Matrashiteeya is the 8th chapter of Ashtang Hriduya. This chapter tells us about the exact quantity of food to take, the right time to take food, different types of indigestion and their treatment, qualities, and types of drinks, the right method of food intake, etc.
Right Amount of Food – Aharamatra Apeksha:
- People should always consume the proper quantity of food. The right amount of food intake activates Agni –digestion power (which is called the fire in Ayurveda).
- Food that is light to digest and those that are hard to digest both require a specified time for proper digestion.
- In general, if the food is heavy to digests such as oily food and non-veg etc. should be consumed till half of the satiation level achieved.
- If the food is light to digest, it should be intake till one is not overly satiated. The right quantity of food is that which undergoes easy digestion.
- Effect of taking more or less amount of food – less quantity of food intake does not increase strength, immunity. The body will not be nourished properly and leads to Vata imbalance disorders. Excess quantity of food is not desirable and causes a quick increase of Doshas in the body.
- Effects of overeating – Eating excess quantity of food increased Vata and other Doshas suddenly together and it combined with the undigested and vitiated food which produces diseases such as Alaska disease by blocking the movement of food inside the gastrointestinal tract and Visuchika by expelling out the undigested food in both downward and upward Directions through diarrhea and vomiting simultaneously. This is seen in persons who are not self-controlled.
- Alaska – indigestion + constipation – Food neither comes out in the upward direction by vomiting nor from the downward direction by Purgation. Nor it undergo digestion in the stomach. It stays in the stomach and this condition is known as Alaska.
- Visuchika – Gastroenteritis – Sudden and profound aggravation Vata, along with other Doshas, the person experiences pain in the entire body like pricked by needles, hence this disease is called Visuchika.
Influence of different Doshas in Alaska and Visuchika –
If Vata is aggravated, it causes
- Shula – abdominal pain
- Bhrama – Delusion
- Anaha – bloating, fullness
- Kampa – tremors
- Stambha – stiffness etc symptoms.
If Pitta is aggravated, it causes
- Javara – fever
- Atisara – diarrhea, dysentery
- Antardaha – internal burning sensation
- Trishna– excessive thirst
- Pralaya – panic, unconsciousness
If Kapha is aggravated, it causes
- Chardi – Vomiting
- Angaguruta – the heaviness of the body
- Vak Sangha – Difficulty to speak
- Shteevana – excessive salivation, expectoration, and spitting
Manifestation of Alasaka symptoms:
- Alaska occurs typically in that person who is weak,
- People who have low digestion strength
- People who suppress urges, habitually.
- In those people, Vata gets increased and gets associated with Kapha dosha to obstruct the movement of undigested food in the digestive tract.
- It causes the food to stay in the stomach as a foreign body and causes abdominal colic and other symptoms without vomiting and diarrhea.
Highly impair Doshas, move into vitiated and obstructed channels by the accumulation of undigested food and these Doshas get obstructed in the GI tract and begin to move in other channels. Thus these Doshas spread throughout the body and make the body stiff like a log of wood. This disease is known as Dandakalasaka, this should be rejected for treatment as it is quick in causing Death.
Persons who indulge in –
- Viruddha Ashana – taking incompatible foods,
- Adhyashana – taking excess food
- Aajeerna Ashana – Eating over undigested food,
- Develops the tremble Amadosa which is similar to poison. Hence it is also called Amavisha. Such people avoid treatment because of its similarity with poison, quickness in causing death.
Treatment of Alaska
- Undigested food stay inside the gastrointestinal tract should be removed quickly after deciding the conditions of easy management.
- The person is made to drink warm water mixed with powder of Vacha, Saindhava, and Madanaphala.
- This will cause vomiting, this therapy is followed up with Swedana, Next, Phalavarti prepared from fruits which helps in downward movement of faces and flatus should be administered, the body part which is rigid should be well fomented and then wrapped with a cloth.
Treatment of Vishucika –
The patient should be on fast that day and taken care of as the one who has undergone purgation therapy. All the post-Virechana procedures and treatments should be given to the veeshuchika patient.
