Oil possesses the properties of unctuousness, hotness and heaviness and as such pacifies vata when used regularly. Vata possesses roughness, coldness and lightness and is thus pacified by the habitual use of oil. In the same way, ghee’s sweetness, coldness and dullness overcomes pitta’s non-sweet, hot and sharp properties. Finally, honey’s roughness, sharpness and astringency neutralizes the effects of kapha’s unctuous, dull and sweet properties. Any other substance which is antagonistic in properties to vata, pitta and kapha will similarly help in pacifying them when used regularly. [14]

Three substances contra-indicated for long term consumption and their effects on body

अथ खलु त्रीणि द्रव्याणि नात्युपयुञ्जीताधिकमन्येभ्यो द्रव्येभ्यः; तद्यथा- पिप्पली, क्षारः, लवणमिति||१५||

atha khalu trīṇi dravyāṇi nātyupayuñjītādhikamanyēbhyō dravyēbhyaḥ; tadyathā- pippalī, kṣāraḥ, lavaṇamiti||15||

Now there are three substances whose excessive use is strictly prohibited in comparison to other ones - long pepper, alkali and salt. [15]

Effect of long term consumption of long pepper

पिप्पल्यो हि कटुकाः सत्यो मधुरविपाका गुर्व्योनात्यर्थं स्निग्धोष्णाः प्रक्लेदिन्यो भेषजाभिमताश्चताः सद्यः; शुभाशुभकारिण्यो भवन्ति; आपातभद्राः, प्रयोगसमसाद्गुण्यात्; दोषसञ्चयानुबन्धाः;- सततमुपयुज्यमाना हि गुरुप्रक्लेदित्वाच्छ्लेष्माणमुत्क्लेशयन्ति, औष्ण्यात् पित्तं, न च वातप्रशमनायोपकल्पन्तेऽल्पस्नेहोष्णभावात्; योगवाहिन्यस्तु खलु भवन्ति;तस्मात् पिप्पलीर्नात्युपयुञ्जीत||१६|

pippalyō hi kaṭukāḥ satyō madhuravipākā gurvyōnātyarthaṁ snigdhōṣṇāḥ praklēdinyō bhēṣajābhimatāścatāḥ [1] sadyaḥ; śubhāśubhakāriṇyō bhavanti; āpātabhadrāḥ, prayōgasamasādguṇyāt; dōṣasañcayānubandhāḥ;- satatamupayujyamānā hi gurupraklēditvācchlēṣmāṇamutklēśayanti, auṣṇyāt pittaṁ, na ca vātapraśamanāyōpakalpantē'lpasnēhōṣṇabhāvāt; yōgavāhinyastu khalu bhavanti; tasmāt pippalīrnātyupayuñjīta||16||

Long peppers are pungent but sweet in vipaka, heavy, not too unctuous, hot and moistening. They are considered to be among the most effective of drugs and exhibit their good or bad effect fairly quickly. If used properly and sparingly, they are beneficial but still lead to consequent accumulation of doshas. If used regularly, however, they aggravate kapha due to their heaviness and moistening properties, pitta due to their hotness while they are unable to pacify vata because of little unctuousness and hotness. Hence one should not use long peppers excessively. [16]

Effect of long term consumption of alkali

क्षारः पुनरौष्ण्यतैक्ष्णयलाघवोपपन्नः क्लेदयत्यादौ पश्चाद्विशोषयति, स पचनदहनभेदनार्थमुपयुज्यते; सोऽतिप्रयुज्यमानः केशाक्षिहृदयपुंस्त्वोपघातकरः सम्पद्यते| ये ह्येनं ग्रामनगरनिगमजनपदाः सततमुपयुञ्जते त आन्ध्यषाण्ढ्यखालित्यपालित्यभाजो हृदयापकर्तिनश्च भवन्ति, तद्यथा- प्राच्याश्चीनाश्च; तस्मात् क्षारं नात्युपयुञ्जीत||१७||

kṣāraḥ punarauṣṇyataikṣṇayalāghavōpapannaḥ klēdayatyādau paścādviśōṣayati [1] , sa pacanadahanabhēdanārthamupayujyatē; sō'tiprayujyamānaḥ kēśākṣihr̥dayapuṁstvōpaghātakaraḥ sampadyatē| yē hyēnaṁ grāmanagaranigamajanapadāḥ satatamupayuñjatē ta āndhyaṣāṇḍhyakhālityapālityabhājō hr̥dayāpakartinaśca bhavanti, tadyathā- prācyāścīnāśca; tasmāt kṣāraṁ nātyupayuñjīta||17||

Alkali, endowed with hotness, sharpness and lightness at first acts like a liquid, but dries up subsequently. It is used for digestion, burning, and tearing but if used excessively, damages hair, eyes, heart and virility. The people of villages, cities, communes and districts who use it continuously suffer from blindness, impotency, baldness and grey hair, and constricting pain in the cardiac region, such as the inhabitants of the eastern region and China. Hence one should not use alkali excessively. [17]

