Water is sacred in all religions. Hindus, sprinkle water on new born child. Muslims feed a drop of “Zam Zam” holy water from Mecca. Christians perform Baptism. Their recognition of water is important as shown “By means of water God gives life to every living thing”, (Islam: Quran 21:30). “The iota of life is created in water” (Hinduism:Atharvaveda, Asthagarideyam). “Whoever believes in me, stream of living water will pour from within him” (Christianity: John 7:38).
Since 2000, United Nations Committee on economic, social and cultural rights elaborated the necessity of drinking water and included this as a person’s right to it. The right to water is the right of a person which entitles everyone to sufficient, safe, acceptance, physically accessible and affordable water and enjoyed without discrimination and equally by men and women.
Clean drinking water is the majority remedy of all. Clean water is shown could reduce diarrhea to an extent. A recently published study had shown that supply of clean drinking water reduced diarrhea, morbidity by 25%.
In a latest study report from UNICEF (2005) showed that improvement in community water supply increased the primary school attendance. We are in need of a procedure, which can purify water at house to safeguard health and increase the contribution of all to the development of a nation.
A major task in front of authorities in developing and underdeveloped countries is providing drinking water to their people. In many countries like India, villages are geographically apart and inhabitants may have to walk kilometers to fetch water. On such situation, supplying clean drinking water remains a major problem.
Water in Ayurveda
Different synonyms for water are used by the brilliant scholars of Ayurveda representing either the properties of the water or importance of the water in human life. Jeevanam is a synonym for water which means life. Life could not exist on this planet without water. For an Ayurveda physician water is not only an essential nutrient but is one among the five basic elements essential for the creation of this universe.
Healing Waters: Ayurvedic Digestive Drinks
Well water, pond water, rain water — there are many types of water described in ayurvedic texts and each has a therapeutic value, just as food does.
Water represents soma, the nourishing, cooling quality that is associated with lunar energy.
Water, when properly absorbed by the body, has several healing qualities:
- Helps to remove fatigue (Shramnashana)
- Enhances glow of skin
- Prevents constipation
- Increases stamina
- Provides satisfaction
- Helps digestion
- Always helpful to the body
- Easy to assimilate
Water for Cleansing
Sometimes people have dry skin and unquenchable thirst even though they drink lots of water. The deeper physiology is not getting enough moisture. This occurs when the person’s agni (digestive fire) is low and ama (toxins) blocks the microchannels (shrotas) which carry water to the cells. In order to cleanse the channels and enhance moisture absorption, ayurvedic texts recommend boiling the water for various lengths of time, creating a therapeutic water called ushnodaka. Another method is to add spices or herbs to the water after boiling.
Why It Works
When water boils, it gets charged with heat, becoming sharper in quality (sookshma). This sharpness allows it to cleanse the channels and penetrate deeper levels of the physiology.
Spices create an added therapeutic effect by interacting with the water on the molecular level. Spices create different effects on the body through aroma and taste.
It becomes easier for the body to flush out toxins and impurities because of the sharpness of the agni (heat) in the water and because of the sharpness of the spices. Over time, it cleanses the channels so the water is unobstructed as it travels into the body to hydrate the tissues, and travels out carrying waste.
Ancient texts talk about the difference in the rate of absorption of regular water vs. boiled water:
- Regular water — takes about 6 hours if every channel is clear
- Boiled and cooled water — takes about 3 hours to be absorbed, and helps open the channels
- Hot herbalized water — takes about 1½ hours, due to sharpness of agni and herbs and spices
How much is Enough?
How much water you should drink depends on your age, how much physical work or exercise you do, the weather, your diet, your stress levels, your herbal food supplements, and your body type.
Ayurveda recommends making your spice water first thing in the morning and sipping it every fifteen minutes throughout the day. Drink plain water after 7:00 p.m. as spice-water is too enlivening to drink before sleeping.
If you have been exercising and need to drink a full glass of water, it’s better to drink plain water rather than spice water.
Water at Meals
Ayurvedic texts recommends sipping plain water at meals as ayurvedic food normally contains spices and you don’t want to overwhelm the body. On the other hand, if you are eating a plain meal without spices, then spice-water will help digestion.
A cup of water at meals is good, however, it depends on what you eat. If you are eating soup or dhal, you’ll need much less water. If you are eating a higher quantity of dry foods, such as crackers, you’ll need more.
Water at meals can be room temperature or hot, depending on your body type, but should never be ice-cold, as that would douse the digestive fire.
Forty-five minutes after the meal, you may suddenly feel thirsty and then it’s a good idea to drink a lot of water, as the body needs it for digestion. In between meals you can sip the spice-water.
You will be surprised how something as simple as water can enhance your health.