Home » Chapter-5, Knowledge of Liquid Substances, Ashtanga Hridayam, Sutrasthana.

Chapter-5, Knowledge of Liquid Substances, Ashtanga Hridayam, Sutrasthana.

Knowledge of Liquid Substances (Drava-dravaya Adhyaya)

After the chapter Prevention of disease, (Roganutpadaniya) Acharya Vagbhata expounded the chapter Knowledge of Liquid Substances (Drava-Dravaya Adhyaya), said Lord Atreya and other great sages.

In the previous three chapters, preventive measures to maintain positive health have been detailed. The present chapter deals with the liquid substances available in nature, and their properties have been described.

Liquid substance in ayurveda, ashtanga hridayam, sutrasthana, chapter-5

All the liquid substances have been grouped as under:

  • Water (Jala varga)
  • Milk (Ksira varga)
  • Sugarcane (Iksu varga)
  • Honey (Madhu varga)
  • Oils (Taila varga)
  • Alcohols (Madya varga)
  • Urine (Mutra varga) etc.

Group of different types of water (Jala varga)

group of different types of water, Liquid substance in ayurveda, ashtanga hridayam, sutrasthana, chapter-5

Classification of water:

  1. According to nature, water is of 2 types:
    1. Rainwater (Pure) (Gangambu)
    1. Rainwater contaminated by dust and poison (Samudrodaka.)
  • According to processing, it is of 5 types:
    • Kevala
    • Pakwa
    • Ushna.
    • Sausadha
    •  Ama
  • According to the types of soil, 6 types:
    • Whitesoil (Svetamrt)
    • Bluesoil (Nila)
    • Black soil (Krsnamrt)
    • Saline soil (Usara)
    • Yellowish white soil (Pandu)
    • Mixed soil (Misra)
  • Due to the dominancy of 5 basic elements:
    • Land having the prthivl mahabhuta dominancy (Parthiva gunadhikya jala)
    • Land having jala mahabhuta dominency (Ambu gunadhikya jala)
    • Soil having agni mahabhuta dominancy (Tejo gunadhikya jala)
    • Land having vayu mahabhuta dominancy (Vayu gunadhikya jala)
    • Land having akasa mahabhuta dominancy (Akasa gunadhikya jala)
  • According to the source, it is of 8 types:
    • Well water (Koupya)
    • A natural lake (Sarasa)
    • Artificial ponds (Tataka)
    • Water collected in pits of rocks (Caundya)
    • Flown down from mountains (Prasravana)
    •  Natural springs (Audbhida)
    •  Well with flights of steps (Vapi)
    •  River (Nadi)
  • Warm water:
    • Boiled and reduced to l/4th of the total quantity (Ksinapada)
    • Reduced to 1/3 rd of the total quantity (Tribhaga).
    • Reduced to 1/2 of the quantity (Ardha Bhaga).
    • Boiled until the boiling point (Kvathita).
  • Types of akasodaka:
    • Rain water (Dhara)
    • Water from dew (Tausara)
    • Hail stone (Ksara)
    • Snow water (Raima)

Uncontaminated rain water (Gangambu):

The rainwater, which is not contaminated with dust and poison:

Refreshing for the living beings, generates satiation, comforting (healthy) to the heart (mind), stimulating the intellect. It is thin, of imperceptible tastes, slightly sweet, cold (coolant), easily digestible. The one has nectar-like property. It has fallen from the sky, coming in contact with sunlight, moonlight, and wind. It’s good or bad, depending chiefly on the region and season.

Notes —The properties described above are those of rainwater collected in a clean vessel directly, a little while after the commencement of rain, especially so when there is bright sunlight. It should be consumed within a few hours as it loses its properties by storing. It is not good in all seasons. In the olden day’s rainwater used to be pure and so good for health, but not so nowadays. With the increasing industrialization, the atmosphere has become contaminated with poisonous gases, fumes, and dust.

So the rainwater coming down from the clouds gets polluted to a great extent. Because of this only we hear of sour rain, salty rain, crimson rain, etc. frequently. The use of such polluted rainwater for drinking is not good for health. Only that rainwater that makes the boiled rice kept in a clean silver plate neither too moist nor changes its color is to be considered as good for drinking.

