Ayurveda Tips for Monsoon
In India, Some habits and precautions are told in all religious holy books. They say, To be spiritual, we must be Healthy. A good healthy body is a 1st step to achieve the status of spirituality.
They told some habits of food to follow in particular manners, they advised some things to avoid for this four months of Monsoon ( called Chatur Maas) to have a healthy body, mind, and soul as well. All this indication of various religions like Hinduism, Jainism, etc is for better Health.
It’s told by the medium of God so the person on this earth will believe in it and follow it sincerely. But all these things also told in Ayurveda and now these things are proved scientifically also. Ayurveda told these things as a Rutu Charya( tips on how to behave in a particular season) for Beautiful Health, Physically as well as mentally.
The monsoon season is finally upon us, as most parts of the country enjoy the frequent spells of rain, the lush greenery all around, and the calming climate. Monsoon is a season of much joy and fun for most of us. Rain is a beautiful gift to mankind to get fresh, its season of romance. Little precautions and Ayurveda tips for monsoon make this romantic reason more enjoyable.
Unfortunately though, it also brings with it a lot of seasonal illnesses, and makes us more susceptible to insect bites, seasonal colds, flu, stomach problems, and joint problems. Instead of popping pills to cope with these, it’s better to try natural, side-effect free Ayurvedic remedies and habits.
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The ayurvedic concept for the division of a year into six seasons namely Shishira, Vasanta, Grishma Varsha, Sharad, and Hemant is based on the movement of the sun into the northern and southern solstice positions which are called as Adana Kala (Utterayana) and Visharga Kala (Dakshinayana) consisting of six months in each side. The nomenclature coined as Adana meaning taking away and visarga is forgiving of strength and vigor in all living creatures. In Adana Kala sun and wind are powerful. During this period sun takes away the cooling qualities of the earth due to its scorching heat and strength of the creatures is diminished. In contrast in Visharga Kala sun releases the strength to the people by empowering the moon and earth to become cool due to the clouds, rain, and cold wind. Hence the Varsha Ritu or starting of monsoon is the indicator for the appearance of Visharga Kala and restoration of lost strength during Adan Kala ie Shishir, Vasanta, and Grishma rituals.
Climatic division of the year in Bharat- as per Ayurveda
|Adana Kala (Northern Solastic /celestial sphere)
|Shishira||Magha Phalguna (Mid January to Mid March)
|Cold & Dewy season|
|Vasanta||Chaitra, Vaishakha(Mid March to mid-may)||Spring
|Grishma||Jyestha, Ashadha(Mid May to Mid July)||Summer
|Visharga kaala (Southern Solastic/ celestial sphere)
|Varsha||Sravan, Bhadrapada(Mid July to Mid September)
|Sharad||Ashvin, Kartik(Mid September to mid-November)||Autumn season|
|Hemant||Margsheersha, Paush (Mid November to Mid January)||Winter season|
The accumulated vata in summer pops out its head, with the drop in temperature at the onset of monsoon. The vitiated vata leads to symptoms like Joint pain, muscular pain, acidity, loss of appetite, body ache, gas trouble, indigestion, cough n cold, etc.
These growing incidences of ailments due to accumulated Vata and pitta dosha needs to be pacified with the intake of medicines, proper diet, and lifestyle modification. The excessive doshas should be eliminated through the body (detoxification) with the help of Panchakarma. Ayurvedic texts recommend specific Shodhan therapy (detox program) as per the season for everybody. This is a part of Rutucharya (Seasonal regime) –
- Vaman in Vasant rutu
- Virechan and Raktamokshan in Sharad rutu
- Basti in Varsha rutu.
Importance of Basti – “Basti is half of the medicinal therapy or even the complete treatment”.
- As it is being used in numerous unresponsive diseases of degenerative, musculoskeletal, locomotor, and neurological nature with promising results. Basti alone is capable of curing many disorders.
- Basti prevents the recurrence of disease and has immunomodulation effects.
- Basti treatment regulates the metabolism of Vata dosha, smoothens functioning of Vata dosha, and ultimately corrects the functioning of Pitta and Kapha dosha.
- Depending upon the medicines, oil, and decoction used for Basti it renders curative, rejuvenative, aphrodisiac, and other healthy and beneficial effects.
- It is an extremely beneficial treatment for all Vata vyadhi, ailments associated with the digestive system, degenerative changes in the body, etc.
- Basti not only eliminates the toxins out of the body but also helps in the regeneration process at the cellular level.
