Caraka Samhita--Sutrasthana V.12
shashtikancalimudgamshca saindhavamalake yavan;
Antariksham payah sarpirjangalam madhu cabhyaset.

One should take regularly shashtika, shali, mudga, saindhava, amalaka, barley, rain water, milk/meat, ghee, and honey.

  1. Shashtika is a kind of rice which grows very quickly to maturity--within sixty days (meaning of shashtika) and is therefore light on digestion.
  2. Shali is a variety of rice, sometimes translated as red rice.
  3. Mudga is a pulse called green gram (maybe including black gram) similar to lentils or dals which is light on digestion.
  4. Saindhava is called rock salt--it is powdery, light pink in color. Its composition is said to include more of potassium than of sodium. This salt is cooling unlike other types of salt.
  5. Amalaki is a type of fruit indigenous to India. It is rejuvenative, antioxidant, pacifying to all doshas but pitta, especially.
  6. Barley is also light, laxative, diuretic, and is especially useful for removing excess kapha (fluids) from the body.
  7. Rain water is the translation in the text but because of environmental pollution a better meaning would be pure water. It's interesting to note that the source of water determines its doshic qualities. Well water is heavy while moving water is lighter. Hot water reduces kapha and body weight while cold water increases kapha and body weight.
  8. The PV Sharma translation offers milk as the next item but RK Sharma’s translation (and the Apte Sanskrit dictionary) renders the word as meat of animals of arid regions. Milk that comes fresh from cows is best among milks. It is more easily digested if brought to a boil then drank warm. Goat's milk is said to be lighter and especially good for colitis. Deer meat is of mixed tastes: sweet, bitter, astringent according to range/food and light on digestion, nourishing, and tri-doshic.
  9. Ghee is clarified butter and is best among oils for pacifying pitta. It also pacifies v±ta and because it increases the digestive fire and is digested easily it does not aggravate kapha.
  10. Honey, Caraka states, pacifies kapha preeminently and pitta secondarily. Honey must be raw--uncooked--and never used in foods to be cooked. The lighter the color means the less sharpness in it.

Vagbhata lists the following as to be taken regularly: shali (rice), godhuma (wheat), yava (barley), shashtika (rice maturing in 60 days), jangala (meat of animals of hot arid lands), sunisannaka, jivanti (tuberous plant), balamulaka, pathya (haritaki), amalaka, mridvika, patoli, mudga (dal), sharkara (sugar), ghrita (ghee), divyodaka (rain water), kshira (milk), kshaudra (honey), dadima and saindhava (mineral salt) may be consumed regularly. AH Su. VIII.42-43

These lists of foods may be described as sattvic--conducive to the growth of consciousness.
The Bhagavad Gita, Ch. XVII.8-10, describes the qualities of foods to be favored for mental and physical evenness: Promoting life, virtue, strength, health, happiness, and satisfaction are foods of savory, smooth, firm, and pleasant nature to the stomach. Such are desired by the sattvic. Causing pain, misery, and sickness, pungent, sour, salty, excessively hot, harsh, astringent, scorching are the foods desired by the rajasic. Stale tasteless, putrid, left-over, the repulsive and foul are the foods desired by the tamasic.

Remember, we are what we eat.

Copyright l994 All Rights Reserved Michael S. Dick rev. 6/2000