WHAT IS RITUCHARYA IN AYURVEDA
by Harsh Shah on Oct 31, 2022
Ayurveda, the age-old science of life, has always emphasized health maintenance and disease prevention through proper diet and lifestyle regimens rather than disease treatment and cure. Swasthyashya Swasthya Rakshanam, which means to maintain the health of the healthy, rather than Aturashya Vikara Prashamanancha, which means to cure the diseases of the diseased, is the basic principle followed in the Ayurvedic system of medicine. The Ayurvedic classics mention the Dinacharya (Daily Regimen) and Ritucharya (Seasonal Regimen) for this purpose.
The change in seasons is very visible in the environment we live in. We notice various changes in bio-life around us, such as plants flowering in the spring and losing their leaves in the autumn, many animals hibernating as winter approaches, and so on. Because humans are part of the same ecology, their bodies are heavily influenced by their surroundings. Many exogenous and endogenous rhythms have a specific phase relationship with one another, which means they interact and synchronize with one another. If the body is unable to adapt to stressors due to changes in specific seasonal traits, it may develop Dosha Vaishamya, making the body highly susceptible to one or more stressors.
It has emphasized various rules and regimens regarding Ahara (Diet), Vihara (Regimens), Achara (Conduct), and Vichara (Thoughts) that are required for living a healthy life. One such regimen is "Ritucharya," which plays an important role in easily acclimatizing to seasonal enforcement without disrupting body homeostasis.
Purpose: Ritu (Season), which is classified by variations in Doshas in the environment, expresses its effects on the body, thus disrupting its equilibrium (Prakruthi-Purusha-Samyata- Siddantha), this disequilibrium occurs due to failure to follow the appropriate rules, which leads to an imbalance among Doshas in the body, and thus disease manifestation. As a result, understanding and implementing these guidelines in accordance with the changes in Ritu becomes necessary.
It has emphasized various rules and regimens regarding Ahara (Diet), Vihara (Regimens), Achara (Conduct), and Vichara (Thoughts) that are required for living a healthy life. One such regimen is "Ritucharya," which plays an important role in easily acclimatizing to seasonal enforcement without disrupting body homeostasis. Purpose: Ritu (Season), which is classified by variations in Doshas in the environment, expresses its effects on the body, thus disrupting its equilibrium (Prakruthi-Purusha-Samyata-Siddantha), this disequilibrium occurs due to failure to follow the appropriate rules, which leads to an imbalance among Doshas in the body, and thus disease manifestation. As a result, understanding and implementing these guidelines in accordance with the changes in Ritu becomes necessary.
Methods: For this study, Ayurveda elementary books were thoroughly searched in order to describe and comprehend the concept of Ritucharya at the same time.
Result/Discussion: This work attempts to comprehend various concepts emerging from Ritucharya, such as:
1) Ritu's scientific background
2) Diet and seasonal regimens
3) Ritucharya for seasonal disease prevention
4) Ritusandi-related morbidity and its prevention
5) Ritu Vaiparyata and its modifications.
6 Ritucharya Ayurvedic medicine
A year is divided into two Kaalas (Time Periods). Each kaal has three seasons, for a total of six seasons in a year. Each season lasts two months and can be found in the Indian subcontinent.
- Adaan Kaal/Northern Solstice/Uttaryana (14 Jan. to 14 July)
I). Shishir Ritu(Winter) (Mid Jan. to Mid-March)
II). Vasant Ritu (Spring) (Mid-March to Mid-May)
III). Grishma Ritu (Summer) (Mid May to Mid-July)
- Visarga Kaal/Southern Solstice/Dakshin Ayana (14 July to 14 Jan.)
I). Varsha Ritu (Monsoon) (Mid July to Mid-September)
II). Sharad Ritu (Autumn) (Mid-Sept. to Mid-November)
III). Hemant Ritu (Late Autumn/Pre-Winter) (Mid-November to Mid-Jan.)
Northern Solstice/Adaan Kaal/Uttaryana (14 Jan. to 14 July)
- Ritu Shishir (Winter)
During this season, the weather remains cold and windy. People become drowsy and less energetic. The body experiences Kapha dosha deposition, and Agni (catabolism) remains elevated.
Diet Routine: Amla has preferred wheat/gram flour items, cereals, and pulses, and corn is also recommended. Ginger, garlic, pippali, sugarcane products, milk, and milk products are also included in the diet. Foods containing Tkta (Bitter), Katu (Pungent), and Kashaya (Astringent) should be avoided. Shital (Cool) and Lagu (Light) foods should be avoided as well.
Lifestyle: A massage with oil or paste is essential for keeping your body balanced. Showering in warm water, exposing yourself to sunlight, and dressing warmly.
2 Vasant Ritu (Spring)
This is the season when new leaves and flowers appear. During this season, the rasa and mahabhuta are Kashaya (Astringent), Prithvi, and Vayu. During this season, an individual's strength remains medium, kapha dosha vitiates, and Agni, or digestion power, remains low.
