Ayurvedic Healthy Daily Routine Charak Samhita Sutrasthana – Chapter 5

The fifth chapter of Charak Samhita Sutrasthana deals with Ayurvedic dietetics. What is the right quantity of food in relation to digestion strength, personal hygiene, herbal smoking, nasal drops, oral hygiene, gargling, head massage, foot massage, etc.  The chapter name is Matrashiteeya Adhyaya.  The objective of Ayurveda – the science of medicine are two-fold, 1. Treatment of patients suffering from diseases and 2. Maintenance of positive health. In the first four chapters, and in the next four chapters, various ways of maintenance of normal health are described. Of all the factors for the maintenance of positive health, food taken in proper quantity occupies the most important position. So the first topic of this chapter deals with the quantity of foods to be consumed. right quantity of food

One should eat in proper quantity. The quantity of food to be taken depends upon digestion strength. (3) For proper maintenance of health.

Quantity of food and digestion: The amount of food, which, without disturbing the equilibrium of Doshas and Dhatus (Anupahrutya prakruti), gets digested and metabolized in proper time (Yatha kaalam jaraam gacchati), should be regarded as the proper quantity.(4)  

Laghu (easy to digest) and Guru (heavy to digest) types of foods – Guru - Laghu

Food items like Shali (rice), Shashtika (a variety of of rice that matures in 60 days) , Mudga (green gram – Phaseolus mango Linn), common Quail, gray Partridge, antelop, rabbit, Wapiti, Indian sambar, etc – are light in nature and easy to digest. Easiness in digestion should be understood according to the quantity of the food.

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A light to digest (laghu) food in very high quantity might become hard to digest (Guru), Similarly preparations of flour, sugarcane and milk, tila (Sesame), Masha (Black gram) and meats of marshy and aquatic animals even though heavy in digestion by nature are also required to be taken in proper quantity.

But it should not be concluded that the description of heaviness or lightness does not carry any importance. Because, the light food articles are predominant in the qualities of Vayu and Agni (air and fire) and heavy one in Prithvi and Ap  (earth and water) Mahabhutas. Therefore, according to their qualities, the light articles of food, being stimulants of appetite and by nature are considered to be less harmful even if taken in excess. On the other hand, heavy articles of food suppress appetite. They are harmful if taken in excess unless there is a strong powder of digestion and metabolism achieved by physical exercise. Thus the quantity of food depends upon the powder of digestion. (5-6). By nature light food is said to be conducive to good health. Heavy food on the other hand is considered to be detrimental. But for both the types of food, if quantity is to be taken into account, lightness and heaviness of food do not seem to have any implication. Thus, it is true that the quantity rather the heaviness / lightness of food is important in the present context.

Quantity of food to be taken in relation with stomach volume – We have learnt that the right quantity of food depends on the quality of food. If the food is heavy, only one third or half of the stomach capacity is to be filled up,  even  in the case of light food articles excessive intake is not conducive to the maintenance of the power of digestion and metabolism. (7) right quantity of foodThe importance of food taken in proper quality: Taken in appropriate quantity, food certainty helps the individual in bringing about strength, complexion,  happiness and longevity without distributing the equilibrium of Dhatus (body tissues) and Doshas of the body .(8) Thus it is said –  After  having taken food, one should never take such heavy articles like pastries, rice, Pruthuka (boiled and Flattened rice).  Even when hunger one should take these articles only  in proper quantity (9)

Contra Indicated foods: One should not regularly take heavy food items such as Vallura (dries meat) , dry vegetables, Lotus Rhizomes and Lotus stalk. One should never take meat of a diseased animal. One should not regularly take Kurchika ( Boiled Buttermilk) , Kilata ( A sweet milk product), pork, beaf,  meat of Buffalo, fish, curd, Masha(Black gram) and Yavaka (a variety of Barley). (10-11)

Pathya foods – Indicated foods: One should  regularly take shashtika (a kind of rice harvested in sixty days), Shali (rice), Mudga – green gram – Averrhoa carambola, Rock salt, Amalaki (Amla – Emblica officinalis Gaertn. ) Rain water, ghee, Meat of animals dwelling in arid climate and honey (12) One should regularly take such articles which are conducive to the maintenance of good health and are capable of preventing the attacks. Over-dosage or longer period than prescribed may cause of diseases. (13)

