Diarrhea - Atisara

Diarrhea is a common gastrointestinal issue affecting people worldwide. In Ayurveda, the traditional Indian system of medicine, the approach to understanding and treating diarrhea goes beyond conventional methods. This article delves into the Ayurvedic perspective on diarrhea, offering insights into its causes, identification, remedies and prevention

I. Introduction

Definition of Diarrhea

Diarrhea is characterized by frequent, loose, and watery stools. In Ayurveda, it is viewed not just as a physical ailment but as an imbalance in the body’s doshas, or vital energies. It is known as Atisara in Ayurveda.


II. Ayurvedic Perspective on Diarrhea

A. Understanding Doshas

Ayurveda categorizes individuals into three doshas—Vata, Pitta, and Kapha. Imbalances in these doshas are believed to contribute to various health issues, including diarrhea.

B. Causes of Diarrhea in Ayurveda

In Ayurveda, the causes of diarrhea are diverse and can be attributed to imbalances in doshas (Vata, Pitta, and Kapha) and agni (digestive fire). Here is a list of potential causes:

  1. Excessive Vata Dosha– Imbalance in Vata dosha can lead to increased mobility in the intestines, resulting in diarrhea.
  2. Excessive Pitta Dosha: – Aggravated Pitta dosha can cause inflammation in the digestive tract, leading to loose stools.
  3. Contaminated Food and Water– Consuming contaminated or spoiled food and water can introduce toxins, triggering diarrhea.
  4. Incompatible Food Combinations: – Eating incompatible food combinations, known as Viruddha Ahara, can disturb digestion and cause diarrhea.
  5. Weak Digestive Fire (Mandagni): – Reduced digestive fire can lead to inadequate digestion, resulting in undigested food and diarrhea.
  6. Infections (Jvara): – Infections, both bacterial and viral, can affect the gastrointestinal tract and cause diarrhea.
  7. Consumption of Cold or Raw Foods– Excessive intake of cold or raw foods can aggravate Vata dosha and contribute to diarrhea.
  8. Excessive Spicy or Oily Foods– Overconsumption of spicy and oily foods can lead to increased Pitta dosha, causing digestive disturbances.
  9. Food Allergies or Sensitivities– Certain individuals may experience diarrhea due to allergies or sensitivities to specific foods.
  10. Intestinal Parasites (Krimi): – Infestation of intestinal parasites can lead to digestive issues, including diarrhea.
  11. Emotional Factors (Mental Stress): – Emotional stress or mental disturbances can influence the gut-brain axis, contributing to diarrhea.
  12. Traveler’s Diarrhea– Change in diet, water, and environmental conditions during travel can result in diarrhea.

C. Importance of Agni (Digestive Fire)

In Ayurveda, the digestive fire or “Agni” plays a crucial role in preventing diarrhea. A balanced Agni ensures proper digestion and absorption of nutrients, preventing the accumulation of undigested food that can lead to loose stools. Imbalances in Agni, such as weakened digestive fire, can result in incomplete digestion and contribute to the manifestation of diarrhea. Maintaining a healthy Agni is essential for overall digestive well-being and the prevention of gastrointestinal disturbances, including diarrhea.

III. Identifying Diarrhea in Ayurveda

A. Symptoms and Signs

In Ayurveda, specific symptoms and signs associated with doshic imbalances leading to diarrhea vary based on the predominant dosha involved. Here are the signs related to each dosha:

1.Vata Imbalance:

  • Symptoms: Abdominal pain, bloating, gurgling sounds in the abdomen, increased frequency of bowel movements, and dry and hard stools (in some cases).
  • Signs: Increased mobility in the intestines, irregular digestion, and a feeling of coldness in the abdomen.

2. Pitta Imbalance:

  • Symptoms: Loose stools with an acidic or burning sensation, increased thirst, nausea, inflammation in the digestive tract, and heightened irritability.
  • Signs: Excessive heat in the digestive system, yellowish or greenish stools, and an aversion to hot and spicy foods.

3. Kapha Imbalance:

  •  Symptoms: Heavy, mucous-laden stools, sluggish digestion, feeling of heaviness in the abdomen, and reduced appetite and a sense of incompleteness after bowel movements..
  •  Signs: Excessive mucous production in the digestive tract, lethargy, and a preference for warm and dry foods.

IV. Ayurvedic Remedies for Diarrhea

A. Dietary Recommendations

  • Hydration – Stay hydrated through warm water or fruit juices or ORS. 
  • Fasting – During acute diarrhea, individual must follow fasting for the day. It means reduce your food intake by 50%.  Fasting is considered important in Ayurveda during diarrhea for several reasons:

Rest & Preventing Further Irritation to the Digestive System: – Fasting provides a break for the digestive system, allowing it to rest and recover from the stress caused by diarrhea. This rest promotes healing and helps the digestive organs regain their normal function. Intake of food during diarrhea can potentially irritate the already sensitive gastrointestinal tract. Fasting minimizes the introduction of new substances that could exacerbate the condition.


