Glimpses of Sanatan Wisdom: Ayurveda’s Tips For Good Health

I have been to an allopathic doctor’s office only once — in 1967 for the solution of sinus problems.  Before that,  homeopathy, that much reviled system, had helped me always. Since then principles of AyurvEda and naturopathic traditions of India, Europe, American Indians, Africans, etc. and Mother Nature’s pharmacy (Basil, Peppermint, spices such as cardamom, and fruits such as Amalakee, bibheetakee, and roots such as dasamoola, etc.) have been keeping me out of serious illness for the last 53 years!  

Here are some of the disease-healing/disease-preventing principles (sometimes pure common sense) encapsulated in the mnemonic sootra form that are known among circles of AyuRvedic enthusiasts. I am deeply grateful to the truly scientific formulators of these ideas based on millennia of experience, observation, and intuition, and refined through  clinical experimentation stretching over generations and the preservers who kept this wisdom alive.  Our gratitude should extend even to animals who are not considered lower in the Indian tradition and who have been observed to use herbs and to fast during illnesses. 

It would be a good idea for readers to check with their "medical doctors" what they think of this ancient wisdom. – Editor



1. अजीर्णे  भोजनं विषं  — Food eaten before the previous meal has been digested is toxic.

(ajīrṇē bhōjanaṁ viṣaṁ) .  

2.सर्वरोगहरी क्षुधा — Fasting heals all illness.

(sarva-rōgaharī kṣudhā)

3. हाला हालाहलोपमा  — Hard liquor is the worst poison.

(hālā hālāhalōpamā)

4. अर्धरोगहरी निद्रा  — A restful nap kills half the illness.

(arddharōgaharī nidrā)

5. मुद्गदाळी गदव्याळी  — Mung beans prevents illness and is a good convalescent food.

(mudgadāḷī gadavyāḷī)

6. भग्नास्थिसन्धानकरो रसोनः — Garlic heals deep bone fractures.

(bhagnāsthi-sandhāna-karō rasōnaḥ)

7. अति सर्व्वत्र वर्जयेत्  — Avoid too much of everything.

(ati sarvvatra varjayēt)

8. नास्ति मूलं अनौषधं — There is no plant that is not medicinal.

(nāsti mūlaṁ anauṣadhaṁ)

9.  वैद्यप्रभुरायुष: — A doctor can not be the lord of your life and longevity.

(na vaidya: prabhurāyuṣa:)

10. मातृवत् परदाराणि — See women other than your own wife as your mother.

(mātr̥vat paradārāṇi)

11.चिन्ता व्याधिप्रकाशाय — Worrying brings out potential (latent) illness.

(cintā vyādhiprakāśāya)

12. व्यायामश्च शनैः शनैः  — Exercise only slowly and moderately.

(vyāyāmaśca śanai śanai)

13. अजवत्  चर्वणं कुर्यात्  — In chewing food, follow the goat — chew for a long time as saliva ought to digest everything first.

(ajavat carvaṇaṁ kuryāt)

14. स्नानं नाम मनःप्रसादनकरं दुस्स्वप्नविध्वंसनं — Daily bathing gladdens the mind and prevents nightmares.

(snānaṁ nāma manaḥprasādanakaraṁ dussvapnavidhvaṁsanaṁ)

15.  स्नानं आचरेत् भुक्त्वा — Do not bathe or shower immediately after a meal.

(na snānaṁ ācarēt bhuktvā)

16. नास्ति मेघसमं तोयं  — The best drinking water is rain water.

(nāsti mēgha-samaṁ tōyaṁ)

17. अजीर्णे  भेषजं वारि  — In indigestion, (fasting on) plain water acts like medicine.

(ajīrṇē bhēṣajaṁ vāri)

18. सर्वत्र नूतनं शस्तं,  सेवकान्ने पुरातनं — In everything, new is better — except in grains (and servants.)

(sarvatra nūtanaṁ śastaṁ, sēvakānnē purātanaṁ)

19. नित्यं सर्वरसाभ्यास: — Daily eat food having all the six tastes — sweet, bitter, sour, salty, astringent, and pungent.

(nityaṁ sarva-rasābhyāsa:)

20. जठरं पूरयेदर्द्धं अन्नै: — Fill only half the belly with solid food. (The rest should be filled with water and emptiness. Only then the digestive fire can do its work.)

(jaṭharaṁ pūrayēdarddhaṁ annai:)

21. भुक्त्वोपविशतस्तन्द्रा  — If you don’t walk around after a meal and just sit, tiredness will set in.


22. वृद्धस्य तरुणी विषं  — In men’s old age, sexual activity is toxic because of the loss of veeryam.

(vr̥ddhasya taruṇī viṣaṁ)

23. क्षुत् स्वादुतां जनयति — Hunger is the best appetizer = Eat only when you are really hungry.

(kṣut svādutāṁ janayati)

24.  शतं विहाय भोक्तव्यं  — Eat when you are hungry, even if you have to postpone a hundred other things.

