Water in glass

While taking a dietary recall, I always ask people about their water intake, and they tell me that they have not more than three glasses of water a day but they have five cups of tea/coffee, four glasses of fruit juice/lemon juice, and a glass of milk or buttermilk! The difference between liquid intake and water intake is usually misunderstood. All liquids do not necessarily hydrate your system.

Yes, we all know everything about water. Haven’t we been learning about it since we were little kids in school? However, you’ll be surprised to find the number of people who have come to me with problems that stem from not drinking water.

Dehydration affects our body in many ways, all of them bad.

Are you making the same mistake like this teen?

In a very drastic case, I once had a 17-year-old boy who was chronically constipated, had hyperacidity, and acne. He said he couldn’t drink plain water, barely managed half a glass a day, but was very happy to report that his overall liquid consumption was very high. He proudly informed me that he was consuming three and half litres of liquid a day. When my eyebrows shot up, he clarified that he had two litres of some aerated drinks, four cups of tea and three to four cups of coffee, apart from the odd glass of wine. I tried my best to explain that when the body needs to be hydrated, the best liquid is water. The caffeine in coffee, tea, and the aerated drinks was actually dehydrating instead of hydrating his system. He refused to drink plain water, so I put him on a therapeutic decoction of mint, parsley, ginger, lime, and honey, all added to three litres of water. He loved the taste, saw the difference it made to his bowel movement, skin and general health, and now says he has been converted for life.

What your body goes through without water

Water is one of the most important things that a human body needs to survive. So much so that your body actually has a drought management system, which prevents dehydration and hence ensures your survival. Water makes up more than two-thirds of human body weight, and without it, we would die in three to four days. Dehydration is one of the most common causes of daytime fatigue.

Water makes up more than two-thirds of human body weight, and without it, we would die in three to four days

Water acts as a lubricant in digestion and almost all the other body processes that take place daily. It also lubricates our joints and cartilages resulting in fluid movement. When dehydrated, the body rations water away from the joints, which means greater friction and aches of joint, knee, and back, which leads to injuries and arthritis. Water helps our bodies remove toxins in many different ways like it flushes toxins and waste from the body through urination and perspiration, it also helps in reducing constipation and aids in bowel movements, which ensures that waste removal is done quickly and regularly lest it becomes poisonous. This waste build-up can occur in the body if dehydration becomes a regular occurrence and this can cause headaches, toxicity, and illness.

Water therapy or hydrotherapy is treating an ailment with any form of water. Hot water, cold water, steam or water imbued with the therapeutic goodness of herbs, spices, fruits, and even condiments. While detoxifying or fasting, it is essential to drink more water so that the body can be cleansed of all the toxins that have accumulated.

Therapeutic water: The DIY kit

Making your own therapeutic water at home is very easy. Just remember to use a clean glass bottle and if you are going to be travelling with it, please put the bottle in a jute or cloth bag… your wine bottle bags will come to good use now!

To make your own therapeutic water, go through the chart below to identity your health condition and to decide on the ingredients you will need. Then simply add the ingredients to a litre of water, and let them soak in the water for an hour before starting to drink the water.

My advice would be to make just one litre of the therapeutic water. Drink from mid-morning till 7 pm. Keep adding fresh water to the bottle as it comes to an end. This way you will also be able to keep a tab on how much water you have had throughout the day.

It’s surprisingly simple but it works! Consuming therapeutic water daily is like the rich chocolate icing on a super yummy cake. It will not only remind you of drinking water daily, but also keep you in top shape! Remember, without good health, all your work will go down the drain.

Don’t forget to store your therapeutic water in a clean glass bottle and carry it along everywhere you go.

Therapeutic water chart

Ailment What to add per 1 Litre of water
To increase energy 5 star anise
To decrease blood pressure 2 stalks of fresh celery + 5 parsley leaves
To decrease edema Juice of 1 lemon + 1 tsp dried celery
To increase metabolic rate 2 star anise + a 2 inch quill of cinnamon
To cleanse the system 1 lemon cut into 4 bits
To detoxify the liver 5 basil leaves + 10 mint leaves
To decrease blood sugars 10 methi seeds + 1 tsp cinnamon powder
To increase immunity 1 bay leaf + 5 green cardamoms
To prevent colds 2 cloves + 3 green cardamoms
For glowing skin 2 thin slices of an orange + 5 mulled strawberries
For headaches 1 inch piece of ginger + 4 – 5 slices of apple
For gas/indigestion 1 tsp roasted ajwain + 2 peppercorns
For halitosis 1 tsp chopped lemon grass + 10 mint leaves
For anxiety 5 strands of kesar [saffron]
For depression 10 rose petals + 2 strands kesar
For lethargy ½ lemon + 4 – 5 strawberries + 2 star anise
For muscle cramps ½ thinly sliced orange + 10 basil leaves
For nausea 1 tsp coriander seeds + 5 sage leaves
For hyperacidity 1 thinly sliced apple + 1 tsp ginger juice
For stomach cramps ¼ tsp nutmeg powder + 2 roasted bay leaves
For menstrual cramps 1 inch piece of ginger + 1 tsp fennel
For skin allergies 2 pieces of kokum with a tsp rock sugar + a pinch of salt
For a hangover 1 tsp chopped ginger + ½ apple or pear
For mouth ulcers 1 sprig of fresh coriander + 4 tsp melon cubes
For fevers Juice of 1 onion + 1 tsp honey

Excerpted with permission from Kitchen Clinic by Charmaine D’souza published by Random House.

A version of this article first appeared in the October 2013 issue of Complete Wellbeing.


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