Water is extremely important to all living beings. Ayurveda considers water as the most important among all liquids. The ancient sages of Ayurveda had elaborated up on types of water, its qualities and the best sources to get drinking water. In ancient India, freshly collected rainwater was considered as most healthy. Fresh rain water was considered as rejuvenating(rasayana), strengthening(balya), life giving(jivaneeya) and enhancing intellect(medhya). It is said to be pacifying all the three doshas! Unfortunately in present day’s pollution filled atmosphere, we can’t even think of harvesting pure rain water! Ayurveda suggests the water from fast-flowing glacial rivers as the best substitute to rain water. It is said to be rejuvenative as well as alleviating tridoshas. The water from rivers and streams are of lesser quality.
It causes aggravation of all doshas, congestion, circulatory problems and infections. The water from underground springs is called as ‘hridya’ and said to be alleviating kapha and promoting digestion. Water from lakes relieves excess Pitta, where as water from ponds aggravates Vata. Water from artesian wells stimulates digestion, pacifies Kapha and aggravates Pitta. Water collected in a crystal vessel which is exposed to the rays of the sun all day, and then exposed to the rays of the moon all night, is said to be rasa-yana (‘rejuvenative’), balya (‘strength-promoting’), medhya (‘intellect-promoting’), and alleviates all three doshas. People who are weak in digestion (agnimandya) should not drink plenty of water all on a sudden before or in-between or after food.
It is better to drink lesser quantities on a frequent basis. In summer, a lot of water must be consumed in greater quantities compared to other seasons. The consumption of water before eating weakens digestive function, promotes weight loss and aggravates va-ta. Consuming water after meals promotes congestion, weight gain and aggravates kapha. It is better to drink small amounts of water after each mouthful food. This enhances digestive function and helps balancing doshas. Cold water relieves the effects of aggravated Pitta and poison, inhibits digestion, and is useful for intoxication, exhaustion, fainting, fatigue, vertigo, thirst, heat and sunstroke. Cold water is contraindicated in constipation, flatulence, throat diseases, nascent fevers, rhinitis, upper respiratory tract infections, coughs, hiccoughs, chest pain, urinary tract disorders, cataracts, anorexia, anaemia, poor circulation and tumours.
Cold water is not taken after snehapana(intake of medicated oil). Warm water stimulates digestive function, soothes throat irritations, cleanses the urinary tract, relieves hiccoughs and dispels intestinal fermentation. It is particularly suitable for both Vata and Kapha related problems. Water that has been boiled to three quarters of its original volume is stated to alleviate Vata ; that which has been boiled to one half its original volume alleviates pitta; and water that has been boiled to one quarter of its original volume is constipative and alleviates kapha. Hot water is contraindicated in physical and mental exhaustion, convulsions, bronchial asthma, hunger and haemorrhage. Boiled water that has been cooled is best for both kaphaja and paittika conditions, but if left overnight will aggravate all three doshas.
Verify the purity of honey
Honey, in various labels, is available in market today; all claim to be pure and unadulterated. But the fact is, several of these will be fake, impure ones. Unfortunately, it is incredibly difficult to tell pure bee’s honey from those that claim to be. Here are a few simple tests you can run to verify the purity of honey.
• Take a glass of water and pour one tablespoon of honey in it. Gently shake the glass, do not stir. If the honey gets fully dissolved in water, it is impure. On the other hand, if it stays as a mass, it is pure honey.
• Pour half a glass of honey into half a glass of methylated spirit. Stir. Pure honey will simply settle at the bottom without dissolving. Impure honey will dissolve, turning the methylated spirit milky.
• Dip a cotton wick into the honey and shake off the excess. Light a candle and hold the soaked end of the wick in the flame. If the cotton wick burns, it indicates that the honey is pure. If it does not burn, it means that the honey contains water, which prevents burning. If the honey contains just a small amount of water, it may still burn but you will hear a crackling sound.
• Pour a few drops of the honey onto a blotting paper. Pure honey will not be absorbed into the paper. Alternatively, if you don’t have blotting paper, pour a bit of honey on a piece of white cloth and then wash it. If the honey is pure, it will leave no stain on the cloth.