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Ayurveda as heatbuster

The whole year is divided into 6 rithus which can change with respect to the geographical location too.

This article was originally published here on TNIE on 28 April 2024

It’s that time of the year again and some parts of India are already reeling under heatwave conditions. It is crucial for the vast majority of Indians to be aware of healthy practices that help beat the heat. Ayurveda, always envisioning human life in interaction with the environment, is as ancient as it is effective. Man can never be separated from Nature. Whenever there is an environmental change, the human body has a mechanism to be in tune with that through responses like sweating, shivering, increase and decrease in appetite, strength in terms of activities, and tiredness, etc. Ayurveda has studied this mechanism well and has formulated various regimens with respect to changing seasons in the name of rithucharya. The whole year is divided into 6 rithus which can change with respect to the geographical location too. However, now that the sun is hot, we have the greeshma rithu going on.


The whole year is divided into uttarayana and dakshinayana with three rithus in each . Greeshma rithu forms the last of the uttarayana which is in general agneya (hot or ushna). The heat from the sun will also make the air dry and unbearably hot. This takes away the moisture and all the cooling elements of the earth. The whole mechanism increases the presence of bitter astringent and pungent tastes (thiktha kashaya katu rasa) in plants and bring about a sense of debility in human beings. The energy levels in human beings is the least during the greeshma rithu.

how To combaT greeshma riThu

Ayurveda recommends vyayma (physical exercise) as a part of daily regimen .One should exercise according to one’s strength. In greeshma kaala, it is advised to avoid physical exercise. Exposure to sun should also be avoided.

Sweet (madhuraa rasa), cold(sheeta guna) and liquid(drava) contents should be consumed. Thin gruels prepared from corn, syrups which are sweet in taste, milk, ghee, grapes, coconut water should be included in the diet.
Alcoholic drinks are not generally recommended. Spicy, salty, hot and sour ingredients should be used in moderation.

During greeshma rithu, one should try to live in comparatively cooler and watery area with lots of trees around. For city dwellers, the air coolers and air conditioners with indoor plants can artificially create a similar atmosphere.

The greeshma rithu brings with it possibilities of many diseases too. Dry cough, allergic skin issues, aggravation of conditions like psoriasis, spectrum of fevers especially dengue, viral attacks with thrombo- cytopaenia (decrease in platelet counts etc) are commonly seen.

As we all are aware that hydrating oneself is very impor- tant during the greeshma kala, there is treated water that ayurveda recommends to be used as paanajalam(the water boiled with certain powders.)Guluchyathy choornam, drakshathy choornam , shadangam choornam are some of the recommended ones. People in general with acidic, gastric issues can go for guluchyadi paanajalam. Those who feel tired frequently can go for drakshathy paanajala.

Let us utilise the intelligence of our ancient seers to beat the summer heat this