Anupan – Co-Drinks, After Drinks, Adjuvants For Ayurveda Products

When you visit an Ayurveda doctor, he might suggest to take the Ayurvedic medicines along with specific liquids. It may be milk, buttermilk, sugarcane juice, or plain water. This drink, advised along with the medicine is called as Anupan. Let us analyse the different criteria considered while deciding on Anupan.

Definition of Anupan

It is the liquid that is advised along with the medicine or advised after intake of the medicine. Concept of Anupana is not limited to medicine. Even specific foods have been advised for consumption along with specific liquids.

Benefits of food adjuvants

In Ayurveda, there are specific adjuvants mentioned for specific foods. They help in
Easy breaking down of hard food particles
Easy digestion and assimilation
Enhance the qualities of food.
Enhance the bio-availability of food nutrients in blood vessels and body tissues
Help avoid / mask side effects of food articles.
Similar to how a drop of oil spreads rapidly in water, with the help of Anupana, medicine / food spreads rapidly in the body.

Example of food adjuvants

Cold water is advised while eating food articles prepared with barley and wheat, while consuming curds, wine and honey.
Hot water is ideal after-drink while consuming (food articles prepared from) liquid part of curds, fat rich buttermilk, ghee, oil, fats, vegetable dishes, green gram dishes and legumes.

Anupana for Dosha body type

The choice of Anupana, made as per the body type –
Beer is the ideal after drink for a lean person, who wishes to gain weight.
A teaspoon of honey, mixed with a cup of water is ideal Anupan for an obese person.
Meat soup is good for emaciated, tired people.
Wine is ideal after meat intake and for people with poor digestion strength.
Milk is ideal for people who are debilitated due to chronic diseases and treatment, for people who walk for long distances, who speak for long hours, who indulge in sexual activities regularly, who have done fasting for a long time, who have exposed themselves to sun for a long period of time and who indulge in tiresome activities. Milk is ideal drink for the aged and for children.

Disease specific Anupana

In case of diseases, Anupana  helps in

  • Easy absorption of medicine from gut.
  • Significantly helps in the treatment of the disease.

Example: A dilute water decoction of Giloy is very useful in gout and diabetes.
A dilute neem decoction may be helpful anupana during fever and infection disorders. Because neem helps to fight microbes.

Anupana for specific herbs

Garlic – if processed and taken along with milk helps to reduce its pungency. 
Amla powder –
 Amla powder can be taken along with different drinks for specific health benefits. Read more
Bhallataka –
a strong pungent and hot herb, for which, milk is usually advised as Anupan.

Medicine specific Anupana

Chyawanprash is administered along with milk. It helps to balance out the Pitta increasing tendency and hot potency of Chyawanprash.

Akika Pishti is administered along with honey in Pitta disorders, along with Ashwagandha in Vata disorders and along with fresh ginger juice in case of cough and heart ailments.

Vettumaran gulika
In fever, it is given along with fresh ginger juice.
In Vata imbalance and bloating, it is administered along with Cumin seed decoction.
In vomiting, it is given along with decoction of kacchura
In Anurea or difficulty in urination, it is given along with tender coconut water
in abdomen pain, it is given along with ajamoda arka (oma water)
In abdominal gaseous distension and tumour, it is given along with fresh garlic juice extract.

Mahayograj Guggul
For Vata diseases like arthritis it is usually co prescribed with Rasnadi Kashayam
For Pitta imbalance diseases, it is administered with decoction of Kakolyadi group of herbs.
For kapha imbalance disease, it is administered with Aragwadhadi kashayam
For treating diabetes, it is used along with kashayam of Daruharidra – Berberis aristata.
For treating anemia, it is administered along with cow urine
For treating obesity, it is administered along with honey
For treating skin diseases, it is given along with neem decoction
For treating gout, it is given with Giloya – Tinospora cordifolia
For treating pain and inflammation, it is given with kashayam of long pepper.
For treating rat bite, it is given with kashayam of Patala – Stereospermum suaveolens
For treating eye diseases, it is given along with Triphala kashayam 
For treating ascites, it is given along with Punarnavadi kashayam.

