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Charak Samhita - Sutrasthana - Chapter 5 (Matrashiteeya Adhyaya)


Charak Samhita is a classical Ayurvedic text written in the Sanskrit language by Acharya Charak. Acharya Charak is known as 'The Father of Medicine". Charak Samhita is among Brihat Trayi and it is one of the oldest books on medicine. It consists of 120 chapters which are described in total eight sthana that is Sutra Sthana, Nidana Sthana, Vimana Sthana, Sharira Sthana, Indriya Sthana, Chikitsa Sthana, Kalpa Sthana and Siddhi Sthana. Hundreds of diseases, thousands of medicinal herbs and formulations are mentioned in this book. Acharya Charak has also given special emphasis on the importance of diet, lifestyle and methods to prevent diseases. In this article, we will read the fifth chapter of Charak Samhita Sutra Sthana which is Matra ashitiya Adhyaya.

Chapter 5, Charaka Samhita, Matrashiteeya Adhyaya, Sutrasthana, Sutra Sthana, Charak Samhita - Chapter 5, Acharya Charak


In this chapter we will read about the quantity of food or diet, personal hygiene, foot massage, oral hygiene and other daily regimens which should be regularly followed by individuals for a healthy life. The daily regimens to maintain health like dhumpana (Inhalation of smoke), abhyanga (Massage), gandusha and kavala (Garling methods), anjana (Collyrium), karna purana (Oil application in ears), nasya (Nasal errhines) etc are briefly discussed in this section with their benefits and administration methods. So let's start the chapter.

Quantity Of Food And Its Measure

One should take an appropriate amount of food which depends upon the power of digestion. Whatever amount of food taken, gets digested in time without interrupting the normalcy of vatadi dosha and other physiology activity of the body should be regarded as the measure of appropriate amount of food.

Light And Heavy Food

Thus the articles of food such as shali (Variety of oryza sativa), mudga (Pulse), shahtika (Oryza sativa), rabbit, wapiti, common quail, antelope, indian sambar deer, grey partridge etc. even though light by nature depend on amount. Similarly, those such as preparations of flour, milk, black gram, sugarcane, sesamum, aquatic and marshy meats even though heavy in digestion by nature depend on the amount itself.

Basic Composition Of Food

By this, it should not be confused that heaviness and lightness in food articles are quite inert. In fact, light articles are predominant in properties of vayu (Air) and agni (Fire) while heavy ones are the same in those of prithvi (Earth) and jal (Water). So, by dint of their properties, these light food items being stimulant of digestion, even taken upto the saturation point, produce little derangement. On the contrary, the heavy food items because of dis-similarity, are not stimulant of digestion by nature and thus cause considerable derangement if taken upto the saturation point except in case of individuals having physical activity or exercise and proper amount of agni (Digestion). Hence, the quantity of food is directly related to the power of digestion (Agnibala).

Proportion Of Light And Heavy To Digest Food

The appropriate amount is always based upon the food material itself. Considering the article, the intake of heavy ones is advised as one third or half of the saturation point and not excessive saturation even in the case of light articles in order to maintain or control the proper strength of Agni (Digestive fire).

Benefits Of Proper Amount Of Diet

The food taken in the proper amount certainly promotes complexion, strength, longevity and happiness to the individual without interrupting normalcy. A person after having taken food, should never eat heavy preparations of rice, flour and flattened rice. Even when hungry, one should take them in appropriate quantities.

Forbidden Habitual Consumption Of Heavy Food Items

A person should not take constantly dried vegetables, lotus stem and tubers, and dried meat because of their heaviness it is not easy to digest. The emaciated animal meat should not be taken. Similarly, a person should not take continuously coagulated milk and milk products, beaf, curd, fish, buffalo meat, pork, wild barley and black gram.

