|Year : 2023 | Volume
| Issue : 3 | Page : 193-195
The safety aspect of Ayush Aahar: Need of the hour
Editor-in-Chief, Journal of Drug Research in Ayurvedic Sciences, Central Council for Research in Ayurvedic Sciences (CCRAS),
Ministry of Ayush, Government of India, New Delhi, Delhi, India
|Date of Submission||31-May-2023|
|Date of Acceptance||11-Jun-2023|
|Date of Web Publication||16-Aug-2023|
Prof. Rabinarayan Acharya
Director General, Central Council for Research in Ayurvedic Sciences (CCRAS), Ministry of Ayush, Government of India, Janakpuri, New Delhi
Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None
|How to cite this article:|
Acharya R. The safety aspect of Ayush Aahar: Need of the hour. J Drug Res Ayurvedic Sci 2023;8:193-5
Ayush aahar (AA), the dietary practices derived from the Ayush system (Ayurveda, Yoga and Naturopathy and Naturopathy, Unani, Siddha, Sowa-Rigpa, and Homeopathy) has gained popularity for its holistic approach to nutrition and well-being. There is a growing interest in traditional and ethnic food like Ayush Aahar (AA) worldwide. Many start-ups have come up with innovative processed or semi-processed products in the market in the name of Ayush Ahara. Their dietary significance is well understood, and they have gained “generally recognized as safe” status based on their long history of use and experience. Though, Ayush Aahar offers numerous health benefits, it is essential to prioritize the safety aspects associated with its consumption as the classics of Ayurveda never denied the food safety aspects in the ancient texts. Food safety is typically discussed in the context of Annarakshavidhi in Ayurveda. This context explains measures to identify contaminants and toxic substances adulterated with food. When safety concerns come to more personalized, sustainable and secure dimensions, the knowhow of concept of Viruddha ahara, that is, incompatible food combinations, as explained in Carakasamhita, becomes essential. It strongly emphasizes a food item is safer only when it is harmless for a reasonably long duration. “Hita aahara” will be devoid of ill effects for a sufficiently long period. Classifying food items into Hita-tama (extremely wholesome) and Ahitatama (extremely unwholesome) is the same concern. The nutritional and microbiological profiles of many AAs are relatively well described. Still, the safety aspects of these foods are not to be undermined as they are yet to be well-researched and documented. There is a lot of scope to generate food safety data with the concern of a standardized approach where all standard AA items should be ideally safe. Standardization is required in case of secure food handling, cooking, and storage steps that are essential in maintaining food safety and preventing food-borne illness [Figure 1].
Quality assurance: Safety measures play a crucial role in ensuring the quality of AA products. This includes sourcing ingredients from reputable suppliers with a precise passport data, implementing appropriate processing techniques, and adhering to good manufacturing practices. Stringent quality controls measures help prevent contamination, adulteration, and the presence of harmful substances.
Toxicity evaluation: Safety assessments aid in the evaluation of potential toxicity risks associated with AA products. This involves analyzing the composition, determining the levels of heavy metals, pesticides, and microbial contaminants, and assessing their potential health effects. Toxicity evaluations help establish safe dosage limits and mitigate any potential harm to consumers.Allergenicity and sensitivity: Safety considerations include identifying potential allergenic substances in AA products. Some individuals may have specific allergies or sensitivities to certain ingredients, herbs, or botanicals. Evaluating allergenicity helps prevent adverse reactions and ensures that AA is safe for a broad range of individuals. Ayurveda seers have emphasized a very unique feature, Matra i.e. quantity of dietary items to be ingested as per Agni (metabolic status ) of an individual but is less stressed upon in conventional nutrition. In addition to this, Desha i.e. habitat, Kala i.e time of consumption interms of diurnal variation and seasonal variations also play an essential role in ascertaining the dietary response of an individual.
As denoted earlier, Charaksamhita has quoted certain rules for food intake which includes consumption of dietary items which are ‘virya aviruddha’ i.e which are compatible and so don’t prove to be allergenic. Classical literature clearly depicts that ingesting over cooked, raw food not abiding by traditional food processing techniques can lead to ajirna i.e sensitivity to the gastro-intestinal tract of the individual.
Drug-herb interactions: Ayurveda has clearly classified the difference between diet and medicine stating that the action exhibited by dietary items is always dependent on ‘Rasa’ and the quantity in which it is consumed. Aushadh i.e medicine on the contrary, exhibits its therapeutic actions based upon its ‘Virya’ i.e potency. Thus, this is a demarcating feature which can be considered in case of Aahar/diet even if they possess certain medicinal herbs. Seers have listed certain specific dietary restrictions while administering certain medication of herbal or mineral origin.
Ayurveda thus entails a concrete concept of nutra-vigilance comprising of food collection practices, hygiene, processing techniques, storage techniques, incompatible dietary combinations, drug food interactions, etc.
Safety measures involve evaluating potential interactions to prevent adverse effects and guide healthcare professionals in prescribing appropriate treatments. This ensures the safe integration of AA with conventional medicine and promotes responsible healthcare practices.Consumer awareness and education: Safety aspects of AA extend beyond manufacturing and regulatory standards. Consumer awareness and education are essential in promoting safe practices. Providing clear labeling, dosage instructions, and information about potential risks empowers consumers to make informed decisions and use AA products responsibly.
Thus, the knowledge platform of traditional and ethnic foods would rise higher with an integrated science-based approach to safety and hygiene.
Recently, among the Ayush systems, to recognize India’s age-old principles of Ayurveda and the Ahara prepared as per ancient texts, the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) has formulated Food Safety and Standards (Ayurveda Aahara) Regulations, 2022 in consultation with the Ministry of Ayush and notified the regulations in the official gazette on May 5, 2022. Such initiation of the Ministry of Ayush and FSSAI under the aegis of the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare focuses on manufacturing quality food products, attracting analytical and logical minds to know and accept the AA.
By prioritizing safety aspects, AA can continue to flourish as a natural and holistic dietary system, offering individuals the benefits of traditional wisdom in a safe and responsible manner.
Financial support and sponsorship
Conflicts of interest
There are no conflicts of interest.
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