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Food and Tridoshas - Ayurclinic Melbourne

Food and Tridoshas

Food and Tridoshas

By Dr. Sajimon George BAMS. AAA. ATMS

A.Food and Tridoshas

Indian philosophy gives the theory of pancha bhoothas. According to this theory, every living and non living material is made of five basic components. They are Akasha (space), Vayu (air), Agni (fire) , Ap (water) and Pridhwi (earth) principles. Difference in two materials is the difference in proportion of these components but all bhoothas are present in every material. To explain complex metabolic activities of a living being, tridosha theory based on pancha bhootha concept was formulated by Ayurveda. In tridosha theory, life force is manifested in three forms, Vatha, Pitha and Kapha. In Vatha dosha predominant bhootha are Akasha (Space), Vayu (Air) element. While Pitha is predominant in Agni (Fire) bhootha and Kapha dosha is predominant in Ap (Water) and Pridhwi dhatu.

Every food contains six tastes or rasa. But in all foods there will be one or two tastes that are predominant. Based on this predominant taste we term one food as sweet or sour. Predominant taste indicates bhoutic composition of food and its effect on doshas. But perception of a taste is only possible in presence of Ap dhatu.

Effect of food on doshas based on taste is explained below

Sweet:

Predominant bhoothas: Earth and Water.

Action on doshas: Decrease Pitha and Vatha, Increase kapha.

Sour:

Predominant bhoothas: Fire and Earth

Action on doshas: Decrease Vatha, Increase Kapha and Pitha

Salt:

Predominant bhoothas: Fire and Water.

Action on doshas: Decrease Vatha, Increase Kapha and Pitha

Bitter:

Predominant bhoothas: Akasa and Vayu.

Action on doshas: Decrease Pitha and Kapha, Increase Vatha

Pungent:

Predominant bhoothas: Fire and Air.

Action on doshas: Decrease Kapha and Increase Vatha and Pitha.

Astringent

Predominant bhoothas: Earth and Air.

Action on doshas: Decrease Pitha and Kapha, Increase Vatha.

Cooking technique is a major factor determining nature of final food. Food made from same materials may become heavy to digest or easy to digest by the processing technique. Just after food intake, Kapha increase slightly. During digestion, Pitha increases slightly. After completion of digestion Vatha increases. This increase in a healthy person will be so small that it won’t result in diseases. After food there should be some time of rest. Then, walk at least hundred steps. If you have the habit of sleep after food, then lie by left side. Favorite songs, music, scenery and other surroundings facilitate digestion.

Ayurvedic classic Susrutha samhitha enlist following factors which helps proper digestion

1. Comfortably seated during food intake.

2. Good appetite.

3. Easily digestible and slightly oily food.

4. Food at regular time.

5. Food well chewed and slowly eaten.

6. Generally sweet food in the beginning followed by sour and salty foods, ending with astringent, bitter and pungent food.

7. Food before usual time causes number of abdominal discomforts.

8. Excess physical strain, excess water intake, exposure to bright sunlight reduce digestion.

9. Food with all six tastes should be the menu for health. Indulging in food with one or two tastes will vitiate doshas.

10. Intake of dry food should be accompanied with enough water otherwise only partial digestion will happen.

11. Withholding of natural urges such as urge for urination, defecation etc will impair digestion.

12. Psychological disturbances such as fear, jealousy, anger, sadness disturb digestion.

All these factors enable digestion and assimilation of ingested food and prevent production of Ama or partially digested food. Healthy digestion facilitates absorption and metabolism of medicines and treatment procedures used. In case of medicines, in addition to taste other parameters such as Guna, Veerya, Vipaka and Prabhava also determine its pharmacology. Good understanding of all these factors helps a physician to understand pharmacological action of an herb or a poly herbal formulation. Successful treatment also follows this understanding.

Guna:

Properties such as dryness, oiliness, spreading, liquid stage, roughness, smoothness and such innumerable properties of every material come under this .Indirectly these properties or gunas are also related to its bhoutic composition. For example Dravatwa or liquid form is an expression of Ap bhootha. Hotness and colour are related to fire principle.

Veerya:

Veerya is otherwise the ability to do an action including therapeutic action. In other wards Veerya are strong guna in a material.

Vipaka:

It is the change caused in taste of a material by the process of digestion. A typical example is dry ginger. Dry ginger is pungent or hot when ingested. But after digestion in the stomach it acquires sweet taste. This change is caused by Vipaka.

Prabhava:

Even if two materials are similar in taste and properties, they can have different and specific therapeutic action. Such a very special action is called Prabhava.

B. Activities and tridoshas

In addition to food, activities also influence dosha equilibrium.

Activities increasing Vatha

1. Withholding of natural urges cause vitiation of Vatha.

2. Forceful initiation of natural urges.

3. Lack of sleep.

4. Talking in loud voice.

5. Excess physical activities.

6. Emotions such as fear, sad, excess thinking.

7. Excessive sexual activities.

Activities increasing Pitha

1. Pungent and hot food.

2. Emotions such as anger.

3. Exposure to hot environment.

Activities increasing Kapha

1. Daytime sleep

2. Emotional happiness

3. Highly nutritive food

4. Less vomiting during Panchakarma.

5. Exposure to cold wind and environment.

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