Aama Dosha Chikitsa –
- The patient of indigestion who having severe abdominal pain should not take pain killer drugs, the Agni (digestive fire) which is associated with Ama improperly processed metabolites will not be able to digest the Doshas, drugs and food combination arising severe trouble will soon kill the patient.
- After the food is found digested, if stiffness and heaviness of the abdomen persisting, then the medicines should be given to digest the residue Doshas and to stimulate the Agni.
- Diseases produced by Ama become relieved by Apatarpana, three kinds of Apatarpana, appropriate to the three Doshas of the body should be adopted after careful consideration of all the aspects.
- If Ama is small, only Langhana (fasting) will be suitable,
- If Ama is moderate Langhana (fasting) and Pachana (digestive drug) needed,
- If Ama is severe, then Shodhana (purification through Panchakarma therapy) is necessary, which will expel out the Dosha and Ama from the very root.
- Treatment principle for diseases other diseases should be treated by adopting the treatment which is opposite their causative factors. This is called Hetu Viparyaya Chikitsa. “Hetu” means “causative factors”, however, the diseases reoccur for a long time then the Hetu Viparyaya should be given up and disease-specific treatment should be adopted. It is called Vyadhi Viparyaya Chikitsa.
- When the Doshas returned to their normal level, when the Ama is completely relieved, when digestion activity is completely restored to normal, then Oleation therapies and enema therapy, etc. should be administered appropriately.
Ajirna Bheda (different kinds of indigestion) –
Impair of Kapha dosha can causes” Ama Ajeerna” It is characterized by swelling in the eyes sockets and cheeks, belching immediately after meals, and excess salivation, nausea, and heaviness of the body.
Vishthabdha Ajirna –
This type of indigestion is caused by due to impair of Vata dosha and it is characterized by pain in the abdomen, constipation, and flatulence.
Vidagdha Ajirna –
This type of indigestion is due to impair of Pitta dosha and has symptoms like thirst, fainting, dizziness, giddiness, burning sensation, and sour belching.
Ajirna Chikitsa (Treatment of Indigestion)
- For Ama Ajirna – Langhana should be done
- For Vishtabdha Ajirna – Swedana should be done
- For Vidagdha Ajirna – Vamana should be done.
Vilambika disease –
Vilambika is another kind of indigestion that occurs due to excess accumulation of Ama inside the channels. It is caused due to impair of Kapha and Vata dosha and has developed all the symptoms of Ama and treatment also similar to that of Ama.
Rasashesha Ajeerna –
Rasashesha Ajeerna is another kind of indigestion that includes Lack of energy, discomfort in the region of the heart, belching. Such a person should be sleeping for some time during the day without eating anything. Indigestion patients should sleep during the daytime without taking any food, later, when he develops hunger he should eat a small quantity of easily digestible food.
Ajirna Samanya Laksana (general symptoms of indigestion)
- Diarrhea or constipation
- Inactivity of Vata
- Distension of the abdomen
- Feeling of Heaviness
Ajirna Anyakaranani (other causes of indigestion)
- Consuming large quantity of food,
- Foods that dislike can cause flatulence,
- Excess cooked or uncooked food,
- Food that is not easily digested,
- Food that is dry, very cold, and contaminated,
- Food that causes a burning sensation during digestion,
- Food that is dried up or soaked in more water,
- Food does not undergo proper digestion,
- Also, the food consumed by persons afflicted with grief, anger, excess hunger, etc.
Dushta Ashana –
Consuming suitable and unsuitable foods mixed together is known as Samashana.
Consume less or more quantity of food at an improper time is known as Vishamashana. All these cause death or dreaded diseases in the body.
Ahara Vidhi (regimen of diet)
- Kale Satmyam – Food should be intake at the proper time,
- Shuchi Hitam – Food should be customary, clean, and suited to health,
- Snigdha, Ushna, Laghu – unctuous, hot and easy to digest,
- Tanmanaa – consuming food with attention
- Shadrasa, Madhurapraayam – Food should contain all six tastes with a predominance of sweet taste,
- Snana – food consuming after taking bath,
- Kshut vaan – food taking after having a good hunger,
- Dhauta Pada kara aananaha – meal consume after washing the feet, hands, and face,
- Tarpayitva pitrun, Devan, Atitheen, Balakaan, Guroon – food intake after satisfying the Pitrus, gods, guests, children, and Guru.
