Ayurvedic remedy for Obesity

Obesity  or  Sthaulya is the most common nutritional disorder in the present era. It has reached epidemic proportions globally with more than 1 billion adults overweight – atleast 300 million of them clinically obese – is a major contributor to the global burden of chronic diseases and disability.

Ayurveda for Obesity
Ayurveda and Yoga can help in controlling obesity. Photo from Flickr.

Childhood obesity is also on rise. An estimated 22 million children under five are estimated to be overweight worldwide. The prevalence  of obese children aged 6 -11 years is becoming a global problem and increasingly extending into the developing world.

Sthaulya –   In Ayurveda , Sthaulya or obesity is considered as one of eight condemned human constitutions.

Sthaulya according to Ayurveda is – when a person is having excessive and abnormal  increase of medodhatu ( fat tissue ) along with mamsadhatu ( muscle tissue ) and results in pendulous  appearance of buttocks, belly, breasts and whose increased bulk mass is not equal to a corresponding increase in energy.

 Obesity Excess deposition of adipose tissue in the body is known as obesity. It exists when body weight is 120% above the ideal weight.

Hina Sthaulya (Overweight)
Madhyama Sthaulya (Obesity class 1& 2)
Adhika Sthaulya (Severe or Morbid Obese)

Mainly faulty diet and sedantary  lifestyle. It can be classified into
1)      Ahara      2) Vihara    3) Vichara    4) Bijadosha

1)  Ahara  ( Diet )  :

* Overeating, increased heavy, cold, sweet, oleogineous food articles.

* Low fiber diet

* Intake of excessive madhur rasa ( sweet ) during pregnancy leads to birth of obese child.
(Fats give taste to food ,which stimulates appetite centre and intake of food increases).

2) Vihara (Routine): Physical inactivity, lack of exercise, sleeping during daytime.

3) Vichara  (Mental Status):  Either no stress or excessive stress, depression, loneliness. (Ingestion of food has been used to reduce the feeling of emotional deprivation).

4)  Bijadosha ( Heraditary )  


  • Nidan Parivarjana (Avoidance of causative factors)
  • Samshodhan Chikitsa (Purificatory measures)
  • Sanshaman Chikitsa (Palliative measures)

Nidan Parivarjana : The causative factors should be avoided.

Samshodhan Chikitsa:Lekhan Basti ( enemas ) , Udvartan ( massage with dry herb powders)

Sanshaman Chikitsa : It includes Diet, Physical activity and Herbs.


  • Cereals & Pulses:  Rice , oats , barley , green gram , bengal gram , horse gram, red lentil , kidney beans , pigeon pea .
  • Vegetables & Fruits: Sponge gourd , horse radish , brinjal ,cucumber , ginger , radish , carrot , jamun ( java plum ) , bilva ( stone apple ) , three myrobalans  (amalaki , haritaki , bibheetaka ) , kapith ( wood apple) , cardamom , black pepper , long pepper , citrus fruits.
  • Fluids : Warm water , buttermilk , sesamum oil , mustard oil , honey .

These should be included in diet.

Physical  Activity

Physical activity should be increased. Research shows that exercise for 10 – 15 minutes at a stretch  for  4 – 5 times a day  is beneficial  than doing  exercise  for  30 -40 minutes at a stretch.

Optimum time to prevent obesity is during age 5 – 10 years.

Yoga is beneficial in controlling obesity. Nadi shodhan pranayam , meditation and asanas mainly surya namaskar (Sun Salutations), paschimottanasana (Posterior Stretch Posture), suptapavanmuktasana (Lying wind release Posture ), bhujangasana (Cobra Posture),  katichakrasana (Lumbar – Wheel Posture)  etc help one’s body and mind to stick to the conviction and to work with firm determination.

Three myrobalans, Aloe, Fenugreek seeds, Guggul(Indian bedellium), Ginger, Cinnamon, Black pepper, Turmeric, Cumin etc can be used singly or in combination.

