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 Table of Contents  
REVIEW ARTICLES
Year : 2021  |  Volume : 9  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 27-32

Achar Rasayana and its clinical importance in the present scenario


1 Department of Samhita Siddhanta and Sanskrit, B.G. Garaiya Ayurvedic College, Rajkot, Gujarat, India
2 Department of Maulik Siddhanta, Government Ayurvedic College Raipur (C.G.), Raipur, Chhattisgarh, India

Date of Submission01-Jun-2021
Date of Decision05-Oct-2021
Date of Acceptance02-Jun-2021
Date of Web Publication18-Nov-2021

Correspondence Address:
Hari Krishna Shriwas
Department of Ayurvedi Samhita and Siddhnata, B.G. Gariaya Ayurvedic College, Rajkot 360020, Gujarat.
India
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/dypj.DYPJ_4_21

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  Abstract 

Ayurveda emphasizes on prevention rather than cure and for this purpose, Achar Rasayan has been described like other preventive health measures, for example, Ritucharya, Swasthwritta, etc. Physical, mental, social, and spiritual aspects of our life have been explained in Achar Rasayan providing a ho-listic approach to a person and thereafter, formation of a peaceful and developed society. Unlike the dichotomous nature of modern medicine, Ayurveda always follows a holistic approach. Preventive and social medicine, which is presently known as commu-nity medicine is a specialized branch of modern medicine. The WHO also emphasizes to promote this branch because, this is con-cerned with the whole society, not just with a person. The utility of Achar Rasayan is increased in the present society suffering from sex and violence, greed and anger, etc.

Keywords: Community, health, holistic, spiritual, swasthwitta, WHO


How to cite this article:
Shriwas HK, Harzpal L C, Chandrakar R. Achar Rasayana and its clinical importance in the present scenario. D Y Patil J Health Sci 2021;9:27-32

How to cite this URL:
Shriwas HK, Harzpal L C, Chandrakar R. Achar Rasayana and its clinical importance in the present scenario. D Y Patil J Health Sci [serial online] 2021 [cited 2021 Nov 27];9:27-32. Available from: http://www.dypatiljhs.com/text.asp?2021/9/1/27/331112




  Introduction Top


Acharya Charaka has laid down the unique concept of Achara Rasayana which is the code of conduct which provides good mental, physical, social and spiritual health to the person who regularly follows it. While explaining about it, Acharya Charaka said that person consuming the Rasayana has to follow regimens explained under Achara Rasayana to get all the desired benefits of Rasayana. The modalities under Achara Rasayana help increasing the Yuktikrut Bala. It all together acts by improving the Agni (digestive fire), cleansing the Strotas (channels), creating the highest qualities of Dhatus, and thus by creating the purest quality of Ojas. Since Bala, Prakruti, Kapha are synonyms of Ojas, which is responsible for maintaining mental, physical, spiritual strength and thus immunity.

Ayurveda explains about Rasayana Chikitsa which helps by preventing the premature wear and tear of the body tissues and thus promoting health. Rasayana has importance in both preventive as well as the curative aspect of the disease. Aacharya Charaka has explained about Achara Rasayana which is the rejuvenating behavioral therapy for the body and mind. It involves around psychological connection with physical health. Achar Rasayana involves implementing positive lifestyle like having Satvik diet, speaking the truth, practising nonviolence, avoiding anger, indulging in spiritual and religious activities like encouraging japa, mantra etc. Rasayana therapy acts by correcting the Doshas imbalance, improve Agni and leads to qualitative production of Dhatu and increase the quality and quantity of Ojas which is the factor concerned with immunity and health. Practising Achara Rasayana helps reducing stress. It is also proved that religious involvement and spiritual well-being has a positive impact of physical, mental health and longer survival. Thus it prevents the release of free radicals and thus improving the Psychco neuro immunity. Thus Achara Rasayana encourages a moral path of integrity which directly relates to individual‚s state of health.


  Etymology (Nirukti) Top


The word Rasayana (Rasa + Ayana) refers to nutrition and its transportation in the body. Rasa means nutrition and Ayana means microcellular channels and hence Rasayana essentially means nutrition at the microcellular level. Ayana also may be taken as apayana according to Yogindranath and hence rasayan may be taken as the way or the measure to attain replenished and excellent dhatus. Here, the word Rasa stands for all the Dhatus and Ayana (Vardhan) means nutrition or nourishment. Thus, it becomes clear that methods which are employed for the nourishment or providing strength to the Dhatus fall into Rasayana.

