Alright, you guys. I'm going to tell you something, but only because I think you can handle it. And I would rather you hear it from me, than hear it from one of your friends who doesn't have the correct information.
I will tell you on one condition and that is, you have to promise not to abuse it. If I give you an inch, don't take a mile. Don't get all willy nilly excited and tell thousands of your friends, "MonicaB said *hiccup* I could!"
Do you promise? Pinkie swear? Ok then, here we go. In today's Ayurvedic lesson, we need to talk about, alcohol.
In Ayurveda, there is something called draksha. Draksha is medicated wine used for a variety of remedies including blood, liver, skin, and digestion problems to name a few. As we know, alcohol is absorbed very quickly into the blood stream. So, Ayurveda puts the herbs into the wine, which are then carried directly to the blood and dispersed where the herbs are most needed.
How smart is that! The wine serves as a vehicle to carry (called anupana) the herbs where they get administered quickly into the body and can then begin to work at correcting the imbalance.
Now, I'm not going to tell you how to make medicated wines and I'm not even going to advise them for you because like anything else, this in Ayurveda, this will depend on the person you are and the problem you have. But I bring this up because like all food and drink, it can be nectar or it can be poison depending on who's taking it.
Overall, alcohol is something to be avoided in a vedic and yogic lifestyle because it clouds/darkens the mind and judgements, it can put us on an emotional rollercoaster, and increases digestive fire too much therefore giving us a false sense of hunger (college 15, anyone?).
It also is very dehydrating, causing constipation or diarrhea, can cause poor sleep or interrupted sleep, heartburn, and severe anger or irritability (pittas).
But it's part of our social culture and may people enjoy it, so I might as well give you some guidelines about consuming it. Cause yer gonna do it anyway. I know you.
WINE: Wine can be used for increasing digestive fire! Yay! Best news you've heard all day? So, kapha types especially in spring, will benefit from a glass of dry red or white wine before a meal to strengthen agni (digestive fire) or after a meal to enhance digestion. But any dosha could benefit from this as well. We will likely crave full-bodied red wines in the fall and winter when vata could use some heaviness and heat. Cool, crispy white wines we can enjoy when it's hot, which increases fire too but without over heating us.
BEER: A cool beer in summer or when its warm outside is beneficial for increasing agni without overheating us because it has low alcohol content and lots of water in it. Notice I said "A cool beer" not, "A six pack of beer."
THE HARD STUFF: I would just advise against booze altogether. I mean, life is to be celebrated and it won't hurt you once in a great while but, overall vatas can't handle it, pittas get angry, and kaphas will get over-hungry and dull minded. Definitely avoid hard alcohol in summer because it's the most concentrated and most heating. You're sure to get heartburn if you have that margarita on the rocks with salt, when it's hot out.
Just like anything else, there is a balance here. A little bit to celebrate is just fine. And you'll know when you have too much because you'll feel like ass. Truth. I'm not going to overcomplicate it for you. Too much alcohol is not good and you know your limit. If you wake up disappointed in yourself (even with 1 glass of wine), that was too much and a sign to make a new choice next time.
Um, any questions, insights, light bulbs that went off? :)
Keep bringing Ayurveda to life!