Effect of long term consumption of salt

लवणं पुनरौष्ण्यतैक्ष्ण्योपपन्नम्, अनतिगुरु, अनतिस्निग्धम्, उपक्लेदि, विस्रंसनसमर्थम्, अन्नद्रव्यरुचिकरम्, आपातभद्रं प्रयोगसमसाद्गुण्यात्, दोषसञ्चयानुबन्धं, तद्रोचनपाचनोपक्लेदनविस्रंसनार्थमुपयुज्यते| तदत्यर्थमुपयुज्यमानं ग्लानिशैथिल्यदौर्बल्याभिनिर्वृत्तिकरं शरीरस्य भवति| ये ह्येनद्ग्रामनगरनिगमजनपदाः सततमुपयुञ्जते, ते भूयिष्ठं ग्लास्नवः शिथिलमांसशोणिता अपरिक्लेशसहाश्च भवन्ति| तद्यथा- बाह्लीकसौराष्ट्रिकसैन्धवसौवीरकाः; ते हि पयसाऽपि सह लवणमश्नन्ति| येऽपीह भूमेरत्यूषरा देशास्तेष्वोषधिवीरुद्वनस्पतिवानस्पत्या न जायन्तेऽल्पतेजसो वा भवन्ति, लवणोपहतत्वात्| तस्माल्लवणं नात्युपयुञ्जीत| ये ह्यतिलवणसात्म्याः पुरुषास्तेषामपि खालित्यपालित्यानि वलयश्चाकाले भवन्ति||१८||

lavaṇaṁ punarauṣṇyataikṣṇyōpapannam, anatiguru, anatisnigdham, upaklēdi, visraṁsanasamartham, annadravyarucikaram, āpātabhadraṁ prayōgasamasādguṇyāt, dōṣasañcayānubandhaṁ, tadrōcanapācanōpaklēdanavisraṁsanārthamupayujyatē| tadatyarthamupayujyamānaṁ glāniśaithilyadaurbalyābhinirvr̥ttikaraṁ śarīrasya bhavati| yē hyēnadgrāmanagaranigamajanapadāḥ satatamupayuñjatē, tē bhūyiṣṭhaṁ glāsnavaḥ śithilamāṁsaśōṇitā apariklēśasahāśca bhavanti| tadyathā- bāhlīkasaurāṣṭrikasaindhavasauvīrakāḥ; tē hi payasā'pi saha lavaṇamaśnanti| yē'pīha bhūmēratyūṣarā dēśāstēṣvōṣadhivīrudvanaspativānaspatyā na jāyantē'lpatējasō vā bhavanti, lavaṇōpahatatvāt| tasmāllavaṇaṁ nātyupayuñjīta| yē hyatilavaṇasātmyāḥ puruṣāstēṣāmapi khālityapālityāni valayaścākālē bhavanti||18||

Salt is endowed with hotness, sharpness, moistening, laxative, and relishing qualities and is not much heavy to digest and unctuous. It gives immediate benefits when used proper course and combination. But when used habitually or excessively, it causes accumulation of dosha.

Its excessive usage causes malaise, laxity and debility in the body. The people of villages, cities, communes and districts who use it continuously are exceedingly depressed, have loose muscles and blood and low tolerance for pain. Such inhabitants as those of Bahlika, Saurashtra, Sindhu and Sauveera (countries / regions in ancient times) even take salt with milk. Moreover, such regions of the world have barren, saline soil and plants – herbs, shrubs, trees and big trees – that do not grow or are stunted because of damage by salt. Hence one should not use salt too much. Even the persons who tend to use excessive salt fall victims to untimely baldness, graying of hair and wrinkles. [18]

तस्मात्तेषां तत्सात्म्यतः क्रमेणापगमनं श्रेयः| सात्म्यमपि हि क्रमेणोपनिवर्त्यमानमदोषमल्पदोषं वा भवति||१९||

tasmāttēṣāṁ tatsātmyataḥ kramēṇāpagamanaṁ śrēyaḥ| sātmyamapi hi kramēṇōpanivartyamānamadōṣamalpadōṣaṁ vā bhavati||19||

Hence it is beneficial for them to wean themselves away gradually from the habit of using these substances. The habituated things, if given up gradually, cause no or little harm. [19]


सात्म्यं नाम तद् यदात्मन्युपशेते; सात्म्यार्थो ह्युपशयार्थः| तत्त्रिविधं प्रवरावरमध्यविभागेन; सप्तविधं तु रसैकैकत्वेन सर्वरसोपयोगाच्च| तत्र सर्वरसं प्रवरम्, अवरमेकरसं, मध्यं तु प्रवरावरमध्यस्थम्| तत्रावरमध्याभ्यां सात्म्याभ्यां क्रमेणैव प्रवरमुपपादयेत् सात्म्यम्| सर्वरसमपि च सात्म्यमुपपन्नः प्रकृत्याद्युपयोक्त्रष्टमानि सर्वाण्याहारविधिविशेषायतनान्यभिसमीक्ष्य हितमेवानुरुध्येत||२०||

sātmyaṁ nāma tad yadātmanyupaśētē; sātmyārthō hyupaśayārthaḥ| tattrividhaṁ pravarāvaramadhyavibhāgēna; saptavidhaṁ tu rasaikaikatvēna sarvarasōpayōgācca| tatra sarvarasaṁ pravaram, avaramēkarasaṁ, madhyaṁ tu pravarāvaramadhyastham| tatrāvaramadhyābhyāṁ sātmyābhyāṁ kramēṇaiva pravaramupapādayēt sātmyam| sarvarasamapi ca sātmyamupapannaḥ [1] prakr̥tyādyupayōktraṣṭamāni sarvāṇyāhāravidhiviśēṣāyatanānyabhisamīkṣya hitamēvānurudhyēta||20||

Satmya(habituation) means that which suits the self. Satmya and upashaya have the same meaning. Based on one’s habitual usage of rasas, satmya could be categorized into three types- superior, inferior and medium/average. The use of all the rasas collectively is considered superior, those that use only one rasa are considered inferior, while all scenarios that lie between these two are considered medium. Effort should be made to gradually move up from the inferior and the medium types of satmya to the superior type. Even if one has achieved the superior satmya or is habituated of using all the rasas collectively, the individual should strive to abide by the factors of dietetics and nutrition as mentioned in the following verse. [20]

Ashta vidha ahara visheshayatana ( eight specific factors for diet)