Rasayanas bring about the normalcy of Rasa Dhatu and thereby maintain other Dhatus in equilibrium for alonger period. Thus in turn prevents aging and provides longevity which can be understood as Vayasthapan or Jaranashan. Rasayana also enhances individual resistance power against diseases.


  Definitions (Vyakhyas) Top


Shabdakalpdrum

The therapy which destroys aging, senility, and disorders by providing Vayastambhakantya guna and is beneficial for eyes, increases body weight and also possesses aphrodisiac property is termed as Rasayana.

Shushrutsamhita

Rasayan tantra is the branch which endows Vayaha-Sthapan property– age sustainer, imparts longevity, intellect and above that which is also able in curing diseases by enriching immune system (Rogapaharansamarth). Rasayan serves to make the human system invulnerable to disease and decay. It enables to retain manhood or youthful vigor up to a good old age. As per Dalhan, Vyasthapan can be understood as living up to 100 years while Ayushkar means living more than 100 years. Dalhana also says that some authors are of the opinion that Vayasthapan can be taken as Jarapaharana, i.e., maintaining longer youthful life. On reviewing Charapani‚s commentary on Vayasthapana it is found that Vayasthapan is age sustaining, i.e., which stabilizes the youthful age. In short one which prevents senility. Dalhana while commenting on Sushruta interprets the term “Rasayana” in two ways;

  1. That (food, medicine, or therapy) which nourishes Rasa and other Dhatus and


  2. That therapy (medicine) which makes the Bheshaja (drug) dependant Ras (taste), Guna (properties), Veerya (potency), Vipak (taste after digestion), Prabhava (specific property) easily and thoroughly compatible to the body and thereby bestows long life, strength and retards aging, imparts excellent rasadi dhatus and immunity against diseases.


Charak Samhita

Rasayana is that promotive treatment which is meant for attaining premium or quality Rasa, and other dhatus. Thus, it can be considered as an accelerated and appropriated nutrition leading to improved biological competence of the body. Chakrapani while interpreting on the above verse says that not only the physical but also the mental qualities like memory, etc., are to be considered by the word Rasadi. Hence according to him Rasayan is a rejuvinatory therapy for achieving vigor and health accompanied by the finest mental competence. On the definition laid down by Charak, Gangadhar comments that Rasayana is that treatment which produces excellent Dhatus and thereby promotes longevity, memory, etc. An overview of Gangadhar commentary on, “Labhopayo Hi Shastanam Rasadinam Rasayanam,” reveals that, the word Shastanam is interpreted as persistent youthfulness and the word Rasadi is taken as those originated from Rasa. Similarly, Yogindranath says that Rasayan is that which produces the best Dhatus right from Rasa to Shukra and thereby endows longevity, memory, etc. It may also be defined as the therapy which replenishes the Dhatus.

Astanga hridya

Rasayana is the mode through which excellent Dhatus starting from Rasa can be attained. Arundatta while commenting on the chronological order of eight specialties of Ayurveda says that as Rasayana is capable of treating poisons and their severe ill effects, it is listed after Visha Tantra Ashtanga Hrudaya.

Haritsamhita

The therapy which provides firmness/strength to Sharir (body), Indriya (sensory and motor organs), as well as which cures wrinkling, graying of hair, hair fall as said by previous scholars is termed as Rasayana. Harit also says that the disorders which are associated with complications can be dealt with successfully by rasayanas.

Sharangdhar samhita

Rasayan destroys senility and ailments. E.g. Guduchi, Rudanti, Guggul, Haritaki.

Bhavaprakash

The medicine which destroys aging and diseases, sustains age and is body stoutening, beneficial for eyes and also is aphrodisiac is termed as Rasayana.


  Types of Rasayana Top


Swasthasya urjaskar

It means to promote and maintain the health of the healthy person. The word “Urja” means best (Prashasta), Bala (strength), Energy, and life (Pranan). Swasthasya Urjaskar includes Rasayan and Vajikaran therapies. A review of Chakrapani commentary on this issue reveals that the former promotive therapy is meant to deal with Swabhavik Rogas i.e. natural disorders such as hunger, thirst, aging, early death, sleep, etc., in a healthy person. While the latter takes care of sexual problems such as diminished libido, sperm anomalies, desires, etc. “As they provide the essential (Prashasta) bodily factors and enriches one‚s total structure, they are termed as Urjaskara”, mentions Chakrapani. On the same level, Gagadhar holds the view that this type of therapy coming under Swasthavritta means the therapeutic which promotes Oja, the vital energy. Similarly, Yogindranath also explains that Urjaskar means that which promotes strength, complexion, etc. In short, the gist of the discussion is that, though it is said that Rasayana and Vajikarana are employed to infuse strength, power, and life as well as to maintain health both of them are used for the management of various diseased conditions as well. Rasayana is being more useful in such conditions.

