Excessive Thirst – Ayurvedic Understanding And Treatment

excessive thirst - Ayurveda

Article by Dr MS Krishnamurthy MD (Ayu) Ph.D (Ayu) and Dr Hebbar.
Thirst is a normal phenomenon in everyone. But, when the there is excessive thirst, when someone is feeling thirsty all the time, when person is not happy even after repeated water intake, then it may give hint towards underlying disease. It mostly occurs as a symptom of disease such as diabetes or fever. But in Ayurveda, it is both considered as a symptom in many diseases as well as a separate disease entity. It is called ‘Thrishna’ in Ayurveda and Polydyspia in modern medical science. 

In Ayurveda, thirst is explained as one among the 13 types of natural urges that should not be suppressed.
But here, we are talking about unusually excessive thirst, which Seers Charaka and Sushruta have referred as Trishna disease. Based up on the nature of origin, it is classified into 5 types as Vatic (due to Vata), Paittic, Kaphaja, Amaja, Kshayaja and Upasargaja. The details of this disease are furnished here below.

Causes

Causes for excess thirst as per Ayurveda:
1. Intake of dry, heavy and spicy food
2. Intake of salty, sour, pungent and alkaline food
3. Alcohol intake
4. Exposure to sunshine, fire etc
5. Excess sexual indulge
6. Fear, anger, grief etc
7. Long term suffering from diabetes, diarrhea, vomiting, fistula, liver disorders, emaciating disorders etc
8. Fasting
9. Poisons
10. Vata and Pitta imbalance.
11. Excessive thirst (Pipasa) is told as a symptom of vitiation of fluid channels of the body – Udakavaha srotodushti. (Charaka Vimana sthana 5th chapter)

Origin of thirst

Origin of disease condition – Thirst:
Due to above said causative factors, Pitta and Vata are aggravated individually or together and dehydrate the nourishing factors(Rasa Dhatu) due to warm and dry natures. Thus it results in thirst.

Features

Vataja trishna

Features of Vataja Trishna:
Weakness, dryness, thirst, dizziness, sleeplessness, dry mouth and anorexia are the features of this condition.

Pittaja trishna

Features of Pittaja Trishna:
Thirst associated with burning sensation, bitterness in the mouth, headache, craving for cold food, fainting, yellowish discoloration of eyes, urine and stools, unconsciousness, hatred for food, delirium and distressing fumes are the features of this condition.

Kaphaja trishna

Features of Kaphaja Trishna:
Thirst with the desire of warm beverages, sleepiness, heaviness and sweetness of the mouth are the features of Kaphaja Trishna.

Amaja trishna

Features of Amaja Trishna:
Ama is a condition of altered digestion and metabolism. This type of thirst is commonly associated with indigestion, cardiac pain, repeated spitting, nausea (vomiting sensation) and body ache.

Kshayaja trishna

Features of Kshayaja Trishna:
Kshaya means decrease / depletion. The thirst caused due to depeletion of Rasa Dhatu (Rasa is the useful product produced after digestion process). It is characterized with voice intolerance, darkness in front of eyes, dryness of heart, throat and palate, chest pain, shivering, emaciation.

Kshataja trishna

Features of Kshataja Trishna:
Kshata means injury. This type of thirst is resulted following an injury and hemorrhage. This type is associated with burning sensation and fatigue.

Bhaktodbhava trishna

Features of Bhaktodbhava Trishna:
Bhakta means meals. This type of thirst is caused due to intake of excessive unctuous (oily), sour, saline and heavy foods.

Upasargaja trishna

Features of Upasargaja Trishna:
Here fever, excessive urination, wasting, debility, dyspnea etc. are formed as features. Here, thirst is associated with another disease.

Complications

Fever, hallucination, emaciation, cough, deafness and tongue protrusion are explained as complications of long persisting thirst.

Management

All Vata and Pitta pacifying measures are undertaken.
Related: how to balance Vata and Pitta Dosha
Priority is given to restore the digestive fire throughout.

