Kapha Dosha is responsible for respiratory healthy, normal brain functions and joint health. Its imbalance usually produces symptoms related to these systems. Let us learn about its imbalance symptoms.
Table of Contents
Symptoms of Kapha Dosha increase
Weak digestive strength – Kapha Dosha has water and solid basic elements. Digestion strength is correlated to fire. Hence, its increase leads to depleted digestion strength.
Excess salivation. This is due to increased liquid element in the body, due to Kapha dosha increase.
Lassitude, laziness – while Vata Dosha is the cause for movement and activity, Kapha dosha is the cause for inactivity and lack of movement. Vata body type person takes decision quickly, tends to change it often and acts swiftly. Kapha body type person takes a lot of time to take decision and never changes it.
Feeling of heaviness – in any disease, if heaviness is observed, it suggests Kapha dosha involvement.
White discoloration – white is a Kapha colour. (yellow and red are Pitta colours; brown and black are Vata colours)
Coldness – Because Kapha Dosha is composed of water element.
Dyspnoea, cough, asthma, COPD etc – Respiratory system is composed mainly by Kapha Dosha. Respiratory diseases are caused because of Kapha Dosha increase. Hence, in winter, you tend to suffer from cold and cough.
Excess of sleep – Increase of Pitta and Vata leads to lack of sleep and increase of Kapha increases it.
Increase of oiliness – Oily skin is due to Kapha.
Itching – Pain is a Vata Dosha Symptom, burning sensation is a Pitta Dosha Symptom, similarly, itching is a Kapha Dosha symptom.
Heaviness – Heaviness of head in sinusitis suggests Kapha involvement.
Obstruction to body channels – Obstruction to the heart arteries by cholesterol leading to heart attack, is caused due to Kapha Dosha increase. Obstruction of blood vessels in the thighs due to clotting, leads to a disease called Deep Vein Thrombosis, which is a Kapha Dosha increase disorder.
Coating, stiffness, loss of movement, as if tied with a wet cloth – Stiffness of the joints, in rheumatoid arthritis, coating of cholesterol in inner wall of blood vessels etc.
Swelling – In any inflammatory condition, the swelling and accumulation of fluid is due to Kapha Dosha, redness and pus formation is due to Pitta Dosha and Pain is due to Vata Dosha.
Feeling sweet taste / salt taste in mouth.
Indigestion – Increased Kapha means increased water and earth components, which mitigate digestive fire, causing indigestion.
Coated tongue – Usually coated tongue is a sign of indigestion. Kapha increase leads to indigestion. Also note, coating is usually white in colour, which is the colour of Kapha increase.
Depression – Kapha body type person is more likely to lose hope and fall into depression. Hence it is advisable for such a person to lead an active lifestyle with hobbies.
Clingy, hanging on to people and ideas
Greedy, Possessive, Materialistic
Sleepy or very tired in the morning, hard to get out of bed
Weight gain, obesity
Mucus and congestion in the chest or throat
Mucus and congestion in the nose or sinuses
More prone to diabetes
Nausea – vomiting sensation
Pale, cool, clammy skin
Edema, water retention, Bloated feeling
Aching joints or heavy limbs
Read related: Vata Increase Symptoms – Vata Vruddhi lakshana
20 Kapha imbalance diseases
20 diseases that are caused purely due to Kapha Dosha imbalance: (Reference: Charaka Sutrasthana 20/17
1. Trupti (anorexia nervosa)
2. Tandra (drowsiness)
3. Nidraadhikya (excessive sleep)
4. Staimitya (timidness)
5. Guru Gatrata (heaviness of the body)
6. Alasya (laziness)
7. Mukha Maadhurya (sweet taste in mouth)
8. Mukha Srava (salivation)
9. Shleshmodgirana (mucus expectoration)
10. Malaadhikya (excessive excretion of excreta)
11. Balasaka (loss of strength)
12. Apakti (indigestion)
13. Hrudayopalepa (feeling as if heart is wrapped up with moisture)
14. Kantopalepa (phlegm adhered to throat)
15. Dhamani Pratichaya (hardening of vessels)
16. Galaganda (goiter)
17. Ati Sthaulya (obesity)
18. Sheetaagnita(suppression of digestive powder)
19. Udarda (urticaria)
20. Shvetaavabhasata (pallor), Shveta Mutra Netra Varchastva (whitish discolouration of urine, eye and faeces)
Kapha imbalance symptoms as per Charaka
Shvaitya – Shveta – whiteness
Shaitya – Sheeta – coolness
Kandu – itching
Sthairya – steadiness, stability
Gaurava – heaviness,
Sneha – unctuousness, oiliness,
Supti – numbness,
Kleda – moistness, stickiness,
Upadeha – sliminess, as if being anointed with oil,
Bandha – binding, obstruction
Madhurya – sweetness,
Chirakaritva – slowness, delay in manifestation
Decrease of Kapha causes lack of water and earth components in the body, leading to
Emptiness of the organs of Kapha, such as lungs and joints.
