Quality Of Foods – Astanga Hridaya Sutrasthana 6 – Annaswaroopa

The sixth chapter of Astanga Hridaya is called as Annaswaroopa Vijnaneeya Adhyaya. It deals with details of different food materials. The chapter covers corns, grains, legumes, pulses, prepared foods, non veg food, leafy vegetables, fruits, salts and medicinal herbs. 

Table of Contents

Shloka Recitation Video

Shuka Dhanya Varga – Group of corns with spikes 


Types of rice

Rakta (red), mahan (big sized rice), kalama, turnaka, shakunahruta, saaramukha, deerghashuka (having long sharp spike at the ends), sugandhika (having good smell), rodhrashuka, pundra, pandu,  pundarika, Pramoda, Gaura (white rice), Sariva, Kanchana (golden colored rice), mahisha, Shuka, Dushaka, Kusumandaka, Langala Lohavala, Kardama, Sheetabheeruka, Patanga, stapaneeya (bright red) – these varieties of rice are good for consumption.  – 1-3

Qualities, health benefits of rice

Svadu rasa – sweet taste
Swadu paka – sweet taste conversion after digestion
Snigdha – unctuous
Vrushya – natural aphrodisiac
Baddhalpavarchasaha – causes mild constipation, causes lesser volume of faeces
Kashaya anurasa – mild astringent taste
Pathya – suitable for daily consumption
Laghu – light to digest
Mutrala – diuretic, increases urine volume
Hima – coolant

Red variety of rice is the best quality (Raktashali). It relieves thirst and balances all the three Doshas.
Next best to it is Mahan (big sized rice) variety. Next to it is Kalama variety. and the chronology continues, as in Verse 1 – 3.

Yavaka, Haayana, Paamshu, Vashpa, Naishadha varieties of rice are
Svadu – sweet,
Ushna – hot in potency,
Guru – hard to digest,
Shleshmapittala – increases Kapha and Pitta
Snigdha (unctuous, oily)
Amlapaka – undergoes sour taste conversion after digestion
Srushtamutrapureesha – increases bulk and volume of faeces and urine
They are bad in their reverse order.

Shashtika Shali – Paddy which matures in 60 days

Shashtika shali – the paddy which matures in 60 days is best among all paddy. It is
Snigdha  – unctuous, oily
Grahi – absorbent, useful in mal-absorption syndrome and diarrhoea
Laghu (light to digest)
Svadu – sweet
Tridoshaghna – balances all the three Doshas
Sthira – brings in stability
Hima –coolant
It is of two types – Gaura – white and Asita-gaura (blackish white).
Next inferior to shashtika is mahavrihi, next to that is krishnavrihi and others such as jatu mukha, kukkutandaka, lavaka, paravataka, sukara, varaka, uddalaka, ujvala, cina, sarada, dardura, gandhana and kuruvinda. 7 b- 10 a

The other types of rice are – sweet in taste, sour at the end of digestion, increases Pitta and are hard to digest. It increases volume of urine and faeces, increases body heat and causes imbalance of Tridosha. – 10 – 11

Truna dhanya Varga – group of grains produced by grass like plants

Kangu, Kodrava, Neevara, Shyamaka and other grains are cold in potency, easily digestible, increases Vata, Lekhana (scraping, scarifacient) and balance Kapha and Pitta. – 11

Of them, Priyangu helps in fracture healing, nutritive, nourishing and is hard to digest.
Koradusha is grahi (absorbent), coolant and anti-poisonous.

(Yava) Barley benefits

Yava (Barley) is
Rooksha (dry)
Sheeta – cold
Guru (Heavy to digest)
Svadu – Madhura (sweet)
Sara – promotes bowel movements
Vit-vata krut – it increases the bulk of faeces and causes flatus
Vrushya – natural aphrodisiac
Stairyakrut – increases body stability
Useful in
Mutrameda – urinary disorder
Pitta – Kapha imbalance disorders
Peenasa – running nose, rhinitis
Shwasa – Asthma, COPD, wheezing, breathing difficulty
Kasa – cough, cold
Urusthamba – thigh stiffness
Kantaroga – diseases of throat
Twakroga – skin diseases – 13 – 14

Anuyava ( a small sized barley) is inferior in qualities to that of Yava. Venuyava (seeds of bamboo) is non- unctuous and hot in potency. 15

Godhuma – Wheat benefits

Wheat is
Vrushya – natural aphrodisiac
Sheeta – cold
Guru (Heavy to digest)
Snigdha – unctuous, oily
Jivaniya – enlivening
Vatapittaha – balances Vata and Pitta
Sandhanakari – heals fractures and wounds
Madhura (sweet)
Sthairyakrut – increases body stability
Sara – promotes bowel movements
Pathya – can be had on daily basis
Nandimukhi variety of wheat is good for health. It is
Sheeta – cold
Kashaya (astringent)
Madhura (sweet)
And Laghu (light to digest) 16

Shimbidhanya varga – (group of legumes and pulses)

Mudga (green gram) , adhaki (toor dal), masura(lentil) and other varieties belong to the group called shimbidhanya (those having pods/legumes).
Vibandhakrut – They cause constipation,
Kashaya, Swadu – astringent sweet in taste,
Grahi – absorbent,
Katu vipaka – pungent after digestion,
Sheeta – cold in potency,
Laghu – easily digestible,
Mitigate fat, kapha, asra (blood) and pitta, suited for use as external application and bathing the body parts etc. 17-18 a

Among them, mudga (green gram) is best, it causes mild increase of chala (vata):
Kalaya (round pea) increases vata and dryness, produces more faeces and is hard to digest 18
Rajamasha (big sized black gram) increases Vata, is dry, heavy to digest and increases bulk of faeces.