Seawater (Samudrambu):

All other kinds of water are called Samudr they should not be used for drinking except during ashwayuja (September-October/autumn season).

Notes:—The terms gangambu (also called aindrambu) and Samudrambu also denote potable (pure-drinkable) water and unpotable (contaminated, unsuitable for drinking) respectively. During Ashwayuja month there will be the appearance of Agastya nakshatra (the star Canopus) which is said to remove the poisonous properties of water and other things of the earth. Hence permission to use other kinds of water also for drinking during this season.

Drink always akapodaka (gangambu) as it is not contaminated, and that is preserved in a neat and clean vessel made up of silver or gold. . In its absence, the water of the earth, which resembles rainwater (in all its qualities), collected from places which are clean, and vast, having black or white soil, and exposed to sunlight and breeze.

Contaminated water (Dusit jala)

The water; which is dirty, being mixed with slush, algae, weeds, and leaves, which are not exposed to sunlight and wind. The water, which is a mixture of old and fresh, is thick, heavy (not easily digestible), frothy, containing worms, hot (by nature). It causes tingling of teeth by being very cold, that rainwater which is unseasonal or though seasonal that of the first rain, (before the appearance of (Agastya nakshatra). The one that is contaminated with the webs, saliva, urine, feces of spider, etc, and such other poisonous materials, should not be used for drinking.

Filtering, heated by fire, exposing to sunlight or by immersing the red-hot iron balls, etc. will purify such contaminated water.

Similarly, by putting the tubers of the lotus plant, seeds of kataka, roots of sacred grass, gomedaka, etc. into the water also purifies water. To remove the bad smell of the water, put the flowers of patala, karavira, etc. into the water.

Nadijala (river water);

body of water between green leaf trees, Liquid substance in ayurveda, ashtanga hridayam, sutrasthana, chapter-5
Photo by Ian Turnell on Pexels.com

The water of the rivers which flow into the western ocean (Arabian Sea), which are swift and which have pure water (uncontaminated) is good for health. And the others means the rivers flow towards the eastern direction, running slowly and contaminated are not suitable for drinking.

The Water of rivers arising from the Himalaya and Malaya mountains, and which get churned up well by dashing against rocks are good for health, whereas the same water if gets stagnated (and gets contaminated) gives rise to worms (intestinal parasites), filariasis, diseases of the heart, throat, and head.

The water of rivers of the Prachya (gauda), Avanti (Malwa) Aparanta (Konkona) countries produces piles (hemorrhoids); of those arising from Mahendra, mountains cause enlargement of the abdomen and filariasis. Those arising from Sahya and Vindhya mountains produce leprosy (and other skin diseases) anemia and diseases of the head. Those arising from Pariyatra, mitigate the (aggravated) doshas   bestow strength and sexual vigor, the water of the sea causes vitiation of all the three doshas,

Notes: -Pracya or gauda delta compromises of central Bengal and parts of Orissa. Avanti or Malwa country was round about the modern city of Ujjain. Aparanta or Konkona comprises the Goa, Karwar, and North Kanara districts of Karnataka. Mahendra Mountain is the northern part of the Eastern Ghats, (the whole range of hills extending from Orissa to the district of Madura was known by the name of Mahendra parvata). Sahya is the southern range of the Western Ghats. Vindhyas are mountain ranges of central India. Pariyatra is the western part of the Vindhya Mountains.

The water of Kupa (deep well), tadaga (artificial pond), etc. should be considered to be similar (in qualities and properties) to those of the desert, marshy, and mountains (respectively).

Avoiding of drinking water (Jalapana varjaya):

Water should not be consumed or consumed in very little quantity, if unavailable due to debility, by those suffering from poor digestive function, tumors of the abdomen, anemia, enlargement of the abdomen, diarrhea, hemorrhoids, and diseases of the duodenum, consumption or dropsy. Except for Sarad (autumn) and nidagha (summer) even healthy persons should drink less quantity of water (in all other seasons).

Effects of drinking water (Jalapana phala):

  • Water taken in the middle of meals maintains the normalcy of tissues and easy digestion.
  • Water consumed immediately after meals lead to obesity and accumulation of fat into the abdominal region.
  • Drinking water before meals leads to indigestion and thereby emaciation of the body.

