Role of Alcohol in Ayurveda

I had naturally cut down on drinking, even before Ayurveda become a part of my life. After I gained knowledge in Ayurveda, I was very much done with alcohol, except for a rare glass of wine every month.

When Ayurveda emerged 5,000 years ago, alcohol did exist but even in the ancient texts alcohol consumption was discouraged because it lowers one’s vibration. It was mostly herbal wines primarily used for medicinal purposes. Wine serves as a wonderful medium to effectively get herbs into the body since it penetrates deep into the tissues.

Moderation is key in Ayurveda, with the 80/20 rule. Follow and do everything right for your imbalances 80% of the time and keep 20% as your wiggle room. You can drink more appropriately though if we look a little closer to the gunas(qualities) in the different types of alcohol, the seasons, and the effects on what kind of constitution the person has. Some people gravitate towards a type because they feel worse drinking certain types of alcohol than others. No coincidence, as this is the body’s way of indicating what kind of doshic imbalances exist within the body.


Wine in the spring (kapha season) is occasionally okay, like a glass or so to help ignite agni. It is heating and drying, which will counter the heaviness of spring. As the snow melts and rain increases and creates more mud, our bodies are also experiencing these qualities on a subtle level.

Red wine is more heating than white wine, hence red wine in the fall, winter and spring is okay but please avoid during summer. Lighter, sweet white wine is okay in the summer.

Hard Alcohol

All types of hard alcohol are heating in nature and should be avoided completely in the summer (pitta season). Typically in colder climates, hard alcohol consumption goes up as we crave for warmth. Hard alcohol is better in the winter (vata season).


Beer is best consumed in the summer (pitta season) as barley malt is slightly cooling and sweet. Avoid beer in the winter and spring. Any carbonated beverages irritate and imbalance vata.

Factor In Your Doshic Imbalances

Above I mentioned the type of alcohol suited for seasons as general information. It is even more important to factor in your doshic imbalances. If you are experiencing pitta imbalances and it is the summer, then avoid hard alcohol and wine- occasionally have a beer if you choose to. For the person who have sinus and nasal congestion, avoid beer- occasionally drink red wine.

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