CHAPTER 6- Annasvarupa Vijnaniya (Nature of food materials)

In this chapter, all the food substances have been classified into 7 groups as under:

1. Sukadhanya varga (Group of cereals)

2. SimbI varga (Group of pulses)

3. Krtanna varga (Group of food preparations)

4. Mama varga (Group of meat)

5. Saka varga (Group of leafy and other vegetables)

6. Phala varga (Group of fruits)

7. Ousadha varga (Group of drugs)

After Drava-dravya Vijnanya, Acarya Vaghbata expounded the chapter ‘Annasvarupa Vijnanlya’ (Knowledge of Food Substances) said Lord Atreya and other great sages.

Sukadhanya Varga (group of corns with spike):

rice grain
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Rakta, mahan, kalama, turnka sakunahrta, saramukha, dirghasuka, rodhrasuka, sugandhika, pundra, pandu, pundarika, pramoda, gaura sariva, kancana, mahisa, suka, dusaka, kusumandaka, langala, lohavala, kardama, sitabhiru, patafiga, tapaniya,-these and other varieties of sail (rice) are suitable (as food).

They are sweet (madhura) in taste, and at the end of digestion (vipaka), the unctuous aphrodisiac causes constipation and little quantity of feces.

They have astringent as secondary taste, good for health, easily digestible, diuretic, and cold in potency. Among the above varieties and even among the Sukadhanya (grains which have a sharp spike at their front) the rakta (red) variety is best. It relieves thirst and mitigates all the three doshas, next inferior to that is Mahan variety, next to that is Kalama, and so on in their order (of succession).

Yavaka, hayana, pamsuvapya and naisadha, varieties (of rice) are sweet, hot in potency. They are hard to digest, unctuous, sour at the end of digestion, increase kapha and pitta, help elimination of urine and feces easily. These are bad in their reverse order (of enumeration).

Sastika (the paddy which matures in sixty days) is best among vrihi (paddy); is unctuous, constipating, easily digestible, sweet, mitigates the three doshas, It stays long inside the body (alimentary tract), cold in potency. It is of two kinds’ goura (white) and asita-goura (blackish-white). Next inferior (to sastika) is mahavrihi, next to that is krsnavrihi and the others such as jatumukha, kukkutandaka, lavaka, paravataka, sukara, varaka, uddalaka, ujvala, cina, sarada, dardura, gandhana and kuruvinda.

The other varieties of rice are sweet in taste and sour at the end of digestion, cause an increase of pitta, and are hard to digest, makes for an increase of urine, feces, and body temperature, Patala kind of rice aggravates all three doshas.

Notes:—The different varieties of rice mentioned here are either not clearly recognizable or even hard to find nowadays as the majority of them have been replaced by high yielding, new strains, each kind has regional characters and not grown uniformly throughout the country. The kind of rice which is easily digestible, having a sweet taste, and pleasant smell has to be selected for daily use.

Trnadhanya Varga-(group of grains produced by grass-like plants)

Kangu, kodrava, nivara, syamaka, and other trnadhanya (grains produced by grass-like plants) are cold in potency, easily digestible, increase vata, sacrificing and mitigate Kapha and pitta,

Of them, priyangu, especially, helps in the unification of broken parts (fractures of bones), makes the body stout, and is hard to digest; koradusa efficiently stops the discharge of fluids from the body, cold to touch and anti-poisonous.

 barley barley Ashtanga hridyam, list of grains, chapter-6

Yava (barley) is dry, cold in potency, hard to digest, sweet, Sara (laxative), helps the formation of feces and flatus, aphrodisiac, gives stamina, reduces the urine, body fat, pitta, and Kapha, cures chronic nasal catarrh, dyspnoea, cough, urusthamba (stiffness of the thigh), diseases of the throat and skin.

Anuyava (small-sized barley) is inferior in qualities to yava; venu yava (seeds of bamboo) is non-unctuous and hot in potency.

wheat, Ashtanga hridyam, chapter 6, grains with spikes

Godhuma (wheat) is aphrodisiac, cold in potency, hard to digest, unctuous, nourishing, mitigates vata and pitta, unites the broken parts (fracture), sweet in taste, gives strength and is sara (laxative)*

Nandimukha (variety of wheat) is good for health, cold in potency and astringent sweet in taste, and easily digestible. Thus ends the group of grains that have spiked.

Notes:–Yava and Anuyava are the big and small varieties of barley, Venu yava is the seeds of the bamboo tree which is used rarely as food.

Shimbidhanya Varga-(group of legumes or pulses)

Mudga (green gram), adhaki (tur), masura (lentil), and other varieties belong to the group called shimbidhanya (those having pods/legumes). They produce constipation, astringent sweet in taste, and absorb water. They are pungent after digestion, cold in potency, easily digestible; mitigate fat, Kapha, asra (blood), and pitta, suited for use as an external application (lepa) and bathing the body parts, etc.

Among them, mudga (green gram) is best, it causes mild increase of cala (vata).

Kalaya (round pea) causes a great increase of vata; rajma (big-sized black gram) also increases vata and dryness, produces more feces, and is hard to digest.

Kulattha (horse gram) is hot in potency, sour at the end of digestion. It helps to cure diseases of semen, urinary stones, dyspnoea, chronic nasal catarrh cough, hemorrhoids, aggravation of Kapha and vata, and especially gives rise to bleeding diseases.

Nishpava (a flat bean) aggravates vata, pitta, rakta, stanya (breast milk), and mutra (urine), is not easily digestible, is sara (laxative), causes a burning sensation, decreases vision, semen, Kapha, swelling, and effect of poisons.

Masa (black gram) is unctuous, increases strength, Kapha, fecal matter, and pitta, is laxative, not easily digestible, hot in potency, mitigate anila (vata), sweet in taste, causes increase and elimination of semen greatly.

Fruits of kakantjola and atmagupta are similar (in properties) to masa. .

Tila (sesame) is hot in potency, good for the skin, cold on touch, good for hairs, strengthening, not easily digestible, produces little quantity of urine, pungent at the end of digestion, and increases intelligence, digestive function, Kapha, and pitta.

Seeds of Uma (linseed) are unctuous, sweet-bitter in taste, hot in potency, cause Kapha and pitta, hard to digest, destroys vision and semen, pungent at the end of digestion. Similar are the seeds of kusumbha.

Masa (black gram) in the group of simbija (legumes) and yavaka (small barley) in the group of sukaja (cereals) are very inferior.

Fresh grains (just harvested) are abhisyandi (causes excess exudation from tissue pores and block them by it), those old by one year are easily digestible, those • which grow quickly, those which are removed of their husk, those that are properly fried are also easily digestible. Thus ends the group of simbidhanya. (Legumes).

Rest of the chapter will be published in next post

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