What Are Alcoholic Beverages : Good Or Bad For Health : According To Ayurveda


Alcoholic beverage, any fermented liquor, such as wine, beer, or distilled spirits, that contains ethyl alcohol, or ethanol (CH3CH2OH), as an intoxicating agent. Alcoholic beverages are fermented from the sugars in fruits, berries, grains, and such other ingredients as plant saps, tubers, honey, and milk and may be distilled to reduce the original watery liquid to a liquid of much greater alcoholic strength. Beer is the best-known member of the malt family of alcoholic beverages, which also includes ale, stout, porter, and malt liquor. It is made from malt, corn, rice, and hops. Beers range in alcoholic content from about 2 percent to about 8 percent. Wine is made by fermenting the juices of grapes or other fruits such as apples (cider), cherries, berries, or plums. Winemaking begins with the harvest of the fruit, the juice of which is fermented in large vats under rigorous temperature control. When fermentation is complete, the mixture is filtered, aged, and bottled. Natural, or unfortified, grape wines generally contain from 8 to 14 percent alcohol; these include such wines as Bordeaux, Burgundy, Chianti, and Sauterne. Fortified wines, to which alcohol or brandy has been added, contain 18 to 21 percent alcohol; such wines include sherry, port, and muscatel.

In Ayurveda alcoholic beverages are named as Madhya Alcohol consumption is prevalent since ancient times. Health benefits of alcohol consumption are explained in detail.

A verse from an ancient Ayurveda text –

madyam svabhaavena yathaiva annam tathaa smrutam |

ayuktiyuktam rogaaya yuktiyuktam yathaa amrutam ||

Alcohol is quite similar to any other food. Alcohol in moderation is similar to nectar, but excessive alcohol consumption, without any control or planning leads to diseases.

Qualities of alcohol

Qualities of alcohol according to Ayurveda –

  • light to digest
  • penetrates deep into body tissues
  • hot in nature
  • spreads through out the body pretty quickly
  • Imparts dryness to the body
  • sweet, sour,bitter, astringent and pungent in taste.

Alcohol health benefits

Health benefits of alcohol in moderation –

  • Improves strength
  • Relieves stress
  • Improves body nourishment
  • Improves intelligence
  • Helps in sleep
  • Improves digestion
  • Good for heart and respiratory system
  • Improves tone of the voice.
  • Alcohol has been told as one of the co-drinks with certain Ayurvedic medicines like Trayodashang Guggul, Kankayan Vati

Alcohol contraindications

  • Who should not drink alcohol –
  • According to Ayurveda,
  • people having anger, fearful,
  • suffering from excessive thirst and hunger,
  • suffering from severe grief, panic attacks,
  • excessively tired due to exercise, long travel should not drink alcohol References from Charaka Samhita, Chikitsa Sthana, 24th chapter:

Alcohol taken in appropriate manner produces

  • Harsha – Exhilaration
  • Urja – energy
  • Mudam – happiness (mental satisfaction),
  • Pushti – nourishment,
  • Aarogyam – good health,
  • Paurushyam – excellent virility and
  • Sukha madya – pleasant intoxication instantaneously. [61] Effects of alcohol – Ayurveda perspective –

Depleted physical interest, lack of control over mind, irrational decision-making, gastritis, ulcers, psychotic features.

Ayurveda explains effect of alcohol in four stages.

1st stage
  • Increased intellect and memory, love towards all, feels happy, increased physical interest and sleep.
  • Increased interest in songs, dance, elated mood, high self-esteem and high beliefs.
2nd stage
  • Lack of co-ordination in speech and activities
  • slurred speech,
  • restlessness, laziness
3rd stage
  • Depends on others for support in walking
  • Abusive language
  • Irrational speech and eating habits
4th stage
  • Severe Vata and kapha imbalance
  • Irrational behavior
  • Lack of analytical capacity
  • Psychotic features.

Benefits according to modern

Helps Your Heart

If you’re in good shape, moderate drinking makes you 25% to 40% less likely to have a heart attack, stroke, or hardened arteries. This may be in part because small amounts of alcohol can raise your HDL (“good” cholesterol) levels.

Gets You More Active

Moderate drinkers are far more likely to exercise than people who don’t drink. And they may even get more healthy effects from it.

Prevents Kidney Stones

Regular moderate drinkers are less likely to get kidney stones — 41% less likely for those who drink beer, 33% for wine drinkers. Part of the reason may be that alcohol, like caffeine in coffee and tea, makes you pee more often. That helps clear out the tiny crystals that form stones.

Makes You More Social

Good friends are good for you. And people who have a drink or two together — rather than, say, sodas — are likely to spend more time talking.

Gives Your Sex Life a Boost

Intimacy helps you deal with stress, and a little alcohol may move things along. In one study, women who had one or two glasses of red wine a day said they had more desire, arousal, and sexual satisfaction than those who didn’t.

Helps Your Brain

A drink or two a few times a week may make you less likely to get Alzheimer’s disease. In fact, the MIND diet, specifically designed to lower your risk of the disease, has wine as one of its 10 “brain healthy” food groups.

Alcohol’s effects vary from person to person, depending on a variety of factors, including:

  • How much you drink
  • How often you drink
  • Your age
  • Your health status
  • Your family history

According to modern concepts

  • Shrinking of brain
  • Blacking out
  • Slurred speech
  • Hallucinations
  • Heart damage
  • Liver damage
  • Cancer
  • Liver infections
  • Infertility
  • Memory problems
  • Concentration problems
  • Coma
  • Breathing problems
  • Death etc


As there is a saying that even nectar taken in excess becomes poison the same way intake of proper amount of alcohol leads to good and a healthy life but the same taken in excess can even cause death. So choose wise and stay healthy.

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About author
Deep Thacker is an BAMS (Bachelor of Ayurveda, Medicine and Surgery) Undergraduate in Rajiv Gandhi University of Health sciences. Deep has published many articles on health and aims to provide the public with the information they need to know for their health decisions.
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