तत्र खल्विमान्यष्टावाहारविधिविशेषायतनानि भवन्ति; तद्यथा- प्रकृतिकरणसंयोगराशिदेशकालोपयोगसंस्थोपयोक्त्रष्टमानि (भवन्ति)||२१||

tatra khalvimānyaṣṭāvāhāravidhiviśēṣāyatanāni bhavanti; tadyathā- prakr̥tikaraṇasaṁyōgarāśidēśakālōpayōgasaṁsthōpayōktraṣṭamāni (bhavanti)||21||

These are eight specific factors of method of dieting - prakriti (nature), karana (processing), samyoga (combination), rashi (quantity), desha (place), kala (time/ stage of the disease), upayoga -samstha (rules for use) and upayoktra (consumer). [21]

तत्र प्रकृतिरुच्यते स्वभावो यः, स पुनराहारौषधद्रव्याणां स्वाभाविको गुर्वादिगुणयोगः; तद्यथा माषमुद्गयोः, शूकरैणयोश्च (१) |२२|

tatra prakétirucyate svabhÁvo yah, sa punarÁhÁrauÒadhadrvyÁÆÁm svÁbhÁviko gurvÁdi guÆayoga½, tadhythÁ – mÁÒamudgyo½, ÐÚkareÆayoÐca ||1||

Prakriti is swabhava, or the natural attribute or trait of a substance, such as heaviness, etc. For example, the prakriti of black gram or pork is heavy, while that of green gram or deer meat is light. [22.1]

करणं पुनः स्वाभाविकानां द्रव्याणामभिसंस्कारः| संस्कारो हि गुणान्तराधानमुच्यते| ते गुणास्तोयाग्निसन्निकर्षशौचमन्थनदेशकालवासनभावनादिभिः कालप्रकर्षभाजनादिभिश्चाधीयन्ते (२) |२२|

karaÆam puna½ svÁbhÁvikÁnÁm dravyÁÆÁmabhisaÉskÁra½| SaÉskaro hi guÆÁntarÁdhÁnamucyate, te guÆÁstoyÁgnisannikarÒaÐaucamanthana deÐa kÁlavÁsanabhÁvanÁdibhi½ kÁlaprakarÒabhÁjanÁdibhiÐcÁ dhÍyante ||2||

Karana (processing) is the making or refinement of the dravya, or the samskara that are added to the properties of those substances. These properties are imparted by contact of water and fire, by cleansing, churning, place, time, infusing, steeping, etc. and also by the medium used for storage or processing (e.g., copper vessel, or earthen pot), etc. [22.2]

संयोगः पुनर्द्वयोर्बहूनां वा द्रव्याणां संहतीभावः, स विशेषमारभते, यं पुनर्नैकैकशो द्रव्याण्यारभन्ते; तद्यथा- मधुसर्पिषोः, मधुमत्स्यपयसां च संयोगः (३) |२२|

saÉyoga½ punardvayorbahÚnÁm vÁ dravyÁÆÁm saÉhatÍbhÁva½ sa viÐeÒamarabhate, yam punarnekaekaÐo drvyÁÆyÁrabhante, tadhyathÁ madhusarpiÒo½, madhumatsyapayasÁm ca saÉyoga½|| 3||

Samyoga (combination) is the aggregation or combination of two or more dravya. This exhibits peculiarities that are not seen in case of individual substances, such as combination of honey and ghee, and that of honey, fish and milk. [22.3]

राशिस्तु सर्वग्रहपरिग्रहौ मात्रामात्रफलविनिश्चयार्थः| तत्र सर्वस्याहारस्य प्रमाणग्रहणमेकपिण्डेन सर्वग्रहः, परिग्रहः पुनः प्रमाणग्रहणमेकैकश्येनाहारद्रव्याणाम्| सर्वस्य हि ग्रहः सर्वग्रहः, सर्वतश्च ग्रहः परिग्रह उच्यते (४) |२२|

rÁÐistu sarvagrahaparigrahav mÁtrÁmÁtraphalaviniÐcayÁrtha½, Tatra sarvasyÁhÁrasya PramÁÆagrahaÆamekapiÆÕena sarvagaha½, parigraha½ puna½ pramÁÆagrahaÆamekaekaÐ yenÁhÁradravyÁÆÁm, sarvasya hi graha½ sarvagrha½ sarvataÐca graha½ parigraha uryate ||4||

Rashi (quantity) consists of sarvagraha (account of a whole amount or unit) and parigraha (account of part of a substance, or of individual parts (in case the substance is a combination of multiple ingredients or parts)) which ascertain the effect of any food article taken in proper or improper quantity. [22.4]

देशः पुनः स्थानं; स द्रव्याणामुत्पत्तिप्रचारौ देशसात्म्यं चाचष्टे (५) |२२|

deÒa½ puna½ sthÁnam, sa dravyÁÆÁmutpati pracÁrau deÐasÁtmyam cÁcaÒte || 5||

Desha denotes the geographic region relating that the substance(s) are local or endemic to, and thus, are suitable to. [22.5]

कालो हि नित्यगश्चावस्थिकश्च; तत्रावस्थिको विकारमपेक्षते, नित्यगस्तु ऋतुसात्म्यापेक्षः (६) |२२|

kÁlo hi NityagaÐcÁvasthikaÐca tatrÁvasthiko vikÁramapekÒate, Nityagastu ètusÁtmyÁpekÒa½ || 6||

Kala is time. It can be taken to be the ever moving time, as in seasons (e.g., suitable to seasons), or as duration from the standpoint of a condition (e.g., a condition that does not get treated within a specific duration becomes incurable). [22.6]

उपयोगसंस्था तूपयोगनियमः; स जीर्णलक्षणापेक्षः (७) |२२|

upayogasaÉsthÁ tÚpayoganiyama½, sa jÍrÆalakÒaÆÁ pekÒa½ ||7||

Upayogasamastha denotes the rules for dieting. This depends on the digestible features (of the food). [22.7]

उपयोक्ता पुनर्यस्तमाहारमुपयुङ्क्ते, यदायत्तमोकसात्म्यम्| इत्यष्टावाहारविधिविशेषायतनानि व्याख्यातानि भवन्ति||२२||

