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The Concept of Vipaka in Ayurveda

The word Vipaka in Ayurveda is originated from “vi-puch” (वि-पच) which means pachana. The synonyms are parinama, durgati, swadhu, nayati and ayu.

Transformation of rasas after food is digested completely in the koshtanga (digestive system) by the help of Jatharagni (digestive fire) is called vipaka. When Ahara (ingested food) undergo digestion the Ahara rasa (chyle) is divided into Sara bhaga (useful parts/ nutrients) and Kitta bhaga (waste).

Classification of  vipaka in Ayurveda:

Vipaka is classified into 2 types- a) Prapaka; b) Vipaka.

Prapaka :- It is the first stage of digestion. Here the Ahara (food) undergoes Paka (digestion) in Koshthanga levels (alimentary canal), nourishes the Tridoshas (Ayurvedic humour- Vata, Pitta and Kapha) respectively. It is also called Awasthapaka. It is of three types-

i). Madhura avastha paka: It takes place from mouth to Amashaya (stomach) and nourishes Kapha dosha.

ii). Amla avastha paka: It takes place at Amapakwashaya madhya (between the stomach and large intestine means duodenum and small intestine) and nourishes Pitta dosha.

iii). Katu avastha paka: It takes place at Pakwashya (large intestine) and nourishes Vata dosha.

Sushruta mentioned two types of prapaka i.e, Guru prapaka which does kapha vardhana (nourishes and increases  Kapha) and Vata Pitta shamana (pacify) and second Laghu prapaka which does Vata Pitta vardhana and Kapha shamana.

Vipaka :-  It is done by bhootagni and dhathu agni. It is the final stage of Rasa which nourishes the respective Dosha, Mala and Dhatu by doing Ahara Rasa Paka by its respective Agni.

Vipaka and its Guna and effect on Doshas:

VipakaGunaEffects on Dosha
MadhuraSnigdha, GuruKapha vardhaka
AmlaSnigdha, LaguPitta vardhaka
KatuRuksha, LaguVata vardhaka

Karmas of Vipaka on Dosha, Dhatu and Mala:

VipakaDoshaDhatuMala
MadhuraKapaha vardhakaShukra vardhakaLaxative
AmlaPitta vardhkaShukra nashakaLaxative
KatuVata vardhakaShukra nashakaMay cause Constipation

General rule of Vipaka in Ayurveda:

Always Madhura Rasa Dravyas undergo Amla vipaka and katu, tikta and kashaya rasas undergo Katu vipaka. But Maharishi Parashara opines that Madhura, lavana, tikta and kashaya rasas undergo Madhura vipaka, Amla rasa to Amla vipaka and Katu rasa to Katu vipaka.

Perception of vipaka:

Vipaka of the dravya is ascertained by Anumana. When food undergoes vipaka it shows an effect, by this we can infer the vipaka of the food/ drug but in Pratyaksha, it can not be possible to ascertain.

Importance of vipaka:

Vipaka is one in which the Ahara (food) or Aushadhi (medicinal drugs) will attain the last stage of the homologous stage and nourishes the definite Dosha, Dhatu, Mala etc. respectively.

  • Even though it is not possible to see directly we can elicit by inference.
  • Even though it is of different Rasa, Guna etc. due to the Vipaka it undergoes to nourish Tridosha specifically by its action.
  • It is a micro-digested particle of food and medicine.
  • Vipaka is important among all other qualities like Rasa within Dravya, because Guna or dosha of Dravya depend on proper and improper digestion.

Gunas are evolved due to the proper digestion of Dravya by balanced digestive fire and Doshas due to incorrect digestion.

Vipaka  is more important because both aggravation and alleviation of Doshas are due to vipaka.

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