Ayurvedic Perspective on Alcohol

With all the festive season parties commencing, we thought this would be a good topic for this time of the year 🍷

After tobacco, alcohol is the second leading preventable cause of death and hospitalisation in Australia. It is estimated that Australians spent $14.1 billion each year on alcohol 🥃

What does Ayurveda say about Alcohol?

Ayurveda has a very detailed description of the intake of alcohol and the Charaka Samhita has mentioned the Ayurvedic treatment of Alcoholism in the Chikitsa Sthana Chapter 24.

Alcohol has the opposite gunas (qualities) of Ojas.

Ojas is responsible for consciousness, purity of thoughts, health, positivity, immunity, longevity, intelligence and memory 🧠 So it is very important to look after our Ojas.

The 10 qualities (gunas) of Ojas are similar to those of milk and ghee 🥛 They are opposite to Madya (alcohol) and Visha (poison). This clearly shows that alcohol and toxic substances (chemicals and recreational drugs) will diminish our Ojas and can have severe consequences for our health.

Consider this: The heaviness of Ojas is counteracted by the lightness of alcohol, the cold attribute of Ojas is counteracted by the heating attribute of alcohol, and the sweetness and softness of Ojas is counteracted by the sourness and sharpness of alcohol.

When Alcohol = Poison.
Charaka then states if a person drinks whichever type of alcohol is available without thinking of its appropriateness, and in excess quantity, and if the body is dry and exhausted by physical exercise then it works as a poison ☠️

When Alcohol = Ambrosia.
If Alcohol is taken in an appropriate manner, in the right dose, at an appropriate time, along with wholesome food in accordance with one’s own strength and with a cheerful mind, alcohol works like ambrosia ✨

Effects of Alcohol in excess:

1. Alcohol should not be consumed in excess heat 🔥 as it has Pitta-increasing qualities.
2. If a person with predominantly Rajas qualities consumes Alcohol, consumption can lead to fear, delusion and anger.
3. Decreases Ojas (vital essence) and Sattva (purity of the mind).
4. Alcohol has an effect on the mind and should be avoided if you are on a path to attain moksha.
5. It should be avoided by a person with a dry body, feeling of tiredness and just after exercise 🏃‍♂️

If alcohol is taken appropriately it can provide:
1. Harsha – happiness.
2. Oorja – energy.
3. Pushti – nourishment.
4. Arogyam – good health.
5. pourusham – excellent virility.

Charaka discusses three stages of alcoholic intoxication

1. First stage – prathama mada.
2. Second stage – dwiteeya mada.
3. Third stage – tratiya mada.

It is always recommended to avoid the third stage of alcohol intoxication.

In the third stage, the classical texts indicate that the person becomes inactive like a broken tree. Though the person is alive he resembles a dead person. He becomes incapable of recognising things and friends. He loses the sense of distinction between rightful, happy and useful items from the wrong, miserable and harmful ones respectively. He suffers from misery and disease such as ascites (udara), Kamala (Jaundice), kustha (skin disease).

Overall, we generally recommend avoiding alcohol, as the consequences most often outweigh any benefits. If you do consume alcohol, avoid drinking in the hot sun ☀️, when tired, and when feeling emotionally unstable.

Stay tuned for our next article with more Ayurvedic tips for the festive season!

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* 𝘗𝘭𝘦𝘢𝘴𝘦 𝘯𝘰𝘵𝘦 𝘵𝘩𝘢𝘵 𝘵𝘩𝘦𝘴𝘦 𝘤𝘭𝘢𝘪𝘮𝘴 𝘩𝘢𝘷𝘦 𝘯𝘰𝘵 𝘣𝘦𝘦𝘯 𝘢𝘱𝘱𝘳𝘰𝘷𝘦𝘥 𝘣𝘺 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘛𝘎𝘈. 𝘛𝘩𝘦 𝘪𝘯𝘧𝘰𝘳𝘮𝘢𝘵𝘪𝘰𝘯 𝘱𝘳𝘰𝘷𝘪𝘥𝘦𝘥 𝘪𝘴 𝘯𝘰𝘵 𝘮𝘦𝘢𝘯𝘵 𝘵𝘰 𝘣𝘦 𝘶𝘴𝘦𝘥 𝘵𝘰 𝘥𝘪𝘢𝘨𝘯𝘰𝘴𝘦 𝘰𝘳 𝘵𝘳𝘦𝘢𝘵 𝘢𝘯𝘺𝘰𝘯𝘦 𝘢𝘯𝘥 𝘴𝘩𝘰𝘶𝘭𝘥 𝘯𝘰𝘵 𝘣𝘦 𝘵𝘢𝘬𝘦𝘯 𝘸𝘪𝘵𝘩𝘰𝘶𝘵 𝘤𝘰𝘯𝘴𝘶𝘭𝘵𝘢𝘵𝘪𝘰𝘯 𝘸𝘪𝘵𝘩 𝘢𝘯 𝘈𝘺𝘶𝘳𝘷𝘦𝘥𝘪𝘤 𝘱𝘩𝘺𝘴𝘪𝘤𝘪𝘢𝘯. 𝘞𝘦 𝘥𝘰 𝘯𝘰𝘵 𝘨𝘶𝘢𝘳𝘢𝘯𝘵𝘦𝘦 𝘢𝘯𝘥 𝘢𝘴𝘴𝘶𝘮𝘦 𝘯𝘰 𝘭𝘦𝘨𝘢𝘭 𝘭𝘪𝘢𝘣𝘪𝘭𝘪𝘵𝘺 𝘰𝘳 𝘳𝘦𝘴𝘱𝘰𝘯𝘴𝘪𝘣𝘭𝘺 𝘧𝘰𝘳 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘢𝘤𝘤𝘶𝘳𝘢𝘤𝘺, 𝘤𝘶𝘳𝘳𝘦𝘯𝘤𝘺 𝘰𝘳 𝘤𝘰𝘮𝘱𝘭𝘦𝘵𝘦𝘯𝘦𝘴𝘴 𝘰𝘧 𝘪𝘯𝘧𝘰𝘳𝘮𝘢𝘵𝘪𝘰𝘯 𝘤𝘰𝘯𝘵𝘢𝘪𝘯𝘦𝘥 𝘪𝘯 𝘵𝘩𝘦𝘴𝘦 𝘮𝘢𝘵𝘦𝘳𝘪𝘢𝘭𝘴. 

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