UpayoktÁ punaryastamÁhÁramupayukte yadÁyattamo kasÁtmyam, ItyaÒÔÁvÁhÁravidhiviÐeÒÁyatanÁni vyÁkhyÁtanÍ Bhavanti || 22||

Upayokta is the one who consumes the food. On him depends the oka-satmya (i.e.,habituation developed by practice). Thus, are described the specific factors of the method of dieting. [22]

एषां विशेषाः शुभाशुभफलाः परस्परोपकारका भवन्ति; तान् बुभुत्सेत, बुद्ध्वा च हितेप्सुरेव स्यात्; नच मोहात् प्रमादाद्वा प्रियमहितमसुखोदर्कमुपसेव्यमाहारजातमन्यद्वा किञ्चित्||२३||

ēṣāṁ viśēṣāḥ śubhāśubhaphalāḥ parasparōpakārakā bhavanti; tān bubhutsēta, buddhvā ca hitēpsurēva syāt; naca mōhāt pramādādvā priyamahitamasukhōdarkamupasēvyamāhārajātamanyadvā kiñcit||23||

The characteristics of the eight factors mentioned in the above verses are inter-dependent (for example, a substance of optimum quantity taken in the right season and in the right place). Any regimen prescribed should be done after gaining a thorough understanding of the food articles from these eight aspects for them to be wholesome. Food or any other dravya that is liked but is unwholesome and likely to result in unpleasant consequences should not be used by ignorance or carelessness. [23]

Methods of taking meals (Ahara vidhi vidhana)

तत्रेदमाहारविधिविधानमरोगाणामातुराणां चापि केषाञ्चित् काले प्रकृत्यैव हिततमं भुञ्जानानां भवति- उष्णं, स्निग्धं, मात्रावत्, जीर्णे वीर्याविरुद्धम्, इष्टे देशे, इष्टसर्वोपकरणं, नातिद्रुतं, नातिविलम्बितम्, अजल्पन्, अहसन्, तन्मना भुञ्जीत, आत्मानमभिसमीक्ष्य सम्यक्||२४||

tatrēdamāhāravidhividhānamarōgāṇāmāturāṇāṁ cāpi kēṣāñcit kālē prakr̥tyaiva hitatamaṁ bhuñjānānāṁ bhavati- uṣṇaṁ, snigdhaṁ, mātrāvat, jīrṇē vīryāviruddham, iṣṭē dēśē, iṣṭasarvōpakaraṇaṁ, nātidrutaṁ, nātivilambitam, ajalpan, ahasan, tanmanā bhuñjīta, ātmānamabhisamīkṣya samyak||24||

The prescribed method of eating for the healthy and the sick (in certain cases) who take wholesome food timely and habitually is that one should eat warm, unctuous food in proper quantity, after the previously consumed food is digested. The food eaten should be non-antagonistic (i.e., not unsuitable to one’s constitution or habit) and should be consumed in a favorable place, with all the favorable accessories, not too fast, not too slow, not while talking or laughing, and with full concentration. [24]

Eat warm and freshly cooked food

तस्य साद्गुण्यमुपदेक्ष्यामः- उष्णमश्नीयात्; उष्णं हि भुज्यमानं स्वदते, भुक्तं चाग्निमौदर्यमुदीरयति, क्षिप्रं जरां गच्छति, वातमनुलोमयति, श्लेष्माणं च परिह्राससयति; तस्मादुष्णमश्नीयात् (१) |२५|

tasya sādguṇyamupadēkṣyāmaḥ- uṣṇamaśnīyāt; uṣṇaṁ hi bhujyamānaṁ svadatē, bhuktaṁ cāgnimaudaryamudīrayati, kṣipraṁ jarāṁ gacchati, vātamanulōmayati, ślēṣmāṇaṁ ca parihrāsasayati [1] ; tasmāduṣṇamaśnīyāt (1)|25|

(I will now explain their merits). One should eat warm (freshly cooked food) because it tastes well and the food consumed stimulates the digestive process, gets digested quickly, normalizes functions of vata dosha and reduces kapha dosha (which obstructs digestion process).[25.1]

Eat unctuous food

स्निग्धमश्नीयात्; स्निग्धं हि भुज्यमानं स्वदते, भुक्तं चानुदीर्णमग्निमुदीरयति, क्षिप्रं जरां गच्छति, वातमनुलोमयति, शरीरमुपचिनोति, दृढीकरोतीन्द्रियाणि, बलाभिवृद्धिमुपजनयति, वर्णप्रसादं चाभिनिर्वर्तयति; तस्मात् स्निग्धमश्नीयात् (२) |२५|

snigdhamaśnīyāt; snigdhaṁ hi bhujyamānaṁ svadatē, bhuktaṁ cānudīrṇamagnimudīrayati [2] , kṣipraṁ jarāṁ gacchati, vātamanulōmayati, śarīramupacinōti, dr̥ḍhīkarōtīndriyāṇi, balābhivr̥ddhimupajanayati, varṇaprasādaṁ cābhinirvartayati; tasmāt snigdhamaśnīyāt (2)|25|

One should eat unctuous because it tastes well, the food consumed stimulates any dormant digestive process, gets digested quickly, normalizes functions of vata, nourishes body, provides firmness to sense organs, increases strength, and enhances complexion. [25.2]

Eat in proper quantity

मात्रावदश्नीयात्; मात्रावद्धि भुक्तं वातपित्तकफानपीडयदायुरेव विवर्धयति केवलं, सुखं गुदमनुपर्येति, न चोष्माणमुपहन्ति, अव्यथं च परिपाकमेति; तस्मान्मात्रावदश्नीयात् (३) |२५|

mātrāvadaśnīyāt; mātrāvaddhi bhuktaṁ vātapittakaphānapīḍayadāyurēva vivardhayati kēvalaṁ, sukhaṁ gudamanuparyēti, na cōṣmāṇamupahanti, avyathaṁ ca paripākamēti; tasmānmātrāvadaśnīyāt (3)|25|