Swarna Bhasma – Swarna bhasma is calx prepared from gold. Read more about Swarna Bhasma

  • For burning sensation, if taken along with bile of fish.
  • It gives aphrodisiac effect if taken along with Bhringaraja (Eclipta alba).
  • It improves strength and immunity, if taken along with milk.
  • It is good for eyes, if taken along with Punarnava (Boerhaavia diffusa)
  • It improves memory if taken along with sweet flag
  • It improves skin complexion if given along with saffron.
  • In poisoning, it is given along with an herb called Nirvisha.
  • In psychiatric conditions, it is given along with ginger, clove and pepper.

Narayana Churna

  • It is administered along with buttermilk for people with ascites.
  • It is administered with Badara kashaya (Decoction of jujube) for treatment of abdominal distention.
  • It is given with wine for treating bloating and Vata diseases
  • It is given with watery portion of curds for treating constipation
  • It is given along with pomegranate juice for treating piles
  • To treat anal itch, it is given along with cocum juice
  • To treat indigestion, it is given with warm water

 Yogendra Ras is traditionally administered along with Triphala Kashayam

Navaratna Raj Mrigank Ras
In inflammatory conditions and edema, Vata diseases like Paralysis, facial palsy, Tremors, diabetes, it is administered along with long pepper, honey and rock salt.
In Gout arthritis, it is administered along with Haritaki (Terminalia chebula) and jaggery.
In bloating, anorexia, abdominal colic, dyspepsia, cough, epilepsy, asthma, malabsorption syndrome, liver diseases, jaundice, fever, pthisis, emaciation, muscle wasting, it is given along with Guduchi Satva and honey.

Honey, fresh ginger juice, neem juice, water or milk are the traditional Anupanams for Arogya Vardhini Bati

Vayu Gulika is administered along with cumin seed decoction.
Mukta pishti is administered along with honey, butter or milk.
Gandharvahastadi kashayam – rock salt and jaggery

Anupana based on Dosha imbalance

Anupana is selected based on the predominance of Doshas in a particular disease. The qualities of Anupana should be opposite to the Pridominant Dosha.
In Vata disorders, Anupana should have oily and hot properties.
In Pitta disorders, Anupana should have sweet and cold properties.
In Kapha disorders, Anupana should have dry and hot properties.

References: Charaka Samhita Sutrasthana 27/319-323

Generally post- prandial drinks should have the properties opposite to the those of the food taken. But at the same time, such drinks should not be harmful to the tissue elements of the body. Water as well as the eighty four varieties of alcoholic preparations (described in the 25th chapter of this section) are to be examined and with a view to as certain their wholesomeness or otherwise and only useful drinks are to be taken.
In conditions caused by the aggravation of vata. Oily and hot after drinks are useful.
Similarly in Pitta sweet and cold, and
Kapha – oily and hot post drinks are useful.

For Kshaya – emaciation meat soup is the useful post- prandial drink. Milk is the post- prandial drink like ambrosia for those fatigued due to indolence in fast, long walk, long speeches, sex and exposure to wind and sun. for nourishing emaciated individuals, wine is the best post- prandial drink.

For causing emaciation of over corpulent individuals honey water is the useful post- prandial drink. Alcohol serves as useful post-prandial drink for those accustomed to alcoholic drinks as well as meat, and suffering from loss of digestion, insomnia, accompanied with drowsiness, grief, fear and exhaustion.

Effects of Anupana

Effects of after-food drinks on the individual and the food :
Charaka Samhita, Sutrasthana 27/325
Now we shall explain the actions and properties of post-prandial drinks. Post- prandial drinks in general, bring about refreshment, pleasure, energy, nourishment, satisfaction and steadiness in the food eaten. It helps in broke down, softening, digesting, proper assimilation and instant diffusion of the food taken.

Summing up:-
Charaka Sutra 27/326
thus it is said:
Administration of wholesome post-prandial drink refreshes instantaneously and helps in individual in easy digestion resulting in the promotion of longevity and strength.


