Obesity-Overweight-(Sthaulya), causes, complications, treatment through Ayurveda

Obesity is a condition in which an individual is significantly overweight, and an excessive amount of body fat has accumulated under the skin and on the breast, belly,


Author: Dr Ranjeet Singh


Obesity is a condition in which an individual is significantly overweight, and an excessive amount of body fat has accumulated under the skin and on the breast, belly, buttocks and thighs. It is usually results from consumption of food in excess of physiological needs. Obesity is common among people in western countries and among the higher income groups in India and other developing countries. A prosperous life, sedentary job, and lack of exercise are the major contributors to obesity. According to Ayurveda, the main causes of this condition are eating too much, sitting too much, and doing too little. Atisthaulya ( Obesity)has been discussed under eight undesirable conditions. Obesity is a kapha disorder. In obese individuals the gastric fire is strong, but the cellular file in the tissue is relatively low. whatever excess food or calories a person consumes are not burned and instead turn into adipose tissue.

Obesity can occur at any age in either sex. Its incidence is higher in person who consume more food and live sedentary lives. Among women, obesity is liable to occur after pregnancy and at menopause.

Obesity is a serious health hazard as the extra put fat puts a strain on the heart, Kidneys and liver as well as the large weight -bearing joints such as the hips, knees and ankles, which ultimately shortens the life span. It has been truly said, “the longer the belt, the shorter the life“. Overweight persons are susceptible to severe disease like a coronary thrombosis, heart failure, high blood pressure, diabetes, Arthritis, gout, liver and gallbladder disorder.

Case definition of Obesity ( Sthaulya)

Increased body mass (BMI) more than or equal to 25 kilogram per metre square associated with pendulous abdomen- buttacks -breast, dyspnea on exertion, weakness, excessive perspiration and hunger is termed as obesity ( Sthaulya)

What are the causes of Obesity ( Sthaulya)?

  • The chief cause of obesity, most often, is over- eating that is the intake of calories beyond the body’s energy requirement.
  • Heredity factors- Certain hereditary factors of the endocrine system, such as excess production of growth hormone, may contribute to overweight.
  • Pregnancy- When women are pregnant, they may eat too much and unable to lose the weight afterwards. A women usually gains about 12 kilogram weight during pregnancy. Part of this as an increase in the adipose tissue which serves as a store against the demands of lactation.
  • Disturbances of the thyroid or pituitary gland in such persons the BMI is low and they keep gaining weight unless they take a low calorie diet.
  • Stress may induce repeated emotional eating, leading to significant weight gain.
  • Frequent munching between meals is also detrimental to maintaining a healthy weight.
  • Certain drugs such as steroids and oral contraceptives, can change the metabolism and produce weight gain as can insulin.
  • Addiction to alcohol and cigarettes are often associated to obesity.
  • Habitually drinking cold drinks and eating fried food, dairy products such as cheese, yogurt and ice creams and consuming excess sugar and carbohydrate are all causative factors.

What are the symptoms of Obesity?

  • Gain in weight
  • Enlargement of abdomen
  • Breathlessness on exertion
  • Development of skin fold around the axilla below the breast, peritoneal region
  • Fatty liver
  • Lethargy and fatigue
  • Infertility
  • Excessive sweating with bad odor.

Clinical diagnosis of Obesity?

  • Clinical presentation that is overweight/obese, BMI more than 25 per meter squire.
  • Waist circumference value greater than 80 cm. in female.
  • Waist circumference value greater than 102 cm. in male.

If someone lies under this circumference can be diagnosed as case of obesity ( Sthaulya).


  • BMI which includes weight measurements.
  • Waist circumference values.
  • Anthropometry measurements.

Differential diagnosis of Obesity?

  • Metabolic syndrome
  • Hypothyroidism
  • Cushing syndrome
  • PCOD

How to manage Obesity?

Obesity being life style disorder, diet restriction, physical exercise with Lifestyle modification is the most important part of management. A suitable plan of dietetic treatment, in conjugation with suitable exercise and other measures for promoting elimination is the only scientific way of dealing with obesity. The chief consideration in this treatment should be balanced section of foods which provide the maximum essential nutrients with the least calories.