Personal hygiene :  Hereafter collyrium (Kajal) etc daily activities of personal hygiene are explained. (14)
Anjana – Collyrium – Kajal

Anjana - Collyrium

One should regularly apply the collyrium made of antimony because it is useful for the eyes. Rasanjana – Aqueous extract of Berberis aristata (a preparation of Berberis aristata DC.) is to be applied once in every 5-8 nights for lacrimation of the eyes. Of all the Mahabhutas, Tejas (Fire, in the form of light) dominates in  the composition of eyes; so they specially are susceptible to kapha. Therefore, the therapy (collyrium etc) which alleviates kapha is good for keeping the vision clear. A strong collyrium must not be applied to the eyes during the day time as the eyes weakened by drainage will be adversely affected at the sight of the Sun. Thus, the collyrium meant for draining should be applied only during night. (15- 17)

 As different types of tarnished gold ornaments are spotlessly cleared by means of oil, cloth and hair brush, so also by the use of Collyrium and eye drops, the eyes become spotlessly bright like the moon in a clear sky. (18-19)

Dhumapana – Herbal Smoking: Harenua (Pisum sativum Linn), Priyangu – Callicarpa macrophylla Vahl. Prithvika ( Nigella sativa Linn), Keshara ( Mesua ferrea Linn), Nakha – Capparis sepiaria, Hrivera (Pavonia Odorata Willd), Chandana( Sandalwood), Patra ( Cinnamomum tamala Nees and Eberum ), Twak ( Cinnamon) Ela – Cardamom – Elettaria cardamomum Usheera – Vetiver, Padmaka – Wild Himalayan Cherry – Prunus cerasoides Dhyamaka( Cymbopogon Schoenathus Spreng ), Madhuka – Licorice – Glycyrrhiza glabra Mamsi – Nardostachys jatamansi Guggulu (Commifora mukul Engl.), Aguru (Aquilaria agallocha Roxb. ), Sharkara (Sugar), bark of Nyagrodha (Ficus bengalensis Linn), Udumbara(Ficus racemosa Linn), Ashvattha (Ficus religiosa Linn), Plaksha (Ficus locor Bunch- Ham), and Lodhra (Symplocos racemosa) Vanya (Cyperus tenuiflorus), Sarjarasa (Resin of Vateria indica Linn). Musta (Cyperus rotundus) Shaileya ( Permellia perforta), Kamala(Nelumbo uncifera Gaertn), Utpala (Nymphaea alba), Shrivestaka (resinous extract from Pinus roxburghii Sargent ), Shallaki (Boswellia serrata Roxb.), Sukararha – all these drugs should be ground, made a paste and applied to a reed, and then made into a cigar of the shape of a barley grain having central thickness of a thumb and length of eight fingers breadth: It should then be dried up and the reed be taken out of it; With the help of a pipe, one should regularly smoke that cigar after smearing it with some unctuous substance and applying fire to it . this is altogether harmless(20-24) One should smoke unctuous cigars made of useful drugs of sweet taste along with fat of muscle, ghee and bee wax according to the prescribed method. (25) For the elimination of Doshas from the head, smoking of cigars made of Shveta (white variety of Clitoria ternatea Linn), Jyotishmati (Celastrus paniculatus Wild). Orpiment, regular and other fragrant articles like Agaru (Aquilaria agalocha Roxb), Patra – Cinnamomum tamala Nees and Eberum. etc. is prescribed (26)

herbal smoking benefits

Health benefits of herbal smoking: Smoking cures heaviness of head, headache, Rhinitis, Migraine, Earache, Pain in eye, Cough, hiccup, Dyspnoea, Obstruction in throat, weakness of teeth, Discharge from the morbid ear, nose and eye, purulent smell from nose and mouth toothache, Anorexiz, Lock jaw, Torticollis, Pruritus, Infective condition, Paleness of face, excessive salivation, impaired voice, Tonsillitis,  uvuliis, Alopecia, greying of  hair, falling of hair, sneezing, excessive drowsiness, loss of consciousness, and excess sleep. It also strengthens hair, skull bones, sense organs and voice. The diseases pertaining to head and  neck arising  out of Vata and Kapha do not affect the person who is used to smoking (27- 32)