Click here for Aggravation and Accumulation of doshas during monsoon
Vata: Accumulates during the dry or dehydrating heat of the summer. It becomes aggravated during the rainy (Monsoon) season which causes weakened digestion, acidic atmospheric conditions, and gas produced from the earth.
Pitta: Accumulates during the rainy season due to the acidic conditions of the atmosphere and weakened digestion. It is aggravated during autumn when the heat returns. This occurs after the cooling spell of the rainy season.
Regimen during monsoon: Ayurveda describes aggravation (vitiation) of Vata and accumulation of Pita in Varsha Ritu (Rainy/monsoon season). This is the major cause of various diseases occurring during the rainy season. The food and lifestyle should thus be such which helps in balancing Vata and Pitta.
Diet during monsoon: Water available in the reservoirs during monsoon is comparatively heavy to digest and the metabolism is sluggish during this period. An individual is likely to experience a loss of appetite. Hence following changes in diet and lifestyle is advisable during monsoon:
- Consume light and fresh foods prepared from barley, rice, and wheat
- Include cow’s ghee, lentils, green gram, rice, and wheat in daily diet.
- Consume a small piece of ginger with rock salt before every meal.
- Use sour and salted soups of vegetables. Onion and other vegetables.
- During cooler days due to heavy rains, sour, salty, and oily diet preferred.
- Drinking of boiled and cooled water mixed with little honey is recommended.
- The addition of ginger and green gram in daily diet is beneficial.
- Eating warm food and avoiding uncooked foods and salads is better.
- Drinking an excess of fluids to prevent further slowing down of metabolism is advisable.
- Avoidance of consuming stale food is beneficial.
- Consumption of leafy vegetables needs to be avoided during monsoon.
- Avoidance of curds, red meat, and any foodstuff, which takes a longer time to digest is good during the monsoon. One may have buttermilk instead of curds.
- Consumption of ‘Haritaki /Harad (Terminalia chebula) with rock salt in monsoon season is beneficial to health.
Lifestyle during monsoon: Consumption of a healthy diet only may not provide desired results unless it is supported by lifestyle beneficial for monsoon. The following are the tips for the important changes in the lifestyle of rainy /monsoon season.
- Avoiding sleep in the daytime is good as it hampers digestion and slows down the metabolism.
- Overexertion and overexposure to sun especially in the afternoon is required to be avoided.
- Keep the surrounding dry and clean and not to allow water to get accumulated around.
- Keep body warm, to protect any attack from viruses as and when body temperature goes down.
- Avoid entering into an air-conditioned room with wet hair and damp clothes.
- Avoid walking in dirty/dampened water.
- Feet are required to be kept dry.
- Avoid getting wet in the rain. However, if it happened, changing into dry clothes as soon as possible is essential in order to avoid exposure from infections, as immunity is naturally low during monsoon
- Use of Fumigative disinfectants like loban and dry neem leaves for drying cloths and killing insects/bacteria is recommended.
- Best season for conducting Panchkarma for keeping healthy throughout the year(Sukh chikitsa).
- The use of Perfumes is advocated in this season.
NOTE As per Ayurveda abrupt changes of diet and lifestyle suitable for a particular season is need to be avoided. The changes must be gradual over a period of 15 days by giving up the earlier lifestyle and adopting a new one for the acclimatization. If abrupt changes are brought the body, may not be able to cope with them and this could lead to problems
Monsoon season is categorized as Varsha Ritu. According to Ayurveda, Varsha Ritucharya is the recommended routine and lifestyle modifications to be followed, to ward off the imbalances in the body during the Monsoon. This in turn will help you boost immunity and maintain good health. During this season, aggravation of Vata and Pitta dosha is considered as the root cause of various diseases and conditions. The food, lifestyle, and care should help in balancing the vitiated Vata & Pitta doshas and maintain a healthy body constitution.
The holistic rejuvenation process consisting of a special diet, lifestyle and effective Ayurvedic therapies to be followed is characterized as Monsoon Ayurveda.
Monsoon is a time when the body’s immunity drops, thus proper care should be taken to prevent possible illnesses.
Some of the lifestyle tips to follow during Monsoon are –
- Ayurvedic treatments are highly recommended during this season in order to prevent any kind of disorders and to boost immunity
- Use warm water for bath
- Avoid walking barefoot
- Massage body with oil
- Avoid sleeping at daytime
- Avoid overexertion in any form
According to Ayurveda, ‘Agni’ is responsible for the digestive & metabolic activities of the body. During the monsoon season, Agni or the digestive fire is weak due to the aggravation of Pitta dosha which in-turn leads to various diseases. Diet thus followed during this season should balance the vitiated doshas and stimulate ‘Agni’ to perform proper digestion.