(śataṁ vihāya bhōktavyaṁ)

25.  चिन्ता जराणां मनुष्याणां — Worrying ages humans.

(cintā jarāṇāṁ manuṣyāṇāṁ)

26. सर्वधर्म्मेषु मद्ध्यमां  — Follow the middle path in everything.

(sarvadharmmēṣu maddhyamāṁ)

27. निशान्ते  पिबेत् वारि: — Begin the morning with a glass of pure water.

(niśāntē ca pibēt vāri:)

28. वैद्यानां हितभुक् मितभुक् रिपु: — If you eat what is good and appropriate for you, and if you eat moderately, you will make doctors jobless.

(vaidyānāṁ hitabhuk mitabhuk ripu:)

29. शक्यतेऽप्यन्नमात्रेण  / नरकर्त्तुं निरामय:  — Just by making the right choices in food consumption, a person can maintain good health.

(śakyatē’pyannamātrēṇa /  nara: karttuṁ nirāmaya:)

30.  आरोग्यं भास्करादिच्छेत्  — Pray in illness to Bhagavan soorya! Obviously meant for believers in Deities.

(ārōgyaṁ bhāskarādicchēt)

31.  दारिद्र्यं परमौषधं  — Poverty can be a supreme medicine as it prevents overeating — a main cause of illness.

(dāridryaṁ paramauṣadhaṁ)

32.  आहारो महाभैषज्यमुच्यते — Food has been hailed as the Ultimate Medicine — proper food fitting one’s age, constitution, etc. in right amounts.

(āhārō mahābhaiṣajyamucyatē)

33. रुगब्धितरणे हेतुं  /  तरणीं शरणीकुरु !  — Take refuge in the Sun for crossing  the ocean of illness.  (tarani = sun, boat) (Prayer to the Sun as well as using moderate sunlight absorption is meant here.)

(rugabdhitaraṇē hētuṁ / taraṇīṁ śaraṇīkuru !

34.  सुहृर्द्दर्शनमौषधं  — In illness, a visit by a friend is an effective medicine.


35.  ज्वरनाशाय लंघनं  — Bring down a fever by fasting.

(jvara-nāśāya laṁghanaṁ)

36.  पिब तक्रमहो नृप रोगहरं  — Drink, O King, buttermilk to heal your sickness.

(piba takramahō nr̥pa rōgaharaṁ)

37.   श्रान्तो भोजनं कुर्यात्  — Do not eat while you are tired.  Rest, and then eat.

(na śrāntō bhōjanaṁ kuryāt)

38.  भुक्त्वोपविशत:  स्थौल्यं  — Sitting around after a meal doing nothing will lead to weight gain.

(bhuktvōpaviśata: sthaulyaṁ)   

39.  दिवास्वापं  कुर्यातु — Do not sleep during the day (to prevent weight gain). This is for folks who are neither very young nor old, who need one or more naps.

(divāsvāpaṁ na kuryātu.)

40.  लाभानां श्रेष्ठमारोग्यं   —  The greatest wealth is good health.

((lābhānā śrēṣṭhamārōgya)

41.  सर्वमेव परित्यज्य  / शरीरं अनुपालयेत्  — Stay in good health even if other gains have to be given up.

(sarvamēva parityajya / śarīraṁ anupālayēt)

42. परिश्रमो मिताहारो  /  भूगतावश्विनीसुतौ  — Light exercise, and moderate eating — these are the Twin Healing Gods on earth (in svarga, they are the asvin-s)

(pariśramō mitāhārō / bhūgatāvaśvinīsutau

43. प्राणायामेन युक्तेन  / सर्वरोगक्षयो भवेत्  — Proper (yogi-sanctioned) breathing alone can alleviate all illness.

(prāṇāyāmēna yuktēna /  sarva-rōgakṣayō bhavēt

44. विना गोरसं को रसं भोजनानां ? — Can food be tasty without some or other dairy product mixed in? 

(vinā gōrasaṁ kō rasaṁ bhōjanānāṁ ?)

45. आरोग्यं भोजनाधीनं   — Health depends on what we eat.

(ārōgyaṁ bhōjanādhīnaṁ)

46. घृतेन वर्द्धते  वीर्यं — Ghee enhances reproductive powers.

(ghr̥tēna varddhatē vīryaṁ)

47. मितभोजने स्वास्थ्यं — Health depends on moderate eating.

(mita-bhōjanē svāsthyaṁ)

48. सायं प्रातर्मनुष्याणां  /  भोजनं वेदनिर्म्मितं — A meal each in the morning and the evening  — that is what the Veda sanctions.

(sāyaṁ prātarmanuṣyāṇāṁ / bhōjanaṁ vēda-nirmmitaṁ)

49. चिन्तासमा नास्ति शरीरशोषणा — Nothing weakens the body as does worrying.

(cintāsamā nāsti śarīra-śōṣaṇā)

50.  पृष्ठतोऽर्कं निषेवेत  — While taking a walk in the sun, walk with the sun behind you.

(pr̥ṣṭhatō’rkaṁ niṣēvēta)

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