Cold water (Sittajala)

Coldwater relieves alcoholic intoxication, exhaustion, fainting, vomiting, debility (fatigue), giddiness, thirst, heat (of the sun) burning sensation, aggravation of pitta, rakta, and poison.

Warm water (Usnajala):

Hot (warm) water stimulates hunger, helps digestion, good for the throat, easily digestible, cleanses the urinary bladder, relieves hiccup, flatulence, aggravation of Anila (Vata) and salesman (Kapha). It is ideal on the days of purification therapy and for those suffering from nascent fevers, cough, ama (accumulation of undigested materials), running in the nose, dyspnea, and pain in the flanks.

Water that has been boiled and then cooled is not going to increase the moisture inside the body, too much is easily digestible and ideal for the doshas associated with pitta. Water that has been kept overnight (so become stable) causes (aggravation of) all the three doshas.

Coconut water (Narikelodaka):

person pouring liquid on their hand, Liquid substance in ayurveda, ashtanga hridayam, sutrasthana, chapter-5
Photo by Arnie Watkins on Pexels.com

Coconut water consists of madhura rasa (sweet in taste), Snigdha, laghu gupa (unctuous & light in quality), and irta virya (cold in potency), acts as an aphrodisiac, mitigates thirst and Vata, pitta disorders. It increases digestive power and purifies the urinary bladder.

During varsha (rainy season) rainwater is best and river water least, (in their qualities and fitness for drinking).

Group of milk and milk products (Kshira varga):

different type of milk, Liquid substance in ayurveda, ashtanga hridayam, sutrasthana, chapter-5

Milk is of 8 types:

  • Cow’s milk (Go Kashira)
  • Goat’s milk (Aja Kashira)
  • Camel’s milk (Ustra Kashira)
  • Sheep’s milk (Avi Kashira)
  • Buffalo’s milk (Mahisha Kashira)
  • Horse’s milk (Ashva Kashira)
  • Human’s Milk (Nari Kashira )
  • Elephant’s milk (Aibha Kashira)

General properties of the milk:

  • Milk in general consists of Madhur rasa, madhura vipaka, and Snigdha guna.
  • Improves the Ojas and promotes the growth of the tissues and acts as an aphrodisiac,
  • Due to heaviness and cool in potency, mitigates vita, pitta and increases Kapha, Go ksira-(Cow milk).

Cow’s milk (Go Kashira):

  • Cow’s milk sustains life.
  • Acts as a rejuvenator.
  • Indicated in injury to chest and emaciation.
  • Improves the intelligence and strength of the body.
  • Increases breast milk.
  • Spread all over the body due to mobile quality.
  • Relieves fatigue, giddiness, toxicity, inauspiciousness, dyspnoea, cough, excessive thirst.
  • Cures fevers of long duration, difficulty in urination, and bleeding disorders.

Buffalo’s milk (Mahishakshira):

  • It is indicated for the persons having increased power of digestion and insomnia.
  • Buffalo’s milk is heavy in quality (not easily digestible) and cold in potency.

Goat’s milk  (Aja-kshira):

Goats usually drink less water, doing heavy exercise, and eat plants and leave having a pungent and bitter taste. Hence goats’ milk is easily digestible and is indicated in tuberculosis, chronic fevers, dyspnoea, hemorrhage, and diarrhea.

Camel’s milk (Ustra kshira)

  • Camel’s milk is slightly dry in quality, hot in potency, and salt in taste.
  • It increases the power of digestion, and easily digestible.
  • It is good for mitigating Vata and Kapha, distention of the abdomen, (intestinal), worms, dropsy enlargement of the abdomen and hemorrhoids, etc.

Human milk (Manusa kshira)

 Human milk breast milk relieves (aggravation of) Vata, pitta, and rakta (blood), cures traumatic wounds, and diseases of the eye by use in the form of tarpana (bathing the eye) ascyotana (eye drops), and Nasya (nasal drops).

 Sheep’s milk (Avika kshira);

Sheep’s milk is not good for the heart (mind), is hot (in potency). It cures diseases of Vata origin, gives rise to Hiccup, dyspnoea, increases in pitta and Kapha.

Elephant’s milk (Hasti kshira);

Elephant’s milk) is strengthening for the body.