Here are a few simple guidelines recommended by Ayurveda that should be followed during the Monsoon –
- Drink small portions of lukewarm water throughout the day for good digestion
- Easily digestible, hot & light foods should be taken
- Ginger, black pepper, lemon can be used to promote better digestion
- Moong can be eaten with cow ghee or filtered oil
- Medicated porridge-like rice soup, millet soup with spices is recommended
- Include honey in your diet
- Fried, spicy, uncooked foods should be avoided
Click here for Do’s and Don’ts for the monsoon by Ayurveda
Monsoon is the time for the occurrence of Vata dosha, according to Ayurveda. It is the season when you feel like gorging on oily foods, but your digestive system is most vulnerable to various ailments. By following certain dos and don’ts, you can make sure that your body is guarded against the increased microbial activity of the season, as well as the adverse effects of slow down digestion.
- Consume very simple food.
- Consume food within 2 hours of preparing it.
- Consume food according to your digestive fire.
- When eating out, Choose restaurants that conform to basic standards of quality and hygiene.
- Have simple and easily digestible food in monsoon. They should be dry in nature like chickpea, corn, gram flour, and oats. Having moong dal is advisable.
- To ensure the removal of germs, drink only boiled water. Water should be consumed within 24 hours of boiling.
- Eat seasonal fruits as they help you restore energy.
- Herbal teas or tea with elaichi, tulsi, ginger, lemongrass, cinnamon, etc. is recommended.
- Wash green vegetables thoroughly before eating, especially if you want to have them raw.
- Astringent, mildly bitter, and pungent foods must be best served this season.
- Consume drying oils like corn oil or light oil
- Eat seasonal fruits like Apples, Bananas, Pomegranates, and lychees as non- seasonal fruits get infested with worms during the monsoons.
- One of the foremost rules for monsoon in Ayurveda is to eat according to the ability of your digestion.
- You can add a twig of mint while cooking.
- Maintain proper hygiene to prevent infections.
- Know the capability of yourjatharagni, i.e. digestive fire, when having food. Use spices such as pepper, ginger, asafoetida (hing), garlic, jeera powder, coriander, and turmeric for enhancing your digestive capability. These help to improve your immunity too.
- The vegetables recommended in the season include yam (suran), snake gourd (Turi), pointed gourd (parwal), gourd (dudhi), bitter gourd (karela), cluster beans (gavaar), and apple gourd (tinda).
- Stick to seasonal fruits during monsoons as the unseasonal ones can easily get infected with microbes. These include mangoes, pomegranates, apples, bananas, lychees, and cherries.
- In case you catch a cold, freshly prepared radish juice, along with a pinch of pipli and rock salt in warm water would help to lessen the trouble of mucous formation.
- Fasting is especially recommended in the monsoon season, particularly for people fond of socializing and erratic eating. You can gain a lot of health benefits simply by observing a weekly or fortnightly fast during monsoon. It helps to improve your digestive fire.
- Using herbs like tulsi, turmeric, yashtimadhu (glycyrrhiza glabra) in various food preparations, tea, etc. gargling with water medicated with yashtimadhu, a pinch of turmeric and salt helps in controlling infections like cough and cold.
- If possible purify your house with Dhoop (medicated smoke) / fumigation of herbs every evening, it not only spreads soothing fragrance in the house but also purifies the air and keeps infections away.
- Eat steamed salads
- Have fresh radish juice to fight cold and cough.
- To reduce mucous formations add pipli and rock salt to warm water. This reduces the natural monsoon ailments.
- Opt for yogurt, curd, and almonds in your diet instead of milk.
- Increase intake of Sweet, Sour, and Salty food.
- Perform only moderate exercises in monsoon such as light walks, some freehand exercise, skip rope, and simple yoga asanas ( SetuBandha Asana, Naukasana, AdhoMukhaSvanasana, and Bhujangasana ).
- Add a pinch of salt, pepper, long pepper and some ginger to hot water and have it once a day.
- Drink a glass of warm water mixed with a teaspoon of honey in empty stomach.
- Add 1 or 2 spoons of neem oil to half a cup of sesame oil and use this for a massage before a hot water bath, at least once a week.
- Self-massage with sesame oil at least twice a week would keep you healthy during the rainy season.
