Journal of Research in Ayurvedic Sciences

: 2021  |  Volume : 5  |  Issue : 4  |  Page : 201--205

Pathyapathyavinishchaya - An Ayurveda treatise on wholesome diet and lifestyle

Mukesh B Chincholikar, Bidhan Mahajon 
 Central Council for Research in Ayurvedic Sciences, New Delhi, India

Correspondence Address:
Mukesh B Chincholikar
Central Council for Research in Ayurvedic Sciences, Ministry of Ayush, Government of India, Janakpuri, New Delhi 110058

How to cite this article:
Chincholikar MB, Mahajon B. Pathyapathyavinishchaya - An Ayurveda treatise on wholesome diet and lifestyle.J Res Ayurvedic Sci 2021;5:201-205

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Chincholikar MB, Mahajon B. Pathyapathyavinishchaya - An Ayurveda treatise on wholesome diet and lifestyle. J Res Ayurvedic Sci [serial online] 2021 [cited 2022 Jun 26 ];5:201-205
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Diet and lifestyle have a special importance in Ayurveda system of medicine. In both Svastha (healthy) and Aturavastha (diseased state), diet and lifestyle have its own special importance. Therefore, along with medical treatment, diet and lifestyle are equally important in alleviation of diseases.

Many unpublished texts of Ayurveda are present in the form of manuscripts in various museums and libraries located across the country, which contain the deepest knowledge of Ayurveda. It is very important to publish these manuscripts to make them useful to the whole society. The Central Council for Research in Ayurvedic Sciences (CCRAS), New Delhi, has published the book “Pathyapathya Vinishchaya” in the year 1999 with Hindi translation based on three different manuscripts collected from state museums/libraries of Odisha and Jammu along with a published text in Devanagari script in 1951, which is presently out of print. The most appropriate readings from these four versions were retained in the main verse, whereas the remaining variant readings have been mentioned as footnotes.[1]

Pathyapathya is an important feature of Ayurvedic medicine from early times. Acharya Charaka mentioned Pathya as “that which does not adversely affect the Patha (channels) related to body and mind; while Apathya is opposite of that.’’ Both Pathya and Apathya as do’s and don’ts have been mentioned in the context of treatment of various diseases. The physician desirous of success in treatment should take both (Pathya and Apathya) into consideration. Owing to this, Pathya is also mentioned as one of the synonyms of Chikitsa (treatment), being integral part of medicine.[2],[3],[4],[5]

In view of usefulness of this text, CCRAS has published the second edition of “Pathyapathya Vinishchaya” in 2021 with additional information in the published text related to Pathya–Apathya (consideration on wholesome and unwholesome items) Ahara (diet) and Vihara (lifestyle) in the form of Tippani (critical explanation in Hindi) compiled from the basic Brihattrayi (major classical texts of Ayurveda) such as Charakasamhita, Sushrutasamhita, Ashtangahridaya, Ashtangasangraha and from other famous Chikitsa Grantha (classical texts on treatment aspect) like Chakradatta.

 Content of the Book

It is well understood from the title Pathyapathya Vinishchaya that Pathya (wholesome) and Apathya (unwholesome) according to the disease have been discussed in the book. The text was written around sixteenth century AD by Shri Vishwanath Sen of Odisha. It is a comprehensive treatise specially dedicated to Pathyapathya. The text starts with the salutation to Lord Shiva. The author emphasizes that in all conditions, the physician should carefully decide the three things, viz., Nidana (etiology), Pathya (wholesome items), and Apathya (unwholesome items). Advocating the importance of Pathya, he further adds that disease is alleviated only by using wholesome items without any drug; on the contrary, even a lot of medicine cannot work if Pathya is not followed properly. At the end of introductory verse, it is mentioned that the Pathya should be decided by the physician considering Dosha (regulatory functional factors of the body), Dushya (that gets vitiated by aggravated Dosha), place, time, suitability, psychological condition, strength, age, constitution, drug, digestive power, food, etc.