Horse gram benefits

Kulattha (horse gram) is
Ushna – hot in potency,
Amlapaka – sour at the end of digestion,
Cleanses semen,
Useful in urinary stones,
Shwasa – Asthma, COPD, wheezing, breathing difficulty
Peenasa – running nose, rhinitis
Kasa – cough, cold
Kapha – Vata diseases
But it increases bleeding disorders and is not recommended in such conditions, like menorrhagia. 19

Nishpava (flat bean)

aggravates vata, pitta, bleeding disorders,
it increases breast milk production and promotes urine formation. It is
Guru (Heavy to digest)
Sara – promotes bowel movements
Vidahi – increases burning sensation
It is not good for eyes and semen quality.
It decreases Kapha, inflammation and is useful in poisoning. 20

Masha – Black gram benefits

Black gram is
Snigdha – unctuous,
Balya – increases strength,
Increases kapha and Pitta
Malakara – increases bulk of faeces,
Sara – laxative,
Guru – not easily digestible,
Ushna – hot in potency,
Vatahara – mitigate Vata,
Madhura – sweet in taste,
Shukra vruddhikara, Virekakrut – increases semen and promotes ejaculation strength. 21

Fruits of kakandola and atmagupta (Mucuna pruriens) are similar to black gram in qualities. 22

Sesame seed benefits

Tila (sesamum) is
Ushna – hot in potency ,
Tvachya – good for the skin,
Sheetasparsha – cold on touch,
Keshya – good for hairs,
Balya – strengthening,
Guru – hard to digest,
Alpamutra – produces little quantity of urine,
Katu paka – pungent at the end of digestion
Medhakrut – increases intelligence,
Agnikrut – increases digestive function,
and increases kapha and pitta. 23

Uma – linseed

Seeds of uma (linseed) is
Snigdha unctuous,
Madhura Tikta – sweet – bitter in taste,
Ushna – hot in potency,
Increases kapha and pitta, hard to digest, not good for vision and semen,
pungent at the end of digestion.
Similar are the seeds of kusumbha. 24

Masa (black gram) in the group of simbija (legumes) and yavaka (small barley) in the group of sukaja (cereals) are inferior.

Fresh grains (just harvested) are abhisyandi (causes excess exudation from tissue pores and block them by it), those old by one year are easily digestible.
Those which grow quickly, those which are removed of their husk, those that are properly fried are also easy to digest. 25
Thus ends the group of shimbi dhanyas.(legumes).

Kritanna varga- (group of prepared foods)

Manda, peya, vilepi and odana are preparations of rice or other grains cooked in water.

Manda – The thin fluid resembling water, drained out immediately after boiling is known as manda;
Peya – slightly thicker to manda but still only liquid is peya;
Vilepi – the next stage with more of solid grain and less of fluid is called vilepi and
Odana – the last stage which is solid without fluid portion is known as odana.

Manda, peya, vilepi and odana are more easily digestible in their preceding order of enumeration.
Manda – easiest to digest. Odana – is comparatively harder to digest.


Manda (thin fluid drained out) Manda is the best. It causes easy movement of faeces and flatus, relieves thirst and exhaustion, It nullifies residual doshas. Hence it is used as diet after Panchakarma, wherein all the Doshas are eliminated.
Manda helps digestion, restores the normalcy of the tissues, causes softness of the channels, perspiration and kindles the digestive activity. 26-27 ½


Peya (more liquid, less solid) relieves hunger, thirst, exhaustion, debility, diseases of the abdomen and fevers, it helps in easy elimination of faeces, good for all, kindles appetite and aids digestion. 28


Vilepi (less liquid more solid) withholds discharge of fluids from the body, good for the heart, relieves thirst, kindles appetite, ideal for all, especially for those suffering from ulcers, eye diseases, those who have been administered Panchakarma purification therapies, who are weak and who have been given fats for drinking as part of Snehana therapy (before Panchakarma). 29


Odana (solid)  prepared with grains which have been washed well, in which the entire water has evaporated and which is devoid of hot fumes is easy to digest; likewise that prepared along with addition of decoction of medicinal substances of hot potency or that prepared with fried grains are also easily digestible; the opposite of these that is prepared with addition of milk, mutton etc,. are hard to digest.
In this manner, the effects of the grain, kind of processing, admixtures, quantity and other aspects should all be determined. 30-31 ½

Mamsa rasa (meat soup)

Brihmana – nourishing
Preenana – gives satisfaction,
Vrushya – aphrodisiac,
Chakshushya – good for the eye (vision) and
Vranaha – heals ulcers and wounds. 32

Mudgasupa (soup of green gram)

good for health, for those who have undergone Panchakarma purification therapies and for those suffering from ulcers, diseases of the throat and eyes. 32 ½

Kulattha Supa (horse gram soup) 

Vatanulomi – initiates normal movement of Vata
Useful in
Gulma (abdominal tumor), tuni and pratituni (pains of the groin region) 33

Other eatables

Eatables prepared from Tila (sesamum), Pinyaka (residue of sesamum after the oil is taken out), dried leafy vegetables, germinated grains, shandaki vataka (balls of fried rice dried in sun and then fried in oil) are not good for eyes, increase the doshas, cause debility and are hard to digest. 34

Hence, Ayurveda does not recommend germinated grains.


Rasala – curds churned and added with pepper powder and sugar- it causes increase in body weight, it is aphrodisiac, unctuous, improves strength and taste.

Panaka (vegetable / fruit juice)

Relieves exhaustion, hunger, thirst and fatigue, gives satisfaction. It is generally hard to digest, stays long in the stomach, is diuretic and good for the heart. Its properties depends on material from which it is prepared. 35

Laja (fried paddy)

Laja is prepared by frying paddy. Relieves thirst, vomiting, diarrhoea, diabetes, obesity, mitigates kapha, cough and pitta, increases appetite, easy to digest and is cold in potency. 36

Prithuka (parboiled and flaked paddy)

hard to digest, strengthening, increases kapha and causes constipation. Prithuka is prepared by boiling paddy for a short while and pounding it with a pestle and mortar. 37

Dhana (fried barley and other grains)

stays long in the stomach causing indigestion, is dry, satisfying, scarifying, and hard to digest. Dhana is made by frying barley which is soaked in water.

