11th chapter of Sutrasthana of Ashtanga Hrudayam explains in detail regarding Tridosha in Ayurveda. Tridosha are – Vata, Pitta and Kapha. Understanding Tridosha concept is your first step towards learning Ayurveda. The chapter is called as Doshadi Vijnaneeya Adhyaya.
Table of Contents
Chief constituents of the body :- Dehasya Mulam –
दोषधातुमला मूलं सदा देहस्य |
Dosha – Vata, Pitta and Kapha
Dhatu – Body tissues – Rasa (lymph / product of digestion), Rakta (blood), Mamsa (muscle), Meda (fat), Asthi (bone), Majja (bone marrow) and Shukra (male and female reproductive secretions)
Mala – waste products – sweat, urine and faeces
Doshas, are the roots of the body. 1.
Functions of normal Doshas – Prakruta Dosa Karma –
Vata dosha functions
Functions of Vata Dosha – Vata Dosha Karma –
Vata is responsible for all movements. (Movement of blood in blood vessels, movement of nutrients, movement of air in lungs, locomotion movements of hands and legs etc. )
In its normal state Vata causes enthusiasm,
Vatha Dosha regulates respiration process,
Regulates all locomotor movements,
Regulates all activities of mind,
Initiation of natural urges (tears, faeces, urination, sneezing, coughing, vomiting yawning etc)
Maintenance of the Dhatus (tissues) in their normalcy and
Proper functioning of the sense organs.
Pitta dosha functions
Functions of Pitta Dosha – Pitta Dosha Karma –
In its normal state Pitta causes digestion and metabolism,
Maintenance of body temperature,
Causes hunger, thirst, appetite,
Maintains skin complexion, intelligence, courage, valour, and softness (suppleness) of the body.
Kapha dosha functions
Functions of Kapha Dosha -Kapha Dosha Karma –
Kapha confers stability, lubrication, compactness (firmness) of the joints,
Kshama – It is the cause for mental capacity to withstand or withhold emotions, strains etc. It is also the cause for forgiveness 1½ – 3.
Functions of body tissues and waste products – Prakrita Dhatu Mala Karma –
Functions of body tissues
Functions of body tissues – Dhatu Karma
Rasa Dhatu (product of digestion and metabolism) – provides nourishment
Rakta (blood) maintenance of life activities
Mamsa (muscle) – enveloping (covering) – it covers around bones and enables voluntary and involuntary actions
Meda (fat) – lubrication
Asthi (bones) – support, forms the framework of the body
Majja (bone marrow) – filling the inside of the bones and
Shukra (male and female reproduction system)- conception and pregnancy 4.
Functions of waste products
Functions of waste products – Mala Karma –
Maintenance of strength of the body is the chief function of faeces;
Elimination of moisture (water) is of urine, and
Slow elimination of moisture is of the sweat. 5.
Increased Vata symptoms
Effects of increased Vata – Vata Vruddhi Lakshana –
Vata, when increased produces
Karshya – emaciation,
Karshnya – black discoloration,
Ushnakamitva – desire for hot things,
Kampa – tremors
Anaha – bloating, fullness, distension of the abdomen,
Shakrut Graha – constipation,
Bala bhramsha – loss of strength,
Nidra bhramsha – loss of sleep,
Indriya bhramsha – loss of sensory functions,
Pralapa – irrelevant speech,
Bhrama – Delusion, Dizziness giddiness
Deenata – timidity (peevishness). 5½ – 6.
Increased Pitta symptoms
Effects of increase of Pitta – Pitta Vruddhi Lakshana –
Pitta when increased produces yellow discoloration of the faeces, urine, eyes, and skin;
excess of hunger and thirst,
feeling of burning sensation and
very little sleep.6 ½.
Increased Kapha symptoms
Effects of increased of Kapha – Kapha Vruddhi Lakshana –
Kapha, when increased produces
Agnisadana – weak digestive activity,
Praseka – excess salivation,
Alasya – lassitude, laziness,
Gaurava – feeling of heaviness,
Shvaithya – white discoloration,
Shaithya – coldness,
Shlathangatva – looseness of the body parts,
Shwasa – dyspnoea, asthma, COPD
Kasa – cough, cold
Atinidrata – excess of sleep. 7 – 7½.
Effects of increased body tissues – Vriddha Dhatu Karma:-
Increased Rasa dhatu symptoms
Rasa when increased in similar to Kapha, produces the same symptoms of increased Kapha;
Increased Rakta dhatu symptoms
Rakta Dhatu Vruddhi Lakshana –
Blood tissue, when increased produces
Visarpa – Herpes, spreading skin disease,
Pleeha – diseases of the spleen,
Vidradhi – abscesses,
Kushta – skin diseases,
Vatasra – gout,
Pittasra – bleeding disease,
Gulma – abdominal tumors,
Upakusa – a disease of the teeth,
Kamala – jaundice,
Vyanga – discoloured patch on the face,
Agninasha – loss of digestion strength
Sammoha – Coma, unconsciousness,
Red discoloration of the skin, eyes, and urine. 8 – 9.
