Mahatma Gandhi – The Father of The Nation, has always been identified with his strong principles on ‘Ahimsa’, the activist behind salt satyagraha, architect of Non-Cooperation Movement and the leader of Indian Independence struggle who finally led us to freedom, from the clutches of the British.

Mahatma Gandhi

But, how many of us knew that Mahatma was like an authority of sorts on the matters related to health and fitness as well. He in fact, wrote a book A Guide to Health in his mother tongue Gujarati in 1921, in which he discussed various practical questions, practices and healing techniques related to physical and mental wellbeing at length.

Even almost after 100 years, the book finds its relevance with our modern-day lifestyle and why it is far easier and safer to prevent various ailments just by following the rules of Mother Nature and simple home remedies.

On the occasion of Mahatma Gandhi Jayanti, brings you few interesting health facts from the book A Guide To Health, By Mohandas K. Gandhi.

Here Is What Mahatma Gandhi Had To Tell You On How to Safeguard Your Health

Exercise and Walking: Our passion for exercise should become so strong that we cannot bring ourselves to dispense with it on any account. Walking gives movement to every portion of the body, and ensures vigorous circulation of the blood; for, when we walk fast, fresh air is inhaled into the lungs. Then there is the inestimable joy that natural objects give us, the joy that comes from a contemplation of the beauties of nature.

Precautions In Fever: In fever the digestive organs are very weak, the tongue gets coated, and the lips are hard and dry. If any food is given to the patient in this condition, it will remain undigested and aid the fever. If he feels thirsty, he should be given water boiled and cooled, or the juice of lime —never unboiled water.

Beat Fatigue: In case of extreme fatigue, a steam-bath or a hot-water bath immediately followed by a cold bath will be found very effective. So too, in cases of sleeplessness, instant relief is often obtained by sleeping in the open air after a steam-bath followed by a cold bath.

Joint Pains: In cases of rheumatic pain in the joints, rapid relief is obtained by the use of steam followed by a cold bath. Boils and ulcers not cured by simple dressing with ointments can be completely healed by the application of steam.

Constipation: The very first thing to do in cases of constipation and the like is to reduce the quantity of food, especially such heavy things as ghee, sugar and cream of milk. Of course, he should eschew altogether wine, tobacco, bhang, tea, coffee, cocoa, and loaves made of “mill flour.” The diet should consist for the most part of fresh fruits with olive oil. Fruits like the French plum, the raisin, the orange and the grape, are particularly useful in constipation.

Pregnancy: The pregnant woman should, of course, keep her body as pure as her mind. She should breathe plenty of fresh air and eat only so much of plain and wholesome food as she can easily digest. Hence in these nine months, she should engage herself constantly in good works, free her mind from all fear and worry, give no room for any evil thoughts or feelings, keep out all untruth from her life.

Infant Care: As long as the supply of the mother’s milk is sufficient, the child should be fed exclusively on it; but, when it gets insufficient, fried wheat well powdered, and mixed with hot water and a little of jaggery, may be used as a substitute with quite good results. The use of sugar instead of jaggery is harmful.

If cow’s milk has to be given, it should at first be mixed with water in the proportion of three to one, and then heated until it just begins to boil, when a little of pure jaggery should also be added.

Quit Smoking: The evils of smoking are too numerous to mention. The smoker feels no appetite for food. His breath stinks, and, in some cases, blisters are formed on his face, and the gums and teeth turn black in colour. Many also fall a prey to terrible diseases.

First Aid In Drowning: In case of drowning, two things have to be specially done —artificial respiration, and the application of warmth. The first-aider should also possess the qualities of resourcefulness, patience, and briskness; if he himself loses his presence of mind, he can do nothing. As soon as the man is taken out of water, his wet clothes should be removed, and his body wiped dry. Then, with our hand on his chest, we should remove from his mouth the water and dirt that might have got in. Then all the available clothes should be wrapped round his body, which should be thoroughly rubbed for warmth.

Proper Parenting: It is the solemn duty of all virtuous parents to train their children in noble ways. This requires that both the father and the mother should themselves have received a sound education. Where the parents lack such education and are aware of their imperfections, it is their duty to entrust their children to the care of proper guardians.


Excerpts from the book, A Guide To Health, By Mahatma Gandhi, Translated by A Rama Iyer