Ayurveda, the science of life, the king of medicine almost covers all aspects of a life. It tells and educates us to lead a happy life without any health suffocation.
Ayurveda has cure for almost all diseases. Even some degenerative disorders, a part of lifestyle disorders which has no treatment or cure in the modern medicines can gain benefit from Ayurvedic herbs and medications. Many of us may wonder what Ayurveda tells about Alcohol, a major abusing agent.
As a form of primary medication, Ayurveda medicine provides complete recovery from alcoholism and drug addiction. Yet, Ayurveda doesn’t completely avoid alcohol! Ayurvedic view of alcohol is quite different from what we wrong believe. This ancient medicine has detailed the benefits as well as the harms of drinking alcohol. To put in a lighter note, alcohol in Ayurveda is more healthier and less harmer than carbonated beverages or processed foods. It is not forbidden in Ayurveda, yet has laid several stringent rules to alcohol consumption.
In the pre-historic period, alcohol is consumed with the intention to promote health, for joy and ecstasy, very occasionally.
Now let us have an insight on Ayurvedic interpretation of Alcohol.
Alcohol and Ayurveda – An introduction
Ayurvedic interpretation of alcohol is very simple.
Drinking alcohol has become a part of lifestyle in the modern age. We call them social drinking, so called the drinking for fun, friends, relatives and neighbors.
The simple concept, ‘Too much of anything is good for nothing’ applies here. Moderate drinking is good for health. This is not something discovered in the recent years, yet discovered before 5000 years.
Drinking wine and brandy has been mentioned in Ayurveda several hundred years ago. In fact, the benefit of drinking wine for health, especially red wine for cardio health has been highlighted in the manuscripts of Ayurveda. It aids in digestion, clears the digestive problems and promotes sound sleep. Ayurveda medicines actually uses over eighty different types of herbal wines named Arista & Asavas to treat specific disease and condition.
However, there are quite a few restrictions imposed by Ayurvedic medicine to take alcohol.
Madya – Medicinal uses of Ayurvedic alcoholic beverages
Ayurvedic beverages, herbal teas, infusions, fruit juices, etc include alcoholic beverages. These beverages are specially designed to cure the health ailments. Alcoholic beverages in Ayurveda created with an intention to cure specific health ailments are termed as Madya. Simply, Madya refers to alcohol beverages in Ayurveda that comes with medicinal uses, not as a toxic agent.
Madya is made from raw materials along with the process of fermentation. Some of the raw produce used includes but not limited to fruits, dry fruits, flowers, herbs, sugar, honey, jaggery, cereals, etc. For instance, wine made with honey, jaggery and fruits are meant to cure many diseases and daily health troubles. Some of the examples of Madya are given below:
- Sarkara: A wine made of sugar acts as cardiac tonic, improves kidney functions, etc
- Gouda: Made of honey, jaggery and flower extracts, this wine improves skin complexion, enhance digestive power and promotes immunity.
- Mardvikal Kapisa: A grape wine made with dry grapes cure anemia, prevents diabetes, improves thyroid functions and there is a lot of benefit.
- Tusambu: An alcoholic drink made of barley is great for all three doshas.
- Dhanyamala: Made by infusing water with a variety of grains, Dhanyamala is liquor with great effects on health disorders.
There are many varieties of alcoholic beverages in Ayurveda made exclusively to vitiate each dosha and curb down the associated health concerns of dosha.
Warnings about alcohol in Ayuveda
Consuming alcohol, including the alcoholic beverages recommended in Ayurveda is considered a toxin. Any kind of alcohol carries a toxic effect. This has been evidently mentioned in the manuscripts of Ayurveda.
Alcohol consumption should go with these aspects.
- Know your dosha type
- Taking right food
- Not allowed to consume without having a bath
- Check for the season / climate
- Type of drink / raw material used to create the drink
- Type of vessel that serve the drink
Ayurvedic description on alcohol consumption is very straight forward. Being an intoxicating agent, if your body is not prepared to welcome toxins, stay away from drinking alcohol.
Concept of alcohol consumption in Ayurveda
So far, it has become very clear that Ayurveda prohibits regular intake of alcohol and laid several restrictions for the same. Yet, the concept behind the same has a different perspective.
Generally, what we believe is excessive consumption of alcohol brings damaging effect to almost all vital organs of the body. Simply, the nerves that run from head to toe get intoxicated by alcohol consumption. The stimulated nerves lose its stability, carries the blood to and fro to the heart faster. Brain cells are also stimulated by alcohol, which make you feel elated for no reason. While drinking occasionally has no such severe effects, regular or heavy intake of alcohol brings damages to functions of vital organs.
To the contrary, according to Ayurveda, the characteristics of alcohol don’t match with the characteristics of a healthy body and mind. In a lighter note, alcohol consumption disturbs immunity of the body. The qualities of alcohol opposes with qualities of Oja, called immune system. Alcohol directly degrades the functions of Oja, the immune system, lessening the immunity of the body. Also, it reduces the Oja of the mind too!
Poor immunity means degraded health and well-being, inviting all diseases.
As said earlier, you will have to follow some strict rules to consume alcohol. According to Ayurvedic text, if alcohol used properly according to the recommendation and guidance, it becomes nectar, otherwise it becomes a poison.
Word of Caution:
If you are getting any Ayurvedic therapy with medicines, don’t drink alcohol even moderately. It reduces the effects of medicine and delays getting cure from diseases.