Drinking hot water is one of the very good habits that suits most of the people. It is especially beneficial during night-time. Here is the original Ayurvedic reference which explains in great detail regarding benefits of hot water.
English translation – Hot water is prepared by heating the water till it reduces to one eighth part or quarter part, or half part or just heating water till it reaches boiling point.
1 litre of water can be boiled and reduced to 125 ml or 250 ml or 500 ml or just till it reaches boiling point. More the boiling, more the benefits mentioned below.
Table of Contents
Benefits of hot water
Drinking hot water at night time is beneficial in diseases like Kapha related disorders, Amavata (compared to rheumatoid arthritis), decreases fat deposition in the body, cleanses the urinary bladder, useful in the treatment of cough and other respiratory diseases and fever.
How hot water acts?
According to Ayurveda, blockage of different body channels, big and minute, (such as respiratory system, cardiovascular system, etc) by the imbalanced Doshas is one of the major causes of disease manifestation. Hot water avoids this blockage and clears the blockage to an extent. Thus helps in preventing and/or treating diseases.
Hot water health benefits –
- It helps to improve digestion and to relieve indigestion.
- Hot water drinking at night before bed time is an excellent remedy to clear white coated tongue.
- Hot water drinking is one of the major dietary advice in the treatment of cold, cough, respiratory tract infections, Asthma, allergic disorders etc.
- Hot water drinking will reduce the frequency of repeated cold attacks especially in children.
- Hot water drinking is a very good sore throat remedy.
- Drinking a spoon of honey with a glass of water is recommended in obesity treatment.
- Whenever you eat oily food stuff, junk food, or consume ghee, drinking hot water will make your tummy feel lighter. And also, it avoids fat absorption to an extent.
- Hot water cleanses the bladder. So, it is the most natural and easily available bladder cleansing medicine.
- Hot water drinking at night is much recommended in the treatment of fever.
- Hot water drinking is highly recommended in cases of rheumatoid arthritis.
Effect on Doshas
Hot water calms Vata and Kapha while it elevates Pitta.
Hot water relieves Aama, one of the root cause for most of the diseases.
Some precautions and clarifications:
Regular hot water drinking is not advisable if you often suffer from heat and burning sensation (Pitta body type)
Hot water as co-drink
Ayurvedic medicines which are specifically told to be taken along with Hot water
Generally hot water is advised after taking ghee or oil. It aids in easy digestion and avoids indigestion problems. In Ayurvedic treatment with herbal ghee and oils, hot water is the preferred co drink.
Hot water in Panchakarma
Why hot water is always advised during Panchakarma treatment?
Panchakarma treatment is the Ayurvedic procedure to relieve toxins, metabolic wastes from the body. It is done to maintain health and to relieve diseases. There are many rules to follow during Panchakarma procedure, among which using hot water for drinking is very important.
The aim of Panchakarma therapy is to remove the vitiated Doshas (toxins) from the body. This can be likened to getting rid of stains from a vessel. When you want to get rid of very sticky stains from a steel vessel, you often prefer to use hot water rather than cold water. Like, in case of the vessel, in human body also, hot water helps to get rid of the body wastes pretty easily.
Involvement of GIT: In Panchakarma treatment, the gastro intestinal tract is always involved. Hence, digestive system is directly involved in the treatment process. Hence, during Panchakarma treatment, usually a patient’s digestion power reduces. That is why, the patient is advised to take very light, easy-to-digest food items, after the Panchakarma treatment. Hot water tends to improve digestion strength when compared to cold water. Hence using hot water is a must before and after Panchakarma therapy.
Ghee consumption is part of the plan during the pre-phase of Panchakarma. Whenever ghee or oily food is consumed, it is always advised to take hot water. It eases digestion and washes off the extra fat from the gut. Hence, limits its absorption based on body requirement.
Hot water for fever
Rationale of administering hot water during fever:
Question: why is hot water administered during fever, though there is excess heat in the body during fever?
Answer as per Charaka Samhita, Vimana Sthana, 3rd Chapter:
Lord Atreya replied, “Keeping in view physician advise the patient suffering from fever to take hot water so that the immaturely formed Doshas which are responsible for the disease may get matured. The site of origin of fever is Amashaya (stomach).
For the treatment of disease originating from the stomach, usually Pachaka (digestive), as well as emetic (Vamana) and Apatarpana (depleting) drugs are administered. It is because of this that the physician advises the patient suffering from fever to take hot water.
If hot water is taken, this results in a downward movement of Vata (flatus), stimulation of Agni (digestive enzymes), easy digestion (the hot water itself gets easily digested) and drying up of Kapha.
Contra indication of hot water during fever:
Hot water is not given to those patients with excessive vitiation of Pitta or if there is burning sensation, dizziness, delirium and diarrhoea. Hot things, lead to burning sensation, giddiness, delirium and diarrhoea. Only cold food and drinks are helpful in this situation.