The probable mode of action of drugs and regimen can be – They might decrease Ati kshudha and Atisthaulya by alleviation of Samana Vayu (activation of sympathetic nervous system & vagus nerve), elimination of meda avarana (reduction in leptin insensitivity and hyperlipidemia), dissolution of ama anna rasa ( decrease in hyper insulinemia and insulin insensitivity) ,alleviation of kledaka kapha  (enhanced food inhibitor signals from GI hormones), alleviation of pachaka pitta ( decreased food initiating GI signals) and medodhatwagni  vridhi (activation of autonomous innervation, increase in serum leptin activity, correction of insulin glucose metabolism ,catecholamine turnover,thyroid function).

Managing obesity needs perseverance. Make realistic targets, no crash diet and no excuses. Just make routine and stick to it.


  1. Charaka Samhita.
  2. Research work done at Gujrat Ayurved University, Jamnagar.
  3. Textbook of Medicine by Golwala.

Author: Dr Baljot Bharaj

Dr Baljot Bharaj is an Ayurveda Consultant . She has done her masters with specialization in Gynecology & Obstetrics from Gujarat Ayurved University , Jamnagar, a renowned Ayurveda Institute.She has 16 years of profound experience of practicing Ayurveda in various capacities - as a consultant , in government sector , delivering lectures , publishing articles and research work . Her expertise is in providing Prenatal , Antenatal & Postnatal Care for healthy child and happy mother with emphasis on Women's health through Ayurvedic formulations and regimen . Her endeavour is to expedite Ayurveda - which stresses on lifestyle management for a happy and healthy life i.e 'Holistic Wellbeing for Harmonious Life'.


  1. very informative article about obesity, its causes and its cure…

  2. Ayurveda is getting popular in North America; I am seeing more centers are opening that teaches Ayurveda principles to people. If there is a real cure for Obesity in Ayurveda, I am sure it will be good news for the Ayurveda practitioners.

    • Yes Tanya ,more and more people are are looking upto Ayurveda as a holistic healing not only in America but world wide .The motto of Ayurveda is to maintain the health of healthy person and cure the disease of ill person ie preventive and curative treatment .

  3. Resham Virk says:

    great article. Indeed obesity is on a rise in kids also. Want to learn more about the herbs that you have recommended in the end of the write up. What is the quantity that is to be consumed and is there a particular time when it should be consumed?

    • Hi Resham , thanks .
      Indeed obesity is on rise in kids . The major reason is inactivity and poor food habits . I feel upto some extent parents are responsible for their lifestyle . Children hardly know of the games we used to play eg stapu , pithhu , marbles , vishamrit etc .These were full of physical activity .
      The herbs mentioned are the part of garam masala ( curry powder ) ,so if one is healthy no need to take it as a supplement .
      For obesity a combination of herbs – Triphla ( three myrobalans ) : 1 part , Fenugreek powder : 1/3 part , Cinnamon powder :1/3 part and Ginger powder : 1/4 part can be taken under supervision . Dose : 1/2 tsp – 1 tsp with lukewarm water ,once a day after meals preferably after breakfast .
      These herbs stimulate metabolism and are good anti oxidants . Most of these herbs are present in our kitchen .

      • Resham Virk says:

        Thank you for your candid reply. Indeed you are right it is our duty as parents to make our kids active. I do make it a point to take my son out for football or just walk for an hour. One purpose it solves of activity and second they can get their share of vitamin D.
        Thank you for the concoction for targeting obesity

  4. Thanks for the great tips..
    I hope it would help me..

  5. Priya Chetan says:

    Thanks for the tips to reduce obesity.

  6. Hi Tony , you can message me your main complaints and accordingly we can proceed with the daily plan .

  7. Thanks Tara .


  1. Tony says:

    Where can I find a daily plan in Ayurveda to reduce Obesity based on a body type?

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