Amrakalpa is the seasonal Ayurvedic rejuvenation therapy especially for summers. The therapy is simple and is based on structured diet of ripe mangoes only.
Medicinal properties of Mango
Properly ripened mango is vatahar (balances vata), increases muscles, potency and strength. These are the very qualities that we need in the food for a summer rejuvenation therapy.
State of Dosha : Vata get accumulated , pitta is stabilized, and kapha is normal.
In summer, there is more heat in the external environment, so the body changes the internal heat to kinetic energy in order to maintain a balance. Therefore there are less chemical reactions; less digestive juices are made, less hunger, less food intake and therefore less digestion, which helps to prevent extra heat generation through digestion. Instead there is more water intake and the glands like sweat glands are working faster across the surface of the skin. Skin is the largest organ and it adjusts the excess kinetic energy to continuously sweat and maintain the temperature all over the body. The inertia of this cooling mechanism is the accumulation of Vata.
Please refer to below link for effects of summer on body :
Effect of Ritu (seasons) on Dosha
Dosha and Body State in Seasons
Body strength, immunity and digestive power are low and body is in mode of heat riddance. The blood vessels stay dilated, sweat glands work over time to produce the cooling effect by evaporation of sweat.
The major role of Amrakalpa is in prevention of accumulation of excess vata in the body. Apart from it, it prevents toxin generation due to heavy meals, keeps the body well hydrated, cleanse the inner layer of intestine, allows a holiday to liver from removing digestive waste. Liver thus can focus on deeper cleaning of blood.
Vata accumulated during summers causes diseases in the rainy season. If it is balanced by amrakalpa in the summers, the seasonal disorders of the rainy season can be completely prevented.
Summer starts from lunar months of Jyestha (22 may – 21 jun and Ashana (22 jun -22 Jul). The two Sankranti in this duration are Mithuna (14 jun) and Karka Sankranti (16 jul). Vasant Grishma sandhikal is from approx. 14th may to 14th jun.
Sandhikal is joining period of two seasons and the time when body is most vulnerable to diseases because of changing weather and corresponding shift in body metabolism.
The rejuvenation therapy should be started ideally after the primary sandhikal (1st and 2nd weeks of the season), i.e from 14th may to 14th Jun.
This the time for availability of the best fruits of the season as well.
Amrakalpa has 3 phases – Ascending , following and descending. Ascending and descending phases should be same in order to prevent any dietary jolt to the body.
In the ascending phase, the regular diet is gradually replaced by the fruit diet. First the dinner(if any; Go Dinnerless !) should be replaced completely by mangoes, then the lunch and finally the breakfast.
While changing a meal, ideally it should not be changed completely in one day. For example, while changing the breakfast, the mango should be taken as 1/4 part of the meal on the first day, 1/3 part on the second day, 1/2 part of the meal on the 3rd day and full mango meal on the fourth day. Idea is to give ample time to stomach to adjust to the diet change. This transition should be complete in the ascending phase of Amrakalpa.
Following phase should consist of only mango diet in all meals.
Descending phase transition should start with the breakfast. You should start taking light meals (corn flakes and milk, roti etc.). Descending phase is more critical than the ascending phase because the intestine has gotten used to very soft, pulpy food. Also because of low digestion pressure, it was able to discard its hard dead cell lining or waste material sticking to it. It is now purified. But sudden exposure of heavy, spicy food to it, after the following phase will lead to complications like dysentery. Therefore start the descending phase by replacing the dinner first. After dinner, lunch and breakfast should be changed respectively.
Please find the different possible durations of Amrakalpa according to individual convenience.
Here is a diet chart reflecting indicative dietary changes during Amrakalpa
Amrakalpa ideal duration is 31 days. Dividing it in 3 phases, ascending phase should contain 10 days, following phase 11 days and descending phase 10 days.
If you want to shorten the amrakalpa therapy , first cut down on the following phase to a minimum of 1 day. Therefore the total duration would be ascending – 10, following -1 , descending – 10 days. For further reduction in duration, first cut down on the ascending phase and then descending phase consecutively, because descending phase is more important than ascending phase.
Amrakalpa below one week will not be very effective; however it can be tried with no harm.
It is very important that the oils and spices are used in minuscule quantity during the descending phase as the mucus lining of the intestine is cleared and it is like that of a baby after the following phase. Use of spices and oil will irritate the bowels and might lead to dysentery.
During observance of Amrakalpa, the person should not be subjected to extreme heat or cold, hard work, excessive sweating, excessive exposure to sun or wind, stress , sorrow, drinking alcohol or sex for ideal results. One should stay indoors in air conditioned environment.
Amrakalpa is supposed to strengthen the body, so why so many restrictions during following it ? it is because during any kind of kaya kalpa (rejuvenation therapy) the body is in transformation state. It is like a newly made wet earthen pot, even a little scratch will make a permanent mark on it. Therefore, for best results, body should be well guarded from external damaging factors.
Best Wishes !