Aiding Agni (Digestive Fire): – Diarrhea often indicates an imbalance in Agni, the digestive fire. Fasting allows Agni to regain strength and stability. Once Agni is balanced, it can better handle the digestion of food.


Preventing Further Irritation– Intake of food during diarrhea can potentially irritate the already sensitive gastrointestinal tract. Fasting minimizes the introduction of new substances that could exacerbate the condition.


Facilitating Detoxification: – Fasting supports the body’s natural detoxification processes. It allows the elimination of accumulated toxins and waste products, promoting a cleansing effect on the digestive system.


Balancing Doshas: – Fasting helps in balancing the doshas, especially when diarrhea is caused by doshic imbalances. It allows the body to expel excess doshas and return to a state of equilibrium.


B. Herbal Treatments

Ayurvedic herbal treatments for diarrhea focus on addressing the underlying imbalances, soothing the digestive system, and promoting overall gastrointestinal health. Here are some commonly used Ayurvedic herbs for managing diarrhea:

  • Bilva (Aegle marmelos): – Bilva leaves and fruit are known for their anti-diarrheal properties. They help in calming the digestive system and reducing inflammation.
  • Kutaj (Holarrhena antidysenterica): – Kutaj is traditionally used to manage diarrhea and dysentery. It possesses anti-inflammatory and anti-dysenteric properties.
  • Dhataki (Woodfordia fruticosa): – Dhataki flowers are used for their astringent properties, helping to control loose stools and manage diarrhea.
  • Musta (Cyperus rotundus): – Musta has anti-diarrheal and anti-inflammatory properties. It helps in reducing intestinal inflammation and regulating bowel movements.
  • Bilwadi Churna: – A powdered formulation containing herbs like Bilva, Dhataki, and others, Bilwadi Churna is used to treat diarrhea and related symptoms.
  • Kutajarishta– Kutajarishta is a fermented liquid preparation made from Kutaj. It is commonly used to manage diarrhea, dysentery, and digestive disorders.


V. Prevention of Recurrent Diarrhea

Here are some Ayurvedic recommendations for preventing recurrent diarrhea and promoting overall digestive well-being:

  • Balanced Diet– Follow a balanced and easily digestible diet that suits your individual constitution (Prakriti) and current state of doshic balance (Vikriti). Include a variety of fresh, seasonal fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins in your meals.
  • Proper Food Combinations: – Avoid incompatible food combinations (Viruddha Ahara) that may disrupt digestion. For example, avoid combining fruits with dairy products.
  • Regular Eating Routine– Establish a regular eating routine with fixed meal times. This helps regulate Agni (digestive fire) and promotes optimal digestion.
  • Hydration– Stay well-hydrated with room temperature or warm water throughout the day. Proper hydration supports digestion and helps flush out toxins.
  • Herbal Teas– Incorporate herbal teas like cumin, coriander, and fennel (CCF tea) to enhance digestion and soothe the digestive tract.
  • Ayurvedic Spices– Use digestive spices such as ginger, cumin, coriander, and turmeric in cooking. These spices support Agni and aid in digestion.
  • Yoga and Pranayama– Practice yoga asanas that focus on the digestive system, such as Pavanamuktasana and Paschimottanasana. Engage in pranayama like Nadi Shodhana to balance the nervous system and support digestive health.
  • Moderation in Eating: – Avoid overeating, as it can overwhelm the digestive system. Eat until you are satisfied, not until you are overly full.
  • Mindful Eating– Practice mindful eating by paying attention to the flavors, textures, and aromas of your food. Avoid distractions while eating.
  • Manage Stress– Chronic stress can affect digestion. Incorporate stress-reducing practices such as meditation, mindfulness, and relaxation techniques into your daily routine.
  • Regular Detoxification: – Consider periodic detoxification practices, such as Panchakarma, under the guidance of an Ayurvedic practitioner to eliminate accumulated toxins and support overall health.


Ayurvedic treatments are personalized based on individual doshic imbalances, making them effective for all types of diarrhea.

1 day is enough to stop bowel movement and loose motion. But to make digestion well diet, exercise and medicine needed for at least 01 month. 

Ayurvedic treatments are generally well-tolerated, but individual responses may vary. Consultation with a qualified practitioner is recommended.

Ayurveda encompasses a holistic approach, including dietary recommendations, lifestyle modifications, yoga, and herbal treatments