Saktu (corn flour)

Saktu is flour either raw or fried.
Corn flour is easy to digest, relieves hunger, thirst, fatigue, eye diseases and wounds, is nutritious and taken as a drink gives strength immediately.
Corn flour should not be eaten without drinking water in between,
Should not be consumed twice in a day
Should not be consumed at night
Should not be taken solely, without other kinds of foods.
Should not be taken after meals.
It should not be hard to chew and it should not be taken in excessive quantity. 38-39

Many tasty eatables are prepared from the flour of rice and other cereals, horse gram, bengal gram and other legumes, with addition of spices, sour and fragrant substances, some of them are boiled in water, some are steamed, some are fried in oil etc, vegetables like onions, brinjals, etc. are also used in some preparations. These are usually consumed as side–dishes or snacks in between meals. However in view of their difficult digestibility, some warnings have been enumerated above.


produces giddiness, dryness indigestion and vitiates vision. Pinyaka is the residue of sesamum, groundnut and other oil seeds, after extracting the oil from it.


Is meat, cut into minute bits, added with spices like pepper, ginger etc, and roasted or fried.
Vegetable vesavara is prepared with flour or pulses of various kinds, added with spices etc.

Vesavara is hard to digest, is unctuous, increases strength and builds the body.
Vesavara prepared from green gram and others is hard to digest and possess properties similar to the material from which it is prepared. 41

Eatables cooked by kukula (steaming),
karpara (baked on hot mud or iron pan),
brashtra (in a vessel kept over a stove),
kanda (inside a hearth) and
angara (baked by placing on burning coal directly) are easy to digest in the successive order of their enumeration.

This means, eatables prepared directly over coal is easier to digest than eatables cooked by steaming. 42
Thus ends the groups of prepared foods.

Mamsa varga – (group of meats)

Mriga varga (deer etc)

Harina (antelope, fawn) Kuranga (type of deer), Arksa (white footed antelope) Gokarna (Deer antelope), Mrigamatrika (Red coloured hare like deer), Shasha (rabbit), Shambara (deer with branched horns), Charushka (gazelle) sarabha (eight footed animal) Etc. are known as Mriga 43.
These are different kinds of deer, antelope and bucks. Some of them have horns, some are hornless, all of them are herbivorous and live in dry regions, especially in shrubby forests. In olden days they were being hunted mainly for food.

Viskira varga

These are group of birds which scratch ground with legs to pick food
Lava (bustard quail), Vartika (bush quail), Vartira (rain quail), Raktavartma (red eyed owl), Kukkubha (wild cock), Kapinjala (black partridge), Upachakra (small greek pheasant), Chakora (greek pheasant), Kurubahava, Vartaka (button quail), Vartika (bush quail), Tittiri (grey partridge), krakara (black partridge), sikhi (peacock), tamracuda (domestic cock), bakara (small creane), gonarda (siberian crane), girivartika (mountain quail), Sharapada (a kind of sparrow), indrabha (hedge sparrow), varata (goose) etc. belong to the group known as viskira (birds which scratch the ground with their legs and picks up their food.) 44-45


group of birds which peck the food and eat –
Jivanijivaka (greek partridge ), datyuha (gallinule), bhrunagahwa (shrike), suka (parakeet), sarika (mynah), latva (wild sparrow), kokila (cuckoo), harita (grey pigeon), kapota (wood pigeon), Chataka (house sparrow) etc. belong to the group of pratuda (birds which peck the food and eat). 46


group of creatures that live in burrows – 
Bheka (frog), godha (iguana lizard), Ahi, (snake), swavid (hedgehog) etc. are bileshaya (living in burrows )47

Prasaha varga

Living beings which catch food by teeth, tear and eat :-
Go (cow), khara (ass, donkey), aswatara (mule),ustra (camel), ashwa (horse), dwipi (leopard), Simha (lion), Aruksha (dear), Vanara (monkey), marjala (cat), musaka (rat, mice), Vyaghra (tiger), Vrka (jackal), babhru (large brown mongoose  tarksu (hyena), lopaka (fox, jambuka (jackal), syena (hawk), casa (blue joy), vantada (dog), vayasa (crow), sasaghni (golden eagle ), bhasa (bread vulture ), kurara (osprey), grdhra (vulture), uluka (owl), kulingaka (sparrow hawk), dhumika (owlet), madhuha (honey buzzard), these and other animals and birds belong to the group known as prasaha (which catch their food by the teeth, tear it and eat.) 48-49 ½

Mahamriga – big animals

Varaha (boar), mahisa (buffalo ), nyanku (dog deer), rohita (big deer), ruru (swamp deer), varana (elephant), srmara (Indian wild boar), chamara (yak), khadga (rhinoceros) and Gavaya (goyal ox) are known as mahamriga (animals of huge body). 50

Apchara varga –(aquatic birds)

Hamsa (swan), sarasa (Indian crane), kadamba (grey legged goose), baka (heron), karandava (white breasted goose), palva (pelican), balaka (crane),utkrosa (mattard), chakrahva(ruddy Sheldrake), madgu (small cormorant), krouncha (pound heron) etc. are know as apcara (aquatic birds ).51

Matsya varga – group of fish

Rohita (red fish), pathina (boal), kurma (tortoise), kumbhira (gavial, alligator), karkata (crab), sukti (pearl mussel), sankha (conch shell), urdu (otter), sambuka (comman snail), safari (large glistening fish), varmi candrika 9a kind of cat fish) chuluki (propoise, seahog ) pakra (crocodile), makara (crocodile), sisumara (dolphin), timingala (whale , shark), raji (snake fish), cilicima (red striped fish) and others belongs to group of matsya (fishes). Thus eight kinds of (source of ) mamsa (meat) are enumerated. 52-53 ½

Goat and sheep are not included in any particular group because of their mixed heredity and living in all types of lands. 54

Out of the eight groups mentioned above, the first three (Mriga, vishkir and pratuda) are also know as Jangala (Vata dominant);
The last three (mahamriga, Jalacara and Matsya), are also called anupa (Kapha dominant);
The middle two (bilesaya and prasaha) are known as sadharana  ( tridosha balancing) 54 ½

The region of land which has dry forests (shrubby) with less rainfall is Jangala, the region. This region is Vata dominant.
Area with plenty of rainfall and water-logged is anupa (Kapha dominant),
The region which has neither too much of dryness nor too much of moisture is Sadharana (temperature).
The nature and qualities of the land are also seen in all the flora and fauna of the region.