Artasya rognu

This cures the ailments. It is meant for the alleviation of disorders. The word Arta as per Chakrapani implies painful conditions caused by various disorders like Jwara, Kushtha, etc., and thus Artasya Rognut means the Bheshaja which pacifies those pains. This variety of therapy possesses Doshprashaman property, says Gangadhar.

It is also said that both these groups can perform both these functions. Chakarapani says that the energy promoting group comprised of Vrishya and Rasayan treatment not only performs aphrodisiac and rejuvenating properties respectively but also acts as disease alleviator. Similarly, the other group meant for curing maladies can also act as Rasayan or Vajikar. For example formulations like “Sarpiguda” mentioned in “KShata-Ksheen” Chikitsa, “Yograj” mentioned in “Panduroga,” Agastya Haritaki prescribed for Kasa, etc., are also useful as Rasayan or Vrishya, whereas various Rasayana drugs are found to be effective in curing many diseases. Chakrapani also reveals the idea of other authors who believe that the Bheshaja which along with providing strength, firmness, longevity, etc., also takes care of ailments can be termed as Rasayanas. While the drugs which only cures diseases cannot be called Rasayanas. There is another view setup by Gangadhar who says that Rasayanas of the promotive therapy plays important role in curing disorders while the Vrishya drugs though also have action on diseases, but do not have important role in alleviating the same. These are the different viewpoints laid on the word, Dwitiya‚. While Yogindranath also supports Chakrapani‚s view and trys to lay down his theory saying that the promotive drugs as they bring about the equilibrium of dhatus, they pacify the disorders in doing so, whereas the remedial drugs accomplish the other activity by improving strength, complexion, etc.


  Rasayana According to Diseases (Vyadhi) Top


As rasayana are useful in strengthening body tissues and can replenish body tissues, it plays important role in every disease. It helps in regaining the strength, stamina, vigour that is lost during fighting with the disease. It also plays a very important role in avoiding the recurrence of disease or its complications. In general, rasayana medicines are useful along with other active management of disease as well as after active treatment is completed. Hence, it is very clear that treatment of a disease can not be considered complete without using rasayana. Hence, in view of the specific pathology of a disease and its effects on body tissues specific properties of different herbs or medicines are play a better role as rejuvenators in different diseases or systems affected. For example, in diseases of the respiratory system use of Pippali (Piper longum Linn) is beneficial while for the digestive system or excretory system Bilva (Aegele marmelos L) is often beneficial. The use of Guduchi (Tinospora cordifolia Miers) is widely studied in modern pharmacology and has shown many beneficial and rejuvenating effects on hepatobiliary system. Similarly, use of Brahmi (Herpestris moniera HBK) in diseases related to the nervous system is well studied and documented. Hence, according to the properties of different medicines explained in classical ayurvedic treatises and also based on research different medicines which can show rejuvenating effects on different systems can be compiled and used effectively in practice.


  Indications Top


Rejuvinatory therapy is indicated either in young age (Purva vaya, i.e., 16–30 years) or middle age (Madhayam vaya, i.e. 30–60 years) person, only after proper oleation and purification of the body., Just as dyeing a dirty cloth does not make the color shine bright, rejuvinatory therapy is unsuitable/unbeneficial to him who has not undergone purificatory therapies before Rasayana.(Sh. Chi. 27/3-4). Nutrition is the primary attribute of Rasayana. Longevity and aging issue is one of its secondary attributes. It is advisable to select Rasayana suitable for different age groups in relevance to the rate of aging as described by Sarngadhara.

The patient undergoing Rasayana therapy should not only be fit from the physical point of view but also, he should be healthy from the mind. The person should have Satvik Manas (good psychological characteristics) and should be free from Manasik Doshas, namely-Raja and Tama. Purity of the mind should also be assured before giving rasayana therapy. Although Rasayana has been said to be used in the above-mentioned age groups, it should be clear that Rasayana is a science of Nutrition, i.e., Poshana and is applicable to all ages from pediatrics to geriatrics. Though its use may prolong life span and impart longevity, the fundamental underlying theme of Rasayana is nutrition. Nutrition is the primary attribute of Rasayana. The second-most important point regarding the usage of Rasayana is the health status of the individual. Rasayana therapy should not be used when the individual suffers from an acute/active phase of a particular disease. Nor should Rasayana therapy be used in the Amavastha of a disease.

