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,
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.)