Viruddha Ahara: improper combination of substances leading to incompatibility and disease
The word Viruddha leads to two factors i.e. on combining two, three things, the stronger one shades or overpowers the weaker ingredients. It has been stated that in a combination of so many opposite qualities, the majority of the power packed qualities overpower the weaker qualities.
The second meaning of Viruddha indicates about the combination of two substances which are not having an affinity for each other. So far this interpretation of Viruddha is concerned, it has been applied in Ayurveda in the context of dietetics & various combinations having such affinity for each other have been discussed at length. On this basis it may be concluded that such type of Ahara or foodstuff which is composed of substances having no affinity at all may be defined as Viruddha or Viruddhahara
Simply, Ahara that which vitiates dosha and which is antagonist to the dhatu in the body is known as viruddha ahara.
In the lexicographic literature various other terms are also used such as –
Ananukula or Pratikula (Shabda Kalpadrum) –which is having an adverse effect or unfavourable
Anapayukta – which is unpropetious
Pratisiddha – prohibited
Apathya – incompatible diet
Types of Viruddha Ahara:
Ayurveda literature has described various types of Viruddha, which run as under:
Desha (place)Viruddha: To have dry and sharp substances in dry region, unctuous substances in Marshy land.
Kala Viruddha: (Time): intake of cold and dry substances in Winter, Pungent and hot substances in Summer.
Agni *(digestive power) Viruddha: intake of heavy food when the power of digestion is low, intake of light food when the power of digestion is sharp and intake of food at variance with irregular and normal power of digestion.
Matra (quantity) Viruddha: intake of honey and ghee in equal quantity
Satmya (wholesome) Viruddha: intake of sweet and cold substance by person accustomed to pungent and hot substance.
Dosha Viruddha: utilization of drugs, diets and regimen having similar qualities with Dosha, but at variance with the habit of the individual.
Sanskar (mode of preparation) Viruddha: drugs and diets which, when prepared in a particular way produced poisonous effects. E.g. meat of peacock roasted on a castor spit.
Veerya (potency) Viruddha: Substances having cold potency in combination with those of hot potency.
Koshtha Viruddha: to give less quantity with less potency and less stool forming food to a person of costive bowel. Administration of more quantity heavy and more stool forming food to a person having laxed bowel.
Avastha (State of health) Viruddha: intake of Vata aggravating food by a person after exertion sexual act, physical exertion or intake of Kapha aggravating food by a person after sleep or drowsiness.
Kram (sequence) Viruddha: if a person takes food before his bowel and urination or when he doesn’t have appetite or after his hunger have been aggravating.
Parihar Viruddha: Intake of hot things after taking pork etc.
Upachar (treatment) Viruddha: cold things after taking ghee.
Paak (cooking) Viruddha: preparation of food with bad or rotten fuel and under cooking, over cooking or burning during the process of preparation.
Samyoga (combination) Viruddha: intake of sour substance with milk
Hriday Viruddha: intake of unpleasant food
Sampad (Richness of quality) Viruddha: intake of substance that are not mature, over matured or putrified
Vidhi (rules for eating) Viruddha: taking meals in public place
Many food combinations are given in the texts as incompatible with proper explanation for e.g.
One should not take fish along with milk because this combination is Abhishyandi (great obstructer for channels), it vitiates blood.
After eating raddish, garlic, basil one should not take milk because of the risk of skin disorders.
All sour liquids are antagonistic to milk.
Hot honey taken by a person induces toxicity and lead to death.
Likewise honey and ghee in equal quantity, hot water after taking honey are antagonistic.
Examples of Incompatibility/ Antagonistic (Viruddha -Aahara)
1) Veerya viruddha- (potency incompatibility) – Fish + milk
2) Sanskar viruddha- (Processing incompatibility) Heated Honey
3) Matra viruddha- (dose incompatibility) – Honey + Cow’s ghee – mixed in equal proportion.
4) Krama viruddha – Hot water after taking honey
5) Kala viruddha- (Time incompatibility) Pungent substance in summer & Cold substances in winter
6) Krama viruddha-(Order incompatibility) -Consuming curd at night.
7) Samyoga viruddha- (Combination incompatibility) – Fruit Salad / Milk+ Banana
8) Parihar viruddha (contraindication incompatibility) -Consuming cold water immediately after having hot tea or Coffee.
Definition of Antagonism of Foods:
The substances which are contrary to “deha-dhatus” (the body tissues) behave with “virodha” (antagonism) to the tissues. This antagonism may be in terms of properties of the substances themselves, combination, processing, place, time, dose etc. or natural composition.
For An Example of Antagonism of Foods:
One should not take fish with milk. Combination of both of them is madhura
(sweet); madhura vipaka, “mahabhisyandi” (creates great moisture in the tissues when the tissues are being created and it obstructs the channels), because milk has sita (cold) virya and fish has usna (hot) virya the result is
“viruddhavirya” (antagonistic in terms of potency), due to conflicting viryas; it vitiates blood and due to being mahabhisyandi, creates obstruction in channels.
Results of taking antagonistic foods:
impotency, blindness, erysipelas, ascites, pustules, insanity, fistula-inano,
fainting, narcosis, tympanitis, spasm in throat, anaemia, ama visa, leucoderma,
skin diseases, grahaniroga, oedema, acid gastritis, fever, rhinitis, genetic disorders and even death.
Measures to counteract disorders caused by antagonistic foods:
Emesis, purgation, use of medicines for pacification, and prior conditioning of the body with similar substances.
Purgation, emesis, pacification or prior use of wholesome substances alleviates the disorders caused by antagonistic food. Antagonism becomes inert due to: suitability, small quantity, strong digestive power, in young age, in persons having: unction, physical exercise, and strength.
The eighteen types of viruddha ahara mentioned in the classics like desha, kala, agni, matra, etc. are understood with the help of examples like Agni viruddha
In mandagni condition consuming guru snigdha ahara. In condition like dyspepsia where impairment in gastric, bile, pancreatic secretions are present, due to increased intake of mamsala ahara which are rich in amino acids and lipids impaired metabolism.
Satmya viruddha Person satmya with katu ushna dravya sevana consuming increased swadu sheeta dravya.
Persons habituated with rich spicy diet like pepper which causes irritation of gastric mucosa leading to increased gastric juice secretion, if increased intake of chilled soft drinks in such person’s causes constriction of gastric mucosa leading to less gastric juice secretion.
Avastha viruddha after nidra consuming kaphavardhka ahara like curd. After sleep basal metabolic rate of the body is reduced, curd which is rich in fats and carbohydrates requires more time for digestion.
The rest types of viruddha ahara are analyzed and understood scientifically in the same manner as explained above.