Schedule for smoking:
time for herbal smoking

Eight timings are prescribed for habitual smoking because Vata, Pitta and Kapha get vitiated during these times. after bathing, after eating, after tongue scraping, sneezing, brushing the teeth, after Nasya, after application of collyrium and after sleep. Herbal smoking at these timings prevents diseases of head and neck resulting from the vitiation of Kapha and vata, Smoking is to be done thrice- three puffs each time. (33-35) During the prescribed times, a wise person should smoke twice for habitual variety of smoking (Prayogika), once for unctuous variety (Snaihika) and three to four times for the elimination variety (Vairechanika) of smoking(36)

proper and improper herbal smoking

Clarity of mind, throat and sense organs, lightness of head and elimination of the above mentioned Doshas are features of correct smoking(37)

If untimely done or overdone, smoking causes such troubles as deafness, blindness, dumbness, bleeding from different parts of the body and giddiness. (38)  

Treatment of complications: If such troubles due to untimely and over smoking arise, intake of ghee, administration of nasal drops, collyrium and demulcent drinks are prescribed. These should be prepared with unctuous drugs in the event of vitiation of Vayu associated with Pitta, with cooling drug in case of Raktapitta, and with arid drugs in Kapha and Pitta imbalance. (39-40)

Contra indications for herbal smoking –
A  person after taking emesis or purgative or enema (Vamana, virechana or Basti), or a person having bleeding through different orifices of the body, or one afflicted with toxins or a grief- stricken person should not smoke, a pregnant woman should also refrain from smoking; similarly one should not smoke when he is fatigued or intoxicated. Smoking is also prohibited in the event of vitiation of digestion and metabolism, vitiation of Pitta, fainting, giddiness, excess thirst and phthisis. One should not smoke after having taken liquor or milk or fatty substances or honey or curd; nor one should smoke when there is roughness in his body or he is enraged. Smoking is also prohibited in the event of the dryness of palate, fainting, injury to the head, Shankhaka (a type of headache in the temporal region marked by excessive pain and swelling- Usually killing a patient in  three days), diabetes and narcosis. One who, out of ignorance, smokes in contravention of  these situations, subjects himself to various serious diseases. These diseases become severe due to the adverse effect of improper smoking. (41-45)

Disease- Treatment Of Charaka Samhita Made Easy

Routes of smoking: One for whom the smoking is prescribed should smoke through the nose in diseases of head, nose and eyes. One should exhale through mouth but if one smokes through the mouth, he should not exhale through the nose because of the smoke moving in the reverse direction instantaneously affects the eyes. (46-47)

Method of herbal smoking – With the body erect, eyes looking front, mind concentrated and having self-control, one should sit at ease and smoke three times, thrice during each time, through one nostril while closing the other one. (48)

For the elimination type of smoking (Virechana Dhumapana), the length of the pipe should be 24 finger breadth; for unctuous smoking (Snaihika), of 32 finger breadth; For habitual smoking (Prayogika), 36 (finger breadth is to be measured with one’s own finger). [49]

The best pipe is one which is straight, having three knots, whose mouth is of the size of the stone of a Kola fruit (Zizyphus jujube Lam) and which is made of the same material as that of the enema pipe. [50] The smoke used according to the prescribed dose and time dose not affect the sense organs as it is not inhaled directly. It is interrupted by knots and is attenuated by its flow through the passage of the pipe. [51] signs of good and bad herbal smoking

Signs like lightness of the best chest, throat, head and liquification of Kapha are the features of correct smoking. [52]

Ayoga – Signs of insufficient smoking – Impairment of voice, presence of Kapha(phlegm) in the throat and heaviness of head are the features of insufficient smoking. [53]

Atiyoga – If one smokes in excess, his palate, head and throat get dried up and become lot. One feels thirsty and he becomes unconscious; there may be excessive bleeding, dizziness. fainting and hotness in sense organs. [54-55]

