By Dr Raghuram Y.S. MD (Ay) & Dr Manasa, B.A.M.S
Yavagu is a word used for describing gruels of different kinds that are explained in Ayurveda. Yavagu, depending on its composition, method of preparation and proportional difference between the water and solid part at the end of preparation are of different types. Those types are named as manda, peya and vilepi.
Yavagu is used as part of dietetic protocol in many diseases. When processed and prepared with herbs specific to cure those diseases (or doshas) in which it is served, yavagu also acts like an effective medicine. Different kinds of yavagu are also given after administering therapeutic emesis or purgation to kindle the digestive power. Therefore the use of yavagu is multidimensional and thus is an important concept of Ayurveda dietetics. Yavagu is a praised diet and medicine for cure fever.
Read – Importance Of Diet (Pathya) For Specific Diseases
Yavagu in Fever
Yavagu as Pachana – for digesting ama in taruna jwara
Taruna Jwara: Fever, from the day of its onset to7th day is called taruna jwara i.e. the first 7 days of fever. There is also an opinion that the first 6 days (day and night) and 7th day morning of fever is called as taruna jwara.
During first 7 days of fever there is presence of ama. All measures of treatment done during this period will be to digest this ama. Digestion of ama is called as pachana or ama pachana.
Read – Ama – Word Derivation, Meaning, Definition, Formation
Below mentioned are said to be the best measures to digest ama associated with doshas in taruna jwara –
- Langhana – fasting
- Swedana – sudation
- Kala – 8th day of manifestation of fever
- Yavagu – thin and thick gruels prepared with medicinal herbs, mainly those tasting bitter
- Tiktaka rasa – bitter tasting herbs for preparing food, gruels and water for drinking
Yavagu is mentioned as one of the important measures to digest ama and a remedy for avipakva doshas i.e. doshas associated with ama in acute stage of fever.
Yavagvah – Here the author has used the plural of the word yavagu. This means to tell that all forms of yavagu i.e. peya, vilepi and manda shall be used according to the condition of the fever and patient, as and when required.
Read – Ayurveda Home Remedy For Fever
Rules for administration of yavagu
Yavagu should be administered in proper time to the patient of taruna jwara who has been administered with –
- Vamana – therapeutic emesis to expel the agitated doshas predominant with kapha located in the stomach
- Langhana – fasting, until signs of proper lightening therapy are obtained and lightness of the body is seen
So the golden rule is to administer gruels only after emesis and fasting. These measures would have taken care of excess kapha and ama respectively. This provides an ideal environment for the gruels to be utilized to optimum levels in the body. Yavagu itself can digest ama as already discussed.
Read – Ayurveda Lifestyle and Diet For Fever – 45 Important Things To Know
In what form gruels are administered?
Gruel is prepared with suitable medicinal herbs and then administered.
Till when gruels are administered?
- Until the intensity of fever reduces and fever becomes mild or
- For a time period of 6 days (from the day of onset of fever)
One of these conditions applies for deciding the limitations of administering yavagu. They look like two options but are interconnected.
When we link up both these conditions we learn that yavagu is given until fever intensity comes down but we cannot wait for long time for that to happen. Physician should look to reduce the intensity of fever in 6 days while giving gruels. The other way too is true. Yavagu is given for a time period of 6 days and within those days intensity of fever should be brought down. Gruels shall not be administered for more than 6 days and intensity of fever should not take more than 6 days to come down. Obviously each rule applies to the other. A wise physician should look to achieve the desired results, whichever happens first.
Yavagu as deepana – digestive fire kindling measure
Yavagu prepared with fever alleviating herbs is also a good deepana i.e. kindles the digestive fire when administered in proper time after administering emesis and lightening therapies.
Simily – ‘Yavagu kindles digestive fire in the same way the fuel in the form of dry wood intensifies the fire’.
Later, Master Charaka contributes association of medicinal herbs in its preparation and the lightness quality naturally prevailing in yavagu for it to act as deepana.
Read – Understanding Digestion Process From An Ayurveda View
Benefits of Yavagu
|Benefits of Yavagu||Reason|
|Agni Deepana – kindles digestive fire||Because it is light in nature and is prepared with medicines|
|Anulomana – expels morbid doshas through anal route||Because it expels vata (fart, flatus), urine, feces and doshas|
|Swedana – causes sweating, sudation||Because it is liquid and hot in nature|
|Trt shantaye – pacifies thirst||Because of its liquid nature|
|Pranaya – conducive for life, strengthens the patient||Because it is a form of food|
|Laghavaya – brings about lightness of the body||Because of its laxity / fluidity property|
|Jwaraghna – antipyretic||Because it is the best food and medicine for fever|
Charaka also specifies that yavagu should not be given in fevers caused by excessive consumption of alcohol.