Milk of single hoofed animals (Ekasapha kshira)

Milk of single hoofed animals (like a horse, donkey, etc.) is very hot (in potency), cures Vata disorders localized in the sakhas, (blood and other tissues), is slightly sour, and salty and causes lassitude (laziness).

  • Unboiled milk is difficult to digest and causes abhisyandi; produces excess secretion in the tissue pores and causing their blockage. Whereas appropriately boiled milk is easily digestible. Over-boiled milk becomes indigestible.
  • Warm fresh milk collected directly from the udder is having similar qualities to nectar.

Curds/ soured milk/coagulated milk (Dadhi)

  • Curd in general is sour in taste and also at the end of digestion.
  • Constipating, difficult to digest, hot in potency.
  • Mitigates vata.
  • Increases fat, semen, strength, Kapha, pitta, rakta, digestive power, and oedema.
  • Relieves anorexia as it increases the taste of perception.
  • Indication in intermittent fevers, nasal catarrh, and painful micturition.
  • It is given in dysentery after removing cream.
  • Should not eat curds during nighttime.
  • Should not heat curds.
  • Curds should not use in the seasons like Vasantha, Grisham, and Sharad. Even in other seasons, without the addition of soup of mudga (green-gram), ksaundra (honey), ghrta (ghee, butterfat), sitopala (sugar candy), and Amalaki.
  • Curds yet to be prepared should not be taken.
  • One should take the above precautions while consuming curds. Otherwise, fever, hemorrhage, herpes skin diseases, anemia, giddiness, etc. may happen.

Buttermilk (Takra):

Takra (buttermilk) is easily digestible, astringent, and sour in taste. It kindles hunger, mitigates Kapha and vata. It cures dropsy, enlargement of the abdomen, hemorrhoids, duodenal diseases, dysuria. Also helps in loss of taste (appetite), enlargement of spleen, abdominal tumor, complications arising from excess consumption of ghee (during oleation therapy), artificial poisons, and anemia.

Notes:—Hemadri, the commentator, clarifies, that takra is mathita dadhi (well-churned curd/coagulated milk), it is of two kinds, sajala (mixed with water) and nijala (unmixed with water); sajala (water-diluted) is again of two kinds, sasneha (with fat) and asneha (without fat), the properties mentioned above are of asneha takra (devoid of fat).

Mastu (whey/watery part of curds)

Mastu (the watery part of curds) is similar (to takra) in properties, helps the easy movement of bowels, cleanses the channels, and relieves constipation.

Butter (Navanita)

Fresh navanita (butter) is aphrodisiac, cold (in potency). It improves color (complexion of the skin), strength, and digestion. It absorbs water, cures disorders of vata, pitta, asrk (blood), consumption, hemorrhoids, facial paralysis, and cough. Butter obtained from milk is water absorbent, cures bleeding diseases and disease of the eye.

Ghee/clarified butter (Ghrta);

  • Ghrta increases intelligence, memory, and cleverness.
  • The power of digestion improves and life span increases.
  • Increases sexual vigor and good for the eyes.
  • Wholesome for aged and children.
  • Skin complexion enhances, the body becomes soft, and imparts a pleasant voice.
  • Indicated for injury to chest, herpes, injury caused by weapons, burns, vata and pitta disorders, poisonous state, insanity, emaciation, inauspiciousness (witchcraft), and chronic fevers.
  • Ghee is the best among the four prominent oleating (fatty) substances. It is cold in potency.
  • It is the best one to postpone the onset of old age.
  • Properly processed ghee possesses some good qualities.
  • Puranaghrta i.e. ten years old ghee cures intoxication, epilepsy, fainting, head, ear, and eye disorders, and vaginal disorders. It also cleans and heals the ulcers.
  • Old ghee consists of all the properties of fresh ghee along with the special qualities. Hence it is so similar to nectar.

Kilata, piyusa, kurcika, morana, etc. increases strength, semen, sleep, and also Kapha. It causes constipation, difficult to digest, and vitiates doshas.


Preserving the ghee for:
More than 100 years in the underground is called            : kaumbha
Up to 10 years is called                                                  : puranaghrta
More than 10 years is called                                           : prapurana ghrta
Kilata is the solid portion obtained after heating the milk.
Piyusa is the milk of a cow that has just given birth to a calf up to a period of 3 days.
Kurcika is commonly known as Kova.
Morana/morata is the milk of a cow seven days after calving.

