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Ayurveda: Frequently Asked Questions Dr.Reji Thomas, BAMS, MD (Ayu) Question : Is it true that a patient undergoing Ayurveda medication and treatments needs to follow strict restrictions in diet? Answer: Some of the patients may even stay away from Ayurvedic treatment just because they thought many of their favourite food items would be restricted, whereas in other systems of treatment they could eat anything of their liking. When someone suffers from an ailment, the purpose of medical treatment is to facilitate the healing process and bring back normalcy. Medicines are administered to tackle the disease. But, all of us interfere with our internal environment every day, through food. Each food item has its own properties. Some may be favouring the healing process, whereas some others worsen the situation, acting as triggering agents for the disease. In the context of each disease, food can be classified as favourable (Pathya ahara) and unfavourable (apathy aahara). Pathya ahara are those eatables which support the body systems in the process of recovery. Whereas, apathya ahara act as either triggering agents which further provokes the disease, or slow down the process of healing. This concept is well defined and explained in Ayurveda. That is why Ayurveda practitioners happen to insist on such diet controls/restrictions. Irrespective of the system of medicine followed, avoiding those specific unfavourable food items will help to achieve a comparatively faster recovery. For example, in a patient suffering from Asthma, food items like yogurt/ curd, prawns etc., can aggravate the breathing difficulty. This does not mean that any of the medicines prescribed for this disease interacts with yogurt or prawns. You might have noticed that a person who suffers from Piles, avoids consuming chicken and egg. Even if his doctor has not prescribed any restrictions, such patients avoid these food items from their own experience. To conclude, when we try to fill water in our overhead tank at our house, we close all the outlet taps. It is just common sense. It is the same basic logic that is applied while imposing diet restrictions. The restrictions are no way linked with the medicine prescribed. But they help us to contain the disease faster. Support shall be extended not for the disease but for the efforts of the body to recover, irrespective of whatever medicines consumed.