The subject matter is given according to diseases starting with Jvara (fever) and ending with Visharoga (poisoning) covering total 75 diseases/conditions in 62 chapters [Table 1]. After describing various diseases/conditions, Vyadhisamkararoga (occurrence of two or more diseases at the same time) is mentioned. In the context of every disease, Pathya and then Apathya are described in terms of Aushadha (medicine), Anna (diet), and Vihara (lifestyle). At the end of the treatise, medicine, diet, and lifestyle have been described according to the Dosha (regulatory functional factors of the body) and six Ritu (seasons) [Table 2].{Table 1} {Table 2}

Purana Shali (old rice) is mostly recommended as wholesome followed by common cereals and pulses. Fruits such as Draksha (grapes), Rasala (mango), Kalinda (watermelon), Bhavya (Dillenia indica L.), Vikankata (Flacourtia indica [Burm.f.] Merr.), ripe palm fruit along with the top portion of areca nut, date palm, coconut, and palm trees are also described in text as wholesome items. Plants such as Vijaya (Cannabis sativa L.) and Ahiphena (Papaver somniferum L.) are used in the context of Atisara (diarrhea) and Grahani (disorders of lower gastrointestinal tract).

Among the vegetables Shalincha (Alternanthera sessilis [L.] R.Br. ex DC.) is the most commonly prescribed as wholesome in the text followed by Vetragra (tip of Salix caprea L.), Kanchata (Commelina benghalensis L.), Sunishannaka (Marsilea minuta L.), Kushmanda (Benincasa hispida [Thunb.] Cogn.), etc.

In addition to Pathyapathya, the text also contains information on Panchakarma (five internal bio-cleansing therapies), viz., therapeutic emesis, purgation, unctuous enema, non-oily enema, and Errhine therapy, along with the two preparatory measures Snehana (oleation) and Svedana (sudation) are mentioned in both the groups, i.e. wholesome and unwholesome, in respective diseases.

Raktamokshana (blood letting) is recommended in a number of diseases such as Apasmara (epilepsy), Vatavyddhi (disorders due to Vata), Vatarakta (rheumatism due to Rakta), Gulma (lump), Shotha (edema/inflammation), Vriddhi (hernia, hydrocele), Bhagandara (fistula-in-ano), Upadamsha (syphilis), Shukadosha (diseases of the penis), Shitapitta (urticaria), Masurika (smallpox), Mukharoga (diseases of oral cavity), Karnaroga (diseases of ear), Nasaroga (diseases of nose), Netraroga (diseases of eyes), and Shiroroga (disorders of head). Specific sites and techniques of bloodletting are prescribed in some diseases such as Bhalasiravedha (venesection in forehead) in Svarabheda (hoarseness of voice); Dhvajamadhyanadivedha (venesection in the middle of penis); cutting of two sublingual veins in Galaganda (goiter); venesection above the ankle, below the ankle, and at the root of the toe in Vata, Pitta, and Kaphaja Shlipada (filariasis/elephantiasis),respectively; and Jalauka Paripatana (application of leeches) in Upadamsha (syphilis). Unique type of Agnikarma (thermal cautery) is indicated in the Hikka (hiccup), i.e. a piece of Haridra (turmeric) is heated on a lamp and applied two fingers above the navel. Daha (burn) is indicated in Shvasa (asthma/difficulty in breathing) with the help of a heated iron rod in the sides of chest, middle fingers of hands, and throat pit.

