05 March, 2021

Rtu Vidya: Ancient Science behind Menstrual Practices by Sinu Joseph - [Book Review]

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Book Details:

Title: Rtu Vidya: Ancient Science behind Menstrual Practices

Author: Sinu Joseph

Genre: Non-Fiction, Women's health

Publisher: Notion Press

Print Length : 388 pages


The book Ṛtu Vidyā emerged in search of answers to questions asked by adolescent girls and women in India during the author’s interactions with them as part of Menstrual Health workshops, conducted over a span of a decade across rural India. In an attempt to decode menstrual practices, the author undertook a journey across India and studied various indigenous knowledge systems such as Ṣaḍ-Darśana, Āyurved, Tantra, Cakra, Yōg, Āgama Śāstra, Jyotiṣa Śāstra, and several sub-texts from these categories. As a result, the book goes beyond just describing cultural practices and takes a deep dive into explaining the scientific and logical reasoning behind the origin of these practices.

This book is for all Indian women who have unanswered questions pertaining to menstrual practices, for menstrual researchers who will find a treasure trove of potential areas for research pertaining to menstrual health, for sportswomen to discover the ancient techniques that worked in sync with women’s periods and not against it, and also for the feminist who assumes that cultural practices around menstruation are a taboo that needs to be done away with.

The correct understanding of the science behind menstrual practices, as given in this book, will help women prevent menstrual difficulties, develop a positive attitude toward menstruation, and learn to work in sync with nature’s cycles.

Ṛtu (pronounced as ruthu) is one of the terms for menstruation in Sanskrit. Vidyā means knowledge. Ṛtu Vidyā is the author’s attempt to bring together various indigenous knowledge systems that provide information about the science of menstruation, which is relevant even to this day.

Purchase Link:

Amazon Paperback


My Review:

I rarely buy books nowadays, as I get a lot of books for review ànd I won't get enough time to read books from references and my wishlists.

This book came highly recommended by a fellow bookstagrammer Maya and I feel this book is a treasure trove. Thanks, Maya for your suggestion. 
I immediately bought the Kindle version on Amazon after reading Maya's review.

This book clarified most of my doubts about the importance of the menstrual cycle on women's health, the reason behind the rituals, and the mysteries behind the Indian traditions around menstruation. This book is a recommended read for every woman, especially to the parents of a girl child.

Some important information that helped me are the basics about Ayurveda concepts, the different types of dosas, and the diet-related to those dosas. This helped me understand my body better, types of menstrual problems and symptoms to watch out for in the future, and practices to avoid menstrual problems. I am grateful to the author Sinu for explaining these complex practices and principles in a simple way.

I felt the author might have added a chapter on modern-day menstrual problems and some practical solutions to incorporate ancient practices these days. I couldn't get an answer for a few questions like why there is a tradition of taking hair wash on the first and 3rd day of periods and its importance. 

I really appreciate that the author has mentioned all sources of research information and articles. This will help in learning more about those topics.

Some Excerpts from the book:

Āyurved stresses on the individual’s ability to shape his/her health based on his/her thought process. It is agreed in modern medicine as well that stress negatively impacts the physical well-being, resulting in psychosomatic disorders (diseases of the mind that affect the body).

Thousands of years ago, seers of Āyurved defined a healthy menstrual discharge very clearly. 
According to the above verses from Caraka Saṃhita, ārtava (menstrual flow) is said to be healthy if it has the following features: 
niṣpiccha – free from sliminess of discharge; dāhārti – (free from) burning sensation and pain; 
pañcarātrānubandhi – lasts for five nights; na ati bahu na aplam – flow is neither too heavy nor too scanty; 
guñjā phala sa varṇam – the color of menstrual discharge is like the gunja fruit (rosary pea/abrus precatorius); 
padma alaktata sannibham – or (the color) is similar to the lotus or Indragopa insect (trombidium).

My Rating: 5/5

I would recommend this book to all women and if you think of it, it's a good gifting option for this Women's day!

Until next time, 

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