Milk and ghee obtained from cow’s milk are best (in properties) and these obtained from ewe’s milk, the least.

Group of sugarcane juice and its products (Iksu varga):

Iksurasa gunah-(properties of sugarcane juice);

Sugarcane juice contains:

  • Madhura rasa, madhura vipaka, guru (heavy), Snigdha, saraguna (laxative), and sita virya.
  • Gives strength to the body. Increases Kapha and mutra. It is an aphrodisiac and mitigates vata.
  • Sugarcane juice taken after meals increases vata.
  • Indicated in hemorrhagic disorders.
  • Sugarcane juice from the top of the cane is slightly salty, after crushing with teeth it becomes equivalent to sugar.
  • Juice obtained through crushing machines becomes abnormal quickly due to crushing of the root tip and worm-infested cane, which causes a burning sensation in the stomach, difficulty in digestion, and causes constipation.

The paundraka variety of cane is best in view of its coolant effect, thinness and more sweetness of its juice, next to it is the vamsika variety.

Next are the sataparvaka, Kantara, naipala etc., in respective order, are slightly alkaline and astringent in taste, hot in potency, and cause burning sensation slightly.

Half cooked molasses, unrefined treacle (Phanita);

Phanita (half-cooked molasses) is heavy (hard to digest), abhisyandi (increasing the secretions in the tissue pores and blocking them), causes a mild increase (of the doshas) and cleanses the urine (by increasing its quantity).

Jaggery (Guda):

Guda (jaggery, molasses) washed well (made white and purified by some process) does not cause a great increase of slesman (Kapha) (causes slight increase); helps easy elimination of urine and feces.

The other one (which is not washed and purified) causes appearances of worms greatly (inside the intestines) and disorders of bone marrow, blood, fat, muscles, and tissues and also of Kapha.

The one which is old is good for the heart and the fresh one is suitable for health, causes an increase of Kapha and weakens digestive activity.

Sugar (Sharkara):

Matsyandika (brown sugar), khanda (sugar candy), and sita (white crystalline sugar) in their succeeding order are better (than guda jaggery/treacle). They are aphrodisiac, good for the emaciated and the wounded, cure bleeding diseases, and helps in mitigation of vata.

Yasa Sarkara: –

Yasa Sarkara (sugar prepared from yavasaka plant) is similar in properties to sugar but is bitter-sweet and astringent in taste.

All sugars cure burning sensation, thirst, and vomiting, fainting, and bleeding diseases. Among the products of sugarcane juice, sugar is the best, and phanita (half-cooked molasses) is the least.

Honey (Madhu);

clear glass cup filled with honey, Liquid substance in ayurveda, ashtanga hridayam, sutrasthana, chapter-5
Photo by Valeria Boltneva on Pexels.com

Madhu (honey) is good for the eyes (vision). It breaks up hard masses, relieves thirst, slesman (increases Kapha), poison disorders, hiccup, bleeding diseases, diabetes. It helps in leprosy (and other skin diseases), worms, vomiting, dyspnea, cough, diarrhea. Cleanses unites and heals wounds, aggravates vata, is non-unctuous and slightly astringent, and sweet in taste.

Madhu Sarkara (solidified honey) is similar to it (honey) in properties and actions.

  • Honey should not be used after heating as the poisonous bees have collected it from various flowers that are having different tastes, qualities, and potencies.
  • Hence the persons dominated by pitta constitution mixed with hot substances in summer season and the area where the temperature is so high should not use the honey as it (is not good for health) kills them quickly, similar to that of poison.

But honey does not cause any harm when used warm (mixed with warm water) for producing vomiting or for the administration of niruha (decoction enema) because it comes out of the body before it undergoes digestion.

It can be used daily by all, irrespective of age, or sex, but in little quantities either as such without adding anything or along with other articles of food. It is necessary to use genuine honey always and reject the spurious and adulterated honey which is sold cheap in the market. Genuine honey is a slightly transparent, clear liquid without any precipitate at the bottom of the bottle, and forms a uniform solution when poured into clean water.