Meat of the Jangala group are the best , they cause constipation, are cold (in potency), easily digestible, and good in sannipata with great increase of pitta and moderate increase of vata, mild increase of kapha following them. 55

Rabbit (shasha) meat

The flesh of shasha ( rabbit),  enhances hunger, pungent after digestion, water absorbent and cold in potency 56

Button quail (Vartaka) meat

The flesh of the vartaka (button quail) and others, are slightly hot in potency, hard to digest, unctuous and make the body stout. Tittiri (sparrow) is still better, makes for increase of intelligence, power of digestion, strength and semen, with-holds discharges of fluids from the body, improves the skin complexion, effectively mitigates sannipata with increase of vata. 57 ½

Peacock (shikhi) meat

The flesh of shikhi (peacock) is not very good generally but good for the ears (hearing), voice, ageing (to slow down ageing), and eyes (vision), 58

Meat of other birds

Flesh of cock (wild fowl), is similar (to that of peacock), and is aphrodisiac; that of the domesticated fowl increase kapha and is hard to digest; flesh of krakara (black partridge) increases intelligence and digestion, is good for the heart (or the mind); similar is the flesh of upachakraka; that of kana kapota is hard to digest, slightly saity and increases all the doshas. 59 ½
Meat of cataka increases kapha, is unctuous, mitigates vata and best to increase semen. 60

Flesh of animals of the next succeeding group (bilesaya), are hard to digest, hot in potency, unctuous and sweet, increases urine and semen, strengthening, mitigates vata and increases kapha and pitta. 61.

Meat of big animals

Flesh of the mahamrigas (big animals) is cold in potency generally; of them the flesh of carnivorous and prasaha animals have salt as secondary taste, pungent the end of digestion, increases the muscles of body, ideally suited for persons suffering from long standing haemorrhoids, duodenal diseases and consumption 62-62 ½

Aja (goat’s meat)

Goat meat is not very cold in potency, hard to digest, fatty, does not aggravate the doshas, being identical with the doshas of the human body, it is anabhisyandi (does not cause increase of secretions in the tissue channels). It is nourishing, causes weight gain. 63.

Avi (meat of sheep)

is opposite in nature with that of goat and causes weight gain. 64

GomamsaCow meat

(flesh of cow, bull, bullock) cures dry cough, exhaustion excess hunger, intermittent fevers, chronic nasal catarrh, emaciation, and diseases caused by increase of vata independently. 65.

Buffalo meat

Flesh of mahisa (buffalo) is hot, not easily digestible, produces sleep, strength and stoutness of the body.

Pig meat

Flesh of varaha (pig) is similar to that of the buffalo, relieves fatigue, increases taste, semen and strength 66

Fish meat

Fish is general tends to increase kapha greatly chilichima fish tends to increase all the three dosas.

Lava, rohita, godha and ena-are best in their respective groups. 67

Meat of animals which have been just killed, which are pure (uncontaminated) and of adult animals only should be used food;
Meat of dead animals, of those which very emaciated, which are very fatty, and of those animals which are dead due to diseases, water (drowning) and poison should be rejected. 68

Meat obtained from the parts above the umbilicus of male animals and from the parts below the umbilicus of female animals, that obtained from pregnant animals are all hard to digest.
Among the quadrupeds, the flesh of females is easily digestible but among the birds it is of the males.
Flesh obtained from the head, neck, thighs, back, waist , forelegs, stomach and intestines are hard to digest in the reverse order of enumeration. The tissues of the animals such as blood and others are hard to digest in their successive order; testicles, penis, kidneys, liver and rectum are hard to digest than the flesh. 69-71.
Thus ends the group of meat.
In ancient India, hunting was very common both for the sake of food and as pastime. Among the hunted animals and birds belonging to different kinds and nature some were found suitable as food but some were not. It is difficult to correctly identify some of the animals, birds and fishes named herein, some of them might have become extinct even.

Shaka varga – (group of leafy vegetables)

Patha (Cissampelos pareira), shati (Hedychium spicatum), susha, sunishanna, satinaja in general, mitigates all the three doshas, are easily digestible and grahi (absorbent); Sunishanna increases hunger and is aphrodisiac;
Rajakshava is still better and cures duodenal diseases, haemorrhoids; vastuka breaks up the hard faeces. 72-73
Kakamachi (Solanum nigrum) mitigates the three doshas, useful in skin diseases, is aphrodisiac, hot in potency, rejuvenator, causes easy movement of faeces, and is good for voice.
Changeri (Oxalis corniculata) is sour in taste, kindles digestion, good for duodenal diseases, haemorrhoids and for increased vata and kapha; hot in potency, withholds elimination of fluids and is easily digestible. 74

Patola, saptala, arista (neem leaves), sharngeshta (angaravalli/bharangi), Avalguja (Bakuchi), amruta (Tinospora), Vetra (shoot of vetra), Brhati (Solanum indicum), vasa (Adhatoda vasica),  kutill, tilaparnika (badraka), mandukaparni (Gotu kola), Karkota, karavella (bitter gourd). Parpata, nadikalaya, gojihwa (godhumi); vartaka (brhati), vanatiktaka (vatsaka/kutaja), karira, kulaka (kupila), nandi (jaya),kucaila, sakuladani (mesasrngi), katilla (raktapunarnava), kebuka (kembuka),kosataka, and karkasa (kampilla) all these are cold in potency, bitter in taste, pungent at the end of digestion, with hold the movement of fluids, increase vata and mitigate kapha and pitta. 75-78

Patola is good for the heart (or the mind), useful in worms, sweet at the end of digestion and gives taste.

The two Brihatis  (Brihati and Kantakari) increases pitta, promote hunger, breaks the hard faeces.
Vrusha (Vasa) cures vomiting, cough and specially so the haemorrhagic disease.
Karavella  (bitter gourd) is better in taste , kindles digestion and mitigates kapha and pitta especially.

