Healthy living in Karkidakam
Karkidakam is the last month of the Malayalam calendar. The month is from July 16 to August 16. Ayurveda is gaining profound importance in the name of ‘Karkidaka Chikitsa’, especially in the recent years. The reason being pure marketing of Ayurveda, the science is not to be limited just as a Karkidaka chikitsa krama, as the regimens to be practised in every rthu (season) and rthu sandhis (transformation period of two seasons) are clearly mentioned in Ayurveda.
Why this month is so peculiar to Keralites, lies in the fact that Karkidakam was once said as the ‘ Panja Masam’ with severe downpour, spread of epidemics, famines resulting from scarcity of stored cereals etc. The season being the transformation period marking the end of summer and beginning of rain, sudden climatic change from hot to cold, also tremble the normalcy of living body. The unbalanced tridoshas and the degraded digestive system affect natural immunity of the body and it becomes an easy target for pathogens. So our ancestors had followed several customs, to minimize the inflictions during rthu sandhi, for the spiritual and physical wellbeing.
- Ayurveda stresses the importance of ‘Rithu Charya’ or the diet and lifestyles to be followed in a particular season to be free from the harmful effects of climatic changes and also to balance the deranged ‘Doshas’ ( Thridoshas – Vata , Pitta, Kapha).
- Karkidaka is the end of greeshma kala (Summer) and beginning of Varsha kala (rainy season), which as per the Ayurvedic classics is the prakopa kala (aggravation) of Vata dosha and also the Chaya kala (Accumulation) of Pitta dosha in our body.The metabolism is sluggish during this period and it is likely to experience loss of appetite. Therefore, the food and regimens in this period should be as such that it corrects these deranged doshas.
Diet in Varsha Ritu (rainy season)
- Consume light and fresh foods prepared from barley, rice and wheat
- Include cow’s ghee, lean meat, lentils, green gram, rice and wheat in daily diet.
- Take Sour and salted soups of vegetables.
- Drink boiled and cooled water mixed with little honey
- Add ginger and green gram in your daily diet
- Eat warm food and avoid eating uncooked foods and salads
- Avoid drinking excess of fluids at this further slows down the metabolism.
- Avoid consuming stale food.
- Avoid curds, red meat and any foodstuff, which takes longer time to digest. One may have buttermilk instead of curds.
- Vata samana ahara like ‘Njavara ari’ with choornas which support pitta (like ariyaru) processed in it, prepared as a porridge, which is commonly called as ‘Karkidaka Kanji’, is taken during this season.
Regimen in Varsha Ritu (rainy season)
- Avoid Sleeping in daytime as it hampers digestion and slows down the metabolism
- Avoid over exertion
- Always keep the surrounding dry and clean. Do not allow water to get accumulated around.
- Keep body warm
- Avoid getting wet in the rains.
- Panchakarma can be done.
- Vata samana therapies like Abhyanga, seka etc will help to bring back the deranged vata dosha to the normal state and prevent it from causing diseases in the body.