Palpitation, feeling one’s own heart beat
Looseness of the joints due to lack of cushioning.
Read related: Pitta Increase Symptoms – Pitta Vriddhi Lakshana
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Kapha Vriddhi – Pathological increase of Kapha Dosha
Kapha Vriddhi is a pathological condition of Kapha wherein there is an abnormal increase of Kapha . The Kapha deviates from its normal status and gains abnormal increase due to consumption of nidanas or etiological factors causing kapha increase. When not treated timely and properly, kapha vriddhi will pass through other pathological states and cause many diseases, mainly of kapha origin (kaphaja rogas).
Kapha vriddhi is a type of dosha dushti (vitiation). Dosha dushti is a mandatory event in the causation and manifestation of any disease.
Kapha Vriddhi is a pathological vitiation of kapha which may be either qualitative or quantitative.
Gunatmaka Vriddhi or qualitative increase of kapha – In gunatmaka vriddhi of kapha there is qualitative increase of one or more of qualities of kapha i.e. snigdha (unctuous), sheeta (cold), guru (heavy), manda (slow), slakshna (smooth), mritsna (tender) and sthira (stable).
The qualitative increase of kapha takes place according to the increased qualities of kapha. Example, if sheeta guna (cold quality) increases, it causes excessive coldness in the body, increase in guru guna (heavy quality) increases heaviness in the body parts, etc.
Samanya (Pramanatmaka) Vriddhi of Kapha – When kapha gets increased as a whole it is called samanya (pramanatmaka) vriddhi of kapha. Symptoms of vitiation of kapha like snigdhata (unctuousness), gurutva (heaviness) etc and proneness of getting kapha related diseases like agnisadana (indigestion), alasya (laziness), kasa (cough) etc are manifested due to kapha vriddhi.
Seasonal impact on Kapha increase
Kapha Vriddhi in Dosha Kriya Kala or Rutu Kriya Kala (seasonal impact on dosha increase)
Kriya Kalas are 6 stages of formation of disease i.e. pathogenesis. These 6 stages are divided into two groups of 3 stages each. The first 3 stages of disease formation are called dosha kriya kala or rutu kriya kala in which only doshas get vitiated but disease is not formed. The next 3 stages are called vyadhi kriya kala in which the disease is formed. The dosha kriya kalas are –
- Sanchaya i.e. accumulation of dosha in its own sites
- Prakopa i.e. aggravation of doshas in its own sites and
- Prasara i.e. overflow or spread of vata to other places of the body
Dosha kriya kala is also called as Rtu Kriya Kala because dosha dushti, i.e. kapha vridhhi takes place in accordance to change in seasons in dosha kriya kala.
Example, sanchaya or accumulation of kapha takes place in shishira rtu (late winter) while its aggravation takes place in vasantha rtu (spring season). The vitiated pitta gets pacified naturally all by itself in the upcoming season if rutucharya (seasonal regimen) is followed properly, i.e. kapha gets pacified in greeshma rutu (summer). Kapha will progress to the stage of prasara (3rd stage of pathogenesis) and overflow all through the body and in due course of time will produce diseases by progressing to the vyadhi kriya kala if seasonal regimen is not followed properly.
Apart from seasonal changes, kapha prasara also takes place due to consumption of apathya ahara (incompatible and erroneous foods) and following apathya vihara (incompatible and erroneous lifestyle).
According to dosha kriya kala, the kapha vruddhi takes place in three stages i.e.
- Kapha Sanchaya – accumulation of kapha in its own sites
- Kapha Prakopa – aggravation of kapha in its own sites
- Kapha Prasara – overflow or spread of kapha to other sites
Kapha Sanchaya – accumulation of kapha in its own seats of predominance
Sanchaya means accumulation of doshas. Among the kriya kalas, kapha sanchaya is the first stage of pathogenesis (samprapti) in which gradual accumulation of kapha in its own place takes place. Therefore increase of kapha in its own seats of predominance is called kapha sanchaya or kapha chaya.