Brinjal benefits

Brinjal is pungent, bitter, hot in potency, sweet, mitigates kapha and vata, is slightly alkaline, kindles digestion improves taste and does not aggravate pitta 81
Karira produces distension of the abdomen, is astringent, sweet and bitter in taste,
Kosataki and avalguja break the hard faeces and kindle digestion 82
Tanduliya is cold in potency, dry, sweet in taste and also at the end of digestion and easily digestible, cures intoxication, pitta, poison and discovers of bold;
Munjata mitigates vata and pitta, is unctuous, cold in potency, hard to digest, sweet, makes the body stout and increases semen. 83

Palankya is hard to digest, and laxative.

Upodika (spinach) 

relieves intoxication; chanchu is similar to palankya and withholds elimination of fluids. 84
Vidari mitigates vata and pitta, is diuretic, sweet in taste, and cold in potency, prolongs life (by giving strength), makes the body stout, good for the throat, hard to digest, aphrodisiac and rejuvenator.


Is good for the eyes, mitigates all the dosas, is sweet in taste and cold in potency. 85-86

Other vegetables

Kusmanda (ash gourd), Tumba (alabu), Kalinga, karkaru, evaru, tindisa, trapusa, cinaka, cirbhata—all cause increase of kapha and vata, breaks the hard faeces, stays long without digestion inside the stomach, causes more secretion in the tissues, sweet in taste and at the end of digestion and not easily digestible. 87

Ash gourd is best among the creepers, mitigates vata and pitta cleanses the urinary bladder, and aphrodisiac. Trapusa causes more urination (diuretic).

Related article: Ash gourd benefits

Tumba (alabu) is very dry (causes dryness), absorbent ;
kalinga, ervaru and cirbhita when tender mitigate pitta and are cold in potency, but when ripe are opposite in qualities, these which are overripe and separated from its attachment, will be alkaline in taste, increase pitta, mitigate kapha, and vata, improves taste and appetite, good for the heart, cures enlargement of the prostate, distention of abdomen and easily digestible. 89-90

Mrinala (lotus stalk), bias (lotus root), saluki (lotus tuber), kumuda (utpala kanda), nandi, mashaka, keluta,srngataka, kaseruka, kranucadana and kalodya are dry (cause dryness). Water absorbent, cold in potency and hot easily digestible. 91-92

Kalamba, Nalika – (kapotacarana), marsa, kutinjara, kutumbaka, cilli (vastuka), latvaka, lonika, karutaka, gavedhuka, jivanta, jhun jhu, edagaja, yavasaka (yavanisaka), suvarchala and aluka of different kinds, leaves of legumes used for soup and of laksmana are all sweet, slightly dry, salty, increases vata and kapha, not easily digestible  cold in potency, help elimination of urine and faeces, stay long in the stomach for digestion; if cooked in steam, juice taken out and mixed with oils, they will not cause much aggravation of the dosas 93-95

Cilli , which has small leaves is similar (in property) with vastuka. 96
Tarkari and varuna are sweet and slightly better and mitigate kapha and vata. The two kinds of varsabhu and kalasaka are slightly alkaline, pungent and bitter, improve digestion, break the hard faeces and cure artificial poisoning,dropsy, kapha and vata. 97
The tender sprouts of cirabilva increase appetite, mitigate kapha and vata and cause movement of bowels; sprouts of satavari are bitter, aphrodisiac and mitigate the three dosas 98.

Vamsakarira (tender shoots of bamboo) causes dryness inside, heartburn and increase of vata and pitta. 99
Pattura kindles digestion, is bitter, cures enlargement of spleen, haemorrhoids and mitigates kapha and vata. 99 ½
Kasamarda cures disease caused by worms, cough and increase of kapha and moves the bowels.
Kousumbha is dry, hot in potency, sour, hard to digest increase pitta and makes the bowels to move.

Sarsapa (mustard) is not easily digestible, hot in potency, binds the faeces and urine and causes increase of all the dosas.
Mulaka (radish), when tender and not having definite taste, is slightly alkaline and better, mitigates the dosas, easily digestible  hot in potency, and cures abdominal tumours, cough, asthma, ulcers, disease of the eye and throat, horseness of voice, asthma, upward movement inside the abdomen (reverse peristalsis) and chronic nasal catarrh. 102-103.

Radish benefits

Radish that is tender, and not having definite taste, is slightly alkaline and bitter, balances Doshas, easy to digest, hot in potency and cures abdominal tumors, cough, respiratory conditions, ulcers, diseases of eye and throat, hoarseness of voice, bloating, and rhinitis.  Radish, big in size is hard to digest, pungent in taste and at the end of digestion, hot in potency, increases all the three doshas, hard to digest and is abhishynadi (indigestion plus sticky to the gut).
When cooked with fats it mitigates vata; the dried one causes increase of the dosha. 104.

Pindalu is pungent, hot in potency, mitigates vata and kapha but increase pitta. 105
Kuthera, sigru (drum stick), surasa, sumuka, asuri, bhutrna, phanijjia, arjaka, jambira, etc. when green are water absorbent, cause burning sensation during digestion, pungent, cause dryness, hot in potency, good for the heart (or the mind), kindles hunger and taste, destroy vision, semen and worms (intestinal parasites), penetrates deep, cause slight increase of the doshas and are easily digestible 106-107.

Holy basil benefits

Surasa (Tulasi – Holy Basil) cures hiccup, cough, poison, asthma, pain in the flanks and bad breath.
Sumukha does not cause much burning sensation, cures artificial (homicidal) poison and dropsy. 107

Ardrika (coriander) is bitter and sweet in taste, diuretic and does not increase pitta.