- Food intake without scolding or abusing the food, without talking;
- Food that is contaminated with grass, hairs, etc. re-heated, which consists of more vegetables and undesirable grains, and very hot and very salty should be avoided.
Food that should not be consumed regularly
- Kilata (dairy product – sweet in taste),
- Dadhi – Curds,
- Kuchika (solid part of curds),
- Kshara (alkalies),
- Sukta (fermented gruel),
- Ama Mulaka – Uncooked radish,
- The meat of animals which are skeletal, dry meat, the meat of the boar, sheep, cow, fish, and buffalo,
- Masha (black gram),
- Germinated grains,
- Dried vegetables,
Pathya – food that can be consumed regularly (on daily basis)
- Shali (rice),
- Godhuma (wheat),
- Yava – Barley – Hordeum vulgare,
- Shashtika (rice maturing in sixty days),
- Jangala (meat of animals of desert-like lands),
- sunisannaka, Jivanti – Leptadenia reticulata,
- Balamulaka (young radish),
- Pathya (Haritaki)
- Amalaka (Amla – Indian gooseberry),
- Mridwika – dry grapes,
- Mudga – green gram,
- Sarkara (sugar),
- Ghrita (ghee),
- Divyodaka (rainwater or pure water),
- Ksheera (milk),
- Kshoudra (honey),
- Dadima – Pomegranate – Punica granatum
- Saindhava – Rock Salt (salt)
- Triphala along with honey and ghee
- Any other things which are good for promoting and maintaining health and dispelling diseases from the body can also be consumed habitually.
Anupana (after drink)
- Coldwater is the ideal Anupana after meals which are prepared from Yava – (Barley) wheat,
- Dadhi – Curds/yogurt,
- Warm water is an ideal after-drink forFoods that are stiff
- Mastu (the watery part of curds, whey)
- Takara (diluted buttermilk)
- Amla kanjika (fermented gruel);
- Dishes prepared from vegetables
- Mudga (green gram) and other legumes
- Sura (beer) is the ideal Anupana for a lean person.
- Honey mixed water is the ideal Anupana for obese people.
- Meat soup is good Anupana for the emaciated,
- Wines are Anupana of meat and to those who have poor digestive capacity,
- Milk is best suited for those who are debilitated by diseases, medicines, walking too many distances, speaking more and loudly, sexual intercourse, fasting, more exposure to sun, and for the emaciated, the aged, and children.
- An ideal Anupana: An ideal Anupana is that which has opposite properties of those of the food intake but not incompatible with food such Anupana is always valuable.
- Benefits of Anupana:
- Anupana –helps the proper movement of food inside the body,
- Stability of the body parts,
- Loosening of hard masses of food and make them proper liquefy,
- Provide moisture and help in easy digestion.
- Contraindication for Anupana
- It is not good in diseases above the shoulders such as ear, nose, throat, eyes, and brain,
- Dyspnea, cough, injury to chest, rhinitis,
- Those who engaged in singing and speaking and in hoarseness of voice.
- Over-hydrated, who are suffering from polyuria,
- Wounds (ulcers).
- All persons – both healthy and sick should avoid speaking, walking long distances, and sleeping immediately after consuming liquids,
- People who exposure more to the sun and fire,
- Travel in vehicles,
- Swimming and riding on animals after consuming food.
Ahara Kala (proper time of meals)
- The ideal time for taking meals is after the elimination of feces and urine,
- When the mind is clean and relaxed (devoid of emotions),
- When the Doshas are in the normal state,
- When belching are pure without and foul smell or taste,
- When hunger is well manifest,
- When the flatus is moving downward easily,
- When the digestive activity is good,
- When the sense of organs are clear functioning,
- When the body is light.
- Food should be consumed by observing the rules and procedures of taking food. That is the ideal time of taking food.