Contraindications

Acharaya Sushruta has said that Rasayanas are contraindicated to the following seven types of people:

  • Anatmavan (those who are not self-controlled)


  • Alasi (Lazy)


  • Daridri (financially weak)


  • Pramadi (the indigent, unwise Not listening)


  • Vyasani (addicted to vices addicts)


  • Papakrut (the sinful)


  • Bhesajapmani (Those who do not trust on medication).


  • They do not deserve the therapy due to the following seven causes which act as Hindrance to the effects of Rasayanas.

  • Ignorance


  • Inactivity


  • Unsteady mind


  • Poverty


  • Dependence


  • Intemperance and impiety


  • Inability to secure genuine medicines.


  • Rasayana therapy is not to be used in the Amavastha too. Rasayana therapy used in this condition not only becomes useless but may also cause distressing symptoms as well.

    Rasayana in current period

    Details of description are available about Rasayana in classical Ayurvedic treatises. In light of newer techniques of researches some of very well-known Rasayana medicines are explored. Ashwagandha is well known medicinal herb used as Rasayana. It has shown to reduce reduced levels of dopamine, 3,4-dihydroxy-phenylacetic acid and homovanillic acid (HVA); antioxidants: Glutathione (GSH) and GSH peroxidase (GPx); and lipid peroxidation marker (thiobarbituric acid reactive substance [TBARS]) and GPx and induced TBARS level, proving it potential drug in treating catecholamines, oxidative damage and physiological abnormalities.[12] The root extract of Ashwagandha has also shown good effect in relieving pain disability caused in patients of osteoarthritis of the knee. Furthermore, extract of leaves of Amalaki (Emblica officinalis) is found to exert rapid protective effects against lipid peroxidation by scavenging of free radicals and reducing the risk of diabetic complications. Amalaki is told to be the best medicine as Vayasthapana. Triphala another abundantly used medicine for various purposes also possesses Rasayana effects. Triphala was found to alleviate the nephrotoxic effects of bromobenzene by increasing the activities of antioxidant enzymes and reducing the levels of lipid peroxidation and kidney functional markers. Triphala has also exhibited anti-inflammatory effects in the animal model. Another famous Rasayana medicine Bilva has also shown strong antitumor and antioxidant activities. Also, Bilva has shown to possess gastro-duodenal protective and anti-ulcerogenic properties through its antioxidant mechanism.[18] Some of classical Ayurvedic formulations such as Laxmivilas Ras, Agnitundi Vati, Ajmodadi Churna, Tribhuvankirti Rasa, and Sitopladi Churna, when tested for their antioxidant effect, they were found to possess efficient scavenger of superoxide radical and all medicines were found to possess scavenging activity and inhibitory concentration 50%. Many other formulations are also tested on various parameters and are found to possess antioxidant, immune booster properties.


      Applicability ofAchara Rasayana Top


    Japa, Tapa, Adhyatma, Deva Gau, Guru Brahmana Acharya Vruddha Archana

    All these factors for spiritual wellbeing and religious involvement are said to increase the Satva Guna of Mana. Thus it keeps the person away from Pragnyaparadha which is said to be one of cause to all diseases and so is dosha prakop and thus Oja Vyapad is prevented. Meditation and adoption of moral and ethical lifestyle have been said to increase melatonin level. Melatonin is endogenous antioxidant and it keeps check on free radicals. Stress, anxiety, etc., factor said to cause oxidative damage by releasing free radicals.

    Ahara

    The use of Ksheera and Ghruta regularly suggest one should be consuming only Satvik diet which is easily digestable and leads to the proper formation of dhatus and thus Ojas. Sankirnaashan i.e. Viruddha ahara should be avoided since it disturbs the Agni and is also said to be the causative factor for various diseases which is relevant now a days. So the main aim is to have proper digestion since Ojas gets nourishment after digestion of food.

    Sam Jagran Swapna

    We should consider taking proper sleep and Jagran also according to the conditions mentioned by Aacharyas. Kala nidra benefits by Bala, Dipta Agni, Pusthi, etc. Sleep and the circadian system are regulators of our immune system.

    Anayasa

    Anayasa suggests one should work considering one‚s own capacity only and by applying Tantrayukti it suggests that one should regularly do Aayasa. Vyayam is the only factor which helps increasing Agni Bala, and boosts the anabolic process. It is also said that exercise has protective effects on immune function.

    Desh Kala Pramangyan

    One should always consider the effect on Desh and Kala on consuming any factors related to Ahara, Vihara which avoids unnecessary hetu sevan and thus avoiding the dusthi of dosha and dushya which will cause Ojo Vyapata.