Garlic benefits

Lashuna (garlic) is highly penetrating (deep into the tissues), hot in potency, pungent in taste, and at the end of digestion, makes the bowels to move, good for the heart (or the mind), and hairs; hard to digest, aphrodisiac, unctuous, improves taste and digestion, helps union of features, gives strength, greatly vitiates the blood and pitta, cures leucoderma, skin diseases, . abdominal tumours, heamorrhoids, diabetes, worms, diseases caused by kapha and vata, hiccup, chronic nasal catarrh , asthma and cough. It is a rejuvenator of the body.109-111

Onion benefits

Palandu (onion) is inferior in the above qualities, increases of pitta. 111 ½

Carrot benefits

Grinjanaka (carrot) is best suitable to persons suffering from haemorrhoids of kapha Vata origin , for fomenting (the pile masses) and eating; it is penetrating, water absorbent and not suitable to those who have pitta predominance. 112

Yam benefits

Surana  (Yam) kindles digestion, improves taste, mitigates kapha is non-unctuous, easily digestible and especially good for haemorrhoids; bhukanda causes increase of all the doshas to a great extent .113

Leaves, flowers, fruits (unripe), tubular leaves and tubers are heavy (not easily digestible  in their successive order; jivanti is the best and sarshapa (mustard) is the worst among the leafy vegetables. 114.

Thus ends the group of vegetables.
Notes:- different kinds of vegetables have been described in these verses, some of them are recognizable now while some others are not, some of them were in use in olden days but not so now-a-days, many are available only in forests and fields while some others are cultivated.

Phala varga – (group of fruits)

Grapes benefits

Draksa (grapes) is best among fruits, is aphrodisiac, good for the eyes, helps elimination of urine and faeces, sweet in taste and the end of digestion, unctuous, slightly astringent, cold potency, hard to digest, cures diseases of vata, pitta and rakta; better taste in the mouth, intoxication, thirst, cough, fever, respiratory conditions, hoarseness, injury to the lungs and chronic respiratory diseases. 115-116 ½

Related: grapes benefits

Dadima – (Pomegranate )

It mitigates the greatly increased pitta in particular and the other doshas also and is sweet; the sour variety is also not going to increase pitta, not very hot in potency and mitigates vata and kapha. All varieties of Pomegranate are good to the hear, easily digestible  unctuous , without elimination of fluids, stimulate appetite and digestion. 117-118
Related: Pomegranate benefits

Mocha (plantain), kharjura (dates) panasa (jack fruits) narikela (cocoanut ) parusaka amrataka , tala, kasmarya, rajadana, madhuka, badara, ankola, phalgu, slesmataka, vatama, abhisuka, aksoda, mukulaka, nikocaka, urumanam, and priyala make the body stout, not easily digestible  cold in potency, relieve burning sensation , injury to the lungs, consumption, bleeding conditions, sweet in taste and also at the end of digestion, unctuous, stay long in the stomach without digestion, increase kapha and semen. 119-121 ½

Fruit of Tala

Borassus flabellifera increases pitta, moves the bowels. Fruits of kasmarya is cold in potency, relieves the obstruction of faeces and urine, good for the hairs, increases intelligence and is a rejuvenator. 122
Vaataama etc. are hot in potency increase kapha and pitta, are laxative. 123.

Priyala (Buchanania lanzan) mitigates vata effectively, is unctuous, cold in potency; its marrow is sweet, aphrodisiac,mitigates pitta and vata,
Kola majja (fleshy part of the kola) is similar (in properties with priyala majja ) relieves thirst, vomiting and cough. 124.
Bilva phala (bael fruit) when ripe is hard to digest, aggravates the doshas and causes flatus; unripe fruit kindles digestion, mitigates vata and kapha; both are water absorbent. 125

Amakapittha (unripe Kapittha) is bad to the throat, and increases the three doshas. Ripe fruit mitigates the doshas, relieves hiccup ad vomiting, both are water absorbent and antipoisonous .126

Jambava (Jamun fruit) is not easily digestible, stays long inside the stomach, cold in potency, causes aggravation of vata especially, absorbs moisture from urine and faeces, bad for throat and mitigates kapha and pitta 127

Bala amra (tender unripe mango)

Increases Vata , Rakta (blood) and pitta; when its seed is fully formed, it increases Kapha and Pitta; when it is ripe it is not easily digestible, mitigates vata, increases kapha and semen. 128

Vrksamla (Garcinia fruits) is absorbent , dry, hot in potency, mitigates vata and kapha and easily digestible 129.
Samya (fruit of sami) is not easily digestible, hot in potency, destroys the hairs and causes dryness.

Pilu increases pitta, mitigates kapha and vata, is purgative, cures diseases of the spleen, haemorrhoids, worms, abdominal tumors; that variety of pilu which has bitter- sweet taste is not very hot in potency and mitigates all three doshas 130

The skin of matulunga (bigger variety of lemon)fruit is better, pungent and unctuous, mitigates vata; its fleshy part makes the body stout, is sweet in taste, mitigates vata and pitta and not easily digestible  its tendril is easily digestible  cures cough, asthma, hiccup, alcoholic intoxication dryness of the mouth, disorders of vata and kapha, constipation, vomiting, loss of taste, abdominal tumor, enlargement of the abdomen, haemorrhoids, colic and dyspepsia 131-133

Bhallataka (marking nut) 

The outer rind and fleshy part of bhallataka fruit makes the body stout, sweet in taste, cold in potency; its seed is just like fire in properties, increases intelligence and effectively mitigates kapha and vata. 134

Palevata fruit of sweet taste is cold in potency, while that of sour taste is hot, both are hard to digest, improve taste and cure diseases due to excess digestive activity. 134 ½

Aruka fruit improve taste and is sweet; ripe undergoes digestion quickly, not very hot in potency, sometimes hard to digest and increases the doshas 135.
Draksa (grapes) and parusaka and karamardaka, in their green state are sour, increase pitta and kapha, hard to digest, hot in potency, mitigate vata and laxative. 136

Kola, karkandhu, lakuca, amrataka, aruka, airavata, dantasatha, satuda, mrigalindika- all are sour and do not aggravate pitta greatly; so also, karamardaka fruit ripened and dried does not cause great increase of pitta (causes mild increase). 137- 138
Fruits of amlika and kola improve digestion, cause purgation, cures thirst, fatigue, exhaustion; are easily digestible and mitigates kapha and vata. 139

Lakuca phala is least among all the fruits and increases all the above the dosas. Thus ends the group of fruits.

