Fish Benefits, Side Effects – Ayurveda Details

By Dr J V Hebbar

Fish is one of the very healthy non veg foods. But it should not be had continuously and there are many unhealthy food combinations involving fish. Hence, precautions are needed. 

fish benefits

Fish qualities, benefits

गुरूष्णा मधुरा बल्या बृंहणाः पवनापहाः||८१||
मत्स्याः स्निग्धाश्च वृष्याश्च बहुदोषाः प्रकीर्तिताः|
gurūṣṇā madhurā balyā bṛṃhaṇāḥ pavanāpahāḥ||81||
matsyāḥ snigdhāśca vṛṣyāśca bahudoṣāḥ prakīrtitāḥ|

Fish in general is:
Guru – heavy
Ushna – hot
Madhura – sweet
Balya – improves strength and immunity
Brumhana – improves nourishment
Pavanapaha – Balances Vata Dosha
Snigdha – unctuous, oily
Vrushya – aphrodisiac
Bahudosha – causes Dosha vitiation, hence can be injurious to health

Fish is good for consumption during winter season.But it should be avoided in autumn.
Fish increases Kapha dosha. Hence, on the morning of Vamana (Panchakarma procedure to expel out Kapha from body, Kapha, Dosha is excited in the patient by administering drink / thin gruel prepared from fish, black gram, Sesame etc. added with little quantity of fats, in morning.

Fish oil being rich in Vitamin E, Omega 3 fatty acid, is very good for improving memory and concentration. Hence, those taking Saraswatarishta, Brahmi ghrita etc brain tonics, can have fish oil, for enhanced effects.

For external application

Veshavara – a special type of non veg soup prepared with fish is applied externally to relieve tremors, pain, stiffness, etc Vata dosha symptoms.

Fish for sweating treatment

In chronic respiratory disorders like Rajayakshma, head of fish is used for preparing a liquid which is used for sweating treatment. (Reference: Charaka Chikitsasthana 8th chapter).

Rohita fish benefits

Rohita fish – red variety of fish benefits:
शैवालशष्पभोजित्वात्स्वप्नस्य च विवर्जनात्||८२||
रोहितो दीपनीयश्च लघुपाको महाबलः|
śaivālaśaṣpabhojitvātsvapnasya ca vivarjanāt||82||
rohito dīpanīyaśca laghupāko mahābalaḥ|
Rohita fish lives on moss and grass and does not sleep. Therefore, it promotes the power of digestion. It is light for digestion and it promotes strength considerably. Among all types of fishes, this type is the best.

According to Bhojana Kutuhala Rohita fish is scaly, black in color with a white belly and a round face, its meat is slightly hot in potency, promotes strength, alleviates vata dosha, unctuous and increases virility.

Fish in rheumatoid arthritis

Fishes  – are to be avoided. But a few research articles show that fish oil, rich in  omega 3 fatty acids eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) can reduce stiffness, pain and inflammation.
Fish, being rich in purins, is contra indicated in people having Gout. It is also not good for people with abdominal tumor and dysuria (difficulty to pass urine).

Fish during pregnancy

Well-cooked fish can be consumed during pregnancy. Being rich in Omega 3 fatty acids, Vitamin D and zinc, it helps to have good skin health, and indirectly helps to avoid stretch marks and excess of acne in the pregnant mother.

Incompatibility, side effects

Continuous usage of fish is mentioned as a cause for skin disorders.
Better to avoid fish if you have any skin disorders, especially urticaria (itching rash), psoriasis and eczema. 
Fish should not not be taken along with  black gram, honey, milk and germinated grains.
Heavy intake of fresh grains, curd and fish is mentioned as a cause for vitiligo.
Radish is incompatible with fish, hence should not be used together.
Herbal smoking soon after fish intake is contra indicated.

Fish incompatibility

Fish with milk is incompatible.  Both fish and milk have sweet taste, but due to the contradiction in their potency (fish is hot and milk is cold) they vitiate the blood and obstruct the channels of circulation. It leads to skin disorders.

Fish should not be taken together with honey, sesame seeds, sugar candy, milk, black gram (Masha), radish, lotus stalk or germinated grains. By doing so, one gets afflicted with deafness, blindness, trembling, loss of intelligence loss of voice and nasal voice.

Once you consume fish, while it is undergoing digestion, do not consume again another fish, which is processed with black pepper. It will lead to indigestion.

Kakamachi (Black night shade) along with jaggery, Long pepper fruit,  prepared with fish fat and Kakamachi (Black nightshade – Solanum nigrum), mixed with honey causes death.
Pippali (long pepper) processed with the oil in which fish is fried should be rejected.

Ayurvedic medicines

Fish in Ayuredic medicine: 
Bile of fish is used as ingredient in Ayurvedic medicines – Suchikabaran ras and Varishoshan Ras 
Swarn Bhasm (Calx of Gold) is administered along with bile of fish to relieve burning sensation.

Mercury in fish

Tilefish, swordfish, Mackerel and Tuna are the four seafoods that are the top four, contaminated with mercury. Mercury containing plants are eaten by the small fishes, which are in turn eaten by the larger ones like swordfish and shark. So, the concentration of mercury is higher in these.

6-ounce serving of salmon contains about 4 micrograms of mercury
Same amount of canned albacore tuna contains 60 micrograms of mercury and
same amount of swordfish contains 170 micrograms of mercury.

Remedy for this is to have garlic pearls, (cooked, fried or fresh), after having the fish. G

7 comments on “Fish Benefits, Side Effects – Ayurveda Details


    31/10/2014 - 5:37 am

    Dear sir,
    you should not write any thing in the favour of non veg because human being is not meetarion, this article is not like to read.

    Reply to comment

    31/10/2014 - 10:37 pm

    If i’m not wrong, original Ayurveda remedies/medicines source is: Herbs, Leaves, Tree parts etc; which is 100% Veg, but i don’t understand why is Non veg food is discussed as part of Ayurveda discussion here.

    Reply to comment
  • Aarati Pawar

    25/02/2017 - 11:46 am

    Till date, I knew only the health benefits of fish. Now after going through this blog I got to know so many amazing ayurveda benefits of fish. I shall definitely include fish in my routine now and will place an order at Hamvi seafoods which is a great site to buy seafood in Mumbai.

    Reply to comment
  • Tom

    29/08/2017 - 9:21 pm

    Are there any Ayurvedic herbs that can mimic fish oil, to get more Omega 3 etc (For people who are vegetarian ) ?

    Reply to comment
  • Anju

    13/07/2018 - 10:06 am

    Sir is fish compatible with lemon and ginger?

    Reply to comment
  • Arsheep

    21/09/2019 - 12:14 pm

    This is plain ignorance on your part. I’ve read every ayurvedic literature known to man and i’ve come across every aspect of it and using meat as a neutral dietary item is mentioned almost everywhere. Infact, it is the basis of Ayurveda that every food item that we normally ingest daily can have effects on our body if their intake is done according to specific rules.

    Much thanks to Dr. Hebbar for this amazing website resource.

    Reply to comment

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