By Dr JV Hebbar
During summer season, a few Ayurvedic tips will help you to keep the body cool and away from disease threats. Here are a few Ayurvedic health tips for summer season.
Dosha balance in summer
Vata is slowly building up during summer and Kapha Dosha, which shoots up in spring, starts to lower down naturally during summer.
In Greesma (summer) the sun rays become powerful and appear to be destructive. Kapha decreases day by day and Vata increases consequently.
Summer health tips
Use an umbrella while going outside.
Do not skip food. Do not do fasting.
Avoid excess spicy food.
Have light sweet food frequently.
Include ghee, raisins, cucumber, cumin seeds, coriander seeds, almond, dates in diet.
For burning of eyes – dip a cotton swab in rose water and apply it to closed eyes. – for five minutes.
Take coriander seed powder – 1 teaspoon. add it to one cup of water, leave it as it is at night, next day morning, drink it on empty stomach.
Soak 5 raisins and 5 almonds in water at night, next day morning, eat them.
Have tender coconut water / sugarcane juice – twice / thrice a week.
Desired food qualities
Foods of sweet taste, coolant foods, liquid diet, oils, fried foods and drinks are desirable during summer.
Food which are sweet, light (easy to digest), fatty, cold and liquid should be taken, take cornflour mixed with cold water and sugar after taking bath in cold water.
Boiled rice, which is white in colour, should be eaten along with meat of animals of desert.
Mantha – mashed fruit mix, added with water and sugar candy is beneficial.
Meat of the animals or birds of arid, desert land is desirable.
Goat meat, chicken, rabbit.
Ghee and milk along with rice helps to keep the body cool.
Meat juice (Mamsarasa) which is not very thick,
Rasala (curds churned and mixed with pepper powder and sugar),
Raga (syrup which is sweet, sour and little salty) and
Khandava (syrup which has all the tastes, prepared with many substances)
Panaka Panchasara, (syrup prepared with raisins (draksha), madhuka, dates (karjura), kasmarya, and parushaka fruits all in equal quantities, cooled and added with powder of cinnamon leaves, cinnamon and cardamom etc) and kept inside a fresh mud pot, along with leaves of plantain and coconut trees, and made sour (fermented) should be drunk in mugs of mud or shell;
Very cool water kept in mud pot along with flowers of patala and karpura (camphor) should be used for drinking.
Food articles like sasanka kirana (hollow, finger-like, fried pastry made of corn flour) should be taken at night;
Buffalo milk mixed with sugar and cooled by moonlight and the stars should be used for drinking.
Avoidance of alcohol
Avoid alcohol during summer –
One should either drink alcohol in little quantity or should not drink at all. Even if someone consumes, it should be diluted with plenty of water.
Wine should not be taken; If very necessary, taken in very little quantity or diluted with more quantity of water; If wine is taken in large doses, it will cause inflammatory conditions, it will make the body fragile and weak, increases burning sensation and causes delusion.
One should avoid taking foods having salt, sour, pungent and hot qualities. Already, body is taking lot of heat, so these foods make no sense. Moreover, Vata is increasing and Kapha is decreasing. These tastes are favorable to Vata and decreasing to Kapha.
Excessive physical exertion and high level of exercises should be avoided, as the season itself burns more calories.
Healthy activities to take up –
Napping is quite okay to do during summer. During night, after smearing body with sandalwood paste, one should sleep in open airy roof, which is cooled by moon rays. Read more napping rules
One should wear pearls. It acts as coolant.
One should enjoy gardens, cold water and flowers during summer.
Day time should be spent in forests having tall trees reaching the sky such as shala (shorea robusta), Tala – Borassus flabellifera etc, which obstruct the hot rays of the sun, or in houses around which bunches of flowers and grapes are hanging from their creepers.
Sheets of cloth spreading sweet scented water, are arranged (to fan the air) , all around.
Sleep on soft bed prepared with flowers of banana, kalbara, lotus etc. with fully blossomed flowers place all over.
Spend the day remaining inside the house cooled by water fountains, water being scented with usheera (Cus Cus grass), and thereby relieve yourself from the heat of the sun.
Activities to avoid
Avoid excess sex. Because, body is already under exertion and is losing calories. Hence, excess sex may worsen exhaustion.