Varjya (qualities of food articles that are worth rejecting)

Grains which have been spoiled by forest, heavy breeze, hot sunlight, polluted air , and saliva of snake and other reptiles; which are infested with worms, which have remained under water for long time, not grown in the field meant for it (in fields meant for other kinds of grain) , which are not seasonal, mixed with other grains, and which have lost their properties having become very old should be rejected.
Similarly also with the vegetables, the dishes prepared from them without addition of material (oil or ghee), which are very hard even after cooking, should be avoided.
Tender vegetables which have not developed their normal taste and which have become dry should not be used except amabilwa (unripe bael fruit)

Ausadha varga ( group of medicinal herbs)


All types of salts are vishyandi (produce more secretions in the tissues) suksma (enter into minute pores) help soft/easy movement of faeces, mitigate vata, help digestion, are penetrating , aggravate kapha and pitta. 143
Among them,

Saindhava salt (rock salt) is slightly sweet, aphrodisiac, good for the heart (or mind), mitigates all the three doshas, easily digestible  not hot in potency, good for health, does not cause burning digestion and kindles digestion 144

Sauvarcala(sochal salt) is easily digestible  good for the heart (or mind) , possesses good smell, purifies belching, pungent at the end of digestion , relieves constipation, kindles digestion and gives taste. 145

Bida salt produces both upward and downward movement of kapha and vata, kindles digestion, cures constipation, flatulence, obstruction, of flatus, colic and heaviness (of the abdomen). 146

Samudra (common salt) is sweet at the end of digestion, not easily digestible and aggravates kapha. 147.

Aubdhida is slightly bitter, pungent and alkaline in taste, penetrates deep and increases the secretions.

Krisna lavana (black salt)has properties similar to souvarcala except the smell. 148

Romaka is easily digestible ;

Pamsuttha is slightly alkaline, aggravates kapha and not easily digestible.
Whenever lavanas (salt) are to be used (for medicinal recipes) they should be prepared commencing with saindhava.

Kshara Alkalis

Yavakshara –  (Kshara prepared from barley)  

mitigates abdominal tumors, diseases of the heart, duodenal disease, anaemia, splenic disorders, distension of the abdomen, diseases of the throat, asthma, haemorrhoids and cough arising from kapha. 150

Kshara properties

All ksharas  are very

Teekshna – penetrating ;
Ushna – very hot in potency,
Krumijit – destroy worms
Laghu – easily digestible
Pitta Asruk dushana – vitiate pitta and blood
Paki – helps in digestion, causes healing of wounds
Chedya –  help break up hard masses,
Ahrudya not good for the heart, punctures the tissues;
Being pungent and salty in taste are not good to semen, ojas (essence of the tissues ), hairs and eye (vision) 151

Hingu (asa foetida)

mitigates vata, kapha, cures distension of the abdomen and colic, aggravates pitta, pungent in taste and at the end of digestion, enhances taste, hunger, digestion and is easily digestible. 152.


Haritaki is astringent, sweet at the end of digestion, dry (causes dryness) devoid of lavana (possesses the remaining five tastes) easily digestible, kindles hunger, helps digestion, improves intelligence, best to maintain youth , hot in potency, laxative, bestows long life, strengthens the mind and the sense organs, cures leprosy (and other skin diseases) discolouration, disorders of voice, chronic intermittent fevers, diseases of the head, and eyes, anaemia, heart disease, jaundice, disease of the duodenum, consumption, dropsy, diarrhoea, obesity, fainting, vomiting, worms (intestinal parasites), dyspnoea, cough, excess salivation, haemorrhoids, disease of the spleen, distension of the abdomen, enlargement of the abdomen, obstruction of channels, abdominal tumors, stiffness of the thing, loss of taste (anorexia) and many other disease arising from (aggravation of ) kapha and vata. 153-157.
Similarly so is amalaka in all other properties it is cold in potency, and mitigates pitta and kapha.
Aksha (vibhitaka) is pungent at the end of digestion, cold in potency, good for hairs and possesses properties similar (to haritaki and amalaka ) but slightly less (in degree). 158

Triphala benefits

Thus, the Triphala (haritaki, amalaki and vibhitaki), together is a best rejuvenator of the body, cures diseases of the eyes, heals wounds and cures skin diseases, excess moisture of the tissues, obesity, diabetes, aggravation of kapha and Asra (blood) 159.

Trijata and Chaturjata

Twak – (Cinnamon), patra (Cinnamon leaf) and Ela – (Cardamom) together are known as Trijataka and
These along with kesara from the chaturjata.
They cause aggravation of pitta, are penetrating, hot in potency, cause dryness, improve taste and hunger. 160
Related article – Chaturjata details benefits, side effects

Maricha (pepper)

Black pepper is pungent both in taste and at the end of digestion, mitigates kapha and is easily digestable.

Pippali (long pepper)

Long pepper, in its green state aggravates kapha, is sweet in taste and cold in potency, not easily digestible and is unctuous.
The same, when dry, becomes opposite  –  aphrodisiac, pungent in taste, sweet at the end of digestion, mitigates Vata and Kapha, useful in in asthma,  cough; is laxative.
Long pepper should not be used in excess, for long period, without following the regimen of rejuvenation therapy. 161-162

Ginger benefits

Nagara – (ginger), increases hunger, is aphrodisiac, water absorbent, good for the heart (or the mind), relieves constipation, bestows, taste, easily digestible, sweet at the end of digestion, unctuous, hot in potency and mitigates kapha and vata. 163
Similar is ardraka (fresh ginger, green);


Pepper, long pepper and ginger – together known as trikatu, useful in obesity, Asthma, dyspepsia, cough, filariasis and chronic nasal catarrh. 164

Chavaika (Piper chaba) and pippalimula (long pepper root) possess qualities and properties similar to Marica (black pepper) but in lesser degree. 165.
Chitraka (leadwort) is similar to fire in digesting thing and cures dropsy, haemorrhoids, worms and leprosy (and other skin diseases).
The above, excluding marica, (pippali, pippalimula, cavya, citraka and nagara) is known as panchakolaka, It cures abdominal tumors, disease of the spleen, enlargement of the abdomen, distension and colic, and is best to improve hunger and digestion.