One should eat in proper quantity without disturbing vata, pitta and kapha because that only helps promote one’s life-span, easily passes down the bowels, does not disturb the agni (digestive capacity), and gets digested without discomfort. [25.3]

Eat after complete digestion of previous meals

जीर्णेऽश्नीयात्; अजीर्णे हि भुञ्जानस्याभ्यवहृतमाहारजातं पूर्वस्याहारस्य रसमपरिणतमुत्तरेणाहाररसेनोपसृजत् सर्वान् दोषान् प्रकोपयत्याशु, जीर्णे तु भुञ्जानस्य स्वस्थानस्थेषु दोषेष्वग्नौ चोदीर्णे जातायां च बुभुक्षायां विवृतेषु च स्रोतसां मुखेषु विशुद्धे चोद्गारे हृदये विशुद्धे वातानुलोम्ये विसृष्टेषु च वातमूत्रपुरीषवेगेष्वभ्यवहृतमाहारजातं सर्वशरीरधातूनप्रदूषयदायुरेवाभिवर्धयति केवलं; तस्माज्जीर्णेऽश्नीयात् (४) |२५|

jīrṇē'śnīyāt; ajīrṇē hi bhuñjānasyābhyavahr̥tamāhārajātaṁ pūrvasyāhārasya rasamapariṇatamuttarēṇāhārarasēnōpasr̥jat sarvān dōṣān prakōpayatyāśu, jīrṇē tu bhuñjānasya svasthānasthēṣu dōṣēṣvagnau cōdīrṇē jātāyāṁ ca bubhukṣāyāṁ vivr̥tēṣu ca srōtasāṁ mukhēṣu viśuddhē cōdgārē hr̥dayē viśuddhē vātānulōmyē visr̥ṣṭēṣu ca vātamūtrapurīṣavēgēṣvabhyavahr̥tamāhārajātaṁ sarvaśarīradhātūnapradūṣayadāyurēvābhivardhayati kēvalaṁ; tasmājjīrṇē'śnīyāt (4)|25|

One should eat when the previous meal is digested because if one eats before earlier meal is digested, mixing with undigested food will vitiate all the dosha quickly. On the other hand, when one eats after the previous meal is well digested, the dosha do not get vitiated or unsettled from their natural locations, agni is stimulated, appetite is increased, entrances of the channels get cleared, eructation is pure, heart is normal, there are natural urges to pass bodily wastes and there is no obstruction to their passage, and the eaten food enhances one’s life without afflicting any dhatu. [25.4]

Eat suitable combination of food

वीर्याविरुद्धमश्नीयात्; अविरुद्धवीर्यमश्नन् हि विरुद्धवीर्याहारजैर्विकारैर्नोपसृज्यते; तस्माद्वीर्याविरुद्धमश्नीयात् (५) |२५|

vīryāviruddhamaśnīyāt; aviruddhavīryamaśnan hi viruddhavīryāhārajairvikārairnōpasr̥jyatē; tasmādvīryāviruddhamaśnīyāt (5)|25|

One should take food consisting of the items that are non-antagonistic in nature to ensure one is not afflicted with the disorders caused by food that is unsuitable to the individual. [25.5]

Eat at right place and with right accessories

इष्टे देशे इष्टसर्वोपकरणं चाश्नीयात्; इष्टे हि देशे भुञ्जानो नानिष्टदेशजैर्मनोविघातकरैर्भावैर्मनोविघातं प्राप्नोति, तथैवेष्टैः सर्वोपकरणैः; तस्मादिष्टे देशे तथेष्टसर्वोपकरणं चाश्नीयात् (६) |२५|

iṣṭē dēśē iṣṭasarvōpakaraṇaṁ cāśnīyāt; iṣṭē hi dēśē bhuñjānō nāniṣṭadēśajairmanōvighātakarairbhāvairmanōvighātaṁ prāpnōti, tathaivēṣṭaiḥ sarvōpakaraṇaiḥ; tasmādiṣṭē dēśē tathēṣṭasarvōpakaraṇaṁ cāśnīyāt (6)|25|

One should eat in a favorable place and with favorable accessories because it is important to feel comfortable and satisfied while eating. [25.6]

Do not eat too fast

नातिद्रुतमश्नीयात्; अतिद्रुतं हि भुञ्जानस्योत्स्नेहनमवसादनं भोजनस्याप्रतिष्ठानं च, भोज्यदोषसाद्गण्योपलब्धिश्च न नियता; तस्मान्नातिद्रुतमश्नीयात् (७) |२५|

nātidrutamaśnīyāt; atidrutaṁ hi bhuñjānasyōtsnēhanamavasādanaṁ bhōjanasyāpratiṣṭhānaṁ ca, bhōjyadōṣasādgaṇyōpalabdhiśca na niyatā; tasmānnātidrutamaśnīyāt (7)|25|

One should not eat too quickly to ensure the food does not get into the wrong passage, and that the person is able to ascertain the qualities and taste of the food or even detect any defects in the food. [25.7]

Do not eat too slowly

नातिविलम्बितमश्नीयात्; अतिविलम्बितं हि भुञ्जानो न तृप्तिमधिगच्छति, बहु भुङ्क्ते, शीतीभवत्याहारजातं, विषमं च पच्यते; तस्मान्नातिविलम्बितमश्नीयात् (८) |२५|

nātivilambitamaśnīyāt; ativilambitaṁ hi bhuñjānō na tr̥ptimadhigacchati, bahu bhuṅktē, śītībhavatyāhārajātaṁ, viṣamaṁ [3] ca pacyatē; tasmānnātivilambitamaśnīyāt (8)|25|

