Virya, Vipaka & Gunas of Foods

Virya, Vipaka & Gunas of Foods

‘Virya’ is the taste during the process of digestion or the Potency of the substance. Though the food may have various qualities such as being Heavy (Guru), Unctuous (Snigdha), Soft (Mrdu), Dry (Ruksha) and so on… but the net effect of eating any substance would be either Heating or Cooling.

‘Vipaka’ is the changes that result from the interaction of external tastes with the Jatharagni (The Enzymes Secreted or gastric Juices present in our Digestive System). This aftertaste has its effect on a person’s constitution (V, P or K).
            Sweet & Salt becomes Sweet;
            Sour remains Sour;
            Bitter, Pungent & Astringent will generally become Pungent.­­

The action of taste/s felt in the mouth and the Vipaka tastes are similar.

I can’t stress it more vigorously that we should be in a complete peaceful state of mind while we are having our meals. Having meals in emotional or stressed state of mind, deranges the balance between The Food’s Energy and The Nutrition in our body and mind.

Qualities (Gunas): Each eatable has quality/ies associated with itself, which has a corresponding effect on Doshas, Dhatus and Malas.
Examples:

  • If one has a weak digestion, such that his Vata & Kapha are vitiated, he may not be given heavy and cold substances (Cold fruit juices, meat, cold buffalo milk, buffalo ghee… are all a big NO-NO),
  • Hot and oily stuff heal Vata Dosha. A person suffering from Vata Disorders, like tremors or arthritis, give what medicines you may, can’t be expected to get cured if he doesn’t completely stop taking cold stuff (& start taking A2-esi Cow Ghee & food cooked in Non-Refined-Unprocessed Oils), and how heavy a substance is for the patient, will be decided by the strength of the person’s Digestive Fire.

The 20 Gunas or Qualities are:

Heavy (Guru) Light (Laghu) Slow (Manda) Quick (Tikshna) Cold (Hima)
Hot (Ushna) Oily (Snigdha) Dry (Rukshana) Smooth (Shlakshna) Rough (Khara)
Solid (Sandra) Liquid (Drava) Soft (Mrdu) Hard (Kathina) Stable (Sthira)
Moving (Chala) Subtle (Sukshma) Large (Sthula) Vishada (Non-Slimy) Slimy (Piccila)
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