Clinical study on utlity of unctuous and hot co drinks in the treatment of cough due to Vata imbalance (1)

Anupana contraindications

Contra inditations of Anupana (after-drinks )
Charaka Sutrasthana 27/327-328
Water should not be taken after food by those suffering from diseases of the head due to the vitiation of Vata. Hiccup, asthma, difficulty in breathing, cough as well as tuberculosis.

anupana - after-drink

It is also prohibited for those who indulge in singing, speech and study with loud sound because it remains in the throat and chest, and removes from there the unctuous substances taken along with food resulting in the further aggravation of the condition.

Contra indications: 
In some diseases, taking excess of liquids is not advisable. In such diseases, Anupana should be used in very little quantity or should not be used. Such diseases are –
E.N.T & ophthalmic problems, hiccups, dyspnoea, cough and chest injury.
Singers, dancers, students who read for long time should also take very less Anupana

Difference between medicine and Anupana

Medicine is usually given in higher dose when compared to Anupan. Anupana is administered in larger dose.
Medicine is usually more potent.
Medicine is highly concentrated. Anupana is usually dilute.
Medicine is usually not a part of diet. But Anupana is a part of diet.

How to determine suitable Anupana?

How to determine Anupana for a particular condition? For example, for Kapha it is honey, for a particular disease it is some herbal decoction/kwath. Another example is Ritu Haritaki – where we use different dravyas with Haritaki. So, is there a rule or one have to just remember Anupana for each and every condition, disease, medicine, etc?
Anupana can be chosen with many criteria.
Medicine absorption – honey with Trikatu would make it more speedily absorbed.
Aiding in digestion – hot water with Kooshmanda avaleha.  – eases in digestion.
Aiming the disease – additive effect of medicine and anupana – both aimed at relieving the disease.
So, if one remembers the principle involved, plus a few commonly used anupana, Ayurveda practice will be easy.

Sir, since milk is not compatible with salty, sour, legumes, etcetera, is it still good to drink it for thirst relieving after this kind of food?
Ideally there should be at least half an hour gap between the two incompatible food combinations.

Is Water Universal Co-Drink?

These days many ayurvedic practices recommend taking all herbs with water, rather than specific anupana (co-drink) like honey, ghee etc to target specific tissues. Does this make them less effective or just longer to take effect?
Dr JV Hebbar:
It is best to stick to the Anupana as told per traditional Ayurveda for specific medicines.  

Haritaki with castor oil for Amavata – Rheumatoid arthritis.  

Hingwashtaka churna + ghee – in the first bolus of food.
Talisadi churna with honey for the treatment of asthma, cold and cough.

Of course, to make the medicine consumption easier, some amount of water can be taken along with them.
For example, talisadi churna mixed with honey, made a paste and swallowed with cold water.
Hingvashtaka churna, mixed with ghee, made a paste and swallowed with lukewarm water.
Here, if honey is the co drink and if you want to take water with it, it is good to use cold water. Honey and hot water is a wrong combination as per Ayurveda.
Similarly, if castor oil, ghee or sesame oil are said to be co-drinks and if you want to drink water after taking the medicine with them, then better to use lukewarm water. This is because taking cold water with oils and fats is not recommended in Ayurveda, as it blocks body channels.
If, for an Ayurvedic medicine, no specific co drink is mentioned, then water is considered as the default co drink.
Read: Co Drinks, After Drinks, Adjuvants For Ayurveda Products

Spiced Water after Flu

In Western medicine, people with post-nasal drip are advised to drink excess amounts of water to thin the mucus and end this post-nasal drip (especially after flu and cold).

After the flu, there can be a threat of dehydration. Hence, it is good to drink good amounts of water. As per Ayurveda, post nasal drip is caused by increased Kapha and Vata Doshas and decreased Agni (digestive fire).
Vata and Kapha Dosha both have coldness as the common quality.
So, lukewarm water is better than cold water. The hotness of the water will balance down Kapha and Vata to a small extent.
One should drink hot water, as and when the person feels thirsty and drink sufficient quantities of water to quench the thirst completely.

After the flu, it is a good idea to consume spice-infused lukewarm water.