One should not eat too slow, because by eating too slow one does not get satisfaction, eats much, and the food becomes cold and is digested irregularly. [25.8]

Eat with proper concentration on eating and with normal mental state

अजल्पन्नहसन् तन्मना भुञ्जीत; जल्पतो हसतोऽन्यमनसो वा भुञ्जानस्य त एव हि दोषा भवन्ति, य एवातिद्रुतमश्नतः; तस्मादजल्पन्नहसंस्तन्मना भुञ्जीत (९) |२५|

ajalpannahasan tanmanā bhuñjīta; jalpatō hasatō'nyamanasō vā bhuñjānasya ta ēva hi dōṣā bhavanti, ya ēvātidrutamaśnataḥ; tasmādajalpannahasaṁstanmanā bhuñjīta (9)|25|

One should eat with utmost concentration on the food, while not talking or laughing. By taking food while talking or laughing or with mind elsewhere, he is inflicted with the same defects as by eating too fast. [25.9]

Eat with self-awareness

आत्मानमभिसमीक्ष्य भुञ्जीत सम्यक्; इदं ममोपशेते इदं नोपशेत इत्येवं विदितं ह्यस्यात्मन आत्मसात्म्यं भवति; तस्मादात्मानमभिसमीक्ष्य भुञ्जीत सम्यगिति||२५||

ātmānamabhisamīkṣya bhuñjīta samyak; idaṁ mamōpaśētē idaṁ nōpaśēta ityēvaṁ viditaṁ hyasyātmana ātmasātmyaṁ bhavati; tasmādātmānamabhisamīkṣya bhuñjīta samyagiti||25||

One should eat with due consideration to self, i.e., knowing one’s own constitution and tastes. He/she should take food that is suitable to him/her. [25]


भवति चात्र-

रसान् द्रव्याणि दोषांश्च विकारांश्च प्रभावतः| वेद यो देशकालौ च शरीरं च स[१] नो भिषक्||२६||

bhavati cātra-

rasān dravyāṇi dōṣāṁśca vikārāṁśca prabhāvataḥ| vēda yō dēśakālau ca śarīraṁ ca sa [1] nō bhiṣak||26||

He is (or should be) our physician who knows the rasas, dravyas, dosha, disorders, place, time and body. [26]

तत्र श्लोकौ-

विमानार्थो रसद्रव्यदोषरोगाः प्रभावतः| द्रव्याणि नातिसेव्यानि त्रिविधं सात्म्यमेव च||२७||

आहारायतनान्यष्टौ भोज्यसाद्गुण्यमेव च| विमाने रससङ्ख्याते सर्वमेतत् प्रकाशितम्||२८||

tatra ślōkau-

vimānārthō rasadravyadōṣarōgāḥ prabhāvataḥ| dravyāṇi nātisēvyāni trividhaṁ sātmyamēva ca||27|| āhārāyatanānyaṣṭau bhōjyasādguṇyamēva ca| vimānē rasasaṅkhyātē sarvamētat prakāśitam||28||

To sum up (all the verses of this chapter):

The meaning of vimana is to know the effects of rasa, dravya, dosha and disorders, substances not to be used excessively, the three forms or types of satmya, and the eight factors of diet and merits of food. All these have been briefly discussed in this chapter on Rasa Vimana [27-28]

इत्यग्निवेशकृते तन्त्रे चरकप्रतिसंस्कृते विमानस्थाने रसविमानं नाम प्रथमोऽध्यायः||१||

ityagniveÐakrte tantre carakapratisanskéte vimÁnasthÁne rasavimÁnam nÁma prathamoadhyÁya½

Thus ends the first chapter on Rasa Vimana in Vimana Sthana in the treatise composed by Agnivesha and redacted by Charak.

Tattva Vimarsha (Fundamental Principles)

  • Rasa (taste) is one of the attributes present in dravya (substances), which can be perceived by the tongue.
    • There are six rasa, madhura (sweet), amla (sour), lavana (salty), katu (pungent), tikta (bitter) and kashaya (astringent).
    • Each rasa is composed of two mahabhuta (basic elements). Madhura rasa is made up of Prithvi and apa, amla rasa of Prithvi and agni, lavana of apa and agni, katu of vayu and agni, tikta of vayu and akasha , and kashaya is made up of vayu and Prithvi.
  • Rasas influence dosha which influence health and disease. For example: madhura, amla and lavana aggravate kapha, while katu, tikta, and kashaya pacify it. Similarly, amla, lavana and katu aggravate pitta while madhura, tikta, and kashaya pacify it. And katu, tikta and kashaya aggravate vata, while madhura, amla and lavana pacify it. Thus, three rasa aggravate one dosha, whereas others pacify it. Proportionate use of all six rasas in a diet is considered healthy practice and forms the basis of a superior satmya.
    • The three aggravator rasas have similar mahabhuta constitution as the dosha while the other three pacifier rasas have opposite mahabhuta constitution.
    • Manifestations of panchmahabhautic constitution of dravya follows rules of cause and effect in regards to relationship between rasa, vipaka and veerya and is known as prakriti samasamaveta with an exception of vikriti visham samveta. Same rule is followed by interplay between dosha in genesis of disease.
    • If dravya and manifestations of interplay between dosha do not follow cause and effect rules, then it is called vikrati vishamasamaveta.
  • Certain drugs are very effective but have side effects when used for prolonged periods, and therefore should be used carefully, such as pippali, kshara and lavana.
  • There are eight guidelines for taking food ,called ahara vidhi visheshayatana (please see the chart given below).
  • Guidelines for a person to evaluate the type and quantity of food to be eaten, along with the time and the method of ingestion is provided below in Figure 1.