Single drugs

1. Kashmarya – Gmelina arborea
2. Draksha – Raisin – Vitis vinifera
3. Kharjura – Dates – Pheonix dactylifera
4. Usheera–Vettiver – Vetiveria zizanoides
5. Chandana – Sandal wood – Santalum album
6. Yashtimadhu – Indian liquorice – Glycyrrhiza glabra
7. Matulunga – a variety of lemon – Citrus media
8. Kamala – Lotus – Nymphea orodata
9. Amalaki – Indian Gooseberry (Amla) – Emblica offiicinalis etc

Ayurvedic medicines

Ayurvedic medicines for excessive thirst:
1. Kharjooradi mantha – has sweet fruits like dates and pomegranate. Generally used in Kshayaja, Kshataja, Pitta and Vata types of Trishna.
2. Shadanga paneeya – has coolant and antipyretic (anti fever) herbs. Useful in Pittaja and Upasargaja Trishna.
3. Dhanyakadi himamade from coriander seed – specific to Pitta variety.
4. Parpatadyarishta – used in treating liver and splenic disorders. It is useful in Pittaja, Kaphaja and Upasargaja types.
5. Trinapanchamoola kashaya – made with five types of grasses. Used in urinary tract disorders. Useful in Kaphaja, Kshataja, Kshayaja and Upasargaja types.
6. Chandrakala rasa – useful in bleeding disorders. Hence helpful in Kshataja and Kshayaja type of thirst.
7. Kamadugha rasa, Pravala pishti  – useful in Pittaja.

Unwholesome diet and habits

1. Heavy food intake
2. Sour, salty and spicy food
3. Pungent food
4. Sleeplessness
5. Work exhaustion
6. Heavy exercise etc.

Wholesome diet and habits

1. Parched rice + sugar candy + honey
2. Cooked barley + sugar candy
3. Rice gruel with sugar and ghee
4. Milk
5. Gruel of green gram
6. Fruits
7. Sugarcane juice
8. Dadima (pome granate)
9. Draksha (raisin)
10. Kooshmanda (ash gourd)
11. Trapusa (cucumber) etc

Diseases with thirst as symptom

Disease conditions wherein thirst occurs as a symptom:
Diabetes mellitus – Type 1 and type 2, Diabetes insipidus, burns, dehydration, diarrhea, fever, heart failure, kidney disorders, kidney failure, multiple myeloma, sepsis. Read more

Summary

Thirst is a natural urge which should not be suppressed at all. If this is found in excess, surely one should be investigated for any underlying pathologies. Negligence of thirst may be found fatal, when it is diagnosed as Diabetes, Hypertension, Gastric ulcers, Colitis, Hormonal disturbances etc. It will be wise if it is examined at the earliest and relative medication is followed accordingly.

Addition by Dr Raghuram Y.S. MD (Ay) & Dr Manasa, B.A.M.S

Effective decoctions for thirst from Sahasrayogam

1. Trishnahara Kashayam

Ref – Sahasrayogam, Kashaya Prakaranam, 33

a. Sarivadi Kashayam (Trishnahara Kashayam)

Ref – Sahasrayogam, Kashaya Prakaranam, 33b

IngredientsBotanical NameMethod of usingIndications
SarivaHemidesmus indicusThe decoction prepared with these ingredients should be served fresh1.Burning sensation 2.Bleeding disorders 3.Thirst 4.Fever  
UshiraVetiveria zizanioides
KashmaryaGmelina arborea
MadhookaMadhuca longifolia
White and red types of sandalwoodSantalum album & Pterocarpus santalinus
LicoriceGlyzyrrhiza glabra
ParushakaGrewia asiatica

b. Dhanyakadi Kashayam

IngredientsBotanical NameMethod of usingIndications
CorianderCoriandrum sativumThe decoction prepared with these ingredients should be served fresh with sugar1.Thirst caused by vitiated pitta    
PippaliPiper longum
Trina PanchamulaRoots of five herbs starting with Desmostachya bipinnata
ShatavariAsparagus racemosus
KolaZiziphus jujuba
YavasaAlhagi camelorum

c. Other Kashayas which are useful in management of thirst associated with fevers

  1. Decoction prepared with Drakshadi gana group of herbs
  2. Decoction prepared with Saribadi gana group of herbs
  3. Decoction prepared with Vidaryadi gana group of herbs

2. Ghanadi Kashayam / Shadanga panam (Pachna Kashayam)

Ref – Sahasrayogam, Kashaya Prakaranam, 1a

3. Gopanganadi Kashayam (Pitta Jwarahara Kashayam)

Ref – Sahasrayogam, Kashaya Prakaranam, 3

IngredientsBotanical NameMethod of usingIndications
SarivaHemidesmus indicusThe decoction prepared with these ingredients should be served cold admixed with honey and sugar1. Fevers of pitta origin associated with burning sensation and thirst    
LotusNelumbo nucifera
SandalwoodSantalum album
UsiraVetiveria zizanioides
GingerZingiber officinale
LicoriceGlycyrrhiza glabra
HriveraPavonia odorata
UtpalaNymphaea stellata
MadhookaMadhuca longifolia
ShatavariAsparagus racemosus

