Author: Rajkumar Neelappa
Physeek cafe brings you the best advice from highly qualified Doctors and Fitness professionals. Vijaykumar spoke to Prof. Dr. H.T. Sreenivas on one of the most critical topics, which the Doctor believes is not well understood.
What is the myth around the quantity of drinking water in a day?
The “ROGANUTPADANIYA Adhyaya” of Ayurveda explains the intake of water, food, and a total of fourteen urges of humans. This chapter explains starting from the hunger to the production of semen.
Man has manipulated the intake of food and water because it is possible for him to do so. He has also put his mind to increase the duration of copulation. Ayurveda says that if you increase or decrease fourteen urges, including hunger, thirst, or copulation, you will get diseases.
I will speak about water and thirst. If I drink a glass of water after my food, the body will take two hours to absorb and reach the final destination liver. If I drink water on an empty stomach, the same absorption will take just 30 minutes. This water rushes through villi, portal veins, and the heart and eventually reduces the overall pressure. The cells in these veins and capillaries also need oxygen and nutrition for their nourishment.
If we drink only water and without consuming food, you are starving, especially cells in the walls of veins and capillaries. The undernourished cells cause diffusion of liquids. Ayurveda does not advise this.
For example, if you give wheat bran mixed with a lot of water to domestic animals like dogs, they also get ascites, and their abdomen size will increase because of fluid buildup.
You should drink water only when you feel thirsty.
Is there a defined limit on how much water to drink per day?
We should not even think about that. Our body will express itself through an urge called thirst.
When you pass urine, the color of the urine says whether a person is hydrated or dehydrated. Is that a myth?
You should not be worried about dehydration due to urine color. The urine has a slightly yellowish color, which is defined both in Ayurveda and modern medicine.
If you drink water looking at the urine color, you will probably only add volume in the circulating blood.
Is it reasonable to drink one glass of water per meal? Is that sufficient?
No, we cannot tell if it is sufficient or not. If you are in a hot region, you feel more thirsty, and you should drink more water. The body asks for it. In colder areas, you will not feel thirsty at all. Wait for the expression of thirst by the physiology.
How does the body replenish the water level?
Let us say that you are healthy and your weight is 70 Kgs. If you are not feeling excess thirst, then you will have 7 liters of water in the body. Every 3-5 mins, your heart circulates the whole 7 liters of blood throughout the body.
In 24 hours, the kidney filters around 170 liters of water from the blood, and 168.5 liters of water are re-absorbed. A healthy person will excrete only 1.5 liters of water.
If I drink more water and the urination increases, all the stored essential minerals are flushed out, and the body becomes weak.
Is there any container to be used to store water? Does that affect the property of water for consumption?
People may store water in Stainless Steel, Glass, Copper, Gold, or silver vessels. Ayurveda recommends only the Gold, Silver, and Mud pot.
Ayurveda recognizes copper as a metallic poison, and we should be careful while storing water in a copper vessel. In the early days, they used to use as an antidote for other toxins. And they used to prepare a fine ash powder carefully by burning it along with the cow dung. Even after preparation, they used to test it in a glass bowl by adding curd to it. If the powder turns green or blue, then it is safe.
Which one is better? Steel container or Glass container.
For storage, you can use either of them. For boiling water, the steel container is suitable. If you use other metallic vessels, then that container should have a zinc coating – people in the earlier days knew about this.
Ayurveda and Science
Ayurveda is highly scientific. I can give an example of a disease called Jaodhara or Ascietis. This condition happens when the fluids diffuse from the walls of the veins into the abdominal region. The person may look like a full-term pregnant. The only solution in modern medicine is capping – puncture and drain the liquid. And we have to do this every week.
In Ayurveda, there is a highly scientific treatment. The water stored in the abdominal regions should return to the veins by changing their fluid pressure. They prepare a special meal out of rice and Cow urine. The rice is soaked and dried in Cow urine seven times, and it may take up to fifteen days. They give this meal along with Camel or Goat milk. He should not drink water even if he is thirsty. He can drink cow urine.
The sodium and potassium salts in the urine and the special meal increase the blood’s solute concentration and increase the vein’s fluid density. The water stored in the abdominal walls will move back to the portal veins to help the patient recover.
How to detoxify fatty liver caused by alcoholism and fatty food consumption?
The liver is the first organ that gets affected by toxins, and detoxification is essential. Ayurveda has medicines called Kadavi Rasayana – the drug which increases the longevity of life. These drugs help to rejuvenate the tissues and activate biles production.
The drugs are bitter but useful. Generally, bitter-tasting drugs are harmful, except those used as medicine. One of them is called Amruthavalli – Tinospora Cordifolia. Shortly it is going to become the national medicinal plant of India. Apart from this plant, there are only a few others used in medicines.
The procedure of Vamana Karma and Virechana Karma also helps in bile excretion and overall liver detoxification.
Can you talk about Satwik food?
Satwik is a popular concept of food. Nowadays, it is even made commercial in some of the restaurants.
Satwik is one of the Thrigunas – Satwa, Raja, and Thama. I can say that this concept is only a hypothesis, similar to God.
In short, Raja is attraction, Thama is repulsion, and Satwa is equal and opposite of the previous two. This hypothesis is everywhere, right from the big-bang theory, to the making and breaking of marriages and movement of nutrients through cell membranes.
For example, the Earth is always at almost equal distance from the Sun. Earth has a fixed path. Thama (repulsion) and Raja (attraction) are in equal quantity. This condition forms what we call Satwa. If the Sun and Earth do not meet this condition, we may witness Pralaya or another big-bang phenomenon, resulting in a new universe. Charaka has mentioned this three times in his verses.
When it comes to food, Satwa is Pitta (digestion and metabolism), Raja is Vatha (energy of movement), and Thama is Kapha (structure of lubrication). This concept cannot be seen but believed to be there.
In Ayurveda, there is no classification of food based on Satwa, Raja, and Thama. In reality, only Satwa cannot be there, and food should have both Raja and Thama.
As per the sayings, if you have Satwik food, you will shed away Kama (lust), Krodha (anger), Madha (pride), Mathsarya (jealous). And you will take a path of Dharma (moral), Artha (prosperity), Kama (pleasure), and Moksha (liberation).
Can we give Satwik food to prisoners and convert criminals into religious Gurus? It is not possible. This transformation is done in mind and not through the food.
Maybe recent authors promote Satwik food to please the society, but as per my knowledge, this is not there in the Ayurveda.
Thanks, Doctor, for sharing your knowledge. Do you have any message for Physeek?
Thanks, Physeek, for having me in the show. I also thank you for propagating Ayurveda and health to the general public. Continue to do the research job and all the best.