The digestive strength is depleted during fever, as per Ayurveda. Based on this simple principle, Ayurveda recommends lifestyle and diet for fever. The following advice will help you gain strength and to bring the body temperature to normal levels.
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Fever in Ayurveda
Of all the disease chapters, explained in Ayurveda, probably the fever chapter will be the largest in most of the text books. Fever is featured with a condition called as ‘Ama’ – a state of indigestion. Here, the food is not digested properly and there is depleted nourishment. Sweat channels are blocked, with increased temperature in the body.
As per Ayurveda, fever is called Jwara. It is divided into to the following stages –
1. Navajwara – Fever of recent origin – within first week.
2. Madhyama Jwara – Fever which is few days old.
3. Purana Jwara – Fever older than a week time / chronic fever.
Fever of recent origin
Things to avoid in fever of recent origin –
Snana – taking bath – leads to worsening of associated cold and infection
Virechana procedure – The digestive power is already weak. Hence this should be avoided.
Surata – Sexual activity – it will increase the weakness and increase temperature.
Kashaya – food and medicine with astringent taste – this leads to obstruction of body channels and worsening of fever.
Vyayama – exercise – leads to further loss of strength.
Divaswapna – day sleeping. It can weaken digestion further. Only if the patient is too weak to go through the day, he can sleep. Otherwise, try to avoid sleeping during the day.
Anjana – applying collyrium to eyes
Dugdha taking milk.
Ghruta – use of ghee in diet.
When there is Ama condition, taking ghee and milk both increase Ama and indigestion.
Vaidala – Bengal gram, lentils
Amisha – non veg food
Takra – buttermilk (with fat)
Sura – alcoholic beverages
Swadu – sweet substances
Guru – Foods that are heavy to digest. Avoid excess intake of food. The total digestion and metabolism are hampered. The body will not be able to digest excess foods.
Drava – excessive liquid intake
Pravata – exposure to wind
Bhramana – walking / roaming
Rosha – anger
Avoid excess roaming in wind. This can increase Vata Dosha.
During fever of recent origin, light and easily digestible food should be consumed in very less quantity. Kashayam (herbal decoctions) should not be used and person should take rest. Use of ginger, garlic and pepper is recommended.
Fever which is few days old – Activities and diet to follow –
One year old rice – easy to digest, provides nourishment and strength
Brinjal, Moringa leaves and fruit, bitter gourd, pointed gourd, radish, Flattened rice (Poha), green gram, red lentil (masoor dal), Chickpea (chana), horse gram, kidney bean (moth), raisins, pomegranate.
Activities and Diet recommended for chronic fever –
Panchakarma procedure like Vamana (vomiting therapy), Virechana (purgation therapy)
Anjana – Collyrium
Nasya – nasal instillation of drops
Dhumapana – herbal smoking
Abhyanga – massage
Cow milk, goat milk, ghee, Haritaki fruit, castor oil, sandalwood paste application,
Exposure to moon rays at night.
Things to follow during fever
Rice water –
One year old rice is added with 14 parts of water and is boiled for a few minutes. The watery part is decanted and given to the patient to drink, whenever he is hungry. It can also be mixed with ginger paste and salt.
The same combination of rice and water is boiled and solid portion is given for the patient to eat along with ginger paste.
It is light for digestion, improves appetite, balances the body tissues, increases body strength thus beneficial in fever.
25 grams of green gram is added with 450 ml of water (1:18), boiled and more solid, less liquid dish is prepared.
It gives more strength to body, light for digestion and soothes the throat.
Tulsi leaf – 1 – 2 leaves, 3 – 4 times a day is very beneficial in fever.
Dry grapes : It is nutritive and tonic, useful in debility, pain.
Pomegranate : Good for heart, appetizer and digestive.
Radish : Appetizer, hot in potency, digestive.
Green leafy vegetables : Light in digestion, relieves constipation.
Boiled water / hot water: Relieves thirst, brings down the body temperature and improves digestion strength.
Things to avoid during fever
Activities and diet to avoid during any type of fever –
Wearing red cloth, red flowers.
Taking wrong food combinations
Hot and heavy-to-digest food, sour foods, betel leaf, water melon and such other foods that cause moistening and obstruction of body channels.
Take less food. This helps in easy digestion and absorption of nutrients.
In Taruna Jwara – fever of recent origin, Ayurveda says that Kashaya rasa – astringent tasting substances such as betel nut should be avoided.
Some people confuse it with kashaya – the decoction (herbal teas) but this is a wrong translation. Herbal teas are fine to take in fever of recent origin.
Rest, diet rich with vitamin E and C, eggs, barley water, ginger, garlic are recommended.
Alcohol, smoking, junk food, butter, ghee, fried foods, soft drinks, excess sweets should be avoided.
This article is partially contributed by Dr. Madhulika Priya, PG scholar, SDMCA, Hassan, Karnataka.