Dhyan Foundation
Spiritual Equation

Getting The Balance Right

Getting The Balance Right - Column By Arti Gaur, Published in India Empire

Ayurvedic treatment is based on balance. Any imbalance is a state of the three doshas-Vata, Pitta and Kapha-causes disease in the body. They are brought back into a state of normalcy by correct regimen, diet and with the use of certain herbs or therapies. The selection of herbs is based on rasas (taste and qualities of the herbs) as the qualities like rasa (taste), guna (quality), virya (potency), vipaka (after taste), prabhava (specific effect) are the factors which are taken into consideration for bringing the doshas into a state of balance.

  Vata Pitta Kapha
Aggravates Pungent, Bitter and Astringent Pungent, Sour and Saline Sweet, Sour and Saline
Alleviates Sweet, Sour and Saline Sweet, Bitter and Astringent Pungent, Bitter and Astringent

There are six rasas (tastes) which are employed properly maintain the health of the body and their incorrect use results in disturbing the doshas. The six tastes are sweet, sour, saline, pungent, bitter and astringent. One of the three doshas is vitiated by three of the rasas and the other three rasas alleviate that particular dosha. The table above explains this in detail.

Herbs or foods which are pungent, bitter and astringent by nature aggravate vata and sweet, sour and saline in nature alleviate vata. That, only in the absence of any inhibiting factor. The inhibiting factor can be potency, after taste etc. for eg. Herbs like Arka (Calotropis Gigantea R) or Guducha (Tinspora Cordifolia) though bitter in taste, do not aggravate vata because the potency (virya) which is hot in nature serves as an inhibiting factor.

Let's try to understand with an example how foods are brought into use for specific purposes :

Oil, ghee and honey are alleviators of vata, pitta and kapha respectively, lets understand how. Oil is unctuous, hot and heavy in nature and vata is just the opposite-cold, rough and light. When there is interaction between substances having mutually opposite qualities, the stronger dominates over the weaker, therefore continuous use of oil alleviates vata.

Similarly, the sweet, cold and heavy nature of ghee alleviates pitta which is pungent, hot and sharp in nature. Honey alleviates kapha as it is sharp, pungent and non-unctuous in taste and kapha is slimy, dull and sweet. So we can understand that substances having attributes opposite to that of the doshas, when continuously used result in alleviating the dosha.

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