Avoid heavy physical exercises and exposure to sunlight.
At nights, one should sleep on the terrace, facing moonlight. Exhaustion due to heat of the day is relieved by, anointing the body with paste of sandalwood, wearing garlands, avoidance of sexual activities, wearing of very light and thin dress, by fanning with fans made of leaves of Tala or large leaves of padmini (lily) made wet; syringes sprinkling cool water softly, garlands of flowers of camphor, jasmine and of pearls and beads of white sandal paste, children, sarika (mynah bird) and shuka (parrot), talking pleasantly.
Grishma Rtu Charya – summer season regimen
Intense heat of summer leads to decrease of kapha and increase of vata. Therefore one should follow regimen of food and lifestyle activities ideal for this season, which would keep kapha and vata in balance.
One should consume and follow below mentioned foods and lifestyle activities –
- Sweet, cold, unctuous and liquid foods
- Cold churned preparation with sugar, flesh of terrestrial animals, ghee, milk and rice
- Alcoholic preparations should be avoided
- Avoid salt, sour and pungent foods,
- Avoid excessive exercise
- Drink mango juice and churned curds added with pepper
- Cold water made up with fragrant materials
- Milk mixed with sugar candy at night
- Rest in cold home in noon, under soothing moon rays at night
- Apply paste of sandalwood to body
- Should avoid sex
- Rest in gardens and on banks of reservoirs
Added by Dr Raghuram Y.S. MD (Ay) & Dr Manasa, B.A.M.S
Category of Grishma season
Greeshma Rtu, (summer season) is the third and the last season of the Adana Kala or Uttarayana i.e. Northern Solstice. It is preceded by Vasanta Rtu i.e. spring season, which happens to be the second season of Adana Kala i.e. Northern Solstice. It is followed by Varsha Rtu (rainy season), the first season of the Visarga Kala i.e. Southern Solstice. Thus, summer season is the last season of the Northern Solstice.
Features of Summer Season
Common for all seasons of Northern Solstice
Sun is predominant in this season.
In Northern Solstice, the Sun has ascent. In this season, like any other season of Northern Solstice, the Sun moves northwards.
This season takes away the strength of the person and depletes him of his energy stores owing to increasing heat, subsequent increase of dryness and depletion of water components of the body.
This season reduces the mild qualities from Earth and takes away the strength of the human beings, hence depleting their strength and energy. The intensity of heat is more. The wind is very dry in nature.
In late winter, spring and summer seasons, i.e. the seasons falling in this solstice, bitter, astringent and pungent tastes are predominant. The food, plants, water and medicines predominantly contain these tastes in this solstice. These three tastes always tend to induce excessive dryness in the body. When, due to the impact of dry season and consumption of these drying tastes i.e. foods and medicines rich in these drying tastes, there is increased dryness in the body due to depletion of water components of the body, there will be natural and consequent reduction of strength of the body.
Specific for summer season
Zodiac / Rasi of the Sun in summer season –
Taurus i.e. Vrshabha Rasi and Gemini i.e. Mithuna Rasi are the Zodiacs which fall into the summer season.
Hindu Months (Saka varsa / masa) which constitute summer season – According to Hindu calendar, Jyeshta (Suci) month which extends from May 15 to June 15 & Aashadha (Shukra) month which extends from June 15 to July 15, fall in summer season.
Calendar month and time period of summer season –
Summer season falls between May 15 and July 15.
Dosha status in summer season –
In summer season, pacification of kapha takes place. At the same time, accumulation of vata also takes place in summer. The intense rays of sin will cause drying and causes disappearance of unctuousness and moistness in the body and surroundings, including in foods and medicines. All these are antagonistic to kapha and cause its decrease. Since the same things are favorable for vata, they cause vata accumulation.
Strength (bala) of the person in summer season –
The person is said to have severe loss of strength in summer season, i.e. he will have less strength in summer.
Predominant taste of summer season –
Katu rasa i.e. astringent taste is predominant in summer season. This taste is made up of fire and air elements. This induces dryness in the body. The dryness is of severe proportions. In this season, there is more head and more dryness. Apart from this, there is reduction in kapha which in turn reduces the unctuousness and moistness of the body. Also the vata accumulates and adds up to the dryness of the body. A combination of heat, dryness in the environment, reduced kapha, increased vata and presence of pungent taste in all foods and medicines available in this season, creates excessive dryness in the body.