Additional points by Vd. Rangaprasad Bhat:
Boiled water benefits
As per Ayurveda textbook, Madanapala Nighantu,
The water is considered to be boiled properly and is ready for drinking when while boiling the froth subsides, the effervescence gets reduced and the water remains calm and still presenting a clear and transparent appearance of water inside the vessel.
The thus prepared boiled water when served hot or warm is light for digestion; augments the digestive fire and simultaneously cleanses it too.
The boiled water pacifies all the three Doshas and acts both as a digestive and carminative.
In general it is beneficial for persons suffering from pain in ribs and flanks, rhinitis, distension of abdomen, hiccough due to vagus nerve irritation, vAtakaphaja diseases.
The water boiled until 1/4th from the original quantity gets reduced, pacifies Vata imbalance disorders, neurological disorders.
The water boiled until 1/2 pacifies Pitta diseases.
The water boiled until 3/4th (tri-pAda hInaM) from the original quantity gets reduced, pacifies Kapha disorders. It increases the agni; is light for digestion and acts as a good absorbent. It further breaks up the attenuation of kapha from the combination of vAta and controls the vAta too.
In case of indigestion – the boiled water when partaken in hot or warm state over the night time (nishi kAle) increases the digestive capacity immediately and addresses indigestion with good effect.
1/4 reduced water is to be partaken in summer and autumn seasons.
The half reduced water is beneficial to human system when taken in winter, spring and rainy seasons.
Click to consult Dr Rangaprasad Bhat
Hot water and heavy periods
I get heavy periods if I consume hot water during periods time. Why?
if there is excess periods and if you are able to reason it to hot water, it is best to avoid hot water or excess consumption of spices during periods.
In Ayurveda terms, Vata and Pitta Dosha are responsible for the menstruation process. Hot water can increase Pitta Dosha, and in turn may cause heavy periods. Spices also can increase Vata and Pitta Dosha.
Hot water for Indigestion, Ama
The hot water means, water boiled for 1 – 2 minutes.
The lukewarm water is the semi cooled boiled water.
When the vessels are oily and greasy, we use hot water to wash them.
There are conditions where our inner channels are greasy and oily.
Indigestion, heaviness of the stomach, early morning phlegm collection in the throat, cold, cough, asthma, phlegm collection in chest
fever of recent origin, rhinitis, on and off constipation, flatulence, etc.
A disease called “ama” happens when a person with weak digestion strength eats food in large quantities. It leads to a bad stagnated amalgam of semi-formed digestive juices and the semi-digested food in the intestines. It is also a form of stuck grease in the system.
Whenever such excess grease is accumulated in the system, hot water is better than cold water for consumption.
After an oil / fat rich meal, Ayurveda recommends having hot water.
Whenever herbal oil or ghee is given as medicine, hot water is given to drink after the medicine.
Coldness causes constriction of body channels and may increase greasiness and stickiness.
Whereas hotness of hot water will break open the blocked channels, widens up the channel lumen and helps to wash off the greasiness.
Coldness + oiliness = blocked channels, increased stickiness
Hotness + oiliness = the pipes get rid of the sticky oil, causing channels to open up.
Read: Unctuousness Quality – Snigdha Meaning, Action On Doshas, Therapeutic Uses
For the same reason, lukewarm water is recommended to drink after an Ayurvedic Panchakarma therapy. Panchakarma helps to get rid of toxins. After the therapy, drinking lukewarm water helps to get rid of miniscule amount of remnant toxins and also improves digestion strength.
The hot water would not cure asthma, or cold, cough or indigestion. But it helps in relieving the symptoms in a small way.
Spiced hot water
For someone with IBS or severe bloating, Jeera water prepared with 1 liter of lukewarm water with 3 pinches of fine powder of cumin is good. Such a person can drink this water throughout the day, instead of normal water.
Read: Cumin benefits, remedies, dose, side effects
Mint water: Some restaurants in India serve Pudina infused hot water. Here, 1 – 2 mint leaves are added to 1 liter of hot water and then filtered. It adds a nice mild aroma of the mint to the water.
Similarly, Tulsi (Holy Basil) water is prepared by adding 5 leaves of tulsi to 1 liter of hot water, filtered after 30-60 minutes. This is good for cold, cough, asthma, and viral fever.
Keep in mind that the above waters are used as a replacement to normal water for drinking throughout the day. Because they are consumed in large quantities, they are made in a dilute form. Hence, the quantity of spice added is very less.
In the same manner, infused hot water can be prepared with white pepper, cinnamon, oregano, spearmint etc.
Hot water and Digestive Juices
According to an expert, a glass of warm water consumed 1/2 an hour before meals is said to hydrate the stomach lining (kledak kapha), and thereby stimulate adequate HCL (pachak pitta) for digestion. Would you comment on this as a measure for improving digestion?
Water taken before food dilutes the digestive juices. But with half an hour gap and taking warm water might not dilute.
Warm water keeps the Kapha under control.
Hydrochloric acid production boosting is a form of boosting Agni. But a major part of Agni is constituted by digestive enzymes.
I would rather rely on Jeera water (cumin water) or ginger decoction / panchakola phanta, rather than just water to increase Agni.