Group of oils and other fats (Taila varga):

Liquid substance in ayurveda, ashtanga hridayam, sutrasthana, chapter-5, oils
Photo by Mareefe on Pexels.com

Sesame oil (Tila taila):

  • Taila (oils) are generally similar (in properties) to their source (oilseed), of them the chief is that of til (sesame).
  • Oil of sesame possesses the properties of penetrating deep into the tissues and spreading throughout the body fast.
  • Regular use of sesame oil produces diseases of the skin, is bad to the eyes, capable of entering into even minute pores, hot in potency, not increasing Kapha.
  •  It makes lean persons fatty and fat persons lean, is constipating, and kills worms; with appropriate processing, it cures all diseases.

Notes:— In ancient times in India, the oil of sesame was the chief edible oil and used both for cooking as well as for the treatment of diseases. The term “taila” especially means the oil of taila (sesame) and is used in that sense itself at all places, in all the ancient books of Ayurveda (and even of Sanskrit literature) unless specified differently. The use of sesame oil for cooking is gradually becoming less in recent times and oil of Groundnuts (peanuts), coconut, mustard, rapeseeds, soya bean, sunflower, etc. have been brought to use. In the context of Ayurveda, it is sesame oil only that should be used for the internal administration of medicated oils. Many other kinds of oils of medicinal value are described further on.

Castor oil (Oil of Erand)

  • Castor oil is bitter, pungent, and sweet in taste, Sara (laxative).
  • It is hard to digest, cures enlargement of the scrotum, (hernia), abdominal tumors, diseases caused by vata and Kapha, enlargement of the abdomen.
  • It is helpful in intermittent fevers, pain, and swellings of the waist, genitals, and abdomen, and back, is capable of penetrating deep, hot in potency, and bad in smell.
  • Oil of red variety of castor seeds is still more penetrating, hot in potency, and sticky, and has a bad smell.

Notes Castor oil is used for medicinal purposes to produce purgation to relieve pains and reduce swelling etc. it is an efficient Vatahara drug (mitigates the increased vata) and so very useful in many diseases.

Mustard oil (Sarshapa taila) :

  • Sarshapa taila (mustard oil) is pungent, hot in potency, penetrating deep
  • It mitigates (reduces) Kapha, semen, and Anila (vata), easily digestible,
  • It produces bleeding diseases, rashes on the skin, leprosy and other skin diseases, hemorrhoids, ulcers, and worms (bacteria, etc.).

Oil of vibhitika (Aksa taila)

Aksa taila-oil obtained from seeds of vibhitika is sweet, cold in potency good for the hair, hard to digest, mitigate pitta, and Anila (vata).

Neem oil (Nimba taila)

Nimba taila is not very hot (slightly hot) in potency, bitter, destroys worms (bacteria, etc.) leprosy and other skin diseases and mitigates kapha,

Linseed oil and safflower oil (Uma-kusumbha taila) Taila of Uma (linseed) and kusumbha are hot in potency, produce diseases of the skin, and aggravate kapha and pitta.

Muscle fat and marrow fat (Vasa-majja- medas

  • Both muscle fat and bone marrow decrease vata and increases Kapha, pitta and also give strength to the body.
  • Muscle fat and bone marrow are also having similar qualities to the mutton from which they are obtained. Similarly fat also consists of the same qualities as the above.

Group of wines (Madya varga)

Wines and fermented beverage, Liquid substance in ayurveda, ashtanga hridayam, sutrasthana, chapter-5
Photo by Anthony Shkraba on Pexels.com
  • Alcoholic beverages increase the appetite and perception of taste. Gives satiation and nourishes the body.
  • They are having sweet, bitter, pungent, sour and astringent in taste; sharp, dry, light and mobile; hot in potency and become sour at the end of digestion.
  • Imparts pleasant voice, good health, intelligence and complexion to the skin.
  • Beneficial for both the conditions such as sleeplessness and excessive sleep.
  • Vitiaties pitta and rakta dosa.
  • Judicious intake of alcoholic beverages moulds the lean persons as stout and viceversa.
  • Cleans the body channels and mitigates vata and kapha dosa.
  • Consumption of alcohol as per the guidelines given in the classics bestows all these benefits, otherwise it acts as a poison.
  • Fresh ones are hard to digest; make for increase of all the doshas, whereas old ones are opposite of this.
  • Alcoholic drinks should not be taken, those who are consuming hot substances along with hot comforts.
  • Alchoholic drinks should not be taken by persons if they are suffering from diarrhoea or they had undergone purgative therapy.
  • It is also contraindicated when the individuals are suffering from hunger.
  • Wines, which are very strong or very weak, and are very thin or turbid and spoiled, should not be used for drinking.