TABLE -1. Ashta Vidha Aahara Vidhi Visheshayatana

S.No Ahara Vidhi Visheshayatana Description
1 Prakriti It indicates the natural qualities of the food articles i.e. the inherent qualities like guru (heavy), laghu (light) etc.
2 Karana The process or preparation of food. The method of preparation and processing of food changes the natural quality of the food.
3 Samyoga The combination of things leading to alteration in properties.
4 Rashi The quantity of food is to be taken
5 Desha It indicates the habitat. It determines the variations of the qualities of the food according to their geographic region, due to different soil, use and their acclimatization to that particular region.
6 Kala It is known as time factor which is described in two ways i.e. daily and seasonal variations and also considers the individuals conditions of age and disease.
7 Upayoga Samstha It consists of dietetic rules.
8 Upayokta The person who takes food

TABLE -2. Ahara Vidhi Vidhaana

S.No Ahara Vidhi Vidhaana Description
1 Ushnamashneeyaat Warm food is relished, it enhances agni, gets digested early and stimulates the peristaltic movements and there by evacuates vata, reduces the kapha in intestinal area.
2 Snigdhamashneeyaat Unctuous food is relished, stimulates agni and peristaltic movements, the body is adequately nourished, strengthens the sense organs and also enhances vigour and complexion.
3 Maatraavadashneeyaat In appropriate quantity, the food enhances the life expectancy of the person by keeping the tridosha- vata, pitta and kapha in balance, gets easily propelled down towards the rectum, does not affect the digestive power and thus gets digested and assimilated without any disturbances.
4 Jeerne ashneeyaat The food should be eaten only after complete digestion of the previous meal as it is going to maintain the harmony of the doshas in their respective places, the agni is stimulated, the person develops the appetite, the channels are free of adherents and open, he gets the healthy eructation from the mouth, stomach is clear, peristaltic movements are normal, urges of flatus, urine and faeces are well attended to, that food is going to serve the sole purpose of promoting life by not vitiating any components of the body.

If eaten while the previous meal is still in the stomach undigested, the newly consumed food mixes with the partially digested one and provokes the tridosha.

5 Veerya aviruddham ashneeyat If antagonistic food is not eaten, the person is not afflicted with disorders born of incompatible diet (18 types of incompatible dietary as explained in [Cha.Sa.Sutra Sthana 26/85-101].
6 Ishte deshe ishta sarvopakaranam ashneeyaat Food is to be eaten in a congenial place with all necessary equipment to avoid all those ill effects of depression of mind caused due to unpleasant atmosphere and inadequate eating equipment.
7 Naatidrutam ashneeyaat Food is to be eaten without hurrying. Eaten hurriedly, the food is liable to go the wrong way, it does not get placed in the stomach properly and also one may not be able to appreciate the good or bad effects of food consumed.
8 Naativilambitam ashneeyaat Food is to be eaten not too leisurely. If eaten leisurely, does not give satisfaction even after eating sumptuously, the food gets cold not allowing to avail the benefits of eating warm and fresh, affects the regular process of digestion.
9 Ajalpan ahasan tanmana bhunjeeta Food is to be eaten without engaging oneself in arguments or laughter to avoid preoccupation of mind and also the ill effects similar to that of eating hastily. One should be focused while consuming food.
10 Aatmaanam abhisameekshya samyak bhunjeeta Food is to be eaten appropriately considering one’s own suitability and non-suitability to ascertain what is wholesome to his self.

Vidhi Vimarsha (Applied Inferences)

