Ayurveda lays a lot of emphasis on suitable diet and regimen for every season. According to seasons the year is divided into six parts. The northward movement of sun (uttarayana)and its effect of dehydration brings about three seasons beginning from late winter to summer. This is known as adanakaala.
The southward movement of sun (dakshinayana) has the effect of hydration and gives rise to three seasons beginning from monsoons to early winter.This is called visargakaala.
In the beginning of the period of visarga and the end of the period of adana, weakness prevails in the body. In the middle of both, body gains moderate strength, however, at the end of visarga and beginning of adana, body gains considerable amount of strength.
This is the period of extreme dryness and dehydration as the sun rays are strongest.
As pitta and vata increase in summer, intake of sweet, cold, liquid and unctuous diets are prescribed to increase kapha and maintain equilibrium. Alcohol should be avoided or taken in very little quantity and that too with plenty of water as it is hot and dry in nature. Salty, hot, sour and pungent foods are to be completely avoided. Physical labour and indulgence in sexual activities should be drastically reduced in this season.
Ayurveda prescribes sleeping in day time only in this season as it increases kapha in the body. Application of sandalwood paste and intake of rose, sandalwood and khus in the form of sherbets also helps in keeping the system cool.
During the rainy season the body is most susceptible to diseases as because of dehydration in summer the power of digestion is weakened. It is further weakened due to disturbed vata and other doshas in rains. Power of digestion also gets affected by the gas coming out of the earth, rainfall and increase of acidity in water.
Moderation in diets and regimen is advisable, one should abstain from naps during the day, excessive exercise, moving out in the sun and excessive sexual activities. Extreme care should be taken about drinking water, as water in this season is extremely polluted. If days are cool due to winds and heavy rains, one should take sour, salty and unctuous food as it serves as an effective antidote to vitiated vata during this season. Most people, especially the elderly, experience joints pains around this time because rains aggravate vata. One should take old barley and old wheat. Rice should be completely avoidedin this season.
Massage or application of oils is advisable as it brings down aggravated vata. Intake of honey in small quantities helps overcome effect of dampness in rainy season.
The body used to rains and cold suddenly gets exposed to the heat from sun so the pitta accumulated during the rains gets generally vitiated.
In this season, sweet, light, cold and bitter foods are to be taken in proper quantity when there is good appetite. Intake of ghee prepared with bitter medicines and purgation is also prescribed during this season. One should avoid sunbathing, fat, oil, and meat (of aquatic and marshy animals), alkaline salt preparations and curd. Sleeping during daytime is not advisable, and neither is exposure to winds and frost.
In earlier times water in autumn season used to be considered pure as it gets exposed to strong sunrays and cool moon rays. The ancients believed that during this season the effect of the star Canopus (agastya) detoxifies water, this is known as “hamsodaka”, which makes it spotlessly clear and is as beneficial as nectar for the purpose of bathing, drinking, and swimming.
Wearing of garlands made of autumnal flowers and clean apparel and also the rays of the moon only in the evenings are exceedingly beneficial in this season.