Notes:—The term *madya’ refers to all types of alcoholic beverages in general, the practice of preparing and drinking alcoholic beverages is very ancient in our country going as far back as the times of Rig Veda (3000 B. C.). Drinking many kinds of wines, sometimes alone, sometimes in groups and in assemblies was very common then, so also even today. Alcoholic beverages produce exhilaration and a sort of mental exuberance, hence their popularity, and also as a tonic for health. But the good effects are slight compared to the quantity required to produce them. So people went on increasing the quantity of the drink day after day and finally became addicted to it, so greatly, that it is impossible to be without it even for a few hours.

Large quantities of such drinks produce many abnormalities in the various organs and their functions and cause incurable diseases and even death. Having understood this, ancient scholars prescribed many rules and regimen for taking alcoholic drinks in order to protect the health, such as, that it should be little, to be taken after food and not on empty stomach, taken in the company of good friends and not alone, and many others. Followed strictly, these will avoid much of the bad effects of such drinks. Judicious use of alcoholic drinks is somewhat good to the body and mind but its injudicious use is definitely injurious just like poison.

Beer (Sura):

Sura is having sneha and guru gunas. Sura cures abdominal tumors, enlargement of the abdomen, hemorrhoids, duodenal diseases and consumption, is lubricating, hard to digest, mitigates vata, causes increase of fat, blood, milk, urine and kapha.

Notes Sura is prepared by fermenting a mixture of water, flour of rice, jaggery (treacle) etc., somewhat like the beer of the present day.

Vibhitika sum-Sura prepared from vibhitika is not very intoxicating, is easily digestible, good for health; not so harmful, (as other wines) in wounds, anaemia, and leprosy and other skin diseases.

Yava sura: – Sura prepared from yava (bailey) causes constipation, is not easily digestible, nonunctuous and aggravates all the three doshas.

Fermented decoctions (Arista)

  • Generally, aristas are having similar properties to the drugs, which are used for their preparation.
  • Hence aristas are superior in quality among other types of alcoholic preparations.
  • They are useful in the management of the duodenum, anemia, leprosy and other skin diseases, hemorrhoids, dropsy, consumption, enlargement of the abdomen, fever, abdominal tumors, worms (intestinal parasites), and disorders of the spleen.
  • They are having astringent (kashaya), pungent( katu) rasas, and aggravate vata dosa.

Wine prepared from grapes (Mardvika)

Mardvika (wine prepared from grapes) is scarificient good to the heart (or mind), not very hot in potency, sweet, Sara (laxative), causes slight increase of pitta and anila (vata), cures anaemia, diabetes, hemorrhoids and worms (intestinal parasites).

Wine prepared from dates (Kharjura)

Kharjura (wine prepared from dates)-is inferior in properties (than of grapes), aggravates vata and hard for digestion.

Wine prepared by using sugar (Sarkara) is sweet smelling, sweet in taste, good for the heart (or mind), not very intoxicating and easily digestible.

Wine prepared from molasses/treacle (Gouda) is useful for the proper elimination of urine faeces and flatus from the body. It also gives satiation and increases the power of digestion.

Wine of sugarcane juice (Sidhu) Sidhu (prepared from in fermenting sugarcane juice) aggravates vata and pitta, decreases lubrication and diseases of Slesman (kapha), obesity, dropsy, enlargement of the abdomen, and hemorrhoids; that prepared by cooking sugarcane juice is best.

Wine prepared from honey (Madhvasava)

Madhvasava (wine prepared from honey) breaks up hard masses (of kapha etc.), penetrates deep, cures diabetes, chronic nasal catarrh and cough.

Wine prepared from tubers (Sukta)

Sukta (wine prepared from roots and tubers) increases the moisture of blood, pitta and kapha. It expels vata in downward directions, very hot in potency. It’s penetrating, causes dryness, sour, good to the heart (or mind), and increases taste (appetite). It is Sara (laxative), and enhances hunger and is cold to touch. It is helpful in the management of anaemia, diseases of the eye and worms.