Nasya – Nasal Drops

Nasya therapy - nasal drops

Nasal drops – One should use “Anu taila” every year during the three seasons, viz the rainy season, the autumn and the spring, when the sky is free from cloud. [56]

Benefits of nasal drops – One who practices nasal therapy in time according to the prescribed method, his eyes, nose and ears are not affected by any morbidity. His hair and head never become white or grey; he never experiences hair fall; those rather grow luxuriously. Diseases like torticollis, headache, facial paralysis, lick jaw, rhinitis, migraine and tremors of the head are cured thereby. Being nourished by inhalation, his veins, joints, ligaments and tendons of head and neck gain greater strength. His face becomes cheerful and plumpy; and his voice becomes sweet, stabilized and stertorous. All the sense organs become clear and three is considerable strength. Diseases relating to head and neck do not attack such a person. Even though, he might be growing old, old age does not affect his head (in the form of grey hair etc)[57]

Preparation of Anu taila: Chandana (Sandalwood – Santalum album), Aguru(Aquilaria Agalocha Roxb), Patra – Cinnamomum tamala Nees and Eberum. , Bark of Darvi(sida cordifolia Linn), Prapaunda rika (Nymphaea lotus Linn), Sookshma Ela – cardamom Vidanga (Emblia ribes Brum. F), Bilva (Aegle marmelos Corr), Utpala (Nymphaea alba), Hrivera(Pavania adorata willd), Abhaya – Terminalia chebula Usheera – (Vetiveria Zizanioidse Nash), Vanya (Cyperus tenuiflours), Tvak (Cinnamomum Zeylanicum Blume f), Musta (Cyperus rotundus), Sariva – Indian Sarsaparilla – Hemidesmus indicus, Sthira – Desmodium gangeticum, Jivanti – Leptadenia reticulataW.and A, Prishnaparni – Uraria picta (Uraria Picta Desv), Suradaru (Cedrus deodara), Shatavari (Asparagus racemosus Willd), Harenu (Pisum Sativum Linn), Brihati – Solanum indicum , Vyaghri (Slanum xanthocarpum Schrader and wendl), Surabhi( Pluchea lanceolata Oliver and Hiern), Padmakesara (Filaments of Nelumbo nucifera Gaertn), These drugs should be boiled with hundred times of pure rain water(of the oil in quantity), till it is reduced to ten times of the oil (in quantity). The oil should be boiled in that decoction for ten times. At the final (that is the tenth) stage of boiling, equal quantity of goat’s milk should be added to it. This is the prescribed method for preparing Anu Taila which is useful for inhalation. The prescribed dosage of oil are half Pala or 24 ml( this is the quantity to be used in twenty-four hours).

Nasal drops administration – After head massage with oil and sweating therapy, Anu Taila is to be administered into the nostril with the help  of a cotton swab on alternate days- thrice daily- for seven days. This oil is useful for alleviating all the Tridosha and gives strength to the sense organs.  The benefit of this oil as envisaged above can be derived if it is used in proper time. The patient using it, should reside in a place which is neither tooairy nor too warm, he should take wholesome food and have self-control [63-70]

Teeth brushing: One should use the tooth-cleaning stick whose top portion is crushed and which is either astringent, pungent or bitter in taste. This should be done in such a way that the gums are not affected. This removes the foul smell and tastelessness. It removes the dirt of the tongue, teeth and mouth. It improves taste. This cleans the teeth instantaneously. [71-72]

Plants for dental brush: Karanja (Pongamia pinnata Merr), Karavira (Nerium indicum Mill), Arka – (Calotropis gigantean R.Br.ex Ait), Malati(Aganosma dichotoma K. Schum), Kakubha(Terminalia arjuna W.&A), Asana (Terminalia Tomentosa W.&A)- these  and other trees having identical properties are  recommended as tooth brush. [73] Tongue scraping: Tongue scrapers, which should not be sharp edged and are curved are to be made of metals like gold, silver, cropper, tin and brass. [74] The dirt deposited at the root of the tongue, obstructs expiration and gives rise to foul smell; so the tongue should be scraped regularly.[75]

betel leaf chewing

Betel leaf chewing – One desirous of clarity, taste and good smell of mouth should chew the fruits of Jati (Myristica fragrans Houtt), Lavanga (clove) Kauka (Hibiscus  ablmoschus Linn), Puga (Areca catechu Linn), Kakkola(Piper cubeba Linn), Sukshma Ela (Cardamom), flower stalk of Tambula (Piper Betle Linn).and the extract of Karpura (Cinuamomum camphora). [76-77]

