Universe as well as human body is made up of five basic elements collectively called ‘Panch Mahabhootas’. These are Aakash (Ether), Vayu (Air), Agni (Fire), Aapa (Water) and Prithvi (Earth). All matter in the universe is made up of these elements. Eart represents the solid state, Water the liquid state, Air the gaseous state, Fire transforming force and Ether is simultaneously the source of matter and the space in which it exitsts. 

The sixth mandatory component of life is Atma (life spirit) without which life ceases. The human body is made up of Doshas (Bio-humours), Dhatus(Body matrix) and Malas (excretable products). 

Vata, Pitta and kapha, known as Tridoshas are physiological entities of the body, which are responsible for carrying out all the functions of the body. 

Dhatus are the structural entities of the body. These are Rasa (Plasma), Rakta (Blood cells), Mamsa (Muscular tissue), Meda (Fatty tissue), Asthi (Bony tissue), Majja (Bone marrow) and Shukra (Hormonal and other secretions of genital). Agni (Metabolic fire) is in thirteen different forms and carries out the whole metabolism of the body. 

The waste products of the body, which are excretable, are produced in the body as bye-products of metabolism. These are known as malas, which include pureesh (faeces), Sweda (sweat) and Mutra (urine). All bio-transformations within the body occur through “Srotas” (body channels), which are the sites for action of agni.

The troika of Fault (Dosha)-Tissue (Dhatu)-Impurities (Mala) along with Fire (Agni), (which means the fire of life that transforms matter into energy) form the main pillars of a human organism? The fourth component is the Mind, which is of immense importance according to Ayurveda.

According to the concept of good management, Ayurveda insists that Fault (Dosha) – Tissue (Dhatu) – Impurity (Mala) should be in harmony with each other, with all the components properly balanced. Any discordant note in this orchestra due to external or internal causes is a cause of concern.

relationship between vital energy (Dosha), Tissue (Dhathu) and Impurities (Mala)
The ‘doshas’ are executives in the organ. They influence the functioning of tissues (Dhatus) and therefore the metabolic end products (Mala).

‘Tridosha’ theory & the ‘Philosophy of Ayurveda’
‘Vata’, ‘Pitta’ and ‘Kapha’ are the names of tri-doshas. Vata (air), Pitta (bile) and Kapha (phlegm) mean more than literal. Doshas are basically three different forms of energy. The three doshas contain two of the five elements as any other matter. Thus ‘vata’ is made up of air and space and hence the lightest ‘dosha’. ‘Pitta’ contains fire and water, and ‘kapha’ with earth and water is the heaviest of all ‘doshas’. They work as a team in a natural healthy individual and could be termed, ‘the executives’ of human organism. Perfect balance of these three doshas (energies) is the basis of well-being.

These constituents give specific properties to ‘doshas’ with each ‘dosha’ having one property particular to itself and two opposite to others. Hence the character of doshas is influenced mainly by what is eaten as also by the ambient temperature, season, and input, mental state etc.

In most persons either one or combination of ‘doshas’ would be dominant. This defines the constitution of the person.

effectS of three ‘Doshas’ ON BODY
Vata Dosha is the kinetic energy if ‘Doshas’ are known as dynamic energies, The Word ‘Vata’ means ‘which moves’. Vata dosha is initiator of all forms of activity. It is important in the communication network of the body – from sense organ to brain and consciousness, from tissue to tissue and cell to cell. ‘Vata’ is responsible for perception (that includes pain), assimilation 

and reaction. It brings a thought from memory to consciousness and transfers current experience into memories. It inspires speech and is the base of laughter and exaltation.

At the level of physical body it is responsible for micro and macro movement. ‘Vata’ is more cerebral. ‘Vata dosha’ is the force behind the finger that writes and can be called the C.E.O. of the company. Vata has maturity and power of old age. Stress vitiates ‘Vata’ which in turn alters ‘Pitta’ or ‘Kapha’ leading to wide verity of symptoms. Lack of sleep, excessive physical activity and long hours of fasting also vitiate ‘ vata’. There are five types of ‘vata dosha’

Pitta Dosha’ is responsible for all types of transformations in the body. Pitta controls digestion of food as well as conversion of light rays that fall on the retina to electric impulses. In the brain there is a local ‘Pitta Dosha’, responsible for comprehension and analysis of data received. A person with pre determined ‘Pitta Dosha’ is highly intelligent, quick to process sensory inputs and able to reach decisions promptly. Pitta controls emotion like anger, fear and bravado. Pitta controls digestion of food, it is responsible for hunger, appetite and thirst. It gives sheen to the skin. In contrast to Vata, Pitta is more physical. There are five types of ‘Pitta dosha’.

Although predominance of ‘Pitta dosha’ imparts a glow to the skin, and make the hair soft and shiny, it can lead to early wrinkling of skin, graying of hair and tendency to bald prematurely. Excessive sweating, intolerance to heat, warm soles and palms (often moist) are characteristics of ‘Pitta’ predominance.

Increase in ‘Pitta’ either due to dietary imbalance or other reasons lead to hunger but the food is not well digested, thus leaving the individual lethargic. Head aches, vomiting, or diarrhea and skin disease occur. ‘Pitta dosha’ is most predominant during youth and adulthood.

‘Pitta’ gets deranged on eating too spicy or oily food or on having a late night party (particularly if alcoholic beverages have been consumed), or under tension and anxiety. If increased it can hasten aging, besides causing havoc to digestion. Pitta dosha is the upwardly mobile executive. ‘Pitta’ reflects the dynamics of youth.

‘Kapha Dosha’, the third angle of ‘dosha’ triangle is also termed Phlegm. It is the cohesive energy in the body, it smoothes out problems, lubricates and provides support when needed. It acts as in house public relations officer. If ‘Vata’ is kinetic energy then ‘Kapha’ is potential energy.

‘Kapha’ is very close to tissues and like ‘Pitta’ has greater physical form than ‘Vata’. It shares many of the properties of tissue it influences. It is anti thesis of ‘Pitta’ and is protective in nature. Its main property is stability. In contrast of ‘Pitta’, ‘Kapha’ denotes loyalty, compassion and love. A predominance of this ‘dosha’ makes a person forgiving in nature free from envy and endowed with patience.

It gives mental strength and resistance to diseases. It gives firmness to joints while keeping them lubricated. It also enhances sexual potency. There are five types of kapha dosha, based on both anatomy and body function.

Kapha being made up of water and earth is heavy and moist. Sweet, sour and salty items in the food can thus disturb this inherently heavy ‘dosha’. Carbohydrates and fats can increase ‘kapha’. It usually at its most prominent during morning and early evening. Similarly springtime seen that ‘kapha dosha’ at its most aggressive. It is during this time that the people with ‘kapha dosha’ suffer the most and if sweet meats are consumed in large quantities they tend to become lazy. Predominance of ‘Kapha’ makes a person plump, contented and perhaps a little slow. Yet this property makes the person have an immense durability in most adverse conditions. If this dosha is deranged there can be emaciation, impotence, dry mouth, poor digestion. ‘Kapha’ abnormalities lead to respiratory disease, polyuria, feeble mindedness, weakness and lethargy. Kapha is gentle arbitrator, controlling the youthfulness of ‘Pitta’, but always willing to obey ‘Vata’.

[These information sources are primary and secondary data from CCRAS, CCIM, ICMR, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare-India and various research and pharmaceuticals organizations]

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