Rtucharya: Seasonal Dietetic Regime
Dietetics and Regimen for Winter:
During winter, the digestive power of human beings possessing good health (strength) is enhanced due to the restraint caused upon it by the cold wind, so much so that it is capable of digesting any foodstuff irrespective of its heaviness and quantity. When it does not get proper fuel, the digestive fire affects the nutritive fluids, resulting in the vitiation of vata having cold quality. Therefore, during the winter one should take unctuous, sour, salty and sweet juices of the meat of the aquatic and marshy animals, which are fatty. One should also eat the meat of burrow dwelling animals that eat by snatching. Thereafter, one should drink herbal wine and have honey.
If a person habitually takes preparation of cow’s milk, cane juice, fat, oil, new rice and hot water during the winter his span of life is never decreased.
In winter one should resort to ayurvedic herbal massages, unction, application of oil on the head, fomentation, and one should reside in an underground residence or an inner heated apartment.
In the winter one should see that the conveyance, bedding and seat are well covered specially by heavy wrappers, silken cloth ropes and blankets. One should wear heavy and warm clothes and should besmear his body with heavy aguru (Aquilaria agallocha Roxb, kind of herb). One should embrace a healthy women with her well developed plumpy breasts, and with her body besmeared with aguru (Aquilaria agallocha Linn), lie down on the bed intoxicated with strong passion and may indulge in excessive sexual intercourse during the winter. One should avoid food and drinks, which are liable to vitiate vata; one should not expose him to cold wave. Under feeding should be avoided.
Dietetics and Regimen for Spring:
During the spring, the accumulated kapha is liquefied by the heat of the sun and as such disturbs the power of digestion and causes many diseases. So, one should administer therapies like emesis, etc. and should avoid heavy, unctuous, sour and sweet diets. One should not sleep during day time. At the advent of spring one should habitually resort to exercise, unction, oral gargles and collyrium. The excretory orifices should be regularly washed with lukewarm water. One should besmear his body with chandana (Santalum albumLinn.) and aguru (Aquilaria agalocha Roxb.) and take food consisting of barley and wheat, meat of sarabha rabbit, antelope, common quail and grey partridge. One should drink herbal wines made of barley. One should also enjoy the company of women and blossoms of the garden.
Dietetics and Regimen for Early Summer :
During the summer, the sun evaporates the moisture of the earth by its rays. In that season, the intake of sweet, cold liquid and unctuous diets and drinks is prescribed. One who takes cold mantha (a type of herbal drink) along with sugar as well as the meat of the animals or birds of aired climate, ghee and milk along with Shali rice (Oryza satiunm Linn) during this season does not suffer from any diseases. One should either drink alcohol in little quantity or should avoid it, and even if one drinks he should drink it along with plenty of water. One should further avoid taking diets, which are salty, sour, pungent or hot. Physical exercise is also to be given up during this season. During the day time one should sleep in an air cooled apartment. During the night, after having besmeared the body with sandal wood paste, one should sleep on the open airy roof (under the cooler or air-conditioning) of the house, which is cooled by the rays of the moon. One should keep him aloof of sexual intercourse (restrict as much as possible) and should enjoy gardens, cold water and flowers during this season.
Dietetics Regimen for Late Summer :
The body, which is weakened during the period of dehydration, with its digestive system, is also weakened. It is further weakened due to the vitiation of vata and other dosas during the rains. The power to digestion in the period is also affected due to the gas coming out of the earth, rainfall, increase of acidity in water. So it is advisable to be moderate as regard to diet and regimen during the rainy season.
One should abstain from taking diluted drinks in excess, day sleep, frost, water, (excessive) exercise, moving in sun, and too much indulgence in sexual intercourse. One should generally use honey in their diet and drinks.
If these days are cooler due to heavy rains accompanied by the storms, one should take food that is a little sour, salty and unctuous; this serves as an effective antidote to the vitiation of vata during the rainy season.
In order to maintain normal power of digestion one should take old barley, wheat and Shali rice (Oryza sativum Linn.) along with the meat of arid animals and vegetable soup. More over, one should drink the madhvika or arista (herbal type of liquor), pure rainwater or water – boiled and cooled, mixed with little honey. It is advisable to apply herbal body scrubs, ayurvedic massages, take bath and wear fragrant garlands during the season. One should wear light and clean apparel and should reside in a house devoid of humidity.
Dietetics and Regimen for Autumn:
The body parts adopted for rains and cold is suddenly exposed to the heat of the sun with the beginning of autumn so the pitta accumulated during the rains gets generally vitiated. In this season, sweet, light cold and bitter foods and drinks, which have potentialities to alleviate pitta, are to be taken in proper quantity when there is good appetite. Furthermore, the meat common quail, Grey Partridge, antelope, sheep, wapiti, rabbit, rice, barley and wheat are prescribed during this season. Intake of ghee prepared with bitter medicines, purgation, and bloodletting are also prescribed for this season. One should avoid taking sunbath, fat, oil, and meat of aquatic and marshy animals, alkaline salt preparations and curd in food. One should not sleep during day time and should not expose himself to frost and wind. The water which is exposed to the heat of the sun during the day time and to the cooling rays of the moon during, is also purified by time and is purified by star canopus (agagastya) is known as “hamsodaka”, which is spotlessly clear and is as beneficial as nectar for the purpose of bathing, drinking and swimming. Use of garlands made of autumnal flowers and clean apparel and also the rays of moon in the evening are exceedingly beneficial in this season.