Regular Consumption Of Food Items

One should usually consume shali (Variety of Oryza sativa), shashtika (Oryza sativa), rock salt, barley, milk, ghee, honey, rain water, Indian gooseberry, flesh of arid habitat animals and pulses. One should take as a daily routine the articles which maintain the health and prevent the unborn disorders.

Daily Regimens For Maintaining Health

One should take as a daily routine the articles which maintain the health and prevent the unborn disorders. Hereafter the bodily daily routine such as collyrium etc. will be described in relation to their role in maintaining health.

1. Anjana (Collyrium)

Frequency Of Application And Types

The useful sauvira anjana (Collyrium) should be applied to the eyes daily and rasanjana (Mercurial collyrium) once every five or eight days for stimulating secretion.

Direction For Use

The vision is predominant in tejas (Agni) and as such is especially susceptible to kapha dosha. Hence the measures alleviating kapha are beneficial for clarifying the vision. A sharp collyrium should not be applied to eyes at day because the vision already weak due to evacuative is further depressed in the sun. Hence it is desirable certainly that the evacuative collyrium be applied only at night.

Benefits And Importance Of Collyrium

As various types of metals like gold etc. When dirt becomes stainless clean after washing with cloth, oil and hair etc., the vision in the eyes of the mortal ones brightens undisturbed like the moon in the clear sky by collyrium, eye drops etc.

2. Dhumapana (Inhalation Of Vapours/Smoke)

  • Prayogika dhumapana (For prevention of disease):- Harenuka (Pisum sativum), prithvika (Amomum subulatum roxb), priyangu (Callicarpa macrophylla vahl), nakha (Helix aspersa), nagakesara (Crocus sativus L.), hribera (Plectranthus vettiveroides), Patra (Cinnamomum tamala), chandana (Santalum album L.), ela (Elettaria cardamomum), ushira (Chrysopogon zizanioides), Tvak (Cinnamomum verum), dhyamaka (Cymbopogon schoenanthus), padmaka (Prunus cerasoides Buch.-Ham.), madhuka ( Glycyrrhiza glabra L.), guggulu (Commiphora mukul), mansi (Nardostachys jatamansi), sharkara(Dodeca Carbon mono decahydrate), bark of nyagrodha (Ficus benghalensis L.), aguru (Aquilaria malaccensis Lam.), ashvattha (Ficus religiosa L.), lodhra (Symplocos racemosa Roxb.), plaksha (Ficus virens Aiton), vanya (Cyperus tenuiflorus), shaileya (Parmotrema perlatum), sarjarasa (Vateria indica L.), utpala (Nymphaea nouchali Burm.f.), musta (Cyperus rotundus L.), shallaki (Boswellia serrata Roxb.ex Colebr), sriveshtaka (Pinus roxburghii Sarg.), kamala (Mallotus philippensis), sukabarha-all these should be ground and pasted on a reed so as to make it a suppository, barley-shaped, thumb like and of eight fingers in length. The person should take this suppository when it is dried and have a free interior, put it on the smoking pipe and, having added some fat and fire should smoke as a daily routine for happiness. 
  • Snaihika dhumapana (Therapeutic inhalation with unctuous substance to reduce dryness):- One should use unctuous smoking made of useful drugs of sweet groups added properly with ghee, animal fat and wax. 
  • Vairechanika dhumapana (Therapeutic inhalation with purgative substance for detoxifying):- For evacuation of dosha of head, the smoking made of shweta (Clitoria ternatea), haritala (Orpiment-yellow arsenic), manashila (Realgar), jyotishmati (Celastrus paniculatus) and the aromatic substances like patra (Cinnamomum tamala), aguru (Aquilaria agallocha) etc. 