Mahat panchamula

Bilwa, kasarya, tarari, patala and tintuka are together known as Mahat panchamula. It is astringent and bitter in taste, hot in potency and mitigate kapha and anila (vata ) 167

Laghu panchamoola

Brihatidwaya (brihati and kantakari), amsumatidwaya (saliparni and prsniparni) and goksuraka- together are known as hrasva panchamula (Laghu panchamoola). It is sweet in taste and at the end of digestion, neither very hot nor very cold in potency and mitigates all the doshas. 168.

The above two – laghu and mahat panchamoola constitute Dashamoola

madhyama panchamoola

Bala, punarnava, eranda, surpaparni dvaya (masaparni and mundgaparni) together from the madhyama panchamoola. It mitigates kapha and vata, does not greatly aggravate pitta and is laxative. 169.

Abhiru – Asparagus racemosus , vira, jivanti, jivaka and rsabhaka together from the jivana pancamula. It is good for the eye, aphrodisiac and mitigates pitta and anila (vata)

trna pancamula

Trnakhya (trna pancamula) consisting of darbha,kasa ,iksu, sara sali, mitigates pitta. 171
Thus, were described, in brief, the substances used daily as food, in groups such as suka, simbi, pakvanna, mamsa, saka, phala and ausadha. 182
Thus ends the chapter known as annaswarupa vijnaniya.

17 comments on “Quality Of Foods – Astanga Hridaya Sutrasthana 6 – Annaswaroopa

  • sunitha

    23/02/2013 - 9:21 pm

    sir astanga hridaya sutrasthana 6 chapters yours notes are very good and easy to study …..please sir put other chapters notes too ime to study for my exams ………………i am studying bams 1st year this astanga hridayam very difficult to me pls hel sir

    Reply to comment
    • Dr JV Hebbar

      26/02/2013 - 7:53 pm

      Hi Sunitha, I will post all the chapters soon. Wish you all the best. Work hard. Immerse yourself in studies.:)

      Reply to comment
      • sunitha

        28/02/2013 - 6:28 pm

        thank u very much sir…………………………….sir i have exams on july ……………before that pls try to put sir .its my humble request sir..thank u so much

        Reply to comment
        • Dr JV Hebbar

          28/02/2013 - 7:41 pm

          I will try to put all the chapters of Sutra Sthana by April end. Keep studying hard, at least 6 hours a day. Dedication that you show now, will surely be rewarding later. Have faith… in yourself.

          Reply to comment
          • sunitha

            01/03/2013 - 12:29 pm

            thank u so much sir………………………………

            Reply to comment
  • Ph

    11/03/2013 - 8:45 pm

    Namaste Hebbar ji.. The information available on your websites is invaluable 🙂

    “Red variety of rice is the best quality (Raktashali).
    Next best to it is Mahan (big sized rice) variety.
    Next to it is Kalama variety. ”

    1) Please could you name them using current terminology..

    My guess is :
    Red variety : brown rice
    Mahan : basmati (long-grain rice)
    Kalama: no clue 🙁

    I started brown short grain rice, but my digestive system didn’t accept, it was hard to digest. I tried all the techniques like lesser amount, no water before and after eating, etc.

    After a week, I switched to brown basmati rice, which I really liked. It is superior to normal white rice in all aspects.

    2) Please could you confirm whether the ‘basmati’ variety of brown rice is equivalent to normal brown rice in terms of health benefits. If not, how much am I missing..

    Reply to comment
    • Dr JV Hebbar

      12/03/2013 - 10:51 am

      Kalama variety should be something similar to brown rice, but bit darker in colour. (I am not sure).
      There appears to be no much difference between brown rice and basmati. At the end of the day, your body constitution and your body reaction to the food that matters the more than text book teaching. 🙂

      Reply to comment
  • Gaurav

    19/04/2013 - 8:57 am

    Reading about Brinjal in this article reminded me of something I’ve been wondering about…

    What do the texts say about “Nightshades” e.g. Brinjal, Potato, Tomato, Green Pepper, etc…? Should they be preferably avoided? I have come across recent advice from an Ayurvedic doctor (who bases most of his practice on the Charaka Samhita) that this family of plants are ‘intoxicants’ and hence not good because they disturb the intelligence of the nervous system, or something to that effect…

    So it would be helpful if you would clarify what the texts say about these “NightShades”…

    Thank you,

    Reply to comment
  • tiphaine

    15/11/2016 - 4:03 pm

    Hello, many thanks for this article! you say : Laja is prepared by FRYING paddy. Do you mean that the rice is puffed in oil? Or is it only sauteed in a frying pan with no oil? because if using oil, it wouldn’t be “easy to digest”, no? 🙂

    Reply to comment
    • Dr J V Hebbar MD(Ayu)

      15/11/2016 - 7:25 pm

      Hi, it is sauteed in a frying pan with no oil.

      Reply to comment
  • Satyan Namdhari

    14/07/2017 - 9:47 pm

    Eatables prepared from Tila (sesamum) should be fine and recommended in preparation of many eatables for its health benefits. But pinyaka of Tila(or any other oil seed) is not good.

    Comma separating “eatables prepared from Tila (sesamum)” and “pinyaka” should be removed.


    Reply to comment
  • Dr J V Hebbar MD(Ayu)

    16/07/2017 - 5:29 pm

    They are fine to use.

    Reply to comment
  • Vyas

    24/06/2018 - 11:59 pm

    What is variety of mahashali and raktashali in modern times doctor?

    Reply to comment
    • Dr J V Hebbar MD(Ayu)

      22/07/2018 - 3:34 pm

      They have not been identified, as per my knowledge.
      Mahashali literally means bigger sized rice.
      Rakta – red.

      Reply to comment
  • Chandrasekaran Elango

    16/03/2021 - 1:49 am

    How garlic helps in leucoderma doctor.

    Reply to comment
    • Dr J V Hebbar MD(Ayu)

      20/05/2021 - 4:49 pm

      Usually Pitta increasing herbs such as garlic, bhallataka etc are used in leucoderma treatment. The colouring of the skin is under the influence of Pitta.

      Reply to comment

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