Jaravastha Poshana, (Geriatric Nutrition)


 Every living being on the earth  has to pass through the process of  ageing and human being is not different. According to Sushruta, Vardhakya is Svabhava and this can be restrained to the extent with the use of Rasayana remedies. Rasayana essentially denotes improved nutrition and nourishment by practicing achara Rasayana  which is healthy life style, Ajasrik Rasayana or rejuvenative dietetics and Rasayana medications as per the requirement of individual senior citizen.Every living being has to pass through three phases in his life span with predominance of Vata, Pitta and Kapha dosha in Vriddha, Yuva and Balya avastha respectively. This is of great significance in health and disease state because their maintenance is possible only by proper use of dietary substancesin  respect to the Tridoshika Principles. Thus the Ayurvedic dietetics and nutrition are largely governed by the doctrine of Panchamahabhuta and Tridosha

Features of attaining senior citizency

Dhatu Kshaya - Rasa-rakta-mansa-meda-asthi-majja and shukra dhatukshaya causes following disorders:

Hritpida (cardiac pain), Kampa (tremer), Trishna (thirst), Sira shaithilya(venous changes/loosening), Dhamanishaithilya (arterial changes/Lossening).

Sandhi saumyata9Softness of joints), Asthikshaya (decay of bone), Asthishula (pain in bone),Alparaktata (Decrease of haemoglobin), Maithune anashakti (Reduction in sexual urge/act).

Mandacheshta (diminished activity), Rukshata (body dryness),Nishprabhata (lack of lusture), Mandoshma (diminished body heat),Mandagni (loss of appetite), Vishamagni (irregular appetite), Anidra(insomnia).

Visible mental changes:

Prajagarana (vigil), Atipralapa (talkative), Adhairya (intolerance), Bhaya (fear), Vishada (sorrow), shoka (grief).

Status of Agni in Jaravastha

Concept of Agni in Ayurveda - Jatharagni-one; Dhatvagni-seven, Bhutagni-five,Different kinds of Agni and their location in body are important in this context.

Jatharagni and its four kinds- Sama (balanced); Vishama (imbalance); Tikshna (hyper); Manda (low).

Sapta-dhatvagni-Rasa-rakta- mansa -meda-asthi-majja and shukra and their importance to maintain healthy state of life and Jaravastha.

Pancha bhutagni and Panchavidha vipaka and their significance in Health and Jara-avastha.Influence of Chinta (anxiety),shoka (grief), Bhaya (fear), Krodha (anger), Dukha(sorrow), Anidra (insomnia) on Jatharagni. Inter-relation of Jatharagni-Dhatvagni and Bhutagni in health and disorders of Jara-avastha.Upachaya (dehapushti) and Apachaya (dhatukshaya) in health and Jara-avastha respectively. Role of Panchabhautikagni, Sapta-dhatvagni and one Jathharagni in the maintenance of health and alleviation of disorders particularly in senior citizens.

Impact of Emotional Factors

Chinta (anxiety) and its influence on Jatharagni and Rasadhatu

.Shoka (grief) and its influence on Jatharagni, Rasa and Raktadhatu

.Bhaya (fear) and its influence on Jatharagni, Rasa, Rakta and mansa dhatu.

Krodha (anger) and its influence on Jatharagni, Rasa,Rakta and mansa dhatu.

Dukkha (sorrow) and its influence on Jatharagni &Dhatvagni.

Anidra (insomnia) and its influence on Jatharagni,Dhatvagni and Panchabhutagni.

 Influence of Chinta, Shoka, Bhaya, Krodha, Dukkha and Anidra on Vata, Pitta and Kapha causing early aging

Dhatupoahana and maintenance of Health in Jara-Avastha

• Concept of Saptadhatu - Rasa-rakta-mansa-meda-asthi-majja and shukra and their co-relation with body tissues according to conventional system of medicine.Physiological parameters to assess the Sapta Dhatu - i.e. blood plasma,white blood cells, red blood cells, haemoglobin, packed cell volume,bleeding time, coagulation time, muscular strength, measurement of  body surface area having excessive fat deposition, study of bone density, bone marrow sperm count etc.

