According to Ayurveda, Ritucharya means seasonal regimens (do and don’ts) regarding diet and lifestyle. The principles of Ritucharya essentially advocate living one’s life according to the flow of the seasons.
Seasons affect human physiology in many ways. If you don’t adapt to the season-specific regimens, you become prone to seasonal disorders. Following a specific seasonal regimen helps your body to acclimatize with seasonal enforcements without affecting the body’s homeostasis.
As per Ayurveda, HemantaRitu is winter season that occurs during Margashirsa and Pushya(Mid-November to Mid-January). This season belongs to Dakshinayana (Southern solstice). It is also called as Visarga Kala, wherein the human strength is relatively high.
Enhancement in digestive power in winter
During winter, the atmospheric air becomes cooler. This accentuates the bodily vata which further kindles the digestive fire and enhances appetite. The digestive fire becomes more potent because it gets obstructed from flowing outwards due to the cold climate.
Since you have a good appetite, you can enjoy any food of your choice without inviting indigestion. If you do not feed this strong fire it can affect the nutritive fluids of the body and can consume the tissues of the body (autolysis).
Hence skipping meals and having a light diet is not advisable in winter and late winter (Hemanta and Shishira).
- Nutritive diet which is heavy, sweet, sour, and salty is preferred. Avoid taking such diets and drinks which are light, cold, and pungent, bitter, and astringent in taste because they are instrumental in vitiated vata.
- One can habitually take milk and dairy products like cheese, butter, ghee, etc.
- Til/sesame and its preparations, wheat, black gram, figs, carrots, tomatoes, and dates, and seasonal fruits are beneficial.
- New rice is beneficial for the body.
- Sweet products made from sugarcane extracts like jaggery is beneficial.
- Wine extracted out of fermented sugarcane is indicated.
- Drinking hot water during the winter season helps to reduce the dryness of the skin.
- During winter, days are shorter and nights are longer. The sunsets early in the evening. So it is advisable to have dinner early within 7 p.m. and morning breakfast at 7:30 a.m. The craving appetite will make you indulge in mid-morning or mid-evening snacks in case of delay in breakfast, lunch, and dinner. This makes you put on more weight and worsen your health in the coming season.
- Daily exercise or yoga is beneficial to overcome the accumulation of Kapha.
- Avoid morning walks as direct exposure to the outer cold environment worsens the skin.
- You can resort to regular body massage with oil according to the individual’s Prakruti. A good massage helps to keep off the dryness of the skin, improves blood circulation, and keeps your body warm.
- A steam bath should be regularly taken.
- The dandruff problem also worsens during this season, so give your hair a good massage with good herbal hair oil on alternate days.
- The person should reside in a warm and cozy place.
- The body should be properly covered and wrapped with proper warm clothes.
- Too much exposure to the sun can really worsen your skin. Instead, you can warm up sitting in front of a fire or furnace.
- Avoid day sleep. Day sleep especially during this season makes you put on more weight.
This dietetics and regimen of winter help you to build a new personality with good energy and immunity that last through the rest of the year. It keeps you fit all through the year.
Important Diet and Lifestyle Guidelines for Winters
Winter season is on its way, which is also famous as flu season. When it comes to health issues winters have a bad reputation as problems like cough, cold, dry skin, winter depression, joint pains, viral fevers, etc. surface during this time of year. And all of this is related to the low immunity of the body.
Winter season is on its way, and it is the prime time to build strength and stamina in our bodies. Also, we can work on our immunity and ojus in this season. So this season you don’t have to dread about various winter problems, as we are here with Seasonal guidelines for wellbeing.
The winter season is marked as Hemantaritu in Ayurveda. Hemantaritu or winter season falls between mid-November and mid-January. It falls in southern solstice, also called dakshinayana or visargakala in Ayurveda.