Kapha Sanchaya is a samhati rupa vruddhi i.e. cumulative form of increase. In sanchaya stage, kapha increases in one or more of its main seats or destinations i.e. uras (chest), kantha (throat), shira (head), kloma (pancreas, trachea), parvani (small joints of the body, mainly of fingers and toes), amashaya (stomach) rasa (digestive juice, lymph, plasma), meda (fat), ghrana (nose) or jihwa (tongue).
How to know that there is kapha chaya or sanchaya?
Kapha sanchaya can be identified by two main characteristic criteria, common for sanchaya of any dosha. They are –
Vriddhi Hetushu Pradwesha – In kapha sanchaya one has strong aversion or rejection towards the sanchaya karanas of kapha i.e. causative factors responsible for accumulation of kapha i.e. foods, lifestyle activities, tastes etc responsible for kapha vitiation. Example, feeling of increased sheetata (cold) and aversion towards cold foods and comforts.
Vipareeta Guna Ichcha – there will be a strong liking for qualities opposite to those of kapha i.e. food, activities, taste etc which have opposite qualities as that of kapha. Example – liking towards hot foods and comforts (opposite to the cold quality of kapha).
Symptoms of Kapha Sanchaya
तत्र संचितानां खलु दोषाणां…….मन्द ऊष्मता च अङ्गानां गौरवं आलस्यं…..। (सु.सू.२१/१८)
Manda Ushmata – low temperature of the body (hypothermia)
Anganam gauravam – feeling of heaviness in the body parts
Aalasyam – lethargy, laziness
Kapha Prakopa – aggravation of kapha in its own seats of predominance
Prakopa means aggravation of doshas. Kapha Prakopa means aggravation of kapha, it is the second stage of pathogenesis (samprapti) among the 6 kriya kalas. In this stage, the accumulated kapha undergoes severe aggravation in its own seats of predominance.
Kapha prakopa, most often occurs following kapha sanchaya. Here, kapha undergoes severe vitiation in continuance with sanchaya. Prakopa too happens in its own places. But the vitiated kapha does not leave its seats. In this stage the kapha gets vilayana rupa vriddhi i.e. increase through liquefaction. After vilayana, kapha tends to overflow from its primary seats so as to encroach and spread over other parts of the body.
Types of Kapha Prakopa –
- Sachaya Prakopa – When sanchaya stage of kapha is not promptly identified and treated, kapha further vitiates and progresses into kapha prakopa. Thus sachaya kapha prakopa takes place essentially after sanchaya, as a rule. This type of dosha vitiation also takes place due to consumption of unwholesome and incompatible foods and following erroneous lifestyle activities (apathya sevana) in the preceding season responsible for kapha sanchaya (shishira rutu) and also in the season responsible for its aggravation or prakopa (vasanta rutu). Therefore sachaya prakopa of kapha is called apathyajanya prakopa. Sachaya kapha prakopa progresses through the next stages of pathogenesis and cause diseases. Therefore this type of kapha prakopa needs to be treated promptly with intense cleansing treatments (shodhana, panchakarma) and strong medicines to suppress or expel kapha.
- Achaya Prakopa – is a condition wherein kapha prakopa takes place without kapha sanchaya. The strong kapha vitiating causative factors cause direct prakopa of kapha without giving enough time for kapha sanchaya to take place. Achaya kopa is also called as Pathyaja Prakopa. Since the person observes wholesome food and lifestyle practices i.e. pathya krama of the concerned season (vasanta rtu), kapha prakopa doesn’t take place. Therefore achaya prakopa doesn’t need intense treatments to control or expel vitiated kapha.
Causes for Kapha Prakopa:
Kapha vitiating qualities – guru (heavy), sheeta (cold), drava (liquids), snigdha (oily, unctuous) etc
Kapha vitiating tastes – madhura (sweet), amla (sour), lavana (salt)
Kapha vitiating foods – snigdha ahara (oily and unctuous foods), ksheera vikara (milk products), ikshu vikara (sugarcane and its products, sweets), bhakshya (sweets and high caloric foods), apupa (flour preparations), sarpishpura (sweets prepared or processed in ghee) etc.