Dhatuposhana in Ayurveda through Svayonivardhana dravya prayoga-

Rasa dhatu poshana - Madhura, Snigdha, Sheeta dravya.

Rakta dhatu poshana - Amla, Guru, Snigdha, Ushna dravya.

Mansa dhatu poshana - Amla, Lavana, Ushna dravya.

Meda dhatu poshana - Madhura, Guru, sheeta, Snigdha dravya.

Asthi dhatu poshana - Sthira, Vishada dravya.

Majja dhatu poshana - Snigdha, Pichhila, sheeta dravya.

• Shukra dhatu poshana - Snigdha, Pichhila, Sthira, Vrishya Karma dravya.

Basics of  Dhatuposhana in advance age

Dravyas having following properties are best in Jara-avastha -

Laghu, Snigdha, Pichhila,Shlakshana, Mridu.

 Ojas, and Bala(Energy) in advance age

Concept of ojas in Ayurveda - Ojas is a substance of white or red,slightly yellowish in colour, which resides in the heart. A person dies if its para oja is destroyed in the body of the living being. The ojas is

produced first. This has the colour of ghrita, taste of honey and smell of fried paddy. From the heart as root, ten great vessels carrying ojas pulsate all over the body.

The final essence or most precious part of all the seven dhatus, from Rasa to Shukra, is called ojas and that is also known as bala (Sushruta)

Prakrita guna of ojas are- Somatmaka, Snigdha, Shukla, Sheeta, Sthira,Sara, Vivikta, Mridu, Mritsnam and Uttama.

Ojas is sarvadhatusara/Snehamsa (utkashaamsa) like Ghrita in milk found in each of the seven dhatus.

Ojas is Bala (strength). Ojas is Karana (cause) and Bala is its karya (effect). Because of its affect in the body in the form of strength ojas is known as Bala. (Ojastadeva balam - Sushruta). Ojas is the seat of pranaand diminution of ojas causes decay of the body. Thus the existence of body is dependent upon ojas. It is of two kinds para and apara which is Ashtabindu pramana and Ardha añjali pramana respectively.

According to Charaka when ojas is diminished the person is bhÍta(fearful), durbala (weak) dhyayati (always worried), byathita indriya(having disorder in sense organs) dushchhaya (deranged lusture),durmana (mentally disturbed), ruksha (rough) and krisha(emaciated).Excessive Vyayama (exercise), anashana (fasting), chinta (anxiety), ruksha(rough), alpapramitsaana (little and measured diet), vatatapa (exposure to wind and sun), bhaya (fear), Shoka (grief), rukshapana(unctuous drinks), prajagarana (vigil), excessive loss of kapha, Shonita(blood), Shukra, mala (excreta), kala (Time), bhutopaghata (injury by invisible organism), are known for loss of ojas.

Rasayana Drug substances and Dhatuposhana

Rasayana has been one of the important branches of Ashtanga Ayurveda since very beginning as found in Charaka Samhita and Sushruta Samhita.The very object of Rasayana is to live long life without any disorders.According to Charaka, the means by which one gets the excellent rasadi saptadhatu - rasa-rakta-mansa-meda-asthi-majja and Shukra, is calledRasayana.