Indication Of Dhumapana

  • Heaviness and pain in head
  • Migraine
  • Rhinitis
  • Cough
  • Pain in eyes
  • Ear pain
  • Hiccup
  • Dyspnea
  • Discharge from ear, eyes and nose
  • Fetid smell from mouth and nose
  • Throat obstruction
  • Excessive salivation
  • Toothache
  • Spasm in back neck and jaw
  • Anorexia
  • Pale face
  • Hair falling
  • Alopecia
  • Lack of functioning of intellect
  • Enlarged uvula
  • Excessive drowsiness
  • Teeth weakness
  • Tonsillitis
  • Grey hair
  • Sneezing
  • Excessive sleep
  • Worms - These disorders are alleviated by smoking. By this, the strength of hairs, skull, sense organs and voice increases. Moreover, the person used to oral smoking does not fall prey to diseases of the parts above jatru (collar bone) having predominance of vata and kapha, however strong they are.

Time For Administration Of Dhumapana

Eight times are prescribed for smoking as a daily routine because in these times the aggravation of vata and kapha is noticed. A cautious person should smoke after bath, meals, vomiting, sneezing, tooth brushing, snuffing, use of collyrium and sleep. Thus diseases of the parts above jatru and predominant in vata and kapha do not arise. Smoking should be done thrice with three puffs each time. During the times of day the wise should smoke twice as daily routine, once for unctuousness and three or four times for evacuative effect.

Symptoms Of Proper Dhumapana

  • Well cleaning of heart, sense organs and throat, balance of all the vitiated dosha and lightness of head.

Complications Due To Excess Dhumapana

  • Deafness
  • Blindness
  • Internal hemorrhage
  • Vertigo
  • Dumbness
  • Giddiness


In such cases, intake of ghee, nasal drops, anjana (collyrium) and tarpan (Medicated ghee in eyes) is followed. In case of complications due to smoking, these should be unctuous if vayu follows pitta, cold in raktapitta and rough in kapha-pitta.

Contraindication Of Dhumapana

  • After purgation, enema and bleeding
  • Afflicted with poison
  • Anxiety
  • Pregnant
  • Fatigue
  • Intoxicated
  • Ama (Toxin) and pitta disorders
  • Vigil
  • Fainting
  • Giddiness
  • Thirst
  • Emaciation
  • Injury
  • After taking wine
  • Milk
  • Fatty substances and honey
  • Food with curd
  • Roughness
  • Anger
  • Diabetes
  • Alcoholism
  • Head injury
  • Temporal head disorder
  • Dryness of palate
  • Vision defected
  • Diphtheria

One who smokes in these conditions and untimely due to carelessness, the disorders aggravate severely due to complications of smoking.

Method Of Dhumapana

A person fit for smoking should smoke through the nostrils in disorders located in the nose, head, and eyes, and through the mouth in disorders of the throat. While smoking through the nostrils, one should emit through the mouth, but while smoking through the mouth, one should not emit through the nostrils because the smoke traversing reversely damages the eyes immediately. One should smoke through one nostril, closing the other one, for three rounds, three times in every round, cautiously while sitting comfortably with a straight body with eyes and concentration of mind.

Dhuma Netra (Nozzle Of Smoking Pipe)

The smoking pipe should be, by dimension of one's own fingers, of twenty four fingers length in evacuation, of thirty two fingers in function and of thirty six fingers in routine smoking. Smoking pipe which is straight, having three pouches or knots and nozzle of the measure of jujube stone, made of material similar to that for enema pipe is recommended. Smoke coming out from distance, intervened by nodes and diluted by pipe channels and used in proper dose and time does not damage the sense organs.

Symptoms Of Proper, Less And Excessive Dhumapan

Smoking is said to be well-used when chest, throat and head attain lightness and kapha is diluted. Smoking is said as less or ill used if the voice is not clear, throat is full of kapha and head is cold and heavy. In case of excessive smoking, the palate, head and throat dry up with heat sensation, the person gets thirsty and fainted, bleeding is increased, there is excessive dizziness and fainting and dys-functioning of sense organs.

3. Nasya Therapy (Nasal Errhines)


Every year one should use anu taila (through snuff) thrice a day in early rains, autumn and spring when clouds are not present in the sky.


