By Dr Raghuram Y.S. MD (Ay) & Dr Manasa, B.A.M.S
Master Charaka has mentioned the principles related to use of water in the chapter dealing with treatment of fevers. He has specified the kinds of water to be used in different fevers. This shows that the patient suffering from fever should be keenly observant in terms of water consumption and should know when and what type of water needs to be consumed.
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1. When thirst manifests
While recommending use of water in different kinds of fever, master Charaka starts the verse with the word ‘Trishyate’. This means to tell that the first rule for administering water in fever is that the patient should ‘be thirsty’. He should only consume water when he is thirsty.
2. Use of Hot Water
Hot water should be readily used in fevers of vata and kapha origin. This includes the below mentioned types of fever –
- Vataja Jwara – fever of vata origin
- Kaphaja Jwara – fever of kapha origin
- Vata-Kaphaja Jwara – fever manifested due to simultaneous vitiation of vata and kapha
Vata and Kapha are basically cold. Therefore in fevers manifested by vata, kapha or vata-kapha, cold symptoms are predominant. Hot water is antagonist to these two doshas and also the nature of fever caused by vitiation of these doshas. Therefore it is logical to therapeutically administer hot water in these types of fever. Again, as a rule it should be consumed only when thirst manifests.
Read – Benefits And Usage of Water As per Ayurveda: Complete Compilation
3. Use of Cold / Boiled and cold processed water
Water processed with bitter tasting herbs and made cold should be given to drink in fevers of pitta origin and which is caused due to excessive consumption of alcohol.
In both these types of fever excessive heat is induced in the body. Cold water is by nature antagonistic to pitta, heat generated by pitta and alcohol and the nature of fevers manifested due to pitta or alcohol. Bitter tasting herbs are conducive for those suffering from fever, more so in fevers having more heat as those caused by pitta and alcohol. As a rule it should be consumed only when thirst manifests.
Read – Drinking Water before or After food? A Wrong Habit – Ayurveda Proof
Properties of water
Hot water and water processed with bitter tasting herbs are –
- Dipana – kindles digestive fire
- Pachana – cooks ama, separates and destroys ama from its association with doshas
- Destroys fever
- Sroto shodhaka – cleanses the channels of the body
- Provides strength
- Ruchikara – stimulates taste
- Induces sweating
- Shivam – wholesome
4. Water processed with bitter tasting herbs in fevers
Earlier Master Charaka has included ‘tikthako rasa – bitter tasting herbs’ among the measures to be adopted in treating the acute fevers. Along with fasting, sudation, time (8th day of manifestation of fever) and yavagu – different kinds of gruel, the bitter tasting herbs are said to cause pachana i.e. ripen the immature doshas i.e. remove and separate the association of ama from the doshas. Later it is said that since medicines cannot be used in acute fevers, the bitter tasting herbs which are also forms of medicines should not be directly given in fevers. But water, drinks or gruels processed with bitter herbs may be given in fevers. This shows that water boiled with bitter herbs is wholesome for all patients suffering from fever. Water boiled with bitter tasting herbs should mainly given to the patients suffering from taruna jwara i.e. fevers caused by doshas associated with ama. The first 6-7 days of fever is called as taruna jwara which means acute fevers. This looks like a general principle immaterial of dosha involved. But we can also apply specific rule and serve the same water hot to those suffering from vata or kapha fevers and cold in those suffering from pitta fevers.
5. Use of water in other types of fever
Procedure of taking water for those suffering from fever caused by dual vitiation of kapha and pitta and fever caused by simultaneous vitiation of all three doshas have not been mentioned in the context of ‘treatment of fevers’. In these conditions, master Chakrapani advices to follow the general principle of ‘treatment of fevers’ mentioned in ‘Vimana Sthana’ section of Charaka Samhita. According to this principle, hot water is good for all kinds of fever. Therefore by default hot water is beneficial in fevers for which ‘use of water’ has not been specified i.e. kapha-pittaja and sannipataja jwaras.
6. Shadanga Paniya Vidhi
Shadanga Vidhi or Shadanga Paniya Vidhi has been explained for fevers. This is a special kind of water processed with 6 herbs. Read more about Shadanga Paneeya
The water boiled with the below mentioned herbs should be given to pacify thirst and fever –
- Musta – Cyperus rotundus
- Parpata – Fumaria parviflora
- Ushira – Vetiveria zizanioides
- Sandalwood – Santalum album
- Udichya – Pavonia odorata
- Ginger – Zingiber officinale
This medicated water is thus recommended as water substitution in fevers as it has dual role to play. Water is anyways recommended only in presence of thirst in fever and this water satisfies both rules.
In the above said context water processed with bitter herbs are mentioned to be given in madhyottha and pittottha jwaras. This reference of Shadanga Vidhi pertains to clarification of that aspect. All herbs used in Shadanga water are bitter tasting herbs except ginger. Ginger is an herb which is predominantly pungent in taste.
According to Master Chakrapani, ginger in spite of being the only non-bitter herb in the combination, is still wholesome because it is conducive and antagonistic to the fever which tends to contaminate the stomach. Therefore ginger is both antipyretic and good for the stomach health from where the fever takes its origin. Thus its utility in Shadanga water is justified.
Read – Kashayam Remedy For Fever, Thirst And Burning Sensation
Also the Shadanga water should be prepared only by processing the herbs in water and it should not be prepared according to method of preparing decoction. Here 1 karsha of the herbs are boiled in 1 prastha of water, reduced to half the quantity, filtered and used after cooling it.
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