    Nivrutta Madya Maithun

    Madya has properties which are exactly opposite to the properties of Ojas, thus will directly reduce the Ojas, thus should be avoided. Nivrutta Maithun suggest of following the rules regarding Brahmacharya, it is one of the reasons for causing Kshaya of body and it is one of the causes of diminishing the Ojas. Factors affecting the state of mind like Krodha, hinsa, greef, stress, fear etc., which are various stressors are caused due to disturbances in Rajas, Tama. These factors also have impact on the Ojas of the body which as a result gets diminished and thus decreasing the immunity. Furthermore, these factors due to its Prabhav, hinders the digestive process causing the formation of Ama and disturbing the Agni. Since Agni is the root cause of Bala, Varna, Ayusha, etc., it has a tremendous impact on health.


      Discussion Top


    Long and healthy life is cherished by man since antiquity. Ayurveda is the science of life through which a prolonged, happy and healthy life can be attained. Rasayana is definitely the only means to accomplish it. Rasayana is explained in all classical treatises in great detail. It is a distinct branch in Ashtanga Ayurveda and indicates its importance in treatment. All classical treatises have explained Rasayanas in great detail. Creators of Bruhattrayi and Laghutrayi have dedicated separate chapters for explaining Rasayanas. Different definitions and Niruktis help in clarifying the basics of Rasayana. Commentators such as Acharya Chakrapanidatta, Gangadhara, Yogindranath Sen, Dalhana, Arundatta, have also put forward different aspects of Rasayana and have brought forward different facets. The purpose of Ayurveda is the maintenance of Swasthya (health) and treatment of the Aatura (diseased person). Practical application of Rasayana at both levels help in serving the purpose. Classification of Rasayana in different ways helps in understanding its use in different indications. As age progresses we suffer from some loss from time to time. Replenishment of these losses needs the use of different rejuvenating agents at different age groups. Use of Rasayana also means escalation of Satva Guna of mind and that can only be achieved by simultaneous use of Achara Rasayana. With the advancement in modern sciences, the age-old concept is also studied using newer techniques and parameters and is proven to be effective rejuvenator and has added a lot of information. Hence, the use of Rasayana is for all. It is equally important in the treatment of diseases as well as in maintaining health. Use of different medicines as per disease is useful in correcting Dhatu Vaishamya and attaining Dhatu Samya. In view of this plethora of information it can be correct to state that Rasayana is a boon given to the world by Ayurveda.

    In this society where the prevalence of stress and lifestyle disorders are at the highest, Achara Rasayana is cost-effective treatment modality to reduce the burden. The regimens mentioned in it not only increase the Psychoneuroimmunity but also it helps in attaining healthy and qualitative life. Thus Achara Rasayana should be implemented and practiced daily to get the benefits of Rasayana and also to enhance physical, psychological, and spiritual well-being. It suggests preventive aspects by adopting balanced lifestyle and diet, practising moral conducts, and following the path of self-realization.


      Conclusion Top


    Achar Rasayana mainly focuses of psycological aspects, it helps in maintaining the equilibrium of Manas Doshas by increasing the satva guna. Any disturbance in them will give rise to Manas Vikaras like Kama, Krodha, etc., and thus diminishing the Ojas and immunity. Thus the person is free from emotional disturbances and give less stressful life and maintains adequacy of the defensive system. Stress is mainly prevented and stress is said to increase free oxygen radical due to high respiratory oxygen intake and metabolic turnover. It mainly has preventive significance since it prevents the person from doing Pragyna paradha and thus preventing unnecessary consumption of etiological factors which disturbs the health. Thus Achar Rasayana acts by preventing the vitiation of Doshas and hence process of occurrence of the disease is prohibited as vitiation of Doshas is called for having Vyadhi.

    The approach of treatment that is explained by means of Rasayana is novel concept. Hardly any of health sciences is found to have put thrust as huge as Ayurveda has. It gives an insight into what should the treatment aim at – establishment of Dhatu Samya. Hence treatment of any disease would not be complete without using Rasayana. Use of Rasayana, specific to that disease, are mentioned in the treatment of each disease, is mentioned in each Adhyaya of Samhitas and is broadly explained in separate Adhyayas dedicated to it. Proper understanding and application of this concept in the practice of Ayurveda would only lead to perfect and precise treatment. No doubt, Rasayana is very important viewpoint expressed in classical treatises and is boon to the world.

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    Conflicts of interest

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    Lange T, et al. Effects of Sleep and Circadian Rhythm on the Human Immune System. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/m/pubmed/20398008.  Back to cited text no. 26
        




     

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       Abstract
      Introduction
      Etymology (Nirukti)
       Definitions (Vya...
      Types of Rasayana
       Rasayana Accordi...
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