- The word Ritucharya is made of two words, Ritu means season, charya means do’s and don’ts (Regimens)
- We come across six seasons in India, in which Greeshma ritu (summer season) is comprised of two months Jyeshtha and Aashadha masa that is from mid May to mid July.
- Shishira,Vasanta and Greeshma ritu come under uttarayana kala that is northern solstice. It is also called adana kala. Among pancha mahabhutas agni tatva is predominant during this ritu which also influences the fire element of the body i.e. pitta dosha.
- Uttarayana kala : Mid January to Mid July
- Because of the nature of the path, both the sun and wind become very strong, powerful and dry during this half of the year. It takes away all the cooling qualities of the earth. Bitter astringent and pungent tastes (Tikta ,katu ,kashaya rasa) will be more powerful
Importance of Ritucharya:
- Basic Principle of Ayurvedic system of Medicine is
“ स्वस्थस्य स्वास्थ्य रक्षणं
आतुरस्य विकार प्रशमनं च l”
which means to maintain the health of the healthy and to cure the diseases of the diseased.
- For this purpose dinacharya and ritucharya are explained in the ayurvedic texts.
- As the time goes, seasonal changes are very evident in the environment, we live in. We see various changes in bio life around us. As the human being is also a part of same ecology, the body is greatly influenced by environmental changes. If the body is unable to adopt itself with the seasonal changes, it may lead to dosha vishamya where body is highly susceptible to one or more other kinds of disorders.
- As the adaptations according to the changes is the key for survival, thus the knowledge of ritu charya is important. If it is ignored it may lead to derangement of homeostasis and causes various diseases such as obesity, Diabetis mellitus, Hypertension, Cancer etc.
- Life style disorders are very common in present era, basically originating from lack of following seasonal regimens due to lack of concentration in seasonal charecteristics.
- Thus to stay healthy and happy it is essential to adopt scientific living that is living harmoniously with the seasonal changes.
- As the prime principle of Ayurvedic system of medicine is preventive aspect rather than curative, that can be achieved by adopting changes in diet and prachices.
Importance of Greeshma Ritu charya:
- According to Ayurveda, our body consists of 3 main elements or doshas-vata, pitta, kapha. These elements are easing affected by the biological changes.
- In greeshma ritu the sun rays become powerful and appear to be destructive. kapha i.e nourishing and cleansing factor in our body decreases day by day and vata increases consequently along with pitta.
- So we need to balance the aggrevating doshas during summer specially pitta i.e. fire element in our body regardless of our constitution.
- As major part of our body contains water element and it is the major carrier of blood and oxygen to different organs of the body. it nourishes the red blood cells by providing nutrients.
- During hot weather body demands more liquid to maintain homeostasis thus keeping body hydrated. But drinking more liquids effects the digestive fire thus we often experience decrease in appetite. but we must take care not to disturb the digestive fire by drinking ice cold liquids during and after meals.
Pathya (do’s) according to Ayurveda :
- Foods which are sweet , light to digest, fatty, cold and liquids should be taken
- Boiled rice which is moon like white in colour should be eaten along with mamsa rasa i.e. meat of desert animals.
- Curd churned and mixed with pepper powder and sugar should be taken.
- Syrups which are sweet, sour and salt can be taken.
- Syrups which has all the tastes, prepared with many substances should be taken.
- Cold water kept in mudpot along with the flowers of patala and karpura should be used for drinking.
- Buffalo milk mixed with sugar and cooled by moon light and the stars should be used for drinking.
- Take corn flour mixed with cold water and sugar, after taking bath in cold water.
- Pancharasa panaka: syrup prepared with raisins, madhuka, karjura, kashmarya, parushaka, all fruits in equal quantities, cooled and added with powder of cinnamon leaves kept inside a fresh mudpot along with leaves of plantain and coconut trees made sour (fermented) should be drunk in mugs of mud or shell.
- Panaka: mix 30 gms of jaggery in 1 litre of water, pinch of dry ginger powder, cinnamon and cardamom and mix it well.
- Mantha: take equal quantities of dried grapes, dates and figs, soak it in water for an hour, churn it well.
- Saktu: make a fine powder of dry roasted barley, channa dal mix it with water and boil it. Then add jiggery, cardamom and milk. Serve it after cooling.
- Diluted syrup of ananta, gulab, amra, draksha, chandana, ushira, jambhira and kamala.
The above mentioned drinks are very soothing, cooling, nourishing, tasty and satisfactorily quenches thirst.
Vihara (daily routine):
- Day time should be spent in forests having tall trees reaching the sky which obstruct the hot rays of the sun or in houses around which bunches of flowers and grapes are hanging from their creepers.
- Sheets of cloths spreading sweet scented water are arranged to fan the air all around.
- Spend the day remaining inside the house cooled by water fountains, and there by relieve yourself from the heat of the sun.
- Sleep on soft bed prepared with flowers of banana, lotus, chameli etc with fully blossomed flowers placed all over.
- Diwaswapn: it is the only ritu where ayurveda recommends for day sleep.
- At night one should sleep on terrace, facing moon light, exhaustion due to heat of the day is relieved by anointing the body with paste of sandalwood.
- Wearing garlands, very light and thin dress is recommended.
- Spend the time with children, sarika pakshi (mynah bird) and pleasantly talking parrots.
- Avoid katu, tikta, kashaya rasa.
- Madya (wine) should not be taken, if very necessary, taken in very little quantity or diluted with more quantity of water.
- If madya taken in large doses, it will cause inflammatory conditions, it makes the body fragile and weak, increases burning sensation and causes delusion.
Vihara (daily routine):
- Avoid exposure to sunlight and wind.
- Exercises and exertion should be avoided.
To sum it up with present era:
- Eat fruits like watermelon, peaches, plums, mangoes, grapes, pears, avocado and berries.
- Use vegetables like cucumber, sweet potato, celery, green leafy vegetables, cabbage, asparagus.
- Eat fresh food that is cooked just an hour before.
- Buttermilk, tender coconut water, fruit juices and traditional drinks like sharbats prepared from Indian gooseberry, kokum and raw mangoes.
- Use herbal teas like mind tea which provides relaxation and stamina.
- Diet should be of sweet, light to digest, liquid form, milk and ghee is also good
- Gulkand is best known for relieving excess heat.
- Wear thin and light cotton clothes.
- Try to stay indoors in cool place. Day sleep is advised.
- Use perfumes with sandal fragrance regularly
- Go for a soothing walk in the evening, near the beach or river or in the gardens.
- Cold water bath twice a day or according to the necessary.
- During nights spend time on terrace with friends, relatives by singing, chatting and playing.
- Avoid foods that produce heat within the body like spicy, oily, fast and fried foods.
- Cut down the drinks like coffee, tea and carbonated drinks as they contain acids, caffeine, that causes dehydration.
- Solid foods which are heavy to digest should be avoided.
- Avoid exposure to sun and wind.
- Avoid too much exercises and exertion.
- Leftover food should not be consumed as it contains harmful bacteria.
- Refrigerated food and drinks should be avoided as it tastes cold, but by the end it triggers pitta thus producing heat in the body.
By following and taking above precautions, we can prevent seasonal disorders like sun stroke, thirst and exhaustion.
Dr Rajeshwari V M, Assistant Professor
Dr. G S Indoriya, Dean