Read – Alcoholism: Ayurvedic Treatment, Medicines, Remedies
Contraindications of Yavagu in Taruna jwara
Yavagu should not be given in taruna jwara in the below mentioned conditions –
- In persons who are intoxicated
- Those who consume alcohol daily
- Summer season
- In exacerbation of pitta and kapha in the body
- In bleeding disorders wherein the blood contaminated by pitta is moving upwards and is expelled from upper orifices
In the above conditions even if the person is eligible to consume yavagu, it should not be given.
In Pitta-Kaphadhika Jwara yavagu should not be given only in presence of excessive quantity of pitta or kapha in the body. Else it can be given in Pittaja and Kaphaja fevers.
Yavagu too shall not be given to those in whom there is exacerbation of both kapha and pitta in mixed proportions.
Even according to a reference from Harita –
‘Just as a heap of sand or dust gets wet and slushy when it rains on it, the kapha too gets swollen and gets slushy and exacerbated when yavagu is administered in high kapha conditions’. Therefore this rule of not giving yavagu is applicable to only high kapha conditions associated with fever and not in kaphaja fevers wherein there is no severe exacerbation or accumulation of kapha.
In Kaphaja fever too if excessive kapha has been dealt with by administration of fasting, emesis etc measures yavagu shall be readily administered. Yavagu is beneficial for kaphaja fevers too. Same is the case with Pittaja fevers.
According to another reference in Charaka (will be discussed ahead) – gruel prepared with puffed grains and made cool is advised to be given mixed with honey in pittaja fever.
Read – Vamana Therapy – Right Method, Side Effects, Management
Peyas / Yavagus in Fever
- Laja Peya – gruel prepared with parched grains processed with powders of ginger and long pepper is served. This enables easy digestion and also cures fever.
- Laja Peya – gruel prepared with parched grains is mixed with ginger and sour pomegranate and served to those who show liking towards sour foods. The same gruel should be served cold and mixed with honey if there is presence of diarrhea along with fever or if it is fever of pitta origin.
- Raktashali Peya – gruel prepared from red colored rice and processed with decoctions of swadamshtra – Tribulus terrestris and kantakari – Solanum xanthocarpum should be served in presence of pain in flanks, urinary bladder and headache.
- Prishniparnadi Peya – Gruel prepared with decoction of prishniparni – Uraria picta, bala – Sida cordifolia, bilwa – Aegle marmelos, Ginger, utpala – Nymphaea stellata and Coriander, made sour with sour pomegranate juice is given in fever associated with diarrhea.
- Vidarigandhadi gana dravya siddha peya – gruel prepared with herbs of Vidarigandadi group of herbs is given to the patients of fever suffering from cough, dyspnea and hiccough. This gruel also kindles digestive fire and causes sweating.
- Pippali Amalaki siddha peya – Gruel prepared with barley and red rice processed with pippali – Piper longum and Amalaki – Emblica officinalis, mixed with ghee is served in presence of constipation. This causes expulsion of doshas in downward direction.
- Drakshadi kwatha siddha peya – gruel processed with draksha – Vitis vinifera, pippalimula – roots of Piper longum, chavya – Piper retrofractum, amalaki – Emblica officinalis and shunti – Zingiber officinale is served when doshas are stagnant in stomach and colon and in presence of pain abdomen associated with fever.
- Shunti-Amalaki siddha peya – Gruel prepared with decoction of ginger and amalaki – Emblica officinale fried in ghee and mixed with sugar is given when there is absence of sweating, loss of sleep and excessive thirst.
- Baladi Kwatha siddha Peya – Gruel prepared with bala – Sida cordifolia, vrikshamla – Garcinia indica, amla badara – sour Ziziphus jujube, prishniparni – Uraria picta and kantakari – Solanum xanthocarpum mixed with powder of unripe bilwa pulp – Aegle marmelos fruit is given to drink in presence of sharp shooting pain / cramps in fever.
Alternatively the decoctions of all the above said should be prepared. Gruel of red rice should be prepared with this decoction and given to drink.