FUNCTIONS OF BODY AS PER AYURVEDA
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
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 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.
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.
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.
between vital energy (Dosha), Tissue (Dhathu) and Impurities
‘doshas’ are executives in the organ. They influence the
functioning of tissues (Dhatus) and therefore the metabolic end
theory & the ‘Philosophy of Ayurveda’
‘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.
of three ‘Doshas’ ON BODY
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),
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.
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’
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
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’
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.
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
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’.
information sources are primary and secondary data from CCRAS,
CCIM, ICMR, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare-India and
various research and pharmaceuticals organizations]