Draksharishta (Grape Wine) and other Ayurvedic Wines used Originally as Medicine
In Hindustan (India) , wine was traditionally used to bring back health. Ayurvedic wines as medicine is documented in the ancient Indian healing system of Ayurveda. Arishthas and Asavas are fermented juices, and herbs. Draksharishta, the name indicates grape wine. Draksha, the sanskrit word means grape. The Kannada speaking people would recognise the word to mean grape. Drakshi is the Kannada name for grapes (Bangalore Blue included).
Draksharishta is made of grape juice and herbs, but minus the micro-filtration process that modern wineries use, and minus the stringent temperature monitoring in its making and storage. It may have a bit of a vinegary taste. Yet, that’s the oldest Indian wine, guys! Its wood and sweetness stands out on the palate. Even now Draksharishta is prescribed by Ayurvedic physicians as medicine, 6 spoons of Draksharishta mixed in equal amount of water, with meals. Just as the French traditionally have their red wine! Several other Arishthas and Asavas in Ayurveda too use fermented juices and herbs, and they all have a specific purpose – to heal the body of specific ailments.
Originally, wine was used in India to take care of ill health. Later on, it may have been refined to enjoy the high one gets for it, and socialising. Ayurveda, the oldest, documented system of medicine does not recommend wine for everyone. Wine is a potent healer for specific health conditions, on the other hand drinking wine without getting a pulse diagnosis done by an Ayurvedic doctor, may work the other way around. For instance, wine is recommended in specified quantity for Kapha body types, as wine has the fire and air element which eases the kapha imbalance. The same wine is capable of creating havoc in the body of a Pitta or Vata body type person. The pitta body type, identifiable with a fiery temper, high rate of metabolism, sharp intelligence is not going to do well with a liberal glass of wine!
In the cool climates, such as in Europe and North America, the Kapha element is predominant. In the tropical countries, it is Pitta that is easy to find. If a Frenchman in France has wine with his meals, it would fire his digestion and work in his favour, whereas an Indian in Rajasthan would be ruining his digestion and consequently body if he drinks the same quantity as the Frenchman!
Ayurvedic Pulse Diagnosis
As you enjoy the elixir called wine, it would be a good idea to use the wisdom of Ayurveda by getting a pulse diagnosis done by an Ayurvedic doctor and know how much wine is good for you, and how much of it could upset the health apple cart.
In an Ayurvedic pulse diagnosis, the Ayurveda physician checks your pulse to tell you about past, present and future ailments and recommends non-intrusive medicine, herbal supplements. If you get a recommendation of wine in specified quantity, well that’s just another reason to enjoy!
By Anisha Sharma
Anisha Sharma is interested in the Indian connection of wine, the arishthas and aasavs, she finds her way past wine connoisseurs, historians and trade specialists to bridge the gap. You can read more about Indian Wines at IndianWine.com.