Sukta prepared by using jaggery, sugarcane, honey and grapes are easily digestible in their successive order,

Asava (fermented infusion):

Dhanyamla (liquor prepared by fermenting the water in which rice and such other grains, pulses, etc. have been slightly cooked or merely washed) is purgative, penetrating, hot in potency, aggravates pitta, cold to touch, relieves fatigue and exhaustion, increases appetite and hunger, cures the pain of the urinary bladder, ideal for use as asthapana (decoction enema), good to the heart, easily digestible, mitigates vata and kapha. Sauvlraka and Tusodaka also possess similar properties, cure worms, heart disease, abdominal tumor, hemorrhoids and anaemia. These are prepared from DE husked yava (barley) and yava with husk respectively.

Asava prepared by using tubers, roots, fruits, etc., is similar (in properties with that of Sukta). Asava prepared by using sandaki (balls of fried paddy mixed with spices, dried in sun and then deep-fried in oil) and by other material (such as oil-cakes, etc.) which have turned sour by lapse of time are appetizers and easily digestible.

Notes:—Sukta, Dhanyamla, Sauvlraka, Tusodaka etc. were in use in olden days and are not prepared in the present day. Beer, brandy, whisky, rum, gin, champagne, etc. are the popular alcoholic drinks of today. Country liquors like toddy and arrack are popular with the poor people. The percentage of alcohol varies in each 01 them ranging from 20% to 80%. Those containing legs amount of alcohol (less than 15%) act as stimulants and do not cause intoxication when used in moderate doses. More the alcohol, greater is the intoxication, risk of addiction and consequent ill-health etc.

Group of urine (Mutra Varga):

Mutra (urine) of cow, goat, sheep, buffalo, elephant, horse, camel and donkey-are going to aggravate pitta, are non-unctuous, penetrating deep, hot in potency, pungent with salt as its secondary taste \and cure worms, dropsy, abdominal enlargement, flatulence, colic, anemia, aggravation of Kapha and Anila (vata), abdominal tumors, loss of taste (or appetite), poison leucoderma, leprosy, (and other skin diseases) and hemorrhoids, and are easily digestible.

Notes: Urine, though a waste product of the body has many medicinal properties, which had been recognized by the ancients and so was used both internally and externally. Cow’s urine is used more commonly than of other animals, probably because of the special sanctity attached to the cow in this country.

Urine is composed mainly of water with little quantity of urea, uric acid, salts (phosphates, oxalates of sodium, calcium etc.) and some hormones, the proportion of these varying from one animal to the other, and by many other factors also.

Thus, were described, so far, in brief, the groups of liquid substances such as water, milk, sugarcane juice, oils, and wines (as also of urine). Thus ends the chapter called Dravadravya vijnaniya, the fifth of sutras Thana of Astanghrdayam Samhita compose by Srimad Vagbhata, son of Shri Vaidyapati Simhagupta.

In the chapter Drava-dravaya Vijnaniya, Acarya Vagbhata explained the different types of liquid substances and classified them chiefly under 7 groups as under:

  • Jala varga,
  • Kslra varga,
  • Iksu varga,
  • Madhu varga
  • Taila varga
  • Madya varga
  • Mutra varga.

Out of all these liquid substances, water is the most important one and so, it has been given the top priority. Though the group consists of various types of water, the entire water is ultimate of one type i.e. one which falls from the sky. Acarya Vagbhata classified the rainwater as gangambu and samudrodaka and then discussed the properties, test for the identification of the 2 types of water, properties of the water, types of hot water, etc. Then the group consisting of different types of milk and milk products like curd, buttermilk, butter, ghee, etc. their properties were explained. Sugarcane varieties, properties, jaggery, sugar, etc. Honey—properties, types, different oils and alcohols, and 8 types of urines and their properties, etc have been detailed.

1 thought on “Chapter-5, Knowledge of Liquid Substances, Ashtanga Hridayam, Sutrasthana.”

  1. Pingback: % % CHAPTER 6- Annasvarupa Vijnaniya (Nature of food materials) % %

Comments are closed.

error: Content is protected !!
Exit mobile version