Article by Dr Raghuram Y.S. MD (Ay) and Dr Manasa, B.A.M.S
Rasa dhatu is the essence of nutrition that circulates through the arteries. It is correlated with lymph, plasma or simply quoted as nutrition in circulation. Upadhatu or sub-tissues of Rasa dhatu are – Stanya (breast milk) and Artava (menstrual blood, ovum).
Stanya (breast milk)
Stanya is produced as an essence of the rasa (rasa dhatu) which again is produced from the pakwa ahara (digested food). It is spread all over the body (as is its parent tissue i.e. rasa dhatu, to which it is related) and on reaching the stanas (breasts) it will be called by the name ‘stanya’ or breast milk.
Just like Shukra (semen) which is spread all over the body in an invisible form and gets manifest and ejaculated during sexual intercourse, the stanya too exists all over the body in an invisible form but rushes to the stanas gaining the form of stanya when the mother wants to feed the child.
Read related: Upadhatus: Sub-Tissues Of The Body
Thus Stanya is said to have ‘Shukra Lakshana’ i.e. properties similar to Shukra. This also makes us understand that both these are available throughout the body, all time but are manifested only when there is a need or when factors like feeding reflex and love towards child, on touch, sight and thought of the child (stanya) and sexual urge and attraction towards woman while in sexual relation (shukra) are available.
Sushruta further tells that the ksheera dhamanis (milk carrying ducts or channels, lactiferous ducts) are shrinked in Kanyas (virgins, girl or woman who has not conceived) and will naturally be dilated and open in pregnant woman and in woman who has given birth to a child.
Aartava (menstrual fluid)
The Raja or aartava is produced from the Rasa only in women and is manifested for 3 days once every month. Raja is produced after 12 years of age and ceases to appear (menopause after 50 years).
Rasa gets matured and processed over a period of one month and at the end of the month, the rasa gets converted into shukra (semen) in men and artava (menstrual blood, ovum) in women.
Rasa majorly nourishes Rakta dhatu and in quick time too, whereas the same rasa nourishes the raja or aartava in small proportions and in slow time. Therefore it takes one long month for the aartava to get properly nurtured and get manifested during monthly periods, while rakta dhatu is regularly produced.
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