As said, the foods and medicines in summer season are predominant in pungent taste. Pungent taste is one among the kapha alleviating tastes. Pungent taste also increases vata.
Climate in summer season
Since summer season falls in the Northern Solstice, heat is predominant in this season. Due to the predominance of heat and richness of pungent taste in the plants and medicines, there is severe amount of dryness prevailing in the atmosphere and body respectively.
The rays of the Sun are intense and scorching in summer. The winds in this season blow in South-West direction and it is considered to be unhealthy. The earth gets heated up. The rivers become narrow. The directions appear blazing. One can see the chakravaka birds i.e. ruddy goose / ruddy shelduck and other animals roaming around. The small trees, grass and climbers appear lifeless. The trees shed their leaves.
Regimen in summer season
In summer season, there is pacification of kapha dosha and subsequent accumulation of vata dosha. Due to extreme heat and prevailing dryness in the atmosphere and surrounding, summer causes decrease of kapha and due to the same seasons there is accumulation of vata. Though the heat of summer is antagonistic to vata, vata increases owing to the presence of dryness in the season. Since dryness is associated with heat, the heat does not allow aggravation of vata.
Therefore, all regimens are targeted to see that kapha doesn’t reduce and vata doesn’t increase beyond allowable proportions. All food and life activities are planned accordingly.
If a person consumes light and dry medicines and foods devoid of potency in this season, then it leads to increase of lightness, dryness and clearness in the body which causes accumulation of vata. Therefore foods and medicines which have light and dryness property should not be consumed in summer season.
In summer season, one should always consume sweet, cold, light to digest, unctuous and liquid foods. These are conducive to the season and good for health. In this season, the sun rays become powerful and all destructive. There is gradual decrease of kapha which further decreases the strength and endurance of the body. At the same time, vata increases consequently. Therefore, salt, pungent and sour foods shall be avoided in summer. Likewise, excessive physical exercises and exposure to sunlight shall be avoided in this season.
In summer, cold churned drink prepared with sugar, flesh of terrestrial animals and birds, ghee, milk and rice should be consumed.
Likewise, corn flour mixed with cold water and sugar shall be taken for drinking after taking cold water bath.
Alcoholic preparations should be avoided in summer. If one is already addicted to alcohol consumption, then it should be allowed to be taken in small quantities after having mixed the alcohol with large quantity of water. If alcohol or wine is taken in large doses and also in undiluted form, it causes inflammation. It will also make the body weak and fragile, increases burning sensation and cause delusion.
One should avoid salt, sour, pungent foods and also should avoid excessive exercises.
One should consume boiled rice which is white in color (like full moon). It shall be taken along with meat of desert animals.
Meat juice which is not very thick shall be preferred as one of the good seasonal foods.
One should drink one or more of the below mentioned delicious drinks which are stored in new earthen pots and covered with leaves of plantain or jackfruit.
- Mango juice
- Churned curds added with powder of pepper and sugar is good
- Raga – syrup preparation having predominantly sweet, sour and salt tastes
- Khandava – syrup having all tastes and prepared with many substances
- Panaka – juices or sugared juices
- Panchasara – drink prepared with grapes, licorice, Kashmarya i.e. Gmelina arborea, Parushaka i.e. Grewia asiatica and sugar, added with essence of camphor for fragrance and taste, and made cold.
One should drink cold water which has been made fragrant with patala i.e. Stereospermum suaveolens and camphor.
Milk mixed with sugar candy should be consumed at night.
Food articles exposed to moon light shall be consumed at night.
Buffalo milk mixed with sugar and made cold in under the moon and stars should be served for drinking in summer.
Other regimens, activities, therapies
One should undergo the below mentioned activities and therapies for maintaining the health in summer season. These will also prevent the seasonal disorders which are prone to occur in this season.
- Cold comforts – One should take rest in cold home / room in the afternoon, when the heat is intense. This will help in combating the heat. At night, one should rest / sleep on a terrace, getting exposed to the soothing moon rays.