Jeera 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.

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.

A pinch of neem and turmeric in 1 liter of lukewarm water is good for allergy symptoms post flu. 
A pinch of amla powder (Indian gooseberry) in 1 liter of lukewarm water is good for relieving burning sensation. 
Read: Sore Throat Causes, Ayurveda Remedies, Treatment, Therapies

Honey with herbal tea

Can honey be mixed with herbal teas or decoctions? 
By Dr JV Hebbar 
There are two Ayurvedic medicine forms which can be said to be herbal tea. 
1. Hot infusion – Here, coarse powder of herbs is added 4 times hot water, kept for sometime, filtered and administered to the patient. 
Here, herbs are not boiled with water, herbs are just mixed with hot water. So, the end product after filtering will only be slightly hot. 

2. Decoction or Kashayam – Here, herb is mixed with 4 – 16 parts of water, boiled and reduced to 1/4th quantity, filtered and used. 
The end product is still hot after filtering and while administering. 
The Kashayams are also available in the readymade format. 
Read: Kashayam (Kwath) – Herbal Teas Preparation [Video], Benefits, Usage

Heating of honey is contraindicated as per Ayurveda. 
Charaka Samhita Sutrasthana 26/84 
मधु चोष्णमुष्णार्तस्य च मधु मरणाय|
madhu coṣṇamuṣṇārtasya ca madhu maraṇāya|

Hot honey or intake of honey by a person afflicted with heat causes death.

Thus, heated honey and using honey with liquids in hot condition should be avoided. 
In making Chyawanprash, honey is added at the end stage after cooling down the herbal jam. 
Read: How To Make Chyavanprash? 5 Hidden Pharma Principles

Considering all this, honey is safe to take with hot infusion. But honey should be added to decoction only after the decoction cools down to room temperature.  Market-available readymade decoction can be taken along with honey, in case of high Kapha disorders. For example, taking Varanadi or Asanadi kashayam along with a teaspoon of honey. Click to Buy my book – Easy Ayurveda Home Remedies

10 comments on “Anupan – Co-Drinks, After Drinks, Adjuvants For Ayurveda Products

  • buddha zorba

    01/12/2014 - 11:11 pm

    if water is taken as post prandial anupan, it causes heaviness.

    what kind of heaviness is this ? Is it good for those trying to gain weight ?

    lassi and buttermilk can be post prandial anupan ?

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

      26/12/2014 - 7:38 pm

      Hi, it is heaviness of stomach, a precursor to indigestion, hence not ideal, even to gain weight.
      Buttermilk can be had after food, in limited quantities.

      Reply to comment
  • Craig L

    20/12/2014 - 3:03 am

    It seems my initial comment was deleted.. I think it is vital information pertaining to this article. How long after a meal should one wait before taking an after drink? Is 30-45 minutes recommended?

    Reply to comment
  • Shubham

    04/12/2016 - 10:11 am


    A lot of people talk about not drinking water after food and to wait about 1-2 hours. Is this logic based on ayurveda. I am yet to see any traditional text which prohibits drinking of water after food.

    Please advise.

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

    30/03/2017 - 11:10 pm

    Please continue it with water.

    Reply to comment
  • Baljinder

    16/10/2017 - 10:22 am

    I have headache should I not drink water after and before and along
    food and for how long

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

      20/10/2017 - 1:39 pm

      You can drink water along with food.

      Reply to comment
  • Satyan Namdhari

    17/01/2018 - 11:03 pm

    You are advising cold water with barley, wheat, wine, curd, and honey. Is it because all of these foods have cooling potency?

    Does it mean all wines have cooling potency?

    Would it be better to consume food made with barley and wheat when they are cold / cooled down or when they are warm / hot?

    If consuming them as warm / hot is better for digestion then would not drinking cold water with them slow down their digestion?

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

      05/02/2018 - 3:43 pm

      1. Because wine, curd and honey are mildly hot.
      2. All cooked foods should be consumed freshly made and in hot condition.
      3. Drinking cold water while taking meals will help disintegrate the food better and hence useful.

      Reply to comment

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