Usage of Water As per Ayurveda – Complete Compilation

We have discussed various aspects of consumption in many previous articles. Here is a full list of rules of water consumption as explained in Ayurveda.

Ayurveda differentiates properties of hot water and cold water and mentions its benefits separately. 

hot water benefits

Reference: Most of the points here are taken from Ashtanga Hridayam 5th chapter – which deals with liquid foods.

Source of water – In ancient times, there was no pollution. Hence cold water collected directly from rain, which was clean, unpolluted, and uncontaminated was used for consumption.
Such fresh and clean water is – enlivening, improves quality of life, satiating, good for heart, calming and soothing to the mind and stomach, stimulates intellect, thin, imperceptible taste, cold, light to digest and similar to nectar.

Only seasonal rain water is recommended. Once collected water should not be stored for more than a day. In the absence of rain water, river water is used.

Rain water, collected in clean vessel and which has not changed in color taste and odor, should be used for drinking always. In its absence, the water of the earth, which resembles rainwater in all its qualities, collected from clean vast place that has black or white soil, which is exposed to sunlight and breeze.

Restriction for drinking of water: Water should not be consumed /consumed in very little quantity, by those suffering from poor digestive function, tumors of the abdomen, anaemia, enlargement of the abdomen, diarrhoea, haemorrhoids, diseases of the duodenum, dropsy. In all these patients, there is lack of digestion strength, and drinking water in excess would worsen the disease.

Excepting for autumn and summer, even healthy persons should drink less quantity of water.

Related article: How much water should we actually drink?

Time of water drinking with respect to food - 

Drinking water in between meals – healthy habit. It helps to disintegrate food particles into tiny ones and hence aids in digestion.

Drinking water after meals – causes obesity. Soon after meals, at the initial stage of digestion, there is Kapha dominance. Hence, if water is consumed it would further increase Kapha. It leads to errant assimilation of food nutrients in the body, leading to obesity.

Drinking water before meals – causes emaciation, weakness. If you drink water before food, the digestive fire, appetite and strength gets depleted. Hence it is not ideal. 

Cold water Vs Hot water: 

Cold water relieves alcoholic intoxication, exhaustion, fainting, vomiting, debility (fatigue), dizziness, giddiness, thirst, heat (of the sun) burning sensation, bleeding conditions and Pitta dominant conditions and poison.

Hot water – we already have learnt about hot water benefits,
To sum it up,
Hot water stimulates hunger, helps digestion, good for the throat, easily to digest, cleanses the urinary bladder, relieves hiccup, flatulence, Vata imbalance, Kapha imbalance, it is ideal during the days of Panchakarma therapy, useful in fever, cold, cough, Ama condition, rhinitis, chronic respiratory conditions and pain in flanks.

Boiled and cooled water is very useful in Pitta conditions, but such a water should not be stored for more than a day.

In people with Pitta body type, (who can not tolerate heat) and people with Vata body type, (who are lean) hot water at night may disturb their sleep. So, hot water at night is ideal only for people with kapha body type (who are obese, who suffer from respiratory diseases etc).

Different types of natural processing of drinking water - 

1. Use mud pot to store water. It makes the water very cool is much better than refrigerator. 
2. In ancient times, Clearing nut (Kataka) was added to the water to filter out all the dissolved / suspended waste particles from the water.
3. To make water helpful to relieve indigestion, Cumin seed powder is added to water. two pinch of cumin seed powder to five liters of water. It will aid in digestion, naturally. 
4. To make water useful in kidney diseases, few roots of Usheera (Vetiver) is added to water pot. This helps to cleanse kidney and bladder, and to purify / detoxify blood. 
In all these cases, water can not be stored for more than 12 hours. That means, fresh water should be used and fresh water treatment should be done everyday.

Related articles:

Hot water honey benefits

Hot water bath or cold water bath?

How to do water fasting to lose weight?

Dr JV Hebbar is an Ayurveda Doctor, Assistant Professor, From Mangalore, India. Click here to consult Dr Hebbar
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Comments

  1. Also I heard that we should never stand and drink water. We should always sit and drink water. Is it true?

    • Dr J V Hebbar MD(Ayu) says:

      I agree that water should not be drunk in a hurry. This holds good for any drink or food. But I have not read in any Ayurveda text books like we can not drink while standing. I do not think, it makes any difference.

  2. cindrella vincent says:

    I have a habbit of drinking around 2 litres of water a day, will this lead to obesity…

    • Dr J V Hebbar MD(Ayu) says:

      It may not lead to obesity.
      If you are really feeling thirsty and if you are drinking to quench the thirst, then no issues.
      But if you are drinking as a target to reach the said water quantity, then as per Ayurveda, it is better to re-adjust the habit.
      Hope I answered.

  3. P. K. Ramdas says:

    Hi Dr. J V H,
    I remember to have read an article which recommended drinking of water one hour before lunch – and none during meals. Your prescription is different. Can you pl elaborate. P. K. Ramdas, AVN, Madurai.

    • Dr J V Hebbar MD(Ayu) says:

      Hi Ramdas sir, Namaste :)
      Hope you’re doing fine and I am glad you found one of my articles worth reading. :)
      [to those who do not know him, he is one of the directors of esteemed Ayurveda medicine manufacturing company – AVN, Madurai, where I was working. He is one of my mentors. I have learnt some lessons from this genius guy, both the soft and hard way.)
      First of all, the suggestion is not mine. It is mentioned in Traditional Ayurvedic text book – Ashtanga Hridayam (Sutrasthana Chapter 5), written in around 7th Century AD.
      Agni or good digestion fire is very essential for anyone’s health. Hunger is a sign of health. When you do not feel hunger at all, there is diseases, as in fever, diarrhoea or rheumatoid arthritis etc.
      So, when you have proper hunger at proper times of the day, that means, you are healthy.
      When you are hungry, before taking food, if you drink water, it is like putting water over fire. The fire gets decreased. Your digestion capacity is decreased. Hence it is told that drinking water before food causes indigestion and initiates all sorts of disease.
      During eating, if you are only taking solid parts, you may feel fullness. At that time, if you have water, in between food, it not only quenches you thirst, but also helps to break down larger food particles into small ones. It actually helps in digestion.
      Soon after food intake, the digestion process starts. At that point, (soon after food), Kapha is dominant. Then, if you drink water, the Kapha will further increase. Leading to obesity. Kapha is cold, liquid. So is water.
      So, it is ideal to drink water while taking food, rather than before or after.

      Ayurveda’s policy on water drinking is simple. Drink it only when you are thirsty. One hour before food, if you are thirsty, drink a little quantity to quench the thirst. But it is ideal not to drink water, at least 20 minutes before food.
      Hope it helps. :)

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