Kapha vitiating activities – avyayama (sedentary life, lack of exercises), atisantarpana (over nutrition), diwa swapna (excessive sleeping during day time), adhyashana (frequent or binge eating) etc
Natural causes – immediately after meals, early morning, vasanta rtu (spring season), early hours of night etc
Kapha Prakopa Lakshanas (symptoms of kapha vitiation) –
तेषां प्रकोपात्……अन्न विद्वेषो हृदय उत्क्लेदः च जायन्ते….| (सु.सू.२१/२७)
- Anna Vidwesha – aversion of food
- Hridaya utkleda – nausea, heaviness in the chest or region of heart
Some more Prakopa lakshanas of kapha –
- Sneha – excessive fat
- Kaathinya – hardness
- Kandu – itching
- Sheetatwa – coldness in the body parts
- Gourava – feeling of heaviness in body parts
- Bandha – sticky nature
- Upalepa – coating or feel as if something is coated over the body or body parts
- Sthaimitya – feeling as if the body is covered by a wet or damp cloth
- Shopha – swelling in the body or parts of body
- Apakti – indigestion
- Atinidrata – excessive sleep
- Shwetatwam – whitish discoloration
Kapha Vriddhi Lakshanas or symptoms of Kapha increase can also be included in prakopa lakshanas. They are –
- Agni sadana – indigestion, sluggish digestion
- Praseka – excessive salivation, watering in mouth, nausea
- Gourava – heaviness of the body
- Alasya – laziness
- Shwaitya – pallor or whitish discolouration of body parts
- Shaitya – feeling of coldness
- Shlatha angatwa – feeling of extreme debility in body parts
- Shwaasa – dyspnoea, breathlessness, short of breath
- Kaasa – cough
- Atinidrata – excessive sleepiness
Kapha Prasara – Overflow or spread of vitiated kapha to other parts of the body
Prasara means to spread or overflow. It is a stage of pathogenesis in which the vitiated dosha leaves its place and spread to other body parts.
In kapha prasara, the vitiated kapha leaves its places and moves to other parts of the body. Prasara is the third stage of pathogenesis of kapha vitiation.
Kapha which has undergone liquefaction in prakopa stage will overflow to other places of the body through srotases (channels and duct system of the body), leaving its own seats. This is called prasara of kapha.
As a result of overflow, the kapha put into prasara gets mixed with vata and pitta forming groups of single, double, triple and 4 doshas along with rakta (blood). Due to these permutations and combinations of doshas we get 15 types of prasara.
The combinations made by kapha in prasara are 8 in number. They are –
Gati or movement of Doshas undergoing Prasara –
The direction of flow of dosha in stage of prasara is called Dosha Gati which is an important step in the disease formation. Kapha takes one or the other of the below mentioned gatis while in prasara and causes diseases of kapha origin (kaphaja rogas) in the direction of their flow. They are –
- Urdhwa gati (upward movement) – of kapha causes diseases like kaphaja chardi (vomiting of kapha origin) etc
- Adho gati (downward movement) – of kapha causes diseases like kaphaja atisara (diarrhea of kapha origin) and
- Tiryak gati (lateral or sideward movement) – of kapha cause diseases like kaphaja twak vikaras (skin diseases of kapha origin) etc.
Related reading – Urdhwa Adho and Tiryak Gati of Doshas
The vitiated kapha may also take the below mentioned gatis during its prasara and cause diseases of kapha origin (kaphaja rogas). They are –
- Koshta gati (alimentary tract, visceral organs) – causing diseases like vomiting, diarrhea etc
- Shakha gati (tissues) – causing diseases like blood borne diseases, impotence etc and
- Marma asthi sandhi gati (vital organs, bones and joints) causing diseases like epilepsy, insanity, rheumatoid arthritis etc diseases.
Related Reading – Shakha Koshta Marmasthi Sandhi Gati of Doshas
Prasara Lakshanas – Symptoms of spread of doshas
एवं प्रकुपितानां प्रसरतां…..अरोचक अविपाक अङ्ग सादः च्छर्दिः च इति श्लेष्मणो लिङ्गानि भवन्ति……| (सु.सू.२१/३२)
Symptoms of Kapha Prasara:
Arochaka – anorexia
Avipaka – dyspepsia, indigestion
Chardi – vomiting
Angasaada – inactivity of organs
What happens after Prasara?
If kapha is controlled during the prasara stage of samprapti (pathogenesis), the disease process ends and doesn’t progress ahead. If kapha is not controlled in the prasara stage, it progresses to further stages of pathogenesis (kriya kala, samprapti), and cause diseases by invading and damaging the tissues of the body.