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Year : 2021  |  Volume : 5  |  Issue : 4  |  Page : 197-200

Compendium of important cereals mentioned in Ayurveda

Central Council for Research in Ayurvedic Sciences, New Delhi, India

Date of Submission23-Mar-2022
Date of Decision25-Mar-2022
Date of Acceptance28-Mar-2022
Date of Web Publication29-Apr-2022

Correspondence Address:
Bidhan Mahajon
Central Council for Research in Ayurvedic Sciences, Ministry of Ayush, Government of India, Janakpuri, New Delhi 110058
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/jras.jras_45_22

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How to cite this article:
Mahajon B, Chincholikar MB. Compendium of important cereals mentioned in Ayurveda. J Res Ayurvedic Sci 2021;5:197-200

How to cite this URL:
Mahajon B, Chincholikar MB. Compendium of important cereals mentioned in Ayurveda. J Res Ayurvedic Sci [serial online] 2021 [cited 2023 Feb 5];5:197-200. Available from: http://www.jrasccras.com/text.asp?2021/5/4/197/344411

  Introduction Top

During the last decade, the use of Ayurveda/traditional medicine has expanded globally and has gained popularity. Besides, being an integral part of primary health care in developing countries, Ayurveda is among the most sought out health care system worldwide.[1],[2] Notwithstanding this expansion and popularity, the dissemination of Ayurveda dietetics becomes pertinent. This is highly contextual in the background of noncommunicable diseases becoming order of the day and lifestyle being implicated as the prime causative factor.[3] Dietetics or nutraceutical industry therefore is going to be the next boom in health industry with most of the pharmaceutical industries diversifying into nutraceuticals and nutritionals.[4],[5] Indian traditional dietetic practices have strong roots in the Indian health sciences. Ayurveda being the pillar of Indian health sciences has laid emphasis on diet and dietetics for sustenance of healthy lifestyle and has much to offer.[6] Ayurveda lays stress on three important factors while dealing with the health and disease viz., Aushadha (drug and therapies), Ahara (diet), and Vihara (lifestyle/activities). Ayurveda accords top priority to Ahara as one among the tripods of life. Pathya (or a wholesome diet) is defined as the Ahara that is congenial to the channels of the body and relished by the person.[7] Most health problems develop due to the wrong eating habits and cooking methods. Ayurveda deals with the Pathya Vyavastha (planning of diet—dietetics) in a very scientific and holistic way. The diet planning mentioned in Ayurvedic classical literature is very rational and meticulous.[8] In Ayurveda, a lot of importance is given to a person’s diet with regard to its processing, quality, quantity, environment, psychological condition, status of health, digestion, etc. while dealing with dietary regimens. Further, it is clear that man’s nutritional requirements are comprehensive with respect to energy, protein, vitamins, and minerals in different amounts through daily food.[9] The major food ingredients available in Indian subcontinent are cereals and millets, pulses, nuts and oil seeds, sugar and jaggery, fats and oils, vegetables and fruits (green leafy, roots and tubers, others), milk and milk products, eggs, meat (animal food), condiments, spices, and minerals. Till date, there have been no efforts to compile and present information on botanicals used in Ayurveda dietetics with Ayurveda vis-a-vis modern nutraceutical and phytochemical dimensions to help researchers, academicians, industries, and other stakeholders in this field. Hence, this compendium is a unique endeavor of its kind. The present compendium aimed to bring concise information pertaining to Ayurveda, Botany, Phytochemistry, Pharmacology etc., for each cereal plant. This compendium treatise is focused on bringing out a comprehensive documentation of selected crops that are mentioned in Ayurveda diet.

  Content of the Book Top

The first section of the book deals about “Introduction” where definition of cereals, objectives of the book, origin of the proposal or basis of the study on which the book has been written, methodology followed for the study, and scope of the compendium along with references are cited as source of information.

After introduction part, in the second and third sections, the book states about the brief history of Shaali (rice—Oryza sativa L.) and Madhulika (finger millet—Eleusine coracana [L.] Gaertn.), respectively, along with their geographical distribution, major area of cultivation, taxonomic classification, synonyms, as well as vernacular name. The botanical description, conservation status, in situ conservation and ex situ conservation, and agro-techniques of the crops are also beautifully explained. Effect of edaphic factors and climatic factors on cultivation of rice, field management (crop protection), propagation methods, and fertilizers required for cultivation are also explained. Complex wild species of genus Oryza and Eleusine, different cultivated sources of O. sativa L. and E. coracana (L.) Gaertn., genetics, and breeding and mutated varieties of both the crops along with molecular studies/DNA finger printing are also added. Cultivars information, high-yielding basmati and aromatic rice varieties, improved varieties of rice for rain-fed uplands, medicinal rice varieties, and land races of rice in India are generally described in addition to crop yield and production of finger millet. The stages of growth and development of rice and finger millet, their harvesting and postharvesting methods including drying, crop yield and production, storage, grading, and packaging procedures are also well described. The information about trade, marketing, export, and import as well as commercial products and handling procedures for both rice and finger millet are also pointed out. Moreover, description of chemical composition, nutritional facts, biochemical studies, pharmacological studies, Ayurvedic descriptions, folklore claims/local health traditions, uses in other systems of Indian medicine, Siddha system of medicine, Unani system of medicine, Sowa-Rigpa system of medicine, medicinal importance of rice and finger millet in other countries, biological studies, in vitro and in vivo studies, clinical studies, and miscellaneous uses of both these important crops described in these sections are found to be noteworthy. At last, the references for each relevant section are provided to make it scientific and reader friendly.