Ayurveda has a wonderful set of guidelines which are mentioned as “ritucharya” that can help you to maximize your health and minimize your health-related issues with the help of a specific diet and lifestyle pattern. Ayurveda emphasizes the fact that understanding our body and its interaction with the external environment is very important.
To promote good health, Ayurveda has specific guidelines on dinacharya(daily routine) and ritucharya( seasonal routines) and it is very important to know, understand, and follow these guidelines to achieve optimum health. Our body and its elements undergo various changes with season change (Ritusandhi ). In each season we have a dominance of particular bioenergy in our body and if understand this, we can easily manage various health issue. Before going ahead it’s important to understand our body basics and how they get impacted by seasonal changes.
According to Ayurveda there are three bio-energies that are responsible for our body formation and its functioning. These are Vata, Pitta, and Kapha.
Vata is made of air and space and it controls all the movements in the body like musculoskeletal movements, neuro-hormonal movements, circulation, movement of thoughts, and energy inside the body. Vata is mainly cold and dry in nature.
Pitta element is made of fire and water and it is responsible for the metabolic function, digestion, skin functioning, and transformation in the body. Pitta is mainly hot in nature.
Kapha element is made of water and earth and it is responsible for providing stability and structure to the body. It controls the respiratory functions of the body. It is cold and heavy in nature.
The state of bio-energies changes during seasonal change. In summers we have the aggravation of pitta element in the body that’s why we are prone to various skin-related allergies, heart issues, digestion-related problems and in winters it is Vata aggravation that causes dryness and pain aggravation in the body.
Winter season is on its way, and it is the prime time to build strength and stamina in our bodies. Also, we can work on our immunity and ojus in this season. So this season you don’t have to dread about various winter problems, as we are here with Seasonal guidelines for wellbeing.
- During winters, our digestive fire is naturally at its peak, which means we can easily digest food and it gets converted into nourishment for the body. When the digestive fire is strong our digestion remains strong and we digest easily without the formation of ama( toxins in the body ).
- As per Ayurveda, immunity is related to digestion. Immunity is strengthened when appetite is good and digestion is strong.
- According to Ayurveda, there are six tastes of foods – sweet, salty, sour, bitter, pungent, and astringent. Sweet, salty, and sour foods are particularly beneficial in cold, dry winters. Avoid bitter and spicy food as they tend to increase the Vata element and cause dryness in the body. One can take nutrient-dense foods like nuts and dates, cow’s ghee, cheese, and warm herbal teas are beneficial. Moderation is important while taking nutrient-dense foods.
- Teas made with mixing ginger, black pepper, and cinnamon or cumin seeds, coriander seeds, and fennel seeds help in having strong digestion and can be had after meals.
- Heating vegetables like carrots, radishes, onions, cooked spinach, and other root vegetables are beneficial for this time of the year, as also hot spices like ginger, garlic, black pepper, cayenne, and chili peppers.
- Legumes are generally good for Kapha, but they should be soaked in warm water prior to cooking, well-cooked, well-spiced, and prepared with desi ghee so as not to aggravate Vata.
- In winters, Milk should be taken with a pinch of turmeric or dried ginger and nutmeg.
- Drink warm water in winters, it helps to maintain body temperature and helps in easy digestion of food.
- Exercise regularly during the winter season. Use warm herbal oil for a good massage of your body and take a bath after that in warm water. Flaring up of skin diseases in the winter can be prevented by the use of sesame oil infused with herbs like Bala (Sidacordifolia). Regular massaging the skin with oil prevents dry skin and other skin problems.
10. Do a daily self-massage to enhance immunity, flush out impurities and building resistance to stress and disease.
Ritucharya: Answer to the lifestyle disorders
Ritu, the season, classified by different features expresses different effects on the body as well as the environment. Ayurveda has depicted various rules and regimens (Charya), regarding diet and behavior to acclimatize seasonal enforcement easily without altering body homeostasis. The prime principle of the Ayurvedic system of medicine is a preventive aspect, can be achieved by the change in diet and practices in response to change in climatic conditions. This is a very important aspect of preventive medicine as mentioned in Ayurvedic texts. Lifestyle disorders are very common in the present era, basically originating from lack of following seasonal regimens due to lack of concentration in seasonal characteristics. A firm scientific analysis is a base, which holds true even on a date. In this review article, various regimens in diet and lifestyle as mentioned in the classics of Ayurveda and their importance on lifestyle disorders have been discussed.
