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Water - Ayurvedic Perspective on Consumption

Dr. Tushar Chipra 91% (82 ratings)
Bachelor of Ayurveda Medicine and Surgery (BAMS)
Ayurveda, Nashik  •  12 years experience
Water - Ayurvedic Perspective on Consumption

Everyone has heard the advice 'drink eight ounce glasses of water a day', which is popularly known as 8 by 8 rule. Another popular advice is 'drink 4 glasses of water empty stomach',  aka Usha Paana Chikitsa, a term used widely in Ayurveda. People advocate intake of water on empty stomach, describing how it cleanses the body and cures wide range of diseases starting from allergies to Cancer. Messages regarding its benefits are forwarded in whatsapp groups and on facebook as if it’s the elixir of life as described in the world renowned book 'The Alchemist'.

Usha Paana in Ayurveda
Originally described in Rasayan Adhyaay of Ashtang Hruday, it has been stated that a person who drinks Sheetodak i.e cold water early morning will continue to remain young. Many people start following this process
blindly without understanding the fine details involved.

  • First of all this has been described as a rasayan and hence, it should be only followed by a person who has underwent detoxification through Panchkarma. Even if detoxification is not possible for everyone in today's era atleast the concerned person should be devoid of any illness.
  • Secondly according to Ayurveda, a person should get up at Brahma Muhurat i.e around 5.30 am. So even if without detoxification a person has to practice Usha Paan as a routine then he should consume it at around 5.30 am in the morning after passing stool because that’s the first thing that has been advised after getting up.

Half the people who practice Usha Paan Chikitsa, drink water to help them get relieved of constipation, which is actually bad for their health. It is as if they try to push the stool out from their body by drinking excess water.

Relation of water intake and meals: 
'Sam Sthula Krusha Bhukta Madhya Antah Prathama Ambu Pah'

A simple sutra mentioned in DravDravyadi Vidyaaneya Adhyay describing effects of water intake while having food, after intake of food and before intake of food. 

  1. It has clearly stated that a person who drinks water while consuming food continues to remain in same state of health i.e swastha (Healthy).
  2. If a person wants to gain weight, then he should drink water just after consuming his meal. (Max 160ml)
  3. If a person wants to lose weight, then he should drink water just before consuming his meal.

Here drinking water just before meals will make the person get a feeling of fullness and hence automatically, his food intake will decrease. Of course he has to stop eating as soon as his hunger is satiated. He should not eat food just because he eats that much quantity everyday.

To know the quantity of appetite a person should have just consider to divide your hunger/appetite in four parts. Consume food, which will fill two parts. Have one part water and keep the remaining one part of your appetite empty. 

Another advice we get from many people, especially from Naturopathy is to not have any water during meals Have a jug (450 ml and above) full of water after 40 Mins of consumption of food.
Firstly this advice has nothing to do with Ayurved. Naturopathy and Ayurved are not even closely related. 

We Ayurved practitoners follow the sutra given below :
Ajirne Bheshajam Waari Jirne Waari BalPradam
Bhojane Cha Amrutam Waari Bhojanaante VishPradam

  1. If a person suffers from indigestion then he should consume Ushnodak Jal (warm water) as medicine.
  2. Water consumed after the food is digested (Minimum 6 hrs after meal) will increase Bala (Body Strength).
  3. Water consumed during consumption of meals will act as Amrut (Elixir of Life).
  4. Water consumed in large quantity after meals will act as a Visha (Extinguishes the Agni of Body).
  5. Here large quantity is important because bahu ambu paan (Very HighWater Intake) is responsible for initiation of many diseases according to Ayurved.
  6. Water to be drank after meals to increase weight is not in large quantity but around a glass only 160ml max. So no question of conflict arises between the two sutras.

How much water intake should be considered necessary?
A very tricky question as it has got no straight answer. Every person's need varies according to their body needs as well as their line of work. This can be easily explained by an example, A businessman,a farmer,an army man all work for eight hours. Business man is sitting in an A.C office. The farmer is toiling in the Sun. The Army man is guarding our border in the Desert. Will each of them require the same quantity of water? The answer is definitely NO. The same way, even if you are living together in the same family every member's water intake need will be different. To come up with a general statement which can be useful for everyone, it can be said that instead of having 8 ounces glass of water a day kindly. 

'Remember to have 8 ounces of fluid (liquid in any form) a Day''

Maximum researchers/Doctors agree with the above statement. Fluid means any liquid. It may be soup, juice, dal etc. Next time you come across advice regarding water intake, I hope information shared by me will help you take the correct step.

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