We must know that 66 % of the body weight is
constituted by water.
Out of this about 66 % i.e. about 28 liters is in the
cells called intracellular fluid and about 34 % i.e.
about 14 liters is outside the cells called extra
The water is so much important for the body but
what alas; its importance is hardly described in
textbooks of physiology or even preventive or
Right in the beginning it must be appreciated that
water is essential for the saliva to form and give
amongst other things, us the ability to taste.
Formation of saliva would be tremendously
compromised if there is inadequate availability of
water. It is common experience that drying of
mouth is associated with sensation of thirst as
well as speechlessness, besides developing bad
odor to breath [halitosis], oral infections and
caries of teeth.
Water is also required for the formation of
gastric, pancreatic, intestinal and bile juices.
Water is required amongst other things for
temperature regulation through formation of
It is by getting dissolved in water, that the
nutrients can reach different parts of body.
It is in the water that various chemical reactions
take place so as to generate energy and also to
build different body tissues, from the nutrients
The water is also required for dissolving and
carrying away the waste material from the body
Water is very much required for removal of waste
products through the rectum and urinary bladder.
The dry feces can be extremely painful and
harmful and dry urine [oligouria, anuria] can be
fatal. This probably does not require further
elaboration as most of us have experienced the
burning micturition and dry feces during fever
and/or due even mild deficiency of water due to
one reason or another.
But in addition water is also required for removal
of toxic gases like CO2 by forming [CO2 + H2O
= H2CO3 = HCO3- + H+] NaHCO3.
In fact, it is required for dissolving, neutralizing
and detoxifying several substances from all the
body cells as well as specialized cells like those
It is worth noting that some individuals develop
allergy to some substances including some drugs.
In such situation, drinking large quantities of
water is found to be beneficial.
It is also important to note that many of those
who get dehydration and head ache due to
alcohol; can get relief by drinking water. This is
because; lot of water is consumed for metabolism
of alcohol leaving the body dehydrated.
It is interesting to note that the gastrointestinal
tract is nothing else but the internalized skin! It is
therefore natural that this tract has lot of sensory
receptors in as much as it has various glands and
muscles. Therefore apart from everything else,
mentioned above, the first thing that happens
after we drink water is that we feel fresh!
Water cleans various secretions of no
consequence or with injurious effects.
Water stimulates movements of the stomach,
intestine, small intestine etc. as a result of which
there is facilitation of movement of feces towards
the anus. This helps in relieving constipation.
Water drinking is like internal bath with all the
advantages described above.
Drinking of water can be beneficially used for
many of those; who wish to control habits such as
tea, coffee or tobacco, alcohol etc. Since water
has the paramount quenching effect it does allay
the anxiety and restlessness which is developed
because of abstinence of these substances and
helps overcome these habits [though other
measures may also be required depending on the
severity of an individual case].
Some people viz. the advocates of “water
therapy” advise as much 1.260 liters of water to
be drunk at a time. They claim that a variety of
diseases, are actually prevented and cured by
such water drinking. I do not know if this is true.
In view of all the above, the custom of drinking
water in morning USHAHPANA (Ushaa means
the time before the sunrise and paana means to
drink); is very beneficial.
Water is life giving. Hence water itself is called
JEEVANA (life). It is very interesting to note that
in India there is a custom of offering jaggery and
water to the visitors. Water is served right in the
beginning even in restaurants.
DR. SHRINIWAS KASHALIKAR