Diet Routine: During this season, eat easily digestible foods such as wheat, rice, old barley, and cereals. Lentil and Mugda are examples of pulses. Bitter, pungent, and astringent-tasting items should be consumed. Honey can be added as well. Food that is cold, heavy, or viscous should be avoided.
Lifestyle: Exercising is extremely important during this season. Massage with Chandan, Kesara, and Aagaru, as well as bathing in tepid water, are recommended. Anjana (ollyrium) and evacuative therapies such as Vamana and Nasya are advised. It is best to avoid sleeping during the day.
- The Grishma Ritu (Summer)
It is an extremely hot season with dangerous winds. The water in wells, lakes, and rivers evaporate, and plants die. Vata Dosha deposition occurs, and Kapha Dosha relaxes. An individual's Agni remains in a mild state. Amla (Sour), Lavana (Pungent), and Katu (Pungent) tastes, as well as warm food, should be avoided.
Diet Routine: Lightly processed foods such as Snigdha (unctuous), Madhura (sweet), Sheeta (cool), and Drava (fluid) Guna, lentils, and rice, for example, should be consumed. It is recommended to drink a variety of fluids such as cold water, fruit juices, buttermilk, mango juice, and plenty of water. Milk with a little sugar should also be consumed before going to bed.
Lifestyle: Staying in cool places, applying sandalwood paste to the body, decorating the house with blossoms, wearing light clothing, and napping during the day are all recommended. Excessive exercise, hard work, and alcoholic beverages should be avoided.
Visarga Kaal/Southern Solstice/Dakshin Ayana (14 July to 14 Jan.)
- Varsha Ritu (Monsoon)
It is the rainy season. During this season, the sky is constantly cloudy, and rain falls. Water has returned to the wells, lakes, and rivers. Rasa and Mahabhuta are Amla (sour), Prithvi (fire), and Agni, respectively. During this season, an individual's strength deteriorates. Agni becomes vitiated, and Vata Dosha variations and Pitta Dosha deposition are prominent.
Diet Routine: Amla (tasty), Lavana (salty), and Sneha (unctuous) foods should be consumed. Among grains, old barley, wheat, rice, and so on are recommended. Soups can also be included in your daily diet. In this season, boiled water is always preferred.
It is best to avoid using only fluid and water.
Lifestyle: During this season, it is recommended to massage with oil and bathe in boiled water. Basti (Enema) is prescribed as an evaluative measure to expel vitiated doshas. Exercising, napping during the day, getting soaked in rain, and hard work are all things that should be avoided.
- Ritu Sharad
The sun shines brilliantly. The sky is clear, but white clouds can be seen from time to time. Wet mud has smeared the ground. Apa and Agni are the transcendent Mahabhutas, and Lavana is the prevalent Rasa (salty). During this season, the vitiated Vats Dosha is appeased, as well as the vitiated Pitta Dosha, and the movement of Agni increases.
Diet Routine: Foods with Tikta (Sharp) and Madhura (Sweet) flavors, as well as Laghu (Light To Process) and cold properties, should be consumed. Green gram, wheat, sugar-sweet, and other grains should be included in your diet. Foods that are hot, sweet, bitter, or astringent should be avoided. Food products containing fat oils, meat, and curd should be avoided.
LifeStyle: It is thought that the moonbeams in the first three hours of the night are very beneficial. As a result, drinking and bathing should be done with moonlight-sanitized water. It is also recommended to apply Chandana paste. During this season, restorative methods such as virechana (cleansing), Raktamokshna (Phlebotomy), and so on should be practiced. Excessive eating, napping during the day, and sun exposure should all be avoided.
- Hemant Ritu (End of Autumn/Beginning of Winter)
Cool breezes begin to blow, and the air becomes chill. Madhura is the dominant Rasa, and Prithvi and Apa are the Mahabhutas. An individual's strength and energy remain at their peak and vitiated Pitta Dosha is alleviated. Agni's movement is also increased.
Diet Routine: Include unctuous, salty, sweaty, and tasty foods in your diet. Rice pulses, green gram, and masha are recommended. Fats, milk and milk products, Shidhu (Fragmented Preparative), sugarcane products, Tila (sesame), and so on are to be included in the diet.
LifeStyle: Dry foods and Vata aggravating foods such as Laghu(light) cool should be avoided. Living in warm places, exercising head and body massage, Atapa Sevana (Sun Bath) use of warm water, and wearing substantial garments are all recommended. Avoiding exposure to cold and strong winds, as well as napping during the day.
In The End
Although the concept of Ritucharya appears to be simple, it is critical for balancing the constitutional entities in accordance with seasonal changes. These guidelines are thus critical for maintaining a disease-free body-mind, reducing morbidity from various seasonal disorders, and improving immunity.
AADAR following Ayurvedic roots in its principles has always carried Ayurveda and its concepts and wants its valuable consumers too to be benefited. We have always been working with a firm belief to treat people from their roots not just treat them for temporary relief which Ayurveda does.