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  • Ayurvedic Perspective on Alcohol

    December 15, 2022 3 min read

    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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