A patient came for consultation & asked, “Doctor do I need to follow diet when I’m taking ayurvedic medicines & treatment?”. Usually this is the most common question of patient who comes for ayurvedic physicians. It may be they are curious to know & follow the diet or afraid if doctor might cutoff the favorite food from his plate.
Today I would like to discuss about the importance of pathya aahara in our management & some cases which got 100% result by following pathya.
What is Pathya?
Pathyam patho anapetam yadyaccoktam manasah priyam | Yaccapriyamapathyam ca nityatam tanna lakshayet || (Ca.Su,25/45). Aacharya Caraka explains Pathya as the food which is beneficial or conducive to both body & mind.So the food items which balances,nourishes our dhatus and also raja-tamo guna of mind is considered as Wholesome food or Pathya.
Importance of Pathya
- Vaidhya Lolimbaraj in his ‘Vaidhya Jeevanam’ book quotes a verse, Pathye sti gadartasya kimausadhanisevanai | Pathye asti gadartasya kimausadhanisevanai || (1/10) Means,“If a person is having diet food there is no need of medicines, but if a person is having unwholesome food then there is no need of medicine”.So diet plays a major role in the treatment .
- Supporting the above words, Kashyapa aacharya names Pathya as “Mahabheshajam” a Superior Medicine.
- Ayurveda considers that this body stands on 3 pillars(trayopaasthamba), among them the 1st pillar is Aahara/Food. So one should know what we eat.
- Further explaining about Aahara, Carakaacharya explains, Aahara sambhavam vastu rogashcha aahara sambhavaah | Hitaahita visheshaattu vishesha sukhadukhayo || (Ca.Su 28/45 Means, “This body is made-up & nourished by food, similarly the diseases affecting this body is also by food. So hitaahara leads to Sukha/Health & ahitaahara leads to Dukha/Disease to both body & mind.
- Harita states that, ‘if a person ignores the pathya-apathya & consumes apathy aahara, then the disease will never leave the body’. So one should follow pathya considering the age, place, dosha & dushya of a person.
- To clarify the above statement Yogaratnakara gives an example of a Seedling(ankura). When we don’t put water to the seedling, It will die. Similarly when apathya aahara is stopped, the disease will destroy from the root.
- So Aacharya Caraka has mentioned that Pathya as one of the synonyms of Chikitsa(Ca.Chi.3/3).
Benefits of Pathya
Sushruthaacharya mentions that pathyaaahara increases the vitality, strength, complexion & ojas. Acharya Caraka explains that pathya leads to,
- Shareera upachaya.
- Improves bala, varna, sukha & aayusha.
- Promotes growth of dhatus.
- Produces clarity of mind & improves intellect.
Some interesting case examples for Pathya aahara
- Recently a 40yrs lady came with a complaint of 3-4 cm Ovarian Cyst. She underwent Shodhana followed by 3 months of yava-anna pathya. After 3months in a scan I was surprised to see that cyst had completely disappeared.
- A female with a history of chronic tennis elbow with cervical reticulopathy. with some modern medicines she got 10-20% relief in the pain(She was not on pathya). This continued for 2 years. Later after 2 consultations I asked about her daily food habits & it was all guru, aama-karaka aahara. So asked her to cut off her food intake to 50% & at night to take only Yava/Broken wheat fried ganji in small quantity strictly. Within 15days of strict diet she got 90% relief .
- A 5yrs old kid with chronic bronchitis got immediate relief after taking broken wheat dry fried ganji for dinner & by stopping dairy products & heavy food items.
After observing these cases we can know that how the pathya aahara plays a major role in our life.
- Pathya means the right path, which does not cause any trouble to the body, rather it corrects the derangements produced due to disease & which creates pleasure to the mind.
- So each physician should advise specific pathya aahara based on Agnibala, Ama, Dosha.
- Most of the time if pathya aahara is properly followed, then the medicines requirement will be very minimum.
- When once patients starts to follow pathya and soon problems are reduced, they will also realize the importance of Pathya aahara & they follow it with interest .
- Thus every one should refrain from Apathya Aahara and follow Pathya Aahara as “Swasthasya swasthya rakshanam | Aaturasya vikaara prashamanam ||”(Ca.Su.)