Something a lot of people may take for granted is the vehicle used in medicinal preparations, since plant constituents and actions are often sought out for therapeutic effects. The simplest and most profound healing often happens through vibrational medicine, which is best preserved in our number one nutrient: water. Water’s crystalline structure is able to ‘remember’ the shape of vibrations and constituents, and enhance the medicine.
I never really stopped to think about the type, source, and quality of water and how that, in turn, affects the energy of the preparation made with it. Rainwater seems intuitively pure, and was touted as such, but with today’s levels of widespread pollution, it’s hard to trust that purity. Dew water has traditionally been valued as a healing tonic in and of itself.
According to the Ayurvedic tradition of medicine, the type of water, and how it’s consumed can influence the doshas! Underground spring water alleviates kapha and promotes digestion, while lake water alleviates excess pitta symptoms. It made sense to me that cold water would alleviate pitta as well (and useful tip: can be useful in poisons!), while warm water promotes digestive function – as I was always told to drink room-temperature or warm water rather than cold because I have frequently suffered from poor digestion. Warm water can also be helpful to cleanse the digestive and urinary tracts, as well as to relieve hiccups and dispel intestinal fermentation. I’m pretty sure the general public does not realize this as they gulp down iced coffee beverages all day long. Moreover, too much water intake could even impede digestion!
According to ayurveda, drinking water before meals inhibits digestion, promotes weight loss and aggravates, while drinking water after promotes congestion and aggravates kapha. The best method of drinking water to enhance digestion and assimilation is to take small sips after each bite of a meal, chew well and swallow. I was always taught that drinking water during and after meals is not preferred – since it dilutes digestive juices. I learned that drinking a cup of warm water with some lemon juice or apple cider vinegar about 15-20 minutes before a meal, and abstaining from water until an hour after a meal, is optimal. But maybe I should try the ayurveda way and see if that gives positive results.