Even though the word ‘fasting’ is considered to be derived from the old English word, ‘feastan’ which means to observe, fast or be strict. Fasting is one of the oldest, least expensive and most effective methods in nature cure of diseases. There is a very ancient Indian adage, “Langanam Parama Oushadam”, meaning fasting is the best medicine, which has been part of nature cure in Indian medicine from time immemorial. Dr. Arnold Eheret, who originated the principle of muscleless healing system through dieting, described fasting as the only natural, universal and omnipotent remedy in the healing of diseases and he added that it was only the only fundamental natural law in all curing and healing.
Even though Indian medicine system has prescribed fasting as a strong method of curing illnesses, following the teachings of Dhanvantari, deemed as the God of Medicine and Guardian Deity of Hospitals, fasting practice has been followed by nearly all the religions of the world, such as the Hindus, the Buddhists, the Mohammedans and other religions. Most of them have strict periods of fasting. Asclepiades, a philosopher of nature cure school advocated fasting as an effective treating method two thousand years ago. Other nature cure advocates like Hippocrates, Paracelsus and Galen as well as several other great authorities on naturopathy have recommended fasting as one of the most dependable methods of curing illnesses or preventing them from occurring altogether. It is a known fact that the Mohammedans strictly follow the day time fasting during the month of Ramzan and eat only in the night. Saints of all religions during the medieval times have also laid great stress on fasting.
In Hindu religion, fasting during the eleventh day after each day of Amavasya and Pournami, the New Moon and Full Moon days have been prevalent for several millennia. In fact, this fasting is quite rigid. The follower of this fasting ritual should eat only once during the day on the tenth day, eat nothing on the eleventh day and eat at sunrise on the twelfth day. The Indian medicine has even described the kind of food that should be consumed in the morning of the twelfth day, such as Athi Keerai or Agathi Keerai cooked with dal (paruppu) and dried and powdered Nelli or Amla pachadi, along with certain other essential cooling food items (For ingredients of the diet to be prepared for the twelfth day after New Moon and Full Moon, you can refer to http://anudinam.org/2012/06/30/dwadasi-paaranai-thaligai/). The reason for such a food is to provide relief to the digestive organs in a natural manner, by cooling them with natural ingredients and eliminating the acidity that accumulates during the fasting period. Apart from this rigorous fortnightly fasting, it is usual for Hindus to fast on other days also, such as Soma Vara Vrata (Monday Fasting), Guru Vara Vrada (Thursday Fasting) and Sani Vara Vrada (Saturday Fasting), etc. to keep the digestive system as clean as possible. Further details on fasting will be taken up in our next articles, Master Remedy of Nature Cure is Fasting with Strict Restrictions – Part II, Master Remedy of Nature Cure is Fasting with Strict Restrictions – Part III and Master Remedy of Nature Cure is Fasting with Strict Restrictions – Part IV.