Keywords: Lifestyle disorders, seasonal regimens, seasonal variations in India
Ayurveda, the age-old science of life, has always emphasized to maintain health and prevent the diseases by following a proper diet and lifestyle regimen rather than treatment and cure of the diseases. The basic principle followed in the Ayurvedic system of medicine is SwasthyashyaSwasthyaRakshanam, which means to maintain the health of the healthy, rather than AturashyaVikaraPrashamanancha, means to cure the diseases of the diseased. For this purpose, the Dinacharya (daily regimen) and Ritucharya(seasonal regimen) have been mentioned in the classics of Ayurveda.
With the change in season, the change is very evident in the environment we live in. We see various changes in bio-life around us, such as flowering in spring and leaf-shedding in autumn in the plants, hibernation of many animals with the coming of winter, and so on. As the human being is also part of the same ecology, the body is greatly influenced by the external environment. Many of the exogenous and endogenous rhythms have a specific phase relationship with each other; which means that they interact and synchronize each other. If the body is unable to adapt itself to stressors due to changes in specific traits of seasons, it may lead to DoshaVaishamya, which in turn may render the body highly susceptible to one or other kinds of disorders.
As adaptations according to the changes, is the key to survival, the knowledge of Ritucharya (regimen for various reasons) is thus important. People do not know or ignore the suitable types of foodstuffs, dressing, and another regimen to be followed in a particular season, this leads to derangement of homeostasis and causes various diseases, such as obesity, diabetes, hypertension, cancer, and so on. Lifestyle diseases are a result of an inappropriate relationship of people with their environment. The onset of these lifestyle diseases is insidious, delayed development, and difficult to cure. In our country, the situation is quite alarming due to the rapid changing of the disease profile. The World Health Organization has identified India as one of the nations that are going to have most of the lifestyle disorders in the near future. Nowadays, not only are lifestyle disorders becoming more common, but they are also affecting the younger population. Hence, the population at risk shifts from 40+ to maybe 30+ or even younger. Already considered the diabetes capital of the world, India now appears headed toward gaining another dubious distinction of becoming the lifestyle-related disease capital as well. A study conducted jointly by the All India Institute of Medical Sciences and Max Hospital shows the incidence of hypertension, obesity, and heart disease is increasing at an alarming rate, especially in the young, urban population. According to the doctors, a sedentary lifestyle combined with an increase in the consumption of fatty food and alcohol is to blame for cases of obesity, diabetes, hypertension, and so on.
Ritucharya is prominently discussed in the first few chapters of most of the Samhitas of Ayurveda. Prevention of disease to maintain health is being the first and foremost aim of the holistic science of Ayurveda.
In the Tasyashitya chapter of Charaka Samhita, it is said “TasyaShitadiyaAhaarbalamVarnaschaVardhate. TasyartusatmayamVaditamChestaharvyapasrayam,” which means ‘the strength and complexion of the person knowing the suitable diet and regimen for every season and practicing accordingly are enhanced. The main theme of this chapter is to make people aware of the methods to live in accordance with the environment. In this article, the Ritucharyas mentioned in the classics of Ayurveda have been discussed and emphasis has been given on the likely impact of Ritucharya on lifestyle disorders.
Classification of season
The year according to Ayurveda is divided into two periods Ayana (solstice) depending on the direction of the movement of the sun that is Uttarayana (northern solstice) and Dakshinayana (southern solstice). Each is formed of three Ritus (seasons). The word Ritu means “to go.” It is the form in which nature expresses itself in a sequence in particular and specific in present forms, in short, the seasons.
