The word Ritucharya is made of two words:
Ritu means season
charya means do’s and don’ts (Regimens)
Greeshma Ritu in Ayurveda is comprised of two months that is from the period of Mid-May till Mid-July (Jyeshtha and Aashadha masa ). It is also the last of the 3 season in the Adana Kala period.
TYPES OF KALA-
When sun moves in a southern direction. Varsha (rainy) ,sharada (autumn) and hemanta (early winter) ritu come under dakshinayana kala that is southern solstice. Sweet (madhura), sour (amla) and salty (lavana) tastes will be more powerful.
When the Sun moves in a northern direction. Shishira (late winter),Vasanta (spring) and Greeshma (summer) ritu come under uttarayana kala that is northern solstice. Among pancha mahabhutas agni tatva is predominant during this ritu. Agni tatva also influences the fire element of the body i.e. pitta dosha. Bitter (tikta), astringent Kashaya) and pungent (katu) tastes will be more powerful.
IMPORTANCE OF RITUCHARYA-
Basic Principle of Ayurvedic system of Medicine is
“ स्वस्थस्य स्वास्थ्य रक्षणं आतुरस्य विकार प्रशमनं च l”
(Which means to maintain the health of the healthy and to cure the diseases of the diseased.)
- For this purpose dinacharya and ritucharya are explained in the ayurvedic texts.
- The importance of Ritucharya is that we are able to stop disease even before it starts.
- If the body is unable to adopt itself with the seasonal changes, it may lead to dosha vishamya where body is highly susceptible to one or more other kinds of disorders.
- As the adaptations according to the changes are the key for survival, thus the knowledge of ritu charya is important.
- If it is ignored it may lead to derangement of homeostasis and causes various diseases such as obesity, Diabetis mellitus, Hypertension, Cancer etc.
- Life style disorders are very common in present era, basically originating from lack of following seasonal regimens due to lack of concentration in seasonal charecteristics.
- Thus to stay healthy and happy it is necessary to adopt scientific living that is living harmoniously with the seasonal changes.
- As the prime principle of Ayurvedic system of medicine is preventive aspect rather than curative, that can be obtained by adopting changes in diet and prachices.
Summer season is the last season in Adana Kala. Hence in Greeshma, our strength is at our most depleted as we have gone through 3 seasons of decreasing body strength in this period, starting from late winter (Shishira), through Vasanta (spring) and finally Greeshma (summer).
- During summer season the sun rays become powerful and appear to be destructive due to the double combination of Adana Kala + the season itself.
- Kapha i.e nourishing and cleansing factor in our body decreases day by day and vata increases consequently along with pitta.
- So we need to cool and balance this naturally aggrevated doshas during summer specially pitta i.e. Fire element in our body.
- Ritucharya rules state that we should eat cool, watery, light food (ahara). This ahara is chosen as digestion is weakened due to excess Agni (heat) in the environment. The body is unable to digest heavy, oily food items.
- The dryness in the air and the body in Greeshma Ritu due to high, scalding Sun energy further increases in Varsha where the environment is cold and windy.
PATHYA IN GREESHMA RITU-
If we follow the Ritu sanctioned diet + Dinacharya practices, this reforms strength and immunity and capacity to absorb and metabolise nutrients better.
- Sweet , light to digest, fatty, cold and liquids food items should be taken
- Boiled rice which is moon like white in colour should be eaten along with mamsa rasa i.e. meat of desert animals.
- Curd churned and mixed with sugar and pepper powder should be taken.
- Syrups which are sweet, sour and salt should be taken.
- Avoid or reduce intake of coffee, tea and carbonated drinks as they contain acids, caffeine, that causes dehydration.
- Consume water enriched fruits like watermelon, peaches, plums, mangoes, grapes, pears, avocado and berries.
- Take most hydrating vegetables like cucumber, sweet potato, celery, green leafy vegetables, cabbage etc.
- Eat fresh food.
- Consume Buttermilk, tender coconut water, fruit juices and traditional drinks like sharbats.
- Take herbal teas like mind tea which provides relaxation and stamina.
- Diet should be of sweet, light to digest, liquid form, milk and ghee is also good
- Gulkand is best known for relieving excess heat.
- Syrups which have all the tastes, prepared with many substances should be taken.
- Cold water kept in mudpot should be used for drinking.
- Take corn flour mixed with cold water and sugar.
- Pancharasa ,panaka ,Mantha and Saktu should be consume during summer season.
- Take diluted syrup of ananta, gulab, amra, draksha, chandana, ushira, jambhira and kamala.
- The above mentioned drinks are very soothing, cooling, tasty, nourishing and satisfactorily quenches thirst.
VIHARA (DAILY ROUTINE)-
- Day time should be spent in forests having tall trees reaching the sky which obstruct the hot rays of the sun or in houses around which bunches of flowers and grapes are hanging from their creepers.
- Go for a calming walk in the evening, near the river, beach or in the gardens.
- During nights spend time on terrace facing moon light Sleep on soft bed prepared with flowers of lotus, banana, chameli etc
- It is the only ritu where ayurveda recommends for day sleep.
- Spend the day remaining inside the house cooled by water fountains, and there by relieve yourself from the heat of the sun.
- At night sleep on terrace with friends, relatives by singing, chatting and playing.
- Spend the time with children, sarika pakshi (mynah bird) and pleasantly talking parrots.
- Take Cold water bath twice a day.
- Wear garlands, thin and very light cotton clothes.
- Try to stay indoors in cool place.
- Use sandal fragrance perfumes regularly.
- Apply sandalwood paste over the body.
APATHYA IN GREESGHMA RITU-
- Avoid katu (bitter), tikta (pungent), kashaya (astringent) rasa.
- Avoid foods that produce heat within the body like spicy, oily, fast and fried foods.
- Madhya (alcohol) should not be taken, if very necessary, taken diluted with more quantity of water or in very little quantity.
- If madya taken in large doses, it will cause inflammatory conditions, it makes the body fragile and weak, increases burning sensation and causes delusion.
- Refrigerated food and drinks should be avoided because it triggers pitta thus producing heat in the body.
- Solid foods which are heavy to digest should be avoided.
- Leftover meal should not be consumed.
VIHARA (DAILY ROUTINE):
- Avoid exposure to sunlight and wind.
- Exercises and exertion should be avoided.
- To sum it up with present era
By following and taking above precautions, we can prevent seasonal disorders like sun stroke, thirst and exhaustion.