  • The effect of rasas is subdued by vipaka, which is based on them. Vipaka is of three kinds i.e., madhura, amla and katu. According to Agnivesha, it is often noted that the dravyas having katu, tikta and kashaya rasa have katu vipaka, while amla rasa dravyas have amla vipaka and dravyas with madhura and lavana rasa have madhura vipaka.
  • Eka rasa satmyata (literally, one rasa suitability) provides minimal nutrition to the dhatus of body, whereas sarva rasa satmyata provides the most nutrition. Sarva rasa abhyasa (or, all rasa exercise/habit) is a practice that helps meet all the nutrient requirement of the body. Consumption of one rasa dravyas for prolonged periods of time can create imbalances in the body. For example, madhura rasa is rich in carbohydrates and its habitual consumption may lead to excess carbohydrate and lack of other nutrients.
  • Some researchers in Finland reported that significant reduction of salt from their diets played a critical role in adding 5 to 6 years to the life expectancies of the Finnish population . They also reported that hypertension is the leading cause of death in developed countries. Reduction of salt intake is recommended as a key measure in the prevention and basic treatment of hypertension both in the United States and worldwide. The Renin-Angiotensin Aldosterone (RAA) system is maximally activated when an individual is subjected to prolonged very low sodium intakes of less than 5 mmol a day. Half-maximal stimulation (or inhibition) of plasma rennin activity takes place at sodium intake levels of approximately 30 mmol a day. Sodium intake at the level of 50 mmol a day suppresses secretion of the sodium-retaining hormone, aldosterone, almost completely. The control range of the RAA mechanism is therefore in excellent agreement with the sodium amounts, which can be derived from diets comprising only of natural articles without any artificial addition of salts or other sodium compounds. These findings strongly support the view that human beings are genetically programmed to eat foods that contain sodium in amounts that are naturally present but do not contain added salt.
  • Blood pressure may continue to build as water is consumed hours after salt is ingested. As excess sodium is excreted by the kidneys, blood pressure drops accordingly. Diets that consistently contain high salt content will increase blood pressure over time. Fortunately, as many studies have shown, limiting salt intake in the diet can reverse these effects . Since most cases of hypertension are essential hypertension, it is unlikely that a single factor can be attributed to the cause of hypertension in most hypertensive patients . Excessive dietary salt consumption over an extended period of time has been associated with hypertension and cardiovascular diseases, in addition to other adverse health effects.
  • Piperine, a major active constituent found in pippali (Piper longum) has been reported to enhance drug bioavailability . Some researchers studied the interaction of piperine with drug biotransforming reactions in hepatic tissues in vitro and in vivo . Piperine inhibited aryl hydrocarbon hydroxylation, ethylmorphine-N-demethylation, 7-ethoxy-coumarin-O-deethylation, and 3-hydroxybenzo () pyrene (3-OH-BP) glucuronidation in rat liver post-mitochondrial supernatant in vitro in a dose-dependent manner. Piperine’s inhibition of these reactions in liver post-mitochondrial supernatant from 3-methylcholanthrene- and phenodarbital-treated rats was similar to the controls. Inhibition by piperine of aryl hydrocarbon hydroxylase (AHH) from 3-methyleholanthrene-treated rats was comparable to that observed with 7.8-benzoflavone. Piperine caused noncompetitive inhibition of hepatic microsomal AHH from the untreated and 3-methylcholanthrene-treated rats with a Ki of 30 M which was close to the apparent Km of AHH observed in the controls. Similarly, the kinetics of inhibition of ethylmorphine-N-demethylase from control rats liver microsomes exhibited noncompetitive inhibition with aKm of 0.8 mM and Ki or 35 M. These studies demonstrated that piperine is a nonspecific inhibitor of drug metabolism which shows little discrimination between different eytochrome P450 forms.
  • A phytochemical study revealed that pipeline’s major active principle is closely related in structure to those of known natural carcinogens – safrole, estragle, and methyleugenol which are also widely distributed in spices and plant oils (Ames, 1983). Piperine might interfere with enzymatic drug biotrasformations resulting in the inhibition of hepatic aryl hydrocarbon hydroxylase (AHH) and UDP-glucuronyltransferase and altered the pharmacokinetic parameters of barbiturates and phenytonin. The immuno-toxicological effects of piperine were investigated in Swiss mice, at a dose of 1.12, 2.15, or 4.5 mg/kg body weight for five consecutive days . All these dose levels had no overt toxic effect, while the lowest dose had no immunotoxic effect.
  • Excess of intake of kshaara: Oral administration of kshaara (alkali) is recommended for maintaining blood pH level. Reduction in the pH level of the blood- acidic blood is stated to be the prime cause of many inflammatory and degenerative disorders. However excessive alkalinity is again a trouble shooter with regard to tissue functioning.
  • Metabolic alkalosis is an elevated arterial pH an increase in the serum [HCO3-] and an increase in the Pco2 as a result of compensatory alveolar hypoventilation. Major exogenous causes can be detected as
    • Acute alkali administration
    • Milk alkali syndrome
    • Vomiting
    • Gastric aspiration
    • Diuretics
    • Tobacco chewing
  • The National Institutes of Health reports light-headedness as a common alkalosis symptom, as well as confusion. In extreme cases, such symptoms can worsen to the level of catatonic stupor and even coma. Arthur Greenberg and Alfred K. Cheung's "Primer on Kidney Diseases" states that alkalosis may also cause a predisposition to seizures, and Cichoke's book adds that severe cases can also put victims in a state of shock and could cause death. These symptoms, taken together, are very similar to the range of symptoms caused by hypocalcemia, and in isolated cases the milder symptoms could suggest dozens of different health issues. To be sure that the cause of one or more of these symptoms is an elevated level of alkalinity, blood tests administered by a physician are required.
  • The University of Maryland Medical Centre reports nausea and vomiting as another typical alkalosis symptom, but again, these symptoms by themselves cannot lead one to the conclusion that elevated alkalinity is the root cause. Interestingly, prolonged vomiting can also cause alkalosis, according to the National Institutes of Health. Such instances are specified as hypochloremic alkalosis (achlorhydria), brought on by extremely low levels of chloride due to the loss of stomach liquids and other contents.

However it is noteworthy that the alkali consumed orally may not induce the acute effects of metabolic alkalosis. There seems a vivid variation in the features of acute alkalosis and the effects of long term alkali consumption as explained in Charak Samhita.

Further reading

1. Anderson, Bengt (1977). Regulation of body fluids, Annual review of physiology 39:185-200.
2. Ames, B.N. (1983). Dietary carcinogens and anticarcinogens: Oxygen radials and degenerative diseases, Science, 221: 1256–1264.
3. Buchanan, R.L. (1980). Toxicity of spices containing methylene dioxy benzene derivatives: Areview, J. Food Safety, 1:275–293.
4. Concon, J.M. et al. (1979). Black pepper (Pipernigrum): Evidence of carcino-genicity, Nutr. Cancer, 1:22–26.
5. Dogra, R.K. et al. (2004). Immunotoxicological effects of piperine in mice, Toxicology, 196:229–236.
6. Shah AH, Al-Shareef AH , Ageel AM and Qureshi S, Toxicity studies in mice of common spices, Cinnamomum zeylanicum bark and Piper longum, Plant Foods Human Nut, 52(3), 1998,231-239.
7. Dhar ML, Dhar MM, Dhawan BN, Mehrotra BN, Ray C, Screening of Indian plants for biological activity Part-1, Indian J Exp Biol, 6, 1968, 232-247.
8. Atal CK, Dubey RR, Singh J, Biochemical basis of enhanced drug bio-availability by piperine, Indian J Pharmacol, 16, 1984, 52-54.
9. Laragh JH,Baer L,Brunner HR,Renin angiotensin and aldosterone system in pathogenesis and management of hypertensive vascular disease.Am J MMed 52:633-652,1972.
10. Harrison’s principles of internal medicine, 14th edition, p-283
11. Primer on Kidney Diseases; Arthur Greenberg, Alfred K. Cheung; 2005
12. The Complete Book of Enzyme Therapy; Anthony J. Cichoke; 1999
13. National Institutes of Health: Alkalosis
14. University of Maryland Medical Center: Alkalosis Symptoms
15. MedicineNet: Definition of Tetany

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