Increased Mamsa dhatu symptoms
Mamsa Dhatu Vruddhi Lakshana
Muscle tissue, when increased produces
Ganda – cervical lymphadenitis
Granthi – tumor,
Increase in size of the cheeks, thighs, and abdomen,
Over growth of muscles of the neck and other places 9 – 9½.
Increased Medo dhatu symptoms
Medo Dhatu Vruddhi Lakshana
Fat tissue, produces similar symptoms and in addition, it causes fatigue, difficulty in breathing even after little work,
Laxity of the buttocks, breasts and abdomen. 9½ – 10.
Increased Asthi dhatu symptoms
Asthi Dhatu Vruddhi Lakshana –
Bone tissues, when increased causes overgrowth of bones and extra teeth. 10½.
Increased Majja dhatu symptoms
Majja Dhatu Vruddhi Lakshana –
Marrow, when increased produces heaviness of the eyes and the body, increase of size of the body joints and causes ulcers which are difficult to cure. 10½ – 11½.
Increased Shukra dhatu symptoms
Shukra Dhatu Vruddhi Lakshana –
Reproductive tissue, when increased produces great desire for the woman (sexual desire) and seminal calculi (spermolith). 12.
Increased waste products symptoms
Effects of increased waste products – Vriddha Mala Karma –
Shakrit (feaces), when increased causes distension of abdomen, gurgling noise and feeling of heaviness. 12½
Mutra (urine), when increased produces severe pain in the bladder and feeling of non-elimination even after urination. 13
Sweda (sweat) when increased produces excess of perspiration, foul smell and itching. 13½
The increase of Dushika (excretion of the eyes) and other waste products are to be understood by noting their increased quantity, heaviness (of their sites) and such other symptoms. 14.
Functions of decreased Doshas – Ksheena Doshakarma –
Decreased Vata symptoms
Vata Kshaya Lakshana –
Decreased Vata produces symptoms like –
Angasada – debility of the body,
Alpa bhashite hitam – the person speaks very little
Sanjna moha – loss of sensation (awareness) and of consciousness and
occurrence of all the symptoms of increased Kapha. 15.
Decreased Pitta symptoms
Pitta Kshaya Lakshana –
Decreased Pitta causes
Mande anala – weakness of digestive activity,
Shaitya – coldness and
Prabha hani – loss of lustre (complexion). 15½.
Decreased Kapha symptoms
Kapha Kshaya Lakshana –
Decrease of Kapha causes
Bhrama – Delusion, Dizziness,
Shunyatva – emptiness of the organs of Kapha,
Hrudrava – tremors of the heart (palpitation) and
Shlatha sandhita – looseness of the joints. 16.
Decreased body tissues symptoms
Symptoms of decrease of Dhatu (body tissues) –
Decrease of Rasa dhatu produces dryness, fatigue, emaciation, exhaustion without any work and noise intolerance.
Decrease of Rakta produces desire for sour and cold things, loss of tension of veins (and arteries) and dryness. 17.
Decrease of Mamsa causes debility of the sense organs, emaciation of cheeks, buttocks and pain in the joints. 17½.
Decrease of Medas causes loss of sensation in the waist, enlargement of spleen and emaciation of the body. 18.
Decrease of Asthi causes pain in the joints, falling off of the teeth, hairs, nails etc. 18½.
Decrease of Majja causes hollowness (of the bones inside) giddiness and seeing of darkness 19.
Decrease of Shukra results in delay in ejaculation, ejaculation accompanied with bleeding, severe pain in the testicles and a feeling of hot fumes coming out of the urethra. 20.
Decreased waste products symptoms
Symptoms of decreased waste products –
Decrease of faeces gives rise to gurgling noise in the intestines and bloating, vata moves in upward direction in the intestine causing discomfort and pain in the region of the heart and flanks. 21.
Decrease of urine causes scanty urination, dysuria, urine discoloration or haematuria. 21½.
Decrease of sweat leads to falling of hair, stiffness of hair and cracking of the skin. 22.
Decrease of Malas which are of little quantity is difficult to perceive, it should be inferred from the dryness, pricking pain, emptiness and tightness of their sites of production and elimination. 23.
The decrease of Dosha Dhatu etc can be observed by the increase of opposite qualities.
The increase of Dosha Dhatu etc can be observed by the increase of similar qualities.