- One should apply paste of sandalwood all over his body and forehead.
- Comforting touch of the loved ones, sprinkle of cold water processed with sandalwood and wearing precious stones capable of combating heat are beneficial during summer.
- One should live in forests or near the water reservoirs and also cold places beautified with flowers.
- One should take rest in the garden areas having tall trees which appear as if touching the sky, example – Sala, Tala etc trees. These trees do not allow the sunlight to pass through them and keep the gardens cold and devoid of heat.
- Resting or sleeping in the rest houses / rooms which have been decorated with climbers like jasmine and grapes is comforting in summer season. The room should have screens which are frequently sprinkled with water. The rooms should also be decorated with mango leaves and equipped with lot of fruits.
- Bed material – One should sleep on the bed made of banana leaf, lotus leaf and blue lotus leaves and decorated with fragrant lotus flowers.
- One should also sleep in the dhara griha i.e. a house / room having fountains sprinkling from hands, breast or mouth of female dolls.
- During summer season, one should avoid excessive sex. Excessive sexual indulgence will cause further increase of vata in summer. We should remember that vata naturally accumulates in summer season.
During night time, one should sleep on the terrace. The moon rays should fall on the terrace and the person should sleep beneath them, watching them.
One gets exhausted due to the extreme heat in day time. This exhaustion can be relieved by following the below mentioned measures –
- anointing the body with sandalwood paste,
- wearing garlands,
- avoiding sexual activities,
- wearing thin and light dresses,
- by fanning with fans made up of leaves of tala tree or large leaves of lily made wet,
- sprinkling of cold water using syringes or sprinklers in a gentle way,
- wearing garlands of camphor, jasmine and of pearls and beads of white sandal paste,
- by having pleasantly speaking children around us,
- mynah bird and parrots making pleasant talks around,
- beautiful women wearing bangles of soft lotus stalk, blossoms of lotus in their hairs moving in the vicinity
Managing Rtu Sandhi
Like all other seasons, the summer season too runs to a period of 2 months. Rtu Sandhi is junction period between two seasons. It constitutes a time period of 14 days.
Summer season shares two season junctions, one with its previous season and the other with its succeeding season.
Seasonal junction with spring season i.e. previous season, the Vasanta-Greeshma Rtu Sandhi
The immediate previous season for Greeshma Rtu is Vasanta Rtu i.e. spring season. This is the second season of Northern Solstice. The seasonal junction between the spring season and summer season comprises of the last 7 days of spring season and first 7 days of summer season. In this period, the regimens of spring season should gradually be discontinued and the regimens of summer season should be gradually practiced.
Seasonal junction with rainy / monsoon season i.e. upcoming season, the Greeshma-Varsha Rtu Sandhi
The immediate next season for Greeshma Rtu is Varsha Rtu, i.e. monsoon / rainy season. This is the first season of Southern Solstice. The seasonal junction of summer season with rainy season is the last 7 days of summer season along with the first 7 days of rainy / monsoon season put together. In this period, the regimens of summer season should gradually be discontinued and the regimens of rainy season gradually practised and adapted. This enables one to get ready to enter into another season and get adapted to it easily. Sudden change in regimes may produce many diseases due to asatmya i.e. incompetence. Therefore the changes need to be done gradually.
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Opinion of Sushruta
Climate in summer season:
Since summer season falls in the Northern Solstice, heat is predominant in this season.
Due to the predominance of heat and richness of pungent taste in the plants and medicines, there is severe amount of dryness prevailing in the atmosphere and body respectively.
The rays of the Sun are intense and scorching in summer.
The winds in this season blow in South-West direction and it is considered to be unhealthy.
The earth gets heated up. The rivers become narrow. The directions appear blazing.
One can see the chakravaka birds i.e. ruddy goose / ruddy shelduck and other animals roaming around.
The small trees, grass and climbers appear lifeless. The trees shed their leaves.
Dosha in Summer Season:
During summer season the plants become devoid of their essence, very dry, and light (get digested very quickly) so also the water;
using such plants (as food) and water, by their dryness and quick digestion, these brings about sanchaya (mild increase) of vata in bodies of men (and animals) which have become dry due to great heat of the sun.