Simple Ayurvedic Remedies-

  1. Triphala powder on empty stomach with buttermilk is effective hone remedy.
  2. Have root of Piper longum with buttermilk for 21 days.
  3. Take one cup of warm water with one table spoon of each of lime juice, honey and a Pinch of black pepper, have it empty stomach.
  4. Drink hot water and honey. whenever you become hungry, drink a cup of hot water with one tablespoon honey and 10 drops of lime juice.

Ayurvedic Medicines-

  1. Triphala
  2. Musta
  3. Haritaki
  4. Kutki
  5. Gomutra Haritaki
  6. Medohara gugglu
  7. Kanchnar gugglu

(Do not start self medication ,always consult your doctor before taking any drug).

Non- drug therapy-

  • In treating obesity, the first step is to control what you eat, follow the kapha pacifying diet.
  • Avoid habitually drinking cold drinks and eating fatty fried foods and minimise dairy products.
  • Eat your biggest meal early in the day.
  • Drop alcohol and tobacco, these emotional habits unduly stimulate gastic fire and make a person hungry.
  • While eating your meals, listen to soft music and chew your food more, so that moderate eating gradually becomes habitual.
  • Don’t Nap in the daytime- daytime, sleep Slows Down metabolism and increase the kapha dosha.

One sure method of reducing weight is by practicing ” Fletcherism” rule-

It was discovered in 1898 by Horace Fletcher of USA. Fletcher, considered himself an old man,he was 50 pounds overweight, contracted flu every six months and constantly complaint of indigestion and tired feeling. After a deep study, he made some important discoveries and describe the rules of Fletcherism which are as follows:

  1. Choose your food to a pulp or milky liquid until it practically swallows itself.
  2. Never eat until hungry.
  3. Enjoy every bite or morsel, savouring the flavour untill it is swallowed.
  4. Do not eat when tired, angry, worried and at meal- time refuse to think or talk about unpleasant subjects.


  • A daily walk of at least half an hours
  • Some aerobic exercise such as gentle jogging
  • Swimming
  • Weight lifting

Yoga asanas-

Certain yogic asanas are highly beneficial. Not only do they break up or redistribute fat deposit and help slimming, but they also strengthen the fabby areas.

  • Sarvangasna
  • Bhujangasana
  • Dhanurasana
  • Chakrasana
  • Vajrasana
  • Yogamudra
  • Trikonasa

  • These asnas work on the glands, improve circulation, strengthen many weak areas and induced breathing, which helps to melt off excess fat gradually.


Bhastrika ( Bellow)

Kapal bhati ( breathing that revitalizes the body).

Suryabhedi pranayam

Recommended diet and lifestyle-


  • Chapati prepared with Barley, Maize, millet
  • Regular use of puffed rice /grains
  • Green gram
  • Use of fruits like Papaya, Orange, sweet lemon, coconut water
  • Take salads prepared with cucumber, carrot, radish, spinach etc.
  • Drink luke warm water
  • Regular exercises
  • Brisk walking
  • play outdoor games


  • Avoid heavy, fried foods, black gram, refined foods
  • Avoid excess sleep and sedentary lifestyle


✓ Good health through food and Regiment by Dr T L Devaraj, pub- chaukhamba orientalia, edition 2018, Chapter 11 obesity, Pg nub-45 to 46.
✓ Nature Cure by Dr H K Bhakru, Pub- Jacob publishing house, edition 5th revised Edition 2010 ,chap-106, Obesity, pg no- 538 -542.
✓ Guide to Ayurvedic clinical practice by Vaidya Vasant patil, pub-chaukhamba, addition 2017 chap-metabolic disorders ,obesity Pg no- 302- 305.
✓ Ayurvedic home remedies by Dr Pratap Chauhan, pub- Jiva Institute, Edition 2010, obesity pg no- 106.
✓ Ancient healing of India by Vasant lad, pub- piatkus books, edition 2006 obesity p g no- 235-3 9-259.
✓ Ayurvedic standard treatment guideline by Ministry of Ayush Government of India edition- 2017 medovaha strotasa roga, Sthaulya pg no- 85 -86 -87.