Benefits of Rasayana - according to Charaka people who undergoRasayana therapy obtain longevity and freedom from disease  .http://www.nhp.gov.in/rasayana_mtl

Drug Substance of Plant Origin Used as Dhatuposhana (Nutritive)

 Aindri (Bacopa monnieri), Kapikacchu (Mucuna pruriens), Atirasa(Asparagus racemosus), Payasya (Holostemma rheedei), Kshiravidari(Ipomoea digitata), Ashvagandha (Withania somnifera), Bala (Sida cordifolia), Atibala (Abutilon indicum), Amrita (Tinospora cordifolia),Abhaya (Terminalia chebula), DhatrÍ (Emblica officinalis), Jivanti(Leptadenia reticulata), MandukaparnÍ (Centella asiatica), Sthira

(Desmodium gengaticum), Punarnava (Boerhaavia diffusa).

Drug Substances of Mineral Origin used as Dhatuposhana (Nutritive)

Svarna (gold), Rajata (silver), Tamra (copper), Yashada (zinc), Vanga (tin), Loha (iron), Abhraka (mica).Mineral origin drugs are mostly used in the form of Bhasma. Before using them one must ensure that they are made in accordance with the classical methods for best efficacy, least adverse effect and of standard quality.

Dietary substances Administered as Dhatuposhana(Nutritive)

Dhatuposhana: Substances, which have ultimate effect to nourish the seven bodily dhatus, are either vegetable/plant or of animal origin.

Vegetable origin- Jivanti-shaka (leave of Lepadienia reticulata),Punarnava shaka (leave of Boerhavia diffusa and Boerhaavia verticilata), Shatavari ankura (young shoots Asparagus racemosus),Balapatra (leaves of Sida cordifolia) Sringataka fruit (endosperm of Trapa-bispinosa), Varahikanda (bulb of Dioscorea bulbifera), Kharjura(fruit of Phoenix dactylifera), Akshota (endosperm of Juglans regia),Vatada (endosperm Prunus amygdalus), Mridvika (dried fruit Vitis unifera).

Animal origin: Mansa of Aja (goat), Aavika (lamb), Varaha (pig),Chataka (sparrow), Kukkuta (male chicken), Anda (egg), Matsya (fish).

Commonly used dietary supplements as Dhatuposhana (nutritive)are: Cyavanaprasha, Amritaprasha, Brahmarasayana, Aamalakavaleha,

Bhallataka Kshira etc.

Cow ghee with milk administration of other traditional preparations like

- Methi ke laddu, Harira, Gonda ki patti/ laddu etc.

Rules of Dietary Conduct

The principles of Ashta ahara vidhi visheshayatana i.e. eight rules of dietary processing described by Charaka and Dvadasha asana vichara (12 – rules of consuming food) should be popularized among the masses to improve the dietary habit of the people. Similarly the concept of viruddhahara (dietary incompatibility) and its 18 – fold approach need to be observed in dietary care and the idea should be brought to the awareness of the masses; if possible such information should form a part of elementary education in schools, in families and in old age homes alike. It will be advisable to identify common food articles in terms of their Tridoshik attribute to help planning balanced diet on principles of Ayurveda.

Planning Balanced Diet for the elderly:

The balanced diet of elderly people should be planned individually in consideration of the following principles ensuring appropriate nutrition for body-mind system and suitable for digestion of food.

1. Vaya (Age) and its range.

2. Prakrti- Psychosomatic constitution.

3. Season and weather

4. Quantum of mobility and physical activity

5. Current nutritional status

6. Associated diseases if any

7. Status of digestive power and Agni Bala.

8. Preference should be given to light easily digestible diet comprising of Sattvika articles such as milk, fruits, green vegetables avoiding excess of sugar and salt.

9. Vegetarian diet should be preferred. Nonvegetarian diet to be avoided.

10. Dietary supplements with Rasayana and appropriate nutraceuticals should be added.


Manual  on Geriatric Health Care,Department of AYUSH, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Govt. of India, New Delhi, India And Faculty of Ayurveda, Banaras Hindu University, Varanasi,India200

  • PUBLISHED DATE : Mar 08, 2016
  • PUBLISHED BY : Zahid
  • CREATED / VALIDATED BY : Janardan Panday
  • LAST UPDATED ON : Mar 08, 2016


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