4. Drakshadi Kashayam (Vata-Pitta Jwarahara Kashayam)

Ref – Sahasrayogam, Kashaya Prakaranam, 6

IngredientsBotanical NameMethod of usingIndications
GrapesVitis viniferaThe decoction prepared with these ingredients should be served with honey, sugar and powder of parched grains.1.Vomiting 2.Fever of vata-pitta origin 3.Alcoholic intoxication, fainting, giddiness, burning sensation 4. Fatigue, thirst, bleeding from upper passages 5. Thirst, jaundice
MadhookaMadhuca longifolia
LicoriceGlycyrrhiza glabra
LodhraSymplocos racemosa
KashmaryaGmelina arborea
SarivaHemidesmus indicus
MustaCyperus rotundus
AmalakiEmblica oficinalis
HriveraPavonia odorata
PadmakesaraFilament of lotus
PadmakaPrunus cerasoides
MrinalaNelumbium speciosum
SandalwoodSantalum album
UshiraVetiveria zizanioides
NilotpalaNymphaea stellata
ParushakaGrewia asiatica

5. Madatyayahara Kashayam

Ref – Sahasrayogam, Kashaya Prakaranam, 34

IngredientsBotanical NameMethod of usingIndications
GrapesVitis viniferaThe decoction prepared with these ingredients should be served cold1.Thirst 2.Fainting 3.Intoxication 4.Confusion
LicoriceGlyzyrrhiza glabra
MadhookaMadhuca longifolia
PippaliPiper longum
DatesPhoenix sylvestris
SandalwoodSantalum album
SarivaHemidesmus indicus
MustaCyperus rotundus
LajaParched grains
UshiraVetiveria zizanioides

6. Visuchikahara Kashayam

Ref – Sahasrayogam, Kashaya Prakaranam, 38

IngredientsBotanical NameMethod of usingIndications
BilwaAegle marmelosThe decoction prepared with these ingredients should be served fresh.1.Cholera 2.Thirst 3.Colic  
AjamodaTrachyspermum ammi
MustaCyperus rotundus
GingerZingiber officinale
CorianderCoriandrum sativum
VachaAcorus calamus
PutikaranjaHoloptelea integrifolia
HriveraPavonia odorata
ShatiCurcuma zedoaria
ChitrakaPlumbago zeylanica

7. Duralabhadi Kashayam

Ref – Sahasrayogam, Parishishta Prakaranam, 11

IngredientsBotanical NameMethod of usingIndications
DuralabhaFagonia creticaThe decoction prepared with these ingredients should be served fresh with sugar  1. Thirst 2. Bleeding disorders 3. Fever with burning sensation  
ParpatakaFumaria oficinalis
PriyanguCallicarpa macrophylla
BhunimbaAndrographis paniculata
VasaAdhatoda vasica
KatukarohiniPicrorhiza kurrooa

8. Hriberadi Kashayam

Ref – Sahasrayogam, Parishishta Prakaranam, 15

IngredientsBotanical NameMethod of usingIndications
HriveraPavonia odorataThe decoction prepared with these ingredients should be served fresh, mixed with honey and sugar  1.Severe bleeding disorders, thirst, fever and burning sensation  
CorianderCoriandrum sativum
GingerZingiber oficinale
SandalwoodSantalum album
LicoriceGlycyrrhiza glabra
VasaAdhatoda vasica
UshiraVetiveria zizanioides

9. Chandanadi Kashayam

Ref – Sahasrayogam, Parishishta Prakaranam, 18

IngredientsBotanical NameMethod of usingIndications
SandalwoodSantalum albumThe decoction prepared with these ingredients should be served fresh with honey1.Bleeding disorders associated with kapha 2. Thirst, cough, fever    
IndrayavaSeeds of Holarrhena antidysenterica
PathaCissampelos pareira
KatukaPicrorhiza kurrooa
DuralabhaFagonia cretica
GuduchiTinospora cordifolia
HriveraPavonia odorata
LodhraSymplocos racemosa
PippaliPiper longum

10. Trayantyadi Kashayam

Ref – Sahasrayogam, Parishishta Prakaranam, 111

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6 thoughts on “Excessive Thirst – Ayurvedic Understanding And Treatment”

  1. Great Post!!….. Dr, can you please write an post on having tambula after meal, m reading so many benefits of betel leaves now a days, so very curious about this Indian tradition of having paan after meal.

    Reply

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