  Discussion Top

The use of plant produce material as “Ahara” and therapeutic diet or functional foods (Pathya) is in vogue since the Vedic period. In the current scenario, various value-added diet and functional foods are available that are regulated as foods by the agencies like Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI). Alongside Rasayana (rejuvenation) and Balya (strength-promoting) products are categorized under Ayurveda, Siddha, Unani (ASU)medicines regulated by the State Ayush Licensing Authorities.[10] Furthermore, it is the need of the hour to have a comprehensive document for the plants used as foods for ready reference of regulatory authorities.

Since civilization, varieties of plant-based food ingredients (dietetics) are available for human consumption. These food materials are well described in many Ayurvedic literatures; however, information on botany, domestication, conservation, cultivation practices, nutritive values, pharmacological properties, medicinal properties and uses, food preparations, ethno-medicinal practices, etc. is not well documented. Hence, this compendium is a unique venture on such kind.

This publication is compiled over a period of 4 years. Comprehensive information collected from published literature and reports is systematically summarized. The monograph encompasses broadly on the Ayurvedic literature related to dietary principles and medicinal properties of both the cereals. Information was extracted from various ancient Ayurvedic books including Charakasamhita, Sushrutasamhita, Ashtangasangraha, Ashtangahridaya, Bhavaprakashanighantu, and other books mentioned under the First Schedule of the Drugs and Cosmetics Act, 1940. Information from Siddha and Unani, wherever possible, was also included for better quality of the data. The sources of information were also integrated by contacting various scientists, research organizations, and universities involved in the respective fields.

Field photographs depicting plant habit and various parts, viz., leaves, flowers, fruits and useful parts such as seeds/grains, were incorporated for each cereal crop at the beginning for easy identification. Accepted botanical names were updated as per “The plant list.” A complete list of references cited under the present work was included at the end of each section. A list of standard abbreviations that appear frequently in the compendium was mentioned at the beginning.

The knowledge on cereal crops for available research work from various streams of science is very vast. These are studied by scientists of a wide variety of scientific streams such as botany, phytochemistry, agronomy, genetics, biotechnology, pharmacology, and Ayurveda. The addition of available knowledge from each of the above fields vowing to the above researchers is abundant. However, there has been no effort in compiling the information from all the above perspective fields into a single literary work. Hence, this compendium is envisaged by the Central Council for Research in Ayurvedic Sciences (CCRAS) to bring together valuable information available from the above fields.

  Concluding Remarks Top

This publication is an important contribution and is useful for maximizing the realization of the potential of dietary guide as well as is a ready reference for common people. Information presented in this compendium uniquely and systematically hoards the details of Shaali (Rice—O. sativa L.) and Madhulika (finger millet—E. coracana [L.] Gaertn.).This portrayal will be largely advantageous for academicians and research scholars, and may be a precious source of information for wide range of stakeholders including herbal pharmacies, nutraceutical industries, entrepreneurs, and agricultural industries in India and indeed the rest of the world. Beautiful presentation with exclusive color photographs made this book extra pretty and attractive.

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Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest

  References Top

Chaudhary A, Singh N. Contribution of world health organization in the global acceptance of Ayurveda. J Ayurveda Integr Med 2011;2:179-86.  Back to cited text no. 1
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Yuan H, Ma Q, Ye L, Piao G. The traditional medicine and modern medicine from natural products. Molecules 2016;21:559.  Back to cited text no. 2
Kolb H, Martin S. Environmental/lifestyle factors in the pathogenesis and prevention of type 2 diabetes. BMC Med 2017;15:131.  Back to cited text no. 3
Nasri H, Baradaran A, Shirzad H, Rafieian-Kopaei M. New concepts in nutraceuticals as alternative for pharmaceuticals. Int J Prev Med 2014;5:1487-99.  Back to cited text no. 4
Payyappallimana U, Venkatasubramanian P. Exploring Ayurvedic knowledge on food and health for providing innovative solutions to contemporary healthcare. Front Public Health 2016;4:57.  Back to cited text no. 5
Mahajon B, Nath R, Remadevi R. A scientific review on dietetics in Ayurveda according to Prakriti (Innate Constitution). Int Ayurvedic Med J 2014;2:1031-6.  Back to cited text no. 6
Dey S, Pahwa P. Prakriti and its associations with metabolism, chronic diseases, and genotypes: Possibilities of new born screening and a lifetime of personalized prevention. J Ayurveda Integr Med 2014;5:15-24.  Back to cited text no. 7
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Banerjee S, Debnath P, Debnath PK. Ayurnutrigenomics: Ayurveda-inspired personalized nutrition from inception to evidence. J Tradit Complement Med 2015;5:228-33.  Back to cited text no. 8
Chen Y, Michalak M, Agellon LB. Importance of nutrients and nutrient metabolism on human health. Yale J Biol Med 2018;91:95-103.  Back to cited text no. 9
Ravishankar B, Shukla VJ. Indian systems of medicine: A brief profile. Afr J Tradit Complement Altern Med 2007;4:319-37.  Back to cited text no. 10


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