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Health Corner: Greeshm Ritucharya (Regimen For Summer Season)

Pratibha Shah

Greeshm Ritucharya (Regimen for summer season)

All of us are eagerly waiting for the feel of summer, which has eluded us so far. Summer does seem just around the corner now. Before it manifests itself in its full fury, I thought let us get prepared for it, with the dos and don’ts of this season.

According to Hindu calendar, ‘Greeshm Ritu’ comprises of the months of ‘Jyeshth’ and “Aashadh’, which correspond to the period starting May 21st to July 21st. Although we have passed this period, the characteristics of summer are expected to appear now, and therefore one will need to follow the summer regimen now.

In this season, ‘sun’ is in its northern cycle (Uttarayan) and therefore the characteristics of sun are predominant. It is very hot and dry and ‘Bala’ or strength is very low. One should eat food predominant in ‘madhur’ rasa and ‘cold’ in potency. Intake of liquids should be plenty and food should ideally be semisolid and have ample ‘sneha’ (good fats like ghee) to counter the dryness in the atmosphere.

Here are the dos and don’ts for this season –
-    Easily digestible and high-energy food should be eaten. ‘Sattu’* is one such food. However, one should mix the ‘sattu’ with water (not too thick and too diluted either) and preferably add a few drops of ghee before drinking it. (*Sattu is roasted grain/cereal flour)
-    Soups are another preferred food form. If non-vegetarian, then lean meat like that of small birds, turkey and chicken can be used for the soup.
-    Moong daal is another food that can be used frequently in the form of daal soup, ‘khichri’ etc. as it is easily digestible and high in protein and energy.
-    Products made of milk, rice and ghee (care should be taken not to make them too rich or heavy) should be eaten for maintaining energy levels.
-    Liquid intake in the form of juice, sherbet and ‘panaa’ should be ample and frequent, to prevent dehydration. Raw mango ‘panaa’ is a popular summer drink. A drink called ‘panch saar’ can be prepared by crushing ‘kishmish’ (small raisins), ‘munakka’ (long dark raisins), ‘falsa’ (phalsa) fruit, raw sugar and honey, and mixing them with cold water. This is a cooling high-energy drink.
-    A trick to keep the food and drinks naturally cool is to keep them in shade in earthen pots or cover them with banana leaves.
-    Water can be cooled naturally by storing it in earthen pots and adding ‘palash’ (Trumpet tree) leaves and a dash of edible camphor to it.
-    Buffalo milk is recommended, especially at bedtime.
-    One should often season food and drinks with pomegranate seed powder, roasted cumin seed powder, black salt, pinch of ginger powder, sugar and other spices and condiments. This probably takes care of the rapid salt and mineral loss from the body in this season.
-    Sandalwood paste application on forehead or the whole body, and wearing garlands made of flowers like ‘chameli’ and necklaces made of pearl is advised.
-    You should try to remain indoors during the day in a cool, well-ventilated room. If you do step out, you should not step out on an empty stomach. Cover head with protective gear, wear light clothes and carry water/juice with you.
-    Spots with lot of dense trees and water bodies should be favored for a visit.

-    Alcohol intake is strongly contra-indicated in summer. If at all being used, it should be liberally diluted.
-    All food and drinks that are ‘hot’ in potency and ‘heavy’ (in terms of digestion) should be avoided
-    Heavy work, exercise and any strenuous activity should be avoided.

One very interesting aspect of the regimen that has been described is the measures that have been listed to cool the residence and the beds, including mild water showers, water streams in the house, fresh lime coat on the walls of the house, covering the beds with lotus petals and leaves, innovative hand fans made of ‘taad patra’ and slightly drenched in fragrant water, doors decorated with young mango leaves and many other interesting tips.

Hot times are ahead but with proper preparation and precaution, we can enjoy and also avoid any mishaps. Stay cool!

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1.Summer is here July 24, 2009Ziba surgeon 

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