A year consists of six seasons, namely, Shishira (winter), Vasanta (spring), and Grishma (summer) in Uttarayan and Varsha (monsoon), Sharata (autumn), and Hemanta (late autumn) in Dakshinayana. As Ayurveda has its origin in India, the above seasonal changes are observed predominantly in the Indian subcontinent.
Uttarayana and its effect
Uttarayana indicates the ascent of the sun or the northward movement of the sun. In this period the sun and the wind are powerful. The sun takes away the strength of the people and the cooling quality of the earth. It brings an increase in the Tikta (bitter), Kashaya (astringent), and Katu (pungent) Rasa (taste), respectively, which brings about dryness in the body and reduces the Bala (strength). It is also called Adana Kala.
According to modern science, this can be compared with the gradual movement of the earth around the sun to the position, in which the rays of the sun fall perpendicularly at 30 degrees meridian of the North Pole in June 21st every year, called as the summer solstice. The northward journey of the Sun from Tropic of Capricorn to Tropic of Cancer happens.
During Uttarayana the seasonal changes in the Indian subcontinent are from Shishira (winter) to Vasanta(spring) and to Grishma (summer). The period can be compared to mid-January to mid-July when warmness and dryness in weather increases. It has an overall debilitating effect on the environment, to which human being is also a part.
Dakshinayana and its effect
Dakshinayana indicates the descent of the sun or movement of the sun in the southern direction. In this period, the wind is not very dry; the moon is more powerful than the sun. The earth becomes cool due to clouds, rain, and cold winds. Unctuousness sets in the atmosphere and Amla (sour), Lavana (salty), and Madhura(sweet) Rasa are predominant, so the strength of a person enhances during this period. It is also called Visarga Kala.
According to modern science, this can be compared with the gradual movement of the earth around the sun to the position, in which the rays of the sun fall over 30 degrees meridian of the South Pole perpendicularly on December 21st every year, is called as the winter solstice. The southward movement of the Sun occurs from Tropic of Cancer to Tropic of Capricorn.
During Dakshinayana, the seasonal changes occur in the Indian subcontinent from Varsha (monsoon) to Sarata (autumn) and to Hemanta (late autumn). This period can be compared to mid-July to mid-January, when cool sets, and due to which anabolic activity dominates over the catabolic activity in the environment.
State of strength
At the beginning of Visarga Kala and ending of Adana Kala, that is, during Varsha and Grishma, weakness occurs. In the middle of the solstices, that is, during Sharata and Vasanta, strength remains in moderate grade and in the end of Visarga Kala, and at the beginning of Adana Kala, that is, during Hemanta and Shishira, maximum strength is seen.
The regimen of different seasons
Mid-January to mid-March (approximately) is considered as ShishiraRitu (winter). During this season, the environment remains cold, along with the cold wind. The predominant Rasa and Mahabhuta during this season are Tikta (bitter) and Akasha, respectively. The strength of the person becomes less, deposition of the KaphaDosha occurs and Agni (catabolism) remains in a higher state.
Foods having Amla (sour) as the predominant taste are preferred. Cereals and pulses, wheat/gram flour products, new rice, corn, and others, are advised. Ginger, garlic, Haritaki (fruits of Terminaliachebula), Pippali (fruits of Piper longum), sugarcane products, and milk and milk products are to be included in the diet.
Foods having Katu (pungent), Tikta (Bitter), Kashaya (astringent) predominant Rasa are to be avoided. Laghu (light) and Shita (cold) foods are advised to be prohibited.
Massage with oil/powder/paste, bathing with lukewarm water, exposure to sunlight, wearing warm clothes are mentioned to follow.
Vata aggravating lifestyle like exposure to cold wind, excessive walking, sleep late at night, is to be avoided.
The approximate time is from mid-March to mid-May. This season is considered the season of flowering and origin of new leaves. Predominant Rasa and Mahabhuta during this season are Kashaya (astringent), and Prithvi and Vayu, respectively. The strength of the person remains in medium degree, vitiation of KaphaDosha occurs and Agni remains in Manda state.
One should take easily digestible foods. Among cereals, old barley, wheat, rice, and others are preferred. Among pulses, lentil, Mugda, and others can be taken. Food items tasting Tikta (bitter), Katu(pungent), and Kashaya (astringent) are to be taken. Besides those, honey is to be included in the diet. Meats like that of Shahsa (rabbit), which are easy to digest can be taken.
Foods that are hard to digest are to be avoided. Those which are Sheeta (cold), Snigdha (viscous), Guru(heavy), Amla (sour), Madhura (sweet) are not preferred. New grains, curd, cold drinks, and so on, are also to be prohibited.
One should use warm water for bathing purposes, may do exercise during VasantRitu. Udvartana(massage) with powder of Chandana (Santalum album), Kesara (Crocus sativus), Agaru, and others, Kavala (gargle), Dhooma (smoking), Anjana (collyrium), and evacuative measures, such as Vamana and Nasya are advised.
Day-sleep is strictly contraindicated during this season.
Mid-May to mid-July (approximately) is considered as Grishma (summer) season. The environment is prevalent with intense heat and unhealthy wind. The river-bodies dried and the plants appear lifeless. The predominant Rasa is Katu (pungent) and Mahabhuta are Agni and Vayu. The strength of the person becomes less, deposition of VataDosha occurs, but the vitiated KaphaDosha is pacified during this season. Agni of the person will remain in a mild state.
Foods that are light to digest—those having Madhura (sweet), Snigdha (unctuous), Sheeta(cold), and Drava (liquid) Guna, such as rice, lentil, etc, are to be taken. Drinking plenty of water and other liquids, such as cold water, buttermilk, fruit juices, meat soups, mango juice, churned curd with pepper, is to be practiced. At bedtime milk with sugar, candy is to be taken.
Lavana and food with Katu (pungent) and Amla (sour) taste and Ushna (warm) foods are to be avoided.
Staying in cool places, applying sandalwood and other aromatic pastes over the body, adorned with flowers, wearing light dresses, and sleeping at day time are helpful. At night one can enjoy the cooling moon rays with the breeze. Excessive exercise or hard work is to be avoided; too much sexual indulgence and alcoholic preparations are prohibited.
Mid-July to mid-September (approximately) is considered as VarshaRitu. During this season the sky is covered by clouds and rains occur without thunderstorms. The ponds, rivers, etc., are filled with water. The predominant Rasa and Mahabhuta during this season are Amla (sour), and Prithvi and Agni, respectively. The strength of the person again becomes less, vitiation of VataDosha and deposition of Pitta Dosha, Agni also gets vitiated.
Foods having Amla (sour) and Lavana (salty) taste and of Sneha (unctuous) qualities are to be taken. Among cereals, old barley, rice, wheat, etc., are advised. Besides meat soup, Yusha (soup), etc. are to be included in the diet. It is mentioned that one should take medicated water or boiled water.
Intake of river water, churned preparations having more water, excessive liquid, and wine are to be avoided. The foods, which are heavy and hard to digest, like meat, etc., are prohibited.
Use of boiled water for bath and rubbing the body with oil properly after bath is advised. Medicated Basti (enema) is prescribed as an evacuative measure to expel vitiated Doshas.
Getting wet in the rain, day-sleep, exercise, hard work, sexual indulgence, wind, staying at river-bank, etc., are to be prohibited.
The period between mid-September to mid-November is SharatRitu (autumn). During this time the Sun becomes bright, the sky remains clear and sometimes with a white cloud, and the earth is covered with wet mud. The predominant Rasa is Lavana (salty) and predominant Mahabhutas are Apa and Agni. The strength of the person remains medium, pacification of vitiated VataDosha and vitiation of Pitta Dosha occur, and activity of Agni increases during this season.
Foods are having Madhura (sweet) and Tikta (bitter) taste, and of Laghu (light to digest) and cold properties are advised. Foods having the properties to pacify vitiated Pitta are advised. Wheat, green gram, sugar candy, honey, Patola (Trichosanthesdiocia), the flesh of animals of dry land (JangalaMamsa) are to be included in the diet.
Hot, bitter, sweet, and astringent foods are to be avoided. The food items, such as fat, oils, the meat of aquatic animals, curds, etc., are also to be not included in the diet during this season.
The habit of eating food, only when there is a feeling of hunger is recommended. One should take water purified by the rays of the sun in daytime and rays of the moon at night time for drinking, bathing, etc. It is advised to wear flower garlands and to apply a paste of Chandana (Santalum album) on the body. It is said that moon rays in the first 3 h of the night are conducive for health. Medical procedures, such as Virechana(purging), Rakta-Mokshana (bloodletting), etc, should be done during this season.
Day-sleep, excessive eating, excessive exposure to sunlight, etc., are to be avoided.
Hemanta (late autumn)
Mid-November to mid-January is considered as Hemanta (late autumn) Ritu. The blow of cold winds starts and chillness is felt. Predominant Rasa during this season is Madhura and the predominant Mahabhutas are Prithivi and Apa. The strength of a person remains on the highest grade and vitiated Pitta Dosha gets pacified. The activity of Agni is increased.
One should use unctuous, sweet, sour, and salty foods. Among cereals and pulses, new rice, flour preparations, green gram, Masha, etc., are mentioned to be used. Various meats, fats, milk and milk products, sugarcane products, Shidhu (fermented preparations), Tila (sesame), and so on, are also to be included in the diet.
Vata aggravating foods, such as Laghu (light), cold, and dry foods are to be avoided. Intake of cold drinks is also contraindicated.
Exercise, body and head massage, use of warm water, Atapa-sevana (sunbath), application of Agaru on the body, heavy clothing, sexual indulgence with one partner, residing in warm places is recommended.
This is the way the ancient sages set up the regimen for various seasons on analytical reasoning to obtain Swastha (health) and prevent the diseases. The examples set by them stand as a hint to decide other dos’ and don’ts’ in the regimen—Ritucharya [Table 1].
The table summarizes the seasonal Do’s and Don’ts
The environmental factors include the nature of the land, water, and various atmospheric phenomena, including temperature, humidity, wind, rain, clouds, and atmospheric pressure. All these environmental factors undergo a continuous change and at a time, no two moments are exactly alike in a given place. Thus with the rising sun, the temperature keeps on rising and gradually drops at night. The maximum and minimum temperature fluctuates daily but it is highest in summer and lowest in winter. Similarly, all these factors show diurnal as well as seasonal variations, and these variations for a particular time are known as the season.
A study on animals with seasonal changes revealed the effects of photoperiod on immune function and hormone synthesis which influence the development of the opportunistic disease. Another study indicated that free-living species from many regions can seasonally modulate glucocorticoid release. In other words, the magnitudes of both unstressed and stressed glucocorticoid concentrations change depending on the time of the year.
A human clinical study was carried out by Mallika et al. to assess the biophysical and biochemical changes occurring due to Ritusandhi. Clinical study shows the provocation of Tridosha with the dominance of Vata and Kapha provocation. In this study during Ritusandhi frequently, Jwara, Pratishyaya, and AlasyaLakshnaswere met with. In Agnibala also although remarkable changes are seen, they are not up to pathologic mark. Regarding the biochemical changes, there is a varied pattern—sometimes increasing and decreasing, but all these are within the range of normal variations. The variation in biochemical values are seen but not remarkable.
One study carried out by Jangid et al. on the concept of Ritus and their effect on Bala reported that the overall effect of HemantaRitu on Bala of healthy volunteers was maximum, the effect of VasantaRitu was moderate and the effect of VarshaRitu was minimum and concluded that Hemanta is the Ritu of PravaraBala, Vasanta is the Ritu of MadhyamaBala and Varsha is the Ritu of AvaraBala. The results of the study support the principles of Ayurveda.
Many other systems of medical science have observed the influence of seasonal rhythm in physical and mental health. To quote Hippocrates, “Whoever wishes to investigate medicine properly should proceed thus in the first place to consider the seasons of the year and what affect each of them produces.” Even in the Tibetan system of medicine, seasons are regarded as one of the fundamental factors in etiology and pathology, and a powerful instrument in the prevention of diseases.
In Ayurveda, the knowledge of Ritucharya is a first-hand guide to the concept of Kriya-Kala, which describes the modes and stages of the development of diseases, with regard to the state of different Doshas—Vatu, Pitta, and Kapha in accordance with the changes of time. A good understanding of it is very much essential for early diagnosis and prognosis for adopting preventive and curative measures.
It is to be known that disharmony in the Doshas—Vatu, Pitta, and Kapha results in Roga (disease). And the aim of the science of Ayurveda is to maintain harmony. With changes in diet and lifestyle, there are changes in the state of Tridosha, which is bound to affect us, resulting in disharmony, causing lifestyle diseases. Ritu acts as Vyanjaka or Nimittakarana in the aggravation and manifestation of the disease. For example, an evening (afternoon) headache is essential with Vata predominance. Diseases due to Vata show a tendency to aggravate during the rainy season.
It has been observed that there is an increased occurrence of flu, dry skin in winter, heat stroke in summer, pollen allergy in spring, high incidence of air and water-borne diseases in the rainy season, and skin diseases in autumn. Thus it can be said that physiology vindicates the concept of Ritucharya. Studies have even revealed the increased incidence of Asthma attacks in the winter season. There is also a reference to Seasonal Affective Disorder in modern science.
Peoples’ diet changed substantially in the second half of the 20th century, generally with increased consumption of meat, dairy products, vegetable oils, fruit juice, and alcoholic beverages, and decreased consumption of starchy staple foods, such as bread, potatoes, rice, and maize flour. These observations suggest that the diets [or lifestyle] of different populations might partly determine the rates of cancer, and other lifestyle disorders, such as obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, etc. In 1900, the top three causes of death in the United States were pneumonia/influenza, tuberculosis, and diarrhea/enteritis. Communicable diseases accounted for about 60% of all deaths. In 1900, heart disease and cancer were ranked number 4 and 8, respectively. Since the 1940s, the majority of deaths in the United States have resulted from heart disease, cancer, and other degenerative diseases. And, by the late 1990s, degenerative diseases accounted for more than 60% of all deaths.
Already considered the diabetes capital of the world, India now appears headed towards gaining another dubious distinction of becoming the lifestyle-related disease capital as well. A study conducted jointly by the All India Institute of Medical Sciences and Max Hospital shows that the incidence of hypertension, obesity, and heart disease is increasing at an alarming rate, especially in the young, urban population.
Doctors however say a strict diet and regular exercise along with cholesterol controlling drugs can go a long way in checking lifestyle diseases. But with the knowledge of Ritucharya, we can surely avoid these by practicing regimen in accordance with the Ritu to maintain the harmony of the Tridosha and to stay healthy ever. Growing public awareness, with the support of the government and corporate wellness programs, may help arrest the rapid increase in the incidence of such diseases, saving lives and crores of rupees in costs.
With global warming and variation in the advent of season, it can surely be a query, of the importance of Ritucharya in the present scenario. It is to be understood that the background on which Ritucharya is based, that is, Dosha and Panchamahabhuta theory. Although today Ritus do not follow uniformity, the level of Dosha and Panchamahabhuta can be analyzed accordingly, to decide the regimen, to which this knowledge of Ayurveda holds as a pathfinder. These principles surely demand a closer observation for clarity.