One who practices the nasya therapy as prescribed and at proper time, his vision, hearing and smell are not affected, his hairs or beard and moustache do not become grey or white, hairs do not fall rather they grow abundantly. Following are the condition in which nasya should be indicated:-

  • Torticollis
  • Head tremors
  • Chronic rhinitis
  • Headache
  • Migraine
  • Lock jaw
  • Facial paralysis

Veins, ligaments, tendons and joints of the skull attain strength on saturation through nasya therapy. Face becomes plump and cheerful, voice melodious, stentorian and firm. Freedom from defects and increased strength are bestowed upon all sense organs. One should not be attacked suddenly by disorders of parts above jatru and even in advanced years, old age does not find strength in his best organ (Head). 

Ingredients Of Anu Taila

Chandana (Santalum album), patra (Cinnamomum tamala),  aguru (Aquilaria agallocha Roxb.), madhuka (Glycyrrhiza glabra), prapaundarika (Nymphaea lotus), vidanga (Embelia ribes), darvi (Berberis aristata), bala (Sida cordifolia), bilva (Aegle marmelos), sukshma ela (Elettaria cardamomum), vanya (Cyperus tenuiflorus), utpala (Nymphaea caerulea), musta (Cyperus rotundus), twak (Cinnamomum zeylanicum), hribera (Coleus zeylanicus Benth.), abhayam (Vetiveria zizanioides), sariva (Hemidesmus indicus), jivanti (Leptadenia reticulata), sthira (Desmodium gangeticum), bruhati (Solanum indicum), deodar (cedrus deodara), harenu (Pisum sativaum), surabhi (Pluchea lanceolata), prushniparni (Uraria picta), shatavari (Asparagus racemosus), vyaghri (Solanum xanthocarpum), padmakeshara (Nelumbo nucifera).

Preparation Method

All the herbs mentioned above are boiled in hundred times pure rain water and the remaining decoction which is ten times the amount of oil should be taken. With this decoction the oil should be cooked ten times adding equal quantities of goat's milk in the tenth boiling. This is the method of anu taila preparation for nasya therapy.


This oil should be used in a dose of half pala (2o ml).

Method Of Administration

After snehana (Oleation) and swedana (Sudation) face and head parts, the nasya should be taken thrice with a cotton swab on every third day for a week.


During this period, the person should keep himself in a wind-free and warm place, should take whole-some food and have control on sense organs. Thus using this oil, destroyer of tridosha and strength giving to sense organs, in proper time one attains the aforesaid benefits.

Oral Hygiene

Process of cleaning tongue, teeth and direction for use of toothbrush

One should use astringent, bitter and pungent teeth cleaning (Twigs having made it into a brush) by crushing its top end, twice a day without injuring the gums. Teeth cleaning removes foul smell, tastelessness and taking out dirt coated on tongue, teeth and mouth brings relish immediately. Karanja (Pongamia pinnata), arka (Calotropis gigantea), karavira (Nerium indicum), arjuna (Terminalia arjuna Roxb), asana (Terminalia tomentosa), malati (Aganosma dichotoma) and similar plants are recommended for tooth brush. Tongue scrapers should be made from silver, brass, gold, tin and copper and should be non-sharp and curved. The dirt which is collected at the base of the tongue and which creates obstruction in respiration produces a foul smell, hence one should scrape the tongue in a proper way.

Mouth Fresheners

One desiring clarity, fragrance and taste should keep in mouth the fruits of katuka (Hibiscus abelmoschus), lavanga (Syzygium aromaticum), jati (Myristica fragrans), tambula (betel-leaves), puga (Areca catechu), karpura (Cinnamomum camphora), kankola (Piper cubeba), and sukshma ela (small cardamom).

