The literal meaning of the word Viruddha is opposite or contrary. That food which is wrong in combination (Samyog), improperly processed (Sanskara), consumed in inappropriate time of day or in wrong season is Virudhha Ahara (Incompatible food) and it can lead to disease formation. Food items which are opposite in qualities or which has opposite action on the tissues may exert undesirable effects if processed in a particular form or combined in a certain proportion or consumed at an incorrect time. Some incompatible combinations which may lead to diseases are explained below. A person desirous of healthy and disease-free life should avoid incompatible food combinations.
Some Incompatible Combinations :
1) Desha Viruddha (Incompatibility with respect to place) – Excessive intake of hot and sharp food in dry regions and sweet, unctuous food in marshy regions is an example of Deshviruddha.
2) Kaala Viruddha (Incompatibility with respect to season) – Excessive consumption of pungent and sharp food articles in summers and cold, dry food in winter season is an example of Kaala Viruddha.
3) Agni Viruddha (Incompatibility with respect to digestive fire) – Intake of light to digest food when there is strong digestive fire and heavy substances in weak digestive fire.
4) Maatra Viruddha (Incompatibility with respect to quantity) – Honey and cow’s ghee when consumed in equal quantity is incompatible.
5) Satmya Viruddha (Incompatibility with respect to habit) – Intake of light to digest and dry food by a person who is accustomed to eating heavy and unctuous food is an example of Satmya Viruddha.
6) Dosha Viruddha (Incompatibility with respect to Dosha) – The use of diet, herbs and treatment which are similar in qualities to the predominant dosha present in a person.
7) Sanskar Viruddha (Incompatibility with respect to mode of preparation) – Heated or cooked honey is considered to be like poison for the body while uncooked honey is like nectar.
8) Veerya Viruddha (Incompatibility with respect to potency) – Intake of hot and cold potency food together in a meal is incompatible. Eg. Intake of fish and milk together.
9) Koshtha Viruddha (Incompatibility with respect to alimentary canal) – Administration of ununctuous herbs or substances in small quantity to a person having Krura Koshtha (hard / costive bowels) and administration of large dose of laxatives to a person having Mridu Koshtha (soft bowels).
10) Avastha Viruddha (Incompatibility with respect to status of health) – Consumption of heavy to digest, cold potency and unctuous foods that aggravate Kapha by a person after sleep and intake of light to digest, hot potency and dry foods that aggravate Vata by a person after physical exertion are examples of Avastha Viruddha.
11) Krama Viruddha (Incompatibility with respect to sequence) – Taking hot water after honey and consuming curd at night is incompatible.
12) Parihar Viruddha (Contraindication Incompatibility) — Consuming cold water immediately after having hot tea or coffee.
13) Upachaar Viruddha (Incompatibility with respect to treatment) – Intake of cold items after taking ghee.
14) Paaka Viruddha (Incompatibility with respect to cooking) – Cooking food with bad fuel and undercooking or overcooking or burning food during the process of preparation.
15) Samyog Viruddha (Incompatibility with respect to combination) – Intake of banana or sour fruits or sour food items with milk.
16) Hriday Viruddha (Incompatibility with respect to palatability) – Intake of unpleasant food.
17) Sampad Viruddha (Incompatibility with respect to quality of food) – Intake of substances that are not mature or over mature or putrified.
18) Vidhi Viruddha (Not following the rules of eating) – Not eating food which is warm, unctous and in appropriate quantity, eating too slow or fast, talking and laughing while eating and eating without concentration.
Diseases caused by Viruddha Ahara
Viruddha Ahara causes various skin diseases, ascites, fistula-in-ano, intoxication, abdominal distension, fever, rhinitis, stiffness, swelling, anaemia. Incompatible foods does not produce diseases in those who are habituated to physical exercise, who are strong, who have good digestive power, who are accustomed to it by it’s long use and who consume it in little quantity.
The treatment of diseases caused by Virudhha Ahara is Shodhana (purificatory therapies which includes mainly emesis and purgation) and Shamana (palliative care with herbs and measures contrary to the nature of the disease). One should gradually discontinue the intake of incompatible and unhealthy food items and start consuming healthy foods and not abruptly as withdrawal symptoms due to sudden discontinuance of unhealthy substances may occur. By discontinuation of unhealthy foods and intake of healthy foods, bad effects of unhealthy measures will decrease and good effects of healthy masures being adopted will increase, thus striking a balance restoring health to the body once again. Thus by treating the diseases caused by Virudhha Ahara and by consuming healthy food in proper quantity, the person can attain optimal health and well-being.
This article is written by Vaidya Janaki Jayaraman, Consultant Physician at Chakrapani Ayurveda Clinic & Research Center.