Lecture Note: Concept of Ritucharya By- Dr. Mangalagowri V Rao



Dr. Mangalagowri V Rao, Associate Professor
Department of Swasthavritta and Yoga, Faculty of Ayurveda
IMS, BHU, Varanasi

Ritu means Season and Charya means regimen to be followed. Ritucharya is the changes in diet and regimen according to the seasonal changes. In Ayurveda, a year is divided into 2 kala or periods based on the apparent position of the sun in the north and southern directions.

Ayana means journey. Uttarayana is also called Adana kala or the taking away period. The sun and wind are powerful during this period. The sun takes away the energy of the people. Due to the heat, air becomes hot and drains the cooling effect of earth. Due to this, people get dehydrated and weakened and the atmosphere becomes hot and dry. Bitter, astringent and pungent are predominant tastes.

Dakshinayana is also called Visarga kala or the giving away period. The moon becomes powerful during this period. The sun releases its energy to the people, the earth cools down due to cold winds and rain. People regain their strength and nourishment that was lost in the Adana kala.

Adana Kala (Seasons of depleting strength) Visarga Kala (Seasons promoting Strength)                   

Causation of Seasons

तद्यथा धरणीधारणं, ज्वलनोज्ज्वालनम्, आदित्यचन्द्रनक्षत्रग्रहगणानां सन्तानगतिविधानं, सृष्टिश्च मेघाना, अपां विसर्गः, प्रवर्तनं स्रोतसां, पुष्पफलानां चाभिनिर्वर्तनम्, उद्भेदनं चौद्भिदानाम्, ऋतूनां प्रविभागः, विभागो धातूनां, धातुमानसंस्थानव्यक्तिः, बीजाभिसंस्कारः, शस्याभिवर्धनमविक्लेदोपशोषणे [] , अवैकारिकविकारश्चेति| Cha. Su. 12/8

According to Charaka Samhita Creation of clouds, raining, springs from earth, flowering, fruiting, seeding, growth, drying, and division of Ritus are by the motivation of Vata.

शीतांशुः क्लेदयत्युर्वीं विवस्वान् शोषयत्यपि |
तावुभावपि संश्रित्य वायुः पालयति प्रजाः ||८||Su.Su.6/8
According to Sushruta Samhita Vayu with the help of Sun and moon maintain the climate of the earth.

According to Modern

  • The movement of the earth is responsible for the occurrence of the seasons. The earth exhibits three kinds of movements i.e., rotation, Revolution and Precision.
  • Rotation movement around its own axis, it causes day and night.
  • Revolution-revolving round the sun in an elliptical path orbit in space causes seasons.
  • Precision- the rotation movements are with an axis of 30 degree, there is gradual change in axis by 11000 years leading to change in season.
  • The direction of Earth’s axis is always constant while revolving around the sun. always remains pointing in the same direction as it revolves around the sun. As a result, the solar angle varies at a given place throughout the year.
  • The variation in sun angle is the prime cause of our seasons.
  • The orientation of the Earth with respect to the Sun also determines the length of day.
  • Together, the sun angle and day length determine the total amount of solar radiation incident at the Earth.

On about June 21st or June 22nd, the Northern hemisphere is tipped toward the sun.

  • At noon, the subsolar point, or place where the sun lies directly overhead at noon, is located at 23 1/2o north latitude.
  • This date is known as the summer solstice, the longest day of the year for places located north of Tropic of Cancer.
  • The 23 1/2o parallel was so named because it is during the astrological sign Cancer when the Sun’s rays strike at their highest angle of the year north of this line.
  • The North pole tips into the Sun and tangent rays strike at the Arctic and Antarctic Circles.
  • (A tangent ray is one that meets a curve or surface in a single point).
  • This creates a 24 hour period of daylight (“polar day”) for places located pole ward of 66 1/2o
  • The South Pole tipped away from the Sun, sending places pole ward of 66 1/2o south into 24 hours of darkness (“polar night”).
  • On Sept 22nd or 23rd, the Earth has moved around the Sun such that the poles are neither pointing toward or away from the sun.
  • On this day, the Sun is directly overhead 0 degrees, the equator, at noon.
  • Tangent rays strike at the poles. It is the autumnal equinox and all places experience 12 hours of day light and 12 hours of darkness.
  • The winter solstice occurs on December 21st or 22nd when the Earth has oriented itself so the North Pole is facing away from, and the South Pole into the Sun. Again, tangent rays strike at the Arctic and Antarctic circles.
  • Places pole ward of 66 1/2onorth are in the grips of the cold, polar night.
  • Places pole ward of 66 1/2o south experience the 24hour polar day.
  • The Sun lies directly over 23 1/2o Occurring during the astrological sign of Capricorn, 23 1/2o south latitude is called the Tropic of Capricorn.
  • Continuing to March 20th or 21st (i.e., Spring Equinox) the Earth has positioned itself, similar to that which occurs in September, only on the other side of the Sun.

Once again tangent rays strike at the North and South poles, and the perpendicular rays of the Sun strike the Equator at noon.

All places have equal day length (12 hours day;12 hours of night) as the circle of illumination cuts all latitudes in half.

Physiological changes

  • During the warm weather the body tries to get rid of heat or to be cool by evaporating moisture from skin and respiratory tract.
  • Simultaneously intestinal tract reduces absorption of food products and increases absorption of liquids from the digestive tract.
  • The body does not need large amount of calories which is derived from the food. Intestines and spleen cease to work at full capacity thus reducing the amount of heat produced.
  • In the warm weather intestinal capillaries are closed to considerable degree and the capillaries to lungs and skin are largely expanded.
  • When blood supply is more, the organ has more resistance power
  • The bacteria causing infectious disease find it difficult to invade the tissue with expanded blood circulation
  • Thus the first step in inflammation or congestion is being opposed by automatic action of capillaries which bring about rush of blood to that part as a defense action against the attack
  • During the warm weather resistance of lungs and skin are maximum
  • The intestines have shrunken blood supply and reduced activity, so resistance power is greatly reduced
  • So infant mortality due to diarrhea due to paralyzed intestinal activity is more during hot days
  • The reduced appetite is present both in infants as well as adults during hot days
  • During cold weather more amount of food is essential to supply body with excess amount of heat required
  • Digestive organs are working in their full capacity and capillaries supplying intestines are fully expanded to supply abundance of heat
  • The loss of heat through respiratory tract and skin are prevented by the shrinkage of capillaries to them so that the loss of heat is prevented to maximum extent
  • The resistance power of respiratory tract and skin are reduced and that of the intestines is greatly enhanced
  • Incidence of respiratory infections like pneumonia, diphtheria, bronchitis, chickenpox, measles, scarlet fever etc are more during cold seasons
  • The people tend to stay in the same place increasing the chance of spread of infection through droplet and droplet nuclei


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