Directions Of Oil Gargling (Gandusha) And Its Benefits

Keeping oil gargle provides strength in voice and jaws, development of face, good taste and best gustatory sensation for food. The person does not suffer from dryness of the throat, there is no fear of lip-cracking, teeth are not affected with caries rather they become firm-rooted. The teeth are not painful nor are they oversensitive on sour consumption, they become able to chew even the hardest food items.

Abhayanga (Massage)

Direction, Indication and Advantage of Massage (Body and head massage)

One who regularly olerates his head with unctuous substances does not suffer from headaches, graying of the hair, or alopecia, nor do his hairs fall. By applying oil on the head regularly, strength of the skull part increases particularly, hairs become firm-rooted, long and black, sense organs become cheerful and the face with pleasant glow along with happiness and sound sleep. By saturating the ears with oil regularly, ear diseases due to vata, stiffness of back neck and jaws, hearing difficulty and deafness do not occur. As a pitcher by moistening with oil, skin by pressing with oil and axle with lubrication become strong and jerk-resistant, so by oil massage the body becomes firm, smooth-skinned, free from disturbances of vata and tolerant of exertions and exercise. Vayu is predominant in the tactile sense organs, which are again located in the skin, oil massage is the most beneficial for skin; hence, one should use it regularly. The body of one who uses oil massage regularly does not become affected much even if subjected to accidental injuries, or strenuous work. By using oil massage daily, a person is endowed with pleasant touch, trimmed body parts and becomes strong, charming and least affected by old age.

Direction And Advantage Of Foot Massage

By massaging oil in feet, coarseness, fatigue, roughness, numbness and stiffness of the feet are alleviated. Further, delicacy, firmness in the feet, strength and clarity of vision are attained, and vata is balanced. By massage of oil in feet, there is no occurrence of sciatica, constriction of veins and ligaments and cracking of the sole.

Snana (Bath) And Its Advantage

Rubbing or wiping over the body alleviates foul smell, heaviness, itching, drowsiness, anorexia, dirt and vulgar appearance of sweat. Bathing is purifying, life-promoting, aphrodisiac, destroyer of sweat, dirt and fatigue, good promoter of ojas (Immunity) and physical strength.

Virtues Of Proper Attire

  • Wearing clean clothes enhances charm, life span, fame, removes inauspiciousness, produces pleasure, decorative and eligibility for a congregation.
  • Use of fragrance and garlands is aphrodisiac, produces good smell, longevity, strength and nourishment, charm, pleasing manners and destroys inauspiciousness.
  • Wearing gems and ornaments promotes wealth, auspiciousness, longevity, prosperity, produces happiness, destruction of calamities, charm and ojas (Immunity).
  • Cleaning of feet and excretory orifices frequently promotes intelligence, purity, longevity, and destroys inauspiciousness and dirt.
  • Cutting of hair, beard, nail, mustaches etc. and hair dressing is nutritive, life-promoter, aphrodisiac and provides cleanliness and beautification.
  • Use of foot wears is beneficial for eye-sight and tactile sense-organ, is destroyer of calamity to feet and promotes strength, ease in display of energy and libido.
  • Use of an umbrella alleviates natural calamities, provides strength, covering, protection and well being and guards against the sun, dust, wind and rains.
  • Use of stick supports a slipping person, averts enemies, gives strength and longevity and destroys fears.

Importance Of Vigilance In Self Care

As a citizen is cautious in the duties of the city and a charioteer in those of the chariot, a wise person should be cautious in duties relating to his own body.


In this chapter, we read about quantity, substances, heaviness and lightness in relation to quantity, all the daily regimen which should be followed by every person, etc all these have been described in this chapter. One should take up those means of livelihood which are not contradictory to dharm (Social and religious ethics). Likewise, he should pursue a life of peace and study. Thus he enjoys happiness.

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Author Bio:

Best Ayurvedic Doctor - Dr. Meenakshi Chauhan

Dr. Meenakshi Chauhan


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Best Ayurvedic Doctor in Mohali - Dr. Vikram Chauhan

Dr. Vikram Chauhan


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