Ironically, a respite from the heat in monsoons also brings with a host of viral hazards. The change of seasons causes moisture content in the air to rise.
This change in moisture and relative drop in temperatures provides an ideal breeding ground for infection-causing bacteria and other microorganisms to thrive in, making one prone to monsoon diseases like dengue, flu, malaria, cholera among others. According to Ayurveda, the 5000-year-old system of wellness and healing, the effect of seasonal changes on health can be understood concerning Agni, an essential element in the body.
Agni, or digestive fire, varies in intensity in different seasons. It peaks during winters and is weak during the monsoons. Improper functioning of Agni can lead to various gastrointestinal and metabolic disorders, according to Ayurveda.
Before we get into how agni works, it is relevant to understand the concept of Doshas mentioned in Ayurveda. An individual’s Prakriti or unique physical and mental constitution is the ratio of three dynamic bioenergies in the body. Vata, pitta, Kapha doshas have specific traits. The pitta dosha is for digestion, Vata dosha for body movement and kapha to lubricate the joints. Mostly, two of three doshas dominate in an individual. Pulse diagnosis or Nadi pariksha helps in understanding how doshas are balanced in your body. Going by Ayurveda, a severe aggravation of Doshas eventually leads to the manifestation of illnesses in the body. A significant advantage that Ayurveda has over other forms of medicine is its preemptive value. Nadi Pariksha examination can effectively tell you about the diseases you are predisposed to. This is why pulse diagnosis from a qualified Ayurvedic practitioner has a lot of preemptive value when it comes to having a total health assessment.
What is Agni?
An essential element of digestion and metabolism in our body is described as Agni in Ayurveda. Ingested food is digested, absorbed and assimilated, a critical function for the maintenance of life, and this is performed with the help of Agni. In Ayurveda, the term ‘Agni’ is used to describe the energy that makes digestion of food and metabolic products possible. Therefore, Ayurveda considers that Dehagni is the cause of life, complexion, strength, health, nourishment, lusture, Ojas (vitality), Tejas (energy) and prana (life energy).
Low digestive fire causes vitiation of doshas, primarily the Vata Dosha followed by Pitta and Kapha, causing various ailments in the body.
Dr Neeraj Jaswal, the senior Ayurvedic physician with the Art of Living’s Sri Sri Tattva, gives some tips to stay healthy during monsoon -
- Easily digestible, hot and light food should be taken during this season
- Use warm and clean water for drinking. Boiled water is preferable than normal water as it has the bactericidal capacity; at the same time, it is light to digest and helps to strengthen digestion.
- Leafy vegetables and raw salads should be used sparingly as they are difficult to digest and lowers the Agni.
- Ginger, black pepper, lemon can be used to increase digestive fire
- Pulses, soups, old grains and mastu (thin water of yoghurt) can be taken with food.
- Honey should be added to the food and water to diminish the higher moisture effect of monsoons
- Use of Giloy in this season is beneficial in order to digest the undigested food as well as protecting against the fever very prevalent in this season
- Ginger tea one or two times a day will also help to keep your digestive power up and going. Adding honey to the tea will be even better
- Panchakarma treatments are highly recommended during this season to prevent any disorders and boost immunity.
- Perfumes can be used and wear proper clothes which help protect the body from cold breeze, wind and rain.
- Apply warm oil before taking a bath.
- Protect yourself from insect bites during this season.
- Avoid sleeping during the day,
- Too much exertion can lead to aggravation of Vata and may lead to Vata disorder. At the same time, moderate exercise will enhance the digestive fire.
- Proper foot care must be taken as feet often tend to get wet during this season, especially diabetics.
With inputs from Dr Neeraj Jaswal, a senior Ayurvedic physician with Art of Living’s Sri Sri Tattva Panchkarma
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