- For better digestion during monsoons, add a pinch of salt, pepper, long pepper and some ginger to hot water and have it once a day.
- Monsoon is the ideal season for fasting, for those who are socializing and involved in erratic eating habits.
- Avoid fermented foods which include idli, dosa, uttapam, and the like.
- Avoid sprouts, raw vegetables, refrigerated and sour foods. Foods that are sour include tamarind, various pickles, and chutneys.
- Heavy grains such as bajra and ragi should be avoided. Limit the intake of foods with high water content such as rice, muskmelon, watermelon, and lassi. These can lead to swelling.
- Foods that strain your digestive system such as buttermilk, yogurt, curd should be avoided.
- Avoid non-vegetarian foods in monsoon. The possibility of germ content is highest in non-vegetarian foods.
- Do not tire yourself with work ( don’t overwork ).
- Don’t consume food that is stored in cold storage/refrigerator.
- Avoid dry foods and sprouts.
- Avoid sour fermented food.
- Avoid eating late at night. It is particularly important in this season.
- Avoid naturally sour foods like tamarind, tomatoes, and lime in your diet as it promotes water retention.
- Avoid too much of fish and meat this season and heavy curries
- Excessive intake of coffee and tea dehydrates body fluids so they must be better avoided.
- Vegetables like cauliflower, potatoes, cluster beans, ladies finger, kidney beans, pigeon pea, and sprouted grains must be avoided.
- Avoid eating fried items, pre-cut fruits, and juices from roadside vendors and stick to high quality and hygiene.
- Avoid watermelon and muskmelons and also goosing on too many mangoes may cause pimples.
- People who face skin allergies during rainy seasons must avoid spicy foods. Spicy foods raise body temperature and stimulate blood circulation and it leads to allergies and skin irritation.
- Avoid heavy oils like sesame oil, peanut oil, and mustard oil as they fall in the first place to invite infections.
- Avoid curd, ice cream, and frozen food as they can cause flu and fever.
- Eating watery foods like lassi, rice, muskmelon creates swelling in the body.
- People who face skin allergies during rainy seasons must avoid spicy foods.
- Uncooked vegetables and salads should be avoided.
- Avoid junk and fried food as people tend to overeat as it leads to weight gains.
- Fasting should be avoided by diabetics and people with specific health conditions.
By following these dos and don’ts, you would be able to revel in monsoon without fearing its adverse impact.
Following the above guidelines helps you to stay safe and healthy during monsoons. Always binge on nutritional food and be hygienic by taking necessary precautionary measures like cleaning your house, washing hands before and after having a meal, etc. Have a disease-free, safe and healthy monsoon.
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Foods recommended eating during monsoon –
Grains — Red rice, Sathi Rice, Wheat, Jowari ( Great millet).
Vegetables – Bottle Gourd ( Dudhi), Snake Gourd ( Padwal), Okra ( Bhindi) Dodka, Ghosali
Legumes – Tur Daal, Green Gram, Koolith, Black Gram
Tubers – Garlic, Onion, Ginger, Suran
Fruits – Dates, Grapes, Coconut, Mulberry.
Milk and milk products – Cow milk, Buttermilk, Ghee
Other Things – Rock salt, Coriander, Cumin, jaggery, Mint, Asafoetida, ( Hing), Black pepper, Piper Longum, ( Pippali)
Avoid during monsoon –
Grains – Vari, raagi, Bajari ( Pearl millet), Maize, Barley.
Vegetables – Spinach, Bitter Gourd ( Karela), Chavlai, Cabbage, Dry Vegetables.
Legumes – Matki, Vaal, Vatana (Peas), Lentil ( Masur), Gram ( Chana)
Tubers – Potato, Shingada, Sabudana, kamalkanda, Arum, Carrot.
Fruits – Black Plum ( Jambul), Jackfruit, Cucumber, watermelon, Muskmelon.
Milk – Buffalo Milk, Piyush, Paneer.
Other things – Sweets, Fried Food, Shrikhand.
Water – Coldwater
Diet in monsoon –
Drink boiled warm water to avoid waterborne diseases during monsoon.
Drinking warm milk with turmeric powder can help one get rid of a sore throat, throat pain, and soothe a cold which is common during monsoons.
A simple decoction of tulsi leaves and turmeric for gargling also relieves sore throat.
Common treatments are done during monsoon –
Abhyangam or oil massage: This mode of treatment helps to get rid of various aches and pains that can crop up during monsoons like joint pains due to arthritis and weak bones. However, this also helps to rejuvenate your skin. It reduces the swelling, stiffness, and pain in the joints and helps to relax the muscles.
