The Conchiferous (Koshastha) Species

Animals such as, the Shankha, Shankhanakha (a species of small bivalve molluscs), Shukti, Shambuka and Bhalluka, etc., belong to the Koshastha (conchiferous) group.

The Padina Species

Animals such as, the tortoise, alligator, crab, black crab, porpoise, etc., belong to this species.

Metrical Texts

The flesh of animals of the Shankha and Kurma orders is sweet in taste and digestion, cooling in its potency, demulcent, and beneficial to stool and the Pittam. It destroys the deranged Vayu and produces Kapham. Of these, the species of black crab is strength-giving and heat-making in its potency, and tends to destroy the deranged Vayu. The white species is laxative and diuretic in its effect, and tends to bring about an adhesion of fractured bones (or produces fermentation). It destroys the Vayu and Pittam.

The Piscatory Order

The piscatory group may be roughly divided into two broad subdivisions, such as the Marine and the River (fresh water) fish. The species such as the Rohita, Pathina, Patala, Rajiva, Varmi, Gomatsya, Krishna-Matsya, Vagunjara, Murala, Sahasra-danstra, etc., belong to the fresh water family.

Metrical Texts

The fresh water (Nadeya) fish (river fish) are sweet in taste, heavy of digestion, bring on haemoptysis and destroy the deranged Vayu. They are heat-making in their potencies, spermatopoietic and demulcent and tend to reduce the quantity of stool. Of these, the Rohita leaves an astringent after-taste, and destroys the deranged Vayu. This species lives on such aquatic plants and herbs as grow in fresh-water pools and do not inordinately generate Pittam. The Pathinas produce Kapham and are spermatopoietic. They are carnivorous and somnolent' in their habits, tend to vitiate the blood and the Pittam, and originate dermal affections. The species of fish known as the Murala is constructive, tonic, spermatopoietic and galactagoguic. Fish bred in tanks or ponds are palatable to the taste and demulcent in their effect, while those reared in large lakes are usually found to gain in strength and size, while the species reared in shallow water is weak and stunted.

The Samudra (Marine) Species

The Timi, Timingila (a species of large whales) Kulisha, Paka matsya, Niralaka, Nandi-Varalaka, Makara, Gargarka, Chandraka, Mahamina, and Rajiva etc., constitute the family of marine fish.

Metrical Texts

Sea fish are heavy, demulcent, and sweet, and do not inordinately produce Pittam. They are heat-making (in their potency), and spermatopoietic and beneficial to the stool, and destroy Vayu and generate Kapham.

Sea fish are extremely strength-giving in their effect owing to the fact of their living on animal food. Fresh water fish are possessed of greater tissue-building properties than their marine kindred, while those which are found in wells and Chuntis are said to be possessed of greater carminative (Vataghna) virtues than the two preceding orders. Fish reared in tanks (Vapi) are superior to the two preceding species owing to their greater demulcent and palatable properties. River fish are heavy at the middle, owing to the fact of their moving about with the help of their head and tail, while those which are cultured in tanks and ponds (Sarah and Tadaga) are specialty light about their heads. Fish, which are found in hill streams or fountains, are extremely heavy about the parts a little below the region of their head, on account of their being confined within narrow limits and the consequent absence of any lengthy sweep. Fish reared in large tanks (Sarasi) are lighter in the foreparts of their body and heavy in their lower parts, as they put their entire pressure upon their breast at the time of swimming. Thus I have finished describing the specific properties of the flesh of animals that frequent swamps or marshy grounds and which increase the secretions of the internal organs of a person using them for food.

Dried or putrid flesh, as well as the flesh of a diseased, old, emaciated, poisoned, or snake-bitten animal, or of one of extremely tender years or struck with a poisoned dart or weapon, or of that which has fed on unnatural food, should be carefully avoided inasmuch as dried or putrid meat is shorn of all its potency. The flesh of a diseased or snake-bitten animal would be found to be poisoned or vitiated in its properties; that of a wounded animal is affected, that of an old animal is enfeebled in its potency, and that of an extremely young animal is immature in its virtue and hence would prove positively injurious to the system.

Metrical Texts

Dry meat is heavy, brings on catarrh and a non-relish for food. The flesh of an animal killed by poison is fatal. The flesh of an animal of tender years may produce vomiting. The flesh of an old animal produces cough and dyspnoea, while the use of that of a diseased animal may be attended with a simultaneous derangement of the three fundamental humours of the body. Putrid meat produces nausea, while the use of that of an enfeebled or emaciated animal tends to aggravate the Vayu.

Meat falling under a category other than those described above should be deemed as good and wholesome. The flesh of a female quadruped, or of a male bird, or of a small-bodied creature of a large-sized genus, and vice versa, is principally recommended to be used amongst quadrupeds, birds, and animals. Similarly the flesh of a small-sized creature amongst large-bodied ones of the same species should be preferred as food.

Now we shall discourse on the heavy or light character of flesh obtained from different parts of the body of an animal. Of the different fundamental principles of the body from the blood to the semen, each succeeding one is heavier than the one immediately preceding it in the order of ennumeration. Similarly, (of the different limbs or organs of a quartered animal such as), the thighs, the shoulders, the loins, the head, the legs, the fore-extremities, the waist, the back, the skin, the kidneys, the liver and the intestines, each succeeding one is respectively heavier than the one immediately preceding it in the order.

Metrical Texts

The head is heavier than the shoulders; the shoulders, than the waist; and the waist, than the back. Similarly, the upper parts of the Sakthi (thighs) are heavier than their lower ends. Of the seven fundamental principles of the organism (such as the lymph chyle, blood, flesh, fat, bone, marrow, and semen) each succeeding one is heavier than the principle immediately preceding it in the order of enumeration. The trunks of all animals are heavy. The lower part of a female frame and the upper one of a male are respectively heavier [than their upper (fore) and lower (hind) parts.]

The head and breast of a bird are heavier than its other limbs. The trunk or the middle part of a bird is so equipoised as to facilitate the movements of its pinions in flight. The flesh of a fruit-eating bird produces a state of extreme parchedness in the organism (of a person using it as food,) while that of a carnivorous one acts as a good constructive tonic. The flesh of a bird, which lives on "fish, produces Pittam, while that of one, which lives on paddy (Dhanya), subdues the Vayu. Of the animals, that live in dry land or frequent marshy places, as well as of those which are domesticated, or are carnivorous in their habits, or are possessed of unbifurcated hoofs, or live by darting on their preys, or dwell in holes, or are possessed of long legs, or eat by pricking, or are in the habit of first scattering their food with their claws, the flesh of each preceding one is lighter and tends to give rise to a lesser secretion from the internal organs than the one immediately following it in the order of enumeration.

Of animals belonging to the same genus, the flesh of one, which attains to an abnormally large size, should be rejected as inferior in pith or substance, and heavy as regards digestion. The flesh about the region of the liver of all animals should be regarded as the very best in respect of its dietic properties, in absence whereof the flesh of a young animal not at all used up, or afflicted with any disease and just quartered that day, should be regarded as coming next best.

Authoritative Verse On The Subject

The age, body, development of limbs, temperament, nature, sex, constitution, size and habit of an animal should be taken into consideration before determining whether its flesh is wholesome or not. The measure in which it may be used as food with decided advantage to the organism and to what extent it will purify or improve its virtues, should also be considered.