The increase of Malas is observed by their non-elimination (too much of waste product accumulation leading to obstruction) and their decrease by too much of elimination in little quantities. 23½ – 24½.
Body being accustomed to accumulation of waste products (in intestines and bladder) , the decrease of waste product formation is more troublesome than their increase. 25.
Relationship between Dosha and Dhatu
Vata resides in Asthi (bones)
Pitta resides in Sweda (sweat) and Rakta (blood)
Kapha resides in rest of the Dhatu and Mala.
In case of Pitta and Kapha, when there is an increase of Pitta or Kapha, there is also respective increase of tissues and waste products associated with them.
For example, if Pitta increases, then sweat and blood vitiation also increases. The same rule applies to decrease as well.
But in case of Vata, if Vata decreases, then Asthi increases. They are inversely proportionate to each other. 26 – 27.
Cause for increase or decrease of Dosha
The increase of Doshas, Dhatus and Mala is usually due to excess nutrition (Tarpana), which is followed later on with increase of Kapha.
Whereas the decrease of Doshas, Dhatus and Malas is due to loss of nutrition which is followed later with increase of Vayu (Vata).
Hence, the diseases arising from increase of Dosha and Dhatu should be usually treated quickly by adopting Langhana (therapy causing thinning of the body, reducing the quantity).
The diseases arising from the decrease of Dosha and Dhatu should be treated with Brimhana therapy (causing stoutening the body, increasing the quantity etc.)
But in case of Vata, the order is reverse. If Vata is increased, then Brihmana therapy (nourishing therapy) should be adopted and if Vata decreases then Langhana therapy should be adopted. 28 – 29.
Effects of vitiated Doshas
The Doshas which are vitiated (become abnormal undergoing either increase or decrease) cause vitiation of the Rasa and other Dhatus (tissues) next;
Both Doshas and Dhatus together vitiate the Malas (waste products) which in turn, vitiate the Malayanas (channels of their elimination).
Malayana – routes of elimination of waste products are –
two below – anus and urethra,
seven in the head, and
the channels of sweat; from these vitiated channels develop their connected diseases. 34½ – 36.
Ojas – the essence of Dhatus
Ojas is the essence of the Dhatus;
It is mainly located in the heart. It is present all over the body and regulates health.
Snigdha – unctuous, oily
Somatmaka – watery
Shuddha – clear (transparent),
Ishat Lohita Peetakam – slight reddish yellow in colour;
Loss of Ojas leads to loss of life.
All aspects of health are related to Ojas.
Cause for decrease of Ojas
Ojas undergoes decrease in quantity by anger, hunger (starvation), worry, grief, exertion etc.,
Symptoms of Ojas decrease
The person becomes fretful, debilitated, repeatedly worries without any reason, feels discomfort in sense organs, develops bad complexion, negative thoughts and dryness;
Treatment – Use of drugs of Jivaniya group (Enlivening) (mentioned in chapter 15), milk, meat juice etc. 39 – 40.
Other causes for Ojas decrease
Notes :- Many more causes of decrease of Ojas have been mentioned in other texts of Ayurveda, they are
Ativyayama – too much exercise
Anashana – fasting for long periods of time
Alpashana – eating less quantities of food
Rookshapana (intake of alcoholic beverages which cause dryness),
Pramitashana (intake of mixture of good and bad foods),
Prajagara (waking up at night),
Abhishanga (assault by evil spirits; micro organisms like bacteria, virus etc.), Dhatukshaya (depletion of tissues such as by haemorrhage etc.),
Ativisarga (too much of elimination) of Kapha, Sonita (blood), Sukra (semen) and Mala (waste products);
Visha (ingestion of poison)
Increase of Ojas makes for contentment, nourishment of the body and increase of strength. 41.
Read more about Ojas
The increase of Doshas should be controlled by avoidance of foods which are disliked.
The decrease of Doshas should be managed by indulgence of food that are desired. 42.
The Doshas which have undergone increase and decrease generally produce desire for foods which are dissimilar and similar (in properties to those of the Doshas) respectively; but the unintelligent person do not recognize them. 43.
The Doshas, when increased produce their respective features (signs and symptoms) depending upon their strength; when decreased they do not produce signs and symptoms and when normal, they attend to their normal functions. 44.
य एव देहस्य समा विवृद्धये त पव दोषा विषमा वधाय ।
यस्मादतस्ते हितचर्ययैवं क्षयाद्विवृद्धेरिव रक्षणीयाः ॥ ४५ ॥
The very same Doshas, which when normal, are the cause for growth of the body, become the cause for its destruction when abnormal.
Hence by adopting suitable measures, the body should be protected from their decrease and increase 45.
Thus ends the chapter called Doshadi Vijnaneeya Adhyaya.