The rainy season or monsoon, as it is generally known, comes after the hot and harsh summer, bringing along with it the much needed cool relief to the earth and the beings on it. It is also time for the human beings to rejuvenate. A look at the Ayurveda perspective on health and diseases in monsoon
By Ashtavaidyan Vaidyamadham
Dr Vasudevan Namboodiri
Summer and the rainy season are inherent characters of nature which stand contradictory to each other. Rains follow summer. We all have gone through the dry heat, dust and humidity of summer. Now, it is time for us to consider the changes that occur in nature and their impact on human body. Ayurveda shows us the way.
Seasons are divided into six with each of them comprising of two months starting from magha-maasa as per Hindu calendar. Sisira, Vasanta, Greeshma, Varsha, Sarat and Hemanta are their names. First three are grouped together and called as aadana and the remaining three are known as visarga.
The common nature of the seasons in aadana is influenced by the utharaayana movement of sun and due to its impact, in these seasons the moisture on the earth is dried up and affects the living beings causing weakness. Visarga is the dakshinaayana of sun wherein moon gains momentum and replenishes the earth and living beings by providing cold.
Th+is concept is consistent with the philosophy of agni-shomeeya (agni – fire and soma – fluid). Life and its existence have been explained in Ayurveda by virtue of this concept and hence, the seasons being representations of these elements in varying forms have positive and negative effect on life. Therefore our efforts should be well directed on protection of environment so that the settings for life continue to exist.
Due to geographical variations, the above described seasons show varying pattern in the south-western part of Indian peninsula (Kerala to Maharashtra). In Kerala, we enjoy the rains for almost six months right from June to August (Idavappaathi-chingam) and continue till October-November (Thulavarsham) after taking a short break in between. Agricultural schedule in Kerala was in accordance with these variations.
Sareera – roga
Greeshma which precedes varsha weakens the body by its negative characters. When rains splash over the earth, the atmosphere becomes cloudy, winds flow strongly and the earth vapours initially. The natural and artificial water storages turn dirty. All these favour growth of different microbes which cause diseases to human body. Furthermore, the environmental pollution has increased the growth and virulence of several microbes.
The effect on human body is wide, right from common flu to influenza, from diarrhoea to gastro-enteritis, from myalgia to chikungunya.
Oushadha – aahara – vihara
Vilvaadi-gulika is considered a panacea to almost all disease manifestations in the rainy season. It can be taken along with ginger juice and honey twice or thrice daily (adult dose). Specific Aasava-arishta is also prescribed commonly in this season. Piper varieties along with dried ginger and plumbago fruit may be powdered and mixed with whey water and consumed for increasing appetite. Suitable oils can be applied over body for some time before bath.
Easily digestable and appetising foods are to be preferred in this season. Old rice grain (six months to one year old) should be used for cooking meals. Powdered rice gruel along with salt should be used in case of gastric discomfort. Non-vegetarian food should be limited. Soups prepared with horse-gram and green-gram are suitable in this season. Age-old indigenous diet of Kerala, Karkita-kanji has gained much popularity in recent past. There was also a customary practice of consuming leafy vegetables except moringa leaves (pathila-kari) on Tuesdays, Fridays and Sundays.
Our activities should also focus on prevention of vector-borne diseases by ensuring a clean, hygienic environment. Care should be taken not to expose ourselves to rains. Water from public sources should be monitored regularly for hygiene levels. Day sleep, exercise etc. should be avoided. As the season progresses, health improves normally and physical activities can be resumed to their usual magnitude.
(The author is Assistant Physician & Factory-in-charge Vaidyamadham Vaidyasala & Nursing Home Mezhathur, Thrthala in Palakkad)
Share this Post: