Drinking Exessive Water DOES NOT Keep You Healthy

ऋते श्रनिदाघाभ्यां पिबेत् , स्वस्थापि चाल्पषः

Even a healthy person should drink less amount of water in all seasons except

autumn and summer.

केवलं सौषधं फक्वमामुश्नम् हितं च तत्

समीक्ष्य मात्रया य़ुक्तमम्रितम् विशमन्यथ

If it has to be taken alone then water should either be treated with herbs, or it should be boiled or it should be cold or heated. The water is as efficacious as amrita (elixir) if it is taken as per the condition of body and in right amount, at the right time and in the right manner. Else, it creates toxicity in the body.

अतियोगेन सलिलं त्रिष्यतोपि प्रयोजितम्

प्रयाति पित्तश्लेष्मत्वं ज्वरितस्य विशेषतः

If someone has a tendency to drink excess water even when thirsty, then his doshas get aggravated and cause many diseases in his body.

अत्यंबुपनद्विशमशनद्व संधार्नात स्वप्नविपर्ययाच्च

कालेऽपि सात्म्यं लघु चापि भुक्तमन्नं न पाकं भजते नरस्य

Due to drinking plenty of water, even the food taken in small amounts at the proper time does not get digested properly and the problem of indigestion arises.The excess water taken, weakens agni (digestion and metabolism) of our body.

पान्द्रदर्पीनुस मेःगुल्ममन्दान्लातिसरेषु

फ्लॆहनि च तोय न हित काममसःये पिबेदल्पं

In diseases like anemia, digestive disorders like constipation, acidity, gas, IBS sinus, diabetes, weak digestive power, diarrhea, spleen disorders, swellings, weakness etc. there is a prohibition on intake of water but the Shastra says that the patient can have a little water if the thirst becomes intolerable.

This recommendation from an Ayurveda text may sound totally contrary to common belief that we should consume copious amounts of water — 2 lts or 4 lts, and drink throughout the day, even when we are not thirsty — to fix all our health problems; but the truth, according to the ancient science of ayurveda, is very different. Our ancient texts and Vedas direct us to drink the minimum possible water to remain healthy. There are a few health conditions where water has been totally contraindicated or is allowed only in minimum quantity.

As far as diet is concerned, water is one thing we all consume. These days,it is a common practice to fix your digestive problems by drinking lots of water. If you have to detox your body — drink lots of water, if there is burning while passing urine — drink lots of water, if you have to lose weight — drink lots of water. But when we try to understand how drinking water in abundance might help in these conditions, we realise that in fact the truth is very different.

According to ayurveda, the main cause for all the problems related to digestion constipation, acidity, gas formation and even irritable bowel syndrome, IBS — is our sluggish digestive power. Even modern science agrees that the reason for all these conditions is decreased secretion of digestive enzymes.We can get rid of these conditions by improving our jatharagni, digestive fire. In such a case,how would the excessive intake of water, which is the worst opponent of fire, increase digestive fire? Is it not possible that this excess quantity of water consumed by us to resolve our digestive issues, is actually making these conditions chronic and subsequently rendering them incurable? The same is true for other conditions, too.

In ayurveda,water is called ‘elixir’ when it is consumed correctly; and ‘poison’ when consumed otherwise, as stated in अष्टांग संग्रह सूत्र स्थान . Whether water has to be consumed simply or after medicating it with suitable herbs, after boiling it, in cold form, or as just warm water, deciding this is done on the basis of the state of the body; and when taken in the right quantity, at the right time and in the right way, then only does water act like an elixir, else it acts like poison if used otherwise. Contrary to the misinformation floating on social media and the internet, drinking large quantities of water,even when thirsty, leads to rise in kapha and pitta dosha-related diseases.

According to the अष्टांग संग्रह सूत्र स्थान , in persons suffering from fever, it can result in increasing of ama — undigested food materials, excessive thirst, sleep, stupor, flatulence, feeling of heaviness in the body, cough, poor digestion, nausea, excessive salivation, difficulty in breathing and nasal catarrh. सुश्रुत सूत्र स्थान states that food taken in less quantity even at the right time does not get properly digested by drinking too much water, by consuming wrong food, by holding the compulsive urges such as of urine,stool,and due to inadequate sleep.

Consumption of excess water weakens the 13 types of agni, digestive fires present in our body, including jatharagni, the fire at the level of the digestive system, dhaatvageni, fire at the level of various structural units of the body, and भुताग्नि fire at the cellular level. Most of the diseases have their origin in a sluggish digestive fire.This is also the root of all digestive and liver disorders in particular,states the अष्टांग हृदय निदान स्थान .

As an example, till a river flowing in between the fields is limited by its boundaries, the fields around it yield enormously but as soon as the river overflows its boundaries, it destroys the yields of the fields surrounding it.

A person should consume 1.5 to 2 litres of liquids every day. By liquids, we mean cumulative volume of water, milk, juice, tea, coffee and soup.To put it more precisely, if a person is passing out a minimum of 500 ml and in ideal conditions, 1 litre of clear urine in 24 hours, then it can be supposed that his body is getting adequate amount of liquids.

Drink Water The Right Way

For intestinal cleansing: Consume 250 ml or a glass full of warm water, sip by sip on an empty stomach in the morning.

For helping in the digestive process: With meals: 100-150ml or a cup of warm water should be consumed, sip by sip, during a meal.

After meals: Consume a sip or two of warm water every hour or two, even when you are not feeling thirsty.

On feeling thirsty: Drink a maximum 150 ml of water, patiently. It is best to drink warm water or boiled water kept for less than 24 hours.

Drinking large amounts of water at one go is never good from the health and digestion point of view. It can give rise to or complicate diseases like indigestion, diabetes, high blood pressure and kidney diseases.

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