Gargling – Sesame oil gargling is beneficial for the strength of jaws, depth of voice, flabbiness of face, excellent gustatory sensation and good taste for food. One will never get dryness of throat, nor does his lips ever get cracked; his teeth will never develop caries and will be deep-rooted; he will not have any toothache nor will his teeth set on edge by sour intake; his teeth can chew even the hardest eatables [78-80]

head massage, ear oilingHead massage – One who applies sesame oil on his head regularly does not suffer from headache, baldness, graying of hair, nor do this hair fall. Strength of his head forehead is specially enhanced; his hair become black, long and deep-rooted; his sense organs work properly; the skin of his face becomes brightened; applying sesame oil on the head produces sound sleep and happiness. [81-83] Ear diseases due to vitiated Vata, torticollis, lock jaw, hardness of hearing and deafness are prevented if oil is regularly dropped into the ears. [84] oil massage foot massage

As a picture, a dry skin, and an axis (of a cart) become strong and resistant by the application of oil, so by the massage of oil the human body becomes strong smooth-skinned; it is not susceptible to the diseases due to Vata; it is resistant to exhaustion and exertions.[85-86] Vata dominates in the tactile sensory organ, and this sensory organ is lodged in the skin. The massage is exceedingly beneficial to the skin; so one should practice it (oil massage) regularly.[87]

Advantages of regular massage Who practices oil massage regularly, the body, even if subjected to injuries or strenuous work, is not much injured; His physique is smooth, flabby, strong and charming. By regular oil massage, the onslaught of aging is slackened. [88-89]

Foot massage – By massaging oil in the feet, roughness, immobility, dryness, tiredness and numbness are instantaneously cured; Tenderness, strength and steadiness of feet are improved. The eye sight becomes clear and Vata (Vitiated) is relieved. Prevention from sciatica, cracking of feet, constriction of vessels and ligaments of feet is ensured by foot massage with oil. [90-92]

Parimarjana – applying cream / paste over the body – wearing cloth, perfume benefits


Applying herbal creams over the body eliminates bad smell, cures heaviness, drowsiness, itching and removes undesirable dirt and unpleasantness due to sweating.[93]

Effects of bathing: Bathing is purifying, improves sexual strength, stimulant and life-giving; removes fatigue, sweating and dirt, it brings about strength in body and is an aid par excellence for the enhancement of Ojas. [94]

Role of clean dress in life: Wearing clean apparel adds to the bodily charm, reputation, longevity and prevents inauspicious. It brings about pleasure, grace, competence to participate inn conference and good look. [95]

Use of fragrance: Use of scents and garlands stimulates libido, produces good smell in the body, enhances longevity and charm; it gives corpulence and strength to the body; it is pleasing to the mind and it prevents inauspicious.[96]

Use of ornaments: Wearing of gems and ornaments adds to the prosperity, auspiciousness, longevity, grace, prevents dangers from snakes, evil spirits etc. it is pleasant and charming. It is also conducive to Ojas [ 97]

If one frequently cleans the feet and excretory orifices(with water, earth,etc), it promotes intelligence, brings about purity cleanliness and longevity; it also eliminates inauspicious and the bad effects of Kali(i.e age of vice MW)[98]

Care for hair and nails: The dressing and cutting of hair, beard(including mustaches) and nails, etc. adds to the corpulence, libido, longevity, cleanliness and beauty.[99]

Use of foot wears: Use of foot wars is conducive to eye sight and skin(of feet); it protects the feet from reptiles, etc. it gives strength and facilities the display of physical force and is libidinal stimulant. [100]

