Ayurveda is perhaps the oldest science of life and a system of diet, healing and health maintenance that is deeply spiritual in origin. In this article the healing properties of water will be presented.
Well water, pond water, rain water – there are many types of water described in ayurvedic texts, and each has a therapeutic value, just as food does. Water represents soma, the nourishing cooling quality that is associated with lunar energy. It helps with digestion, cools and balances Pitta dosha, supports Kapha and counteracts the dryness of Vata. It nurtures, lubricates and also detoxifies when it flows out of the body as urine. Water, when properly absorbed by the body, has several healing qualities.
Helps to remove fatigue (shramnashana)
Enhances glow of skin
Helps the heart
Always helpful to the body
Easy to assimilate
The healing effects of water can be enhanced using ayurvedic methods.
Water for cleansing
Sometimes people have dry skin and unquenchable thirst even though they drink lots of water. The deeper physiology is not getting enough moist. This occurs when the person’s agni is low and mucus blocks the micro channels, which carry water to the cells. In order to cleanse the channels and enhance moisture absorption, ayurvedic texts recommend boiling the water for various lengths of time, creating therapeutic water called ushnodaka. Another method is to add spices or herbs to the water after boiling.
Why it works
When the water boils, it gets charged with heat and becoming sharper in quality. This sharpness allows it to cleanse the channels and penetrate deeper levels of the physiology. Spice creates an added therapeutic effect by interacting with the water on the molecular level. Spices create different effects on the body through aroma and taste.
It becomes easier for the body to flush out toxins and impurities because of the sharpness of the agni (heat) in the water and because of the sharpness of the spices. Over time, it cleanses the channels so the water is unobstructed as it travels into the body to hydrate the tissues, and travels out carrying waste.
Ancient texts talk about the difference in the rate of absorption of regular water vs. boiled water:
Regular water – takes about six hours if every channel is clear.
Boiled and cooled water – takes about three hours to be absorbed, and helps open the channels
Hot herbalized water – takes about 1 1/2 hours, due to sharpness of Agni, herbs and spices.
Water for Our body type
An ayurvedic expert can design a therapeutic water recipe to give a specific benefit. One water recipe might enhance immunity, another might cleanse the skin, and another might help with prostate imbalance. You can also choose a spice-water recipe for Our body type of imbalances.
Vata balancing water
Boil two quarts of water for 5 minutes. Take it off the heat and add 3 leaves mint, 1/2 tsp ajwain (ajwain is also known as Bishop’s Weed, relatid with cumin but tastes more like thyme with an astringent edge) and 1/4 tsp singhada flour. Place the water in a thermos. Sip it throughout the day at a warm but not hot temperature.
Pitta balancing water
Boil two quarts of water for 2 minutes. Take it off the heat and add 1/4 tsp ajwain, 2 rose buds and 1 clove. Store in hot in inside a thermos, but before drinking pour it into a cup and let it cool to room temperature in summer. In winter, it can be slightly warmer.
Kapha balancing water
Boil two quarts of water for 5 minutes. Take it off the heat and add 3 holy basil leaves (Tulsi), two thin slices of fresh ginger, 1/4 tsp of cumin and 1/2 tsp of ajwain. Place the water and spices in a thermos, and sip the water at a hot or warm temperature throughout the day.
How much is enough
How much water Ou should drink depends on Our age, how much physical work or exercise Ou do, the weather, Our diet, Our stress levels, Our herbal food supplements, and Our body type. The warm Pitta types usually are thirstier than the watery Kapha types. Vata types are often constipated or have dry skin and thus need to drink more water.
We recommend making Our spice water first thing in the morning and sipping it every fifteen minutes throughout the day. Drink plain water after 7:00 pm, as spice-water is too enlivening to drink right before sleeping. If Ou don’t finish the spice-water by then, throw it out and start fresh in the morning.
You may want to drink some plain water during the day as well. If Ou have been exercising and need to drink a full glass of water, it’s better to drink plain water rather than the spice-water.