Swedan or heat treatments with medicated decoctions or herbal powders: There are two types of heat treatments offered in Ayurveda during monsoons.
Patrapottali swedan: This heat treatment with bolus prepared from leaves of medicinal herbs helps to relieve pain and swelling in arthritis, spondylosis, and other types of pains in the bones and joints.
Ruksha swedan: This is a dry heat treatment which gives patient relief from pain due to rheumatoid arthritis and other chronic ailments.
Basti or Enema: The oils and also the special decoction used in this treatment are specific to Vata dosha. The oil enemas and decoction enemas help in detoxification and shaman (pacification) of Vata dosha.
Ubatan – Application of herbs in particular manners is advisable.
In the starting of monsoon, do Panchkarma – Vaman, and Virechan, for body detoxification.Click here for Benefits of Ayurveda:
It is common knowledge that Ayurveda therapy helps to get to the bottom of all health problems. It is a therapy that helps cleanse your mind and body at the most fundamental level. Ayurveda is a pranic system of medicine that brings a sense of balance on the body’s life energy called the doshas. This can be accomplished by following a strict diet, through various massages, pouring herbal liquid onto the whole body, and by wrapping your body with essential herbal leaves and powders.
It is a traditional natural healing system that takes into account your mind, body, and soul completely. If you want to undergo Ayurveda therapies, then the monsoon season is the best time for rejuvenation treatment and to strengthen the body. During the monsoon the atmosphere tends to be cool and dust free and that is the reason why most people start their therapy at this point in time. It is believed that your body will be more receptive to Ayurveda therapies during monsoon than any other season.
This particular season is favorable for Ayurveda treatment since it helps the body’s pores to open up and also restores the body’s vitality and health. Monsoon Ayurveda benefits the body by accelerating healing. Ayurveda treatments help to control monsoon disorders. Monsoon Ayurveda does benefit by increasing energy levels and helps in the prevention of diseases.
Increases immunity: The soothing environment during monsoon makes the mind and body more receptive to the benefits of rejuvenation therapy. The cool atmosphere helps the skin to open the pores and to absorb herbal or medicinal oils during treatment. Monsoon is the best time for Ayurvedic treatments. A massage supposedly increases blood circulation and also eases physical stress. One of the best monsoon Ayurveda benefits is that it reduces muscular tension and pain.
Softens the tissues in the body: It is believed that monsoon helps to soften and develop the seven tissues of the body. These tissue layers are called dhatus. According to Ayurveda, there are seven different types of dhatus in the human body. These dhatus are composed of five mahabhutas. During monsoon the Ayurveda techniques like snehana (oil application) and svedhana (steam treatments) can be used to effortlessly get rid of toxins and negative energies from the body since the tissues in the body are soft and supple.
- Ayurvedic rejuvenation therapies: Monsoon Ayurveda benefits are that it does more than giving relief to the stress. The rejuvenation program helps to preserve longevity, helps you to retain youthfulness and tries to revitalize the body and mind. It enhances body resistance and the proper functioning of the body parts. Monsoon is the best time for Ayurvedic treatment as it improves the skin’s complexion and helps to build proper dhatus (tissues) in the body. For all the doshas (problems) and for the proper functioning of the body, Ayurveda practitioner usually suggests Panchakarma treatment (panch means five’ and karma means ‘action’). It increases your immunity power and helps you to get better sleep.
Swedan or heat treatments: There are two types of heat treatments offered in Ayurveda during monsoons.
This heat treatment with bolus prepared from leaves of medicinal herbs helps to relieve pain and swelling in arthritis, spondylosis, and other types of pains in the bones and joints.
This is a dry heat treatment which gives patient relief from pain due to rheumatoid arthritis and other chronic ailments.
Benefits of Monsoon Ayurveda
Varsha Ritu or Monsoon season is considered as the best to undergo Ayurvedic treatments since the moist climate opens up the pores in the skin, making it more receptive to all the medications and treatments.
Here are few key benefits of Ayurveda during the Monsoon season –
- Balances the vitiated doshas
- Increases immunity
- Cleanses & detoxifies the body
- Rejuvenates body & mind
- Prevents lifestyle disorders like diabetes, blood pressure & stress
- Effective for conditions like rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis, back pain, lumbar and cervical spondylosis, etc.
Our emotions also play a vital role in keeping our bodies healthy. So this monsoon try to keep negatives like anger, irritation, jealousy, and ego aside