Use of hand stick: The use of walking stick prevents slipping, and averts the enemy; it gives strength  and longevity; it averts fear (from the attacks of reptiles etc)[102]

Simile on personal vigilance:
A wise person should be vigilant about his duties towards his own body like an officer- in-charge of a city and a charioteer towards the city and the chariot respectively.[103] Thus it is said: One should adopt only such of the means of livelihood which does not clash with virtuous path. One should follow the path of peace and engage himself in studies. This is how can attain happiness.[104]

To sum up:- Quantity of food, articles of food, quantity of food with reference to their heaviness and lightness, such of the diets which are permitted and those which are prohibited, collyrium, herbal smoking, its 3 types, the advantages of smoking, it timings and frequency of use, signs of complications and their treatment, individuals for whom smoking is prohibited, the manner of smoking, the materials which the cigar pipe is made of, different varieties of pipes for different categories of  smoking, the therapeutic properties of nasal therapy, the procedure, the therapy that should be used, the manner in which it is to be used and its timings; how and what kind of tooth cleaning stick is to be used and their individual properties, the drugs that are to be kept in mouth for chewing and purpose; therapeutic utility of oil gargle, the benefits of applying oil on the head; benefits of dropping oil into ears, massage, oil massage over the feet, unction, bating, wearing of clean apparel, shaving and cutting of hair, use of foot wear, umbrella and walking stick- all these are described I this Chapter entitled “Matrasitiya, i.e Quantitative of Dietetics “. [105-111]
Thus ends the fifth chapter on “Quantitative Dietetics” of the Sutrasthana of Agnivesha’s work as redacted by Charaka.

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  1. Vijaya kamalapurkar says:

    Completely informative and useful book about tridoshas,diet,massaging methods,aroma therapy,etc. etc…

  2. Can never follow all this stuff sir. Will never read Charak Sanhita or Ashtang Hridayum. I don’t see the need of reading all of this. If one wants to become an Ayurvedacharya then it’s fine but I don’t have any intentions of doing so. Will read only that much which is required for my benefit. The volume of food taken should be 2/3rd of the amount of food that can fill you up. Suppose one can eat 3 chapattis then it’s better to have only 2 chapattis.

  3. caroline says:

    Thank you so much for this article! I am really interesting in this and gets so many explanations why to do all this.

  4. Thank you so much for all this informative articles. I have one que: is it true that we should clean our tongue only once a day, in the morning upon waking up? Is it harmful to clean during the day? What kind of harm does that bring? Can you plz explain in detailed! Is it explained in any ancient Ayurveda books?

    • Dr J V Hebbar MD(Ayu) says:

      As per this chapter itself, tongue cleaning is a highly recommended habit. So, I do not find any wrong in cleaning it twice a day.

  5. lakshmikanth says:

    this is very good and useful to every body to follow exact dinacharya; which gives health and prosporous.

  6. Monique says:

    Fantastic article. Q1. Which is better, sesame oil vs amla oil for hair. 2. Sesame for gargling, wold that be the sesame for cooking or for massage oil? What would you suggest? 3. Oil drop in ear, what kind and how much, how often? Your articles have helped me tremendously. I keep coming back for more.

    • Dr J V Hebbar MD(Ayu) says:

      Amla oil is better than sesame oil for hair.
      Edible (cooking) sesame oil can be used for gargling / oil pulling.
      2 drops for each ear. But for this, the oil should be very genuine and sterile.

  7. Monique says:

    Please tell me what is vitiated vata?

  8. how to consume betel leaves?? with its midrib or not? coz our ancestors used to take it by plucking the midrib
    plzz let us know…

  9. write an article on how and which type of kajal to use to keep eyes healthy. plzzzzzzzz……………

  10. Sir ,

    The Mudga – green gram mentioned in this article, is it same as commonly available mung dal ? or is it different ?

    mung beans looks quite large in size whereas mung dal is small in size

    do they have same benefits.. ?


    • Dr J V Hebbar MD(Ayu) says:

      Mudga is considered as green gram. Beans and dal both have similar benefits.

  11. Satya Pal Narang says:

    Excellent summary particularly for those who do not know good Sanskrit. spnarang

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