Some peculiar therapeutic measures are also mentioned such as in excessive sweating, rubbing of the powder of Bhrishta Kulattha (parched horse gram); fresh flowers and fruits of Rambha (plantain) are advised in Atisara (diarrhea); use of plantain and lotus leaves as a bed (Patrashayya) in Raktapitta (bleeding disorders); intake of camel’s urine, milk, and ghee in Arsha (hemorrhoids); smelling of earth burnt and then sprinkling with water is indicated to pacify hiccup; affected parts are to be sprinkled with sheep milk in Vatarakta (rheumatism due to Rakta); Payuvarti (suppository) is to be applied in the rectum in Amavata (rheumatism due to Ama) and Shula (colicky pain/abdominal colic); intake of burnt Vartaku phala (fruit of brinjal) to reduce obesity; and application of Panka Pradeha (mud plaster) on the affected part in fracture. In Masurika (smallpox), for washing of eyes, cold water processed with Gavedhuka (Coix lacryma-jobi L.) and Madhuka (liquorice) or oyster-shell water and application of Gomaya Bhasma (cow dung ash) on pustules is advised.

Vihara (lifestyle/activities/behavior) is also important along with diet and medicine. Bath, sexual indulgence, exertion, day sleep, facing wind, and walking are mentioned as unwholesome in Nava Jvara (acute fever). Anger is to be avoided in Jvara (fever) and Raktapitta (epistaxis/bleeding disorder). Krodha (anger), Lobha (greed), Bhaya (fear), and Shoka (anxiety) are to be avoided in Aruchi (tastelessness). For the convenience of the readers, an alphabetical list of plants/fruits/vegetables, etc., described in the text is provided at the end along with their botanical name and family.


The author clearly mention that they have consulted various available texts on Ayurveda before writing this book. The overall subject matter is much influenced to that of Chakradatta. The sequence of the chapters is as per the text of Chakradatta with slight modifications such as Hikka (hiccup) and Shvasa (asthma/difficulty in breathing) as well as Visarpa (spreading cellulitis/erysipelas) and Visphotaka (vesicles/bullae) are mentioned separately; Udavarta (obstipation) and Anaha (borborygmus with distention) both are covered in same chapter; Plihayakritchikitsa (treatment of liver and spleen disorders) is not separated from Udara (ascites); and all Vrana (wounds) related topics such as Vranashotha (inflammatory swelling), Vrana (wound), Sadyovrana (acute wound), and Nadivrana (fistula/sinus wound) are covered in one chapter. In Chakradatta, women’s diseases are mentioned in three chapters, viz., Asrigdarachikitsa (treatment of menorrhagia or metrorrhagia), Yonivydpachikitsa (treatment of gynecological disorder), and Strirogachikitsa (treatment of puerperal disorder), whereas in Pathyapathyavinishchaya, they are mentioned as Pradaradi Striroga, Garbhini, and Striprasava.

Certain unique names for the plants appeared in the text such as Ashadhaphala or Ashadhaka for Gridhrankhi (Capparis zeylanica L.) in the Vrana Pathya context, Nalada or lalada for Nimbuka (Citrus aurantiifolia [Christm.] Swingle) in the Pittaroga Apathya context, Vajravalli for Asthisamhara (Cissus quadrangularis L.) in Bhagna Pathya; and Payahpeti for coconut (Cocos nucifera L.) in the context of Trishna and Apasmara Pathya.

Although Ghrita is considered as Pathya, it is prohibited in Medoroga (obesity); intake of honey and ghee in equal quantity is considered as toxic. It means ghee that is wholesome in nature becomes unwholesome according to the quantity, conditions of disease, etc. Therefore, all the recommended Pathya should be taken after analyzing and considering the factors such as Matra (quantity/dose), Kala (time), Kriya/Samskara (processing), Bhumi (place), Deha (body constitution), Doshavastha (condition of Dosha), and digestive capacity along with the condition of the disease and the patient.


Wholesome diet, medicine, lifestyle, activities, behavior, psychic emotions, etc., all come under the broad umbrella of Pathya. Therefore, Pathya or Apathya, Ahara and Vihara both have a great impact on health and diseases. This book provides a significant contribution in the field of Ayurvedic dietetics, which will certainly help academicians, practitioners, and researchers to advising various diet and lifestyle-related modification to the patients as well as healthy individuals.

Financial support and sponsorship


Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.



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