Vata Disorders (Vatavyadhi): Definition, Causes, Symptoms

Article by Dr Raghuram Y.S. MD (Ay) and Dr Manasa, B.A.M.S


Vata is one among the three Doshas. It is a prime driving force behind all the body activities. The activities of Pitta and Kapha, dhatus (tissues) and malas (excreta) are all dependent on Vata.   

Vata is a Tantra (formula) which runs the Tantra (machine) of our body. Vata also controls the mind, senses and perception. When this Vata gets disturbed it drives the body crazy. It disturbs all the events in the body and causes many sorts of damages and diseases.

Vata Vyadhi
Vata Vyadhi is a set of diseases caused by vitiated Vata.
Vata = Vata, Vyadhi = Disease

Vata Vyadhi definition

Definition of Vata Vyadhi
वात एव व्याधिः वात व्याधिः।(मा.नि.२२)
‘Vata itself is a Vyadhi (disease)’

By telling this, we would include the whole universe in the category of ‘having disease’ or ‘diseased’, and the whole world would be diseased at any given point of time but practically it isn’t. Vata is present in everyone but it doesn’t produce a disease in everyone and everyone in the world is not diseased. Vata is morbid (disease causing) only when it is diseased.

वातेन जनितो व्याधिः वात व्याधिः।(मा.नि.२२)
‘The disease which is caused by Vata is called Vata Vyadhi’

By telling this, we sould be including the Vata subtypes of all the Saamanya Vyaadhis (general diseases) under this category i.e. Vataja Jwara (fever due to vitiation of Vata), Vataja Atisara (diarrhea due to vitiation of Vata), Vataja Arshas (piles or haemorrhoids by vitiated Vata) etc sould be considered as Vata Vyadhis. But these and all other diseases are not only caused by vitiated Vata but are also caused by vitiated Pitta and Kapha.

Therefore the above 2 definitions which would probably define Vata Vyadhi are neither applicable, nor appropriate.

विकृत वात जनितो असाधारणो व्याधिः वातव्याधिः।(मा.नि.२२)
‘An Asaadhaarana (uncommon, special) Vyadhi (disease) caused by Vikruta Vata (vitiated Vata) is called Vata Vyadhi’

This looks like an appropriate and comprehensive definition of Vata Vyadhi.

By including the term ‘Asaadhaarana’ we make Vata Vyadhi a special condition. This term also excludes the Saamanya Vyadhis and their Vata Subtypes from the discussion.

By including the term ‘Vikruta Vata’ in the definition, we exclude the healthy people from the discussion.

Therefore Vata Vyadhi can be defined as any special condition (uncommon disease) caused by vitiated Vata.
Related reading – Why is Vata Vyadhi discussed as a separate and special pathological entity?

Causative factors

Causative Factors of Vata Vyadhi
Dry foods
cold foods
less quantity of food
foods which are light to digest
excessive indulgence in sexual activities
excessive awakening during night times
Improper administration of treatments mainly cleansing treatments like Vamana (therapeutic emesis), Virechana (therapeutic purgation) etc
excessive elimination / discharge / elimination of doshas
excessive bleeding
excessive running, jumping walking, exercises,
Excess thinking, stress, grief, fear
Depletion of tissues
debility due to chroming and longstanding diseases
forcible withholding of natural urges
undigested food in circulation
accident, trauma
Deficit intake of food, fasting in excess
injury to Marmas or vital points in the body
Riding on elephants, horses and camels regularly and in quick pace
falling down from the animals (while riding them)
Excessive administration of Panchakarma
Excessive consumption of cold foods and activities
Fear, irritation
Kashaya – Excessive consumption of astringent, bitter and pungent (spicy foods)
cloudy and rainy season
After the digestion of food
Read related: Different Causes For Vata Dosha Imbalance, Increase


Pathogenesis of Vata Vyadhi
देहे स्रोतांसि रिक्तानि पूरयित्वा अनिलो बली।
करोति विविधान् व्याधीन् सर्व अङ्ग एक अङ्ग संश्रयान्॥(च.चि.२८)

The Vata on getting aggravated by the above mentioned causes gets filled (occupies) in the Rikta Srotas or the empty, susceptible channels of the body (the channels of transport which have lost their protective sheaths and lost qualities like unctuousness, smoothness and stickiness etc). On occupying the susceptible srotas, the vitiated Vata will produce many Ekanga (limited to particular parts of the body) or Sarvanga (afflicting the whole body) diseases. Such diseases which are manifested either in certain portions of the body or the whole body is called Vata Vyadhis.


Poorva Roopa: Premonitory symptoms, Symptoms of Vata Vyadhi
अव्यक्तं लक्षणं तेषां पूर्वरूपम् इति स्मृतम्।
आत्म रूपं तु यद् व्यक्तम् अपायो लघुता पुनः॥(च.चि.१४)

Avyakta Lakshanas (un-manifested symptoms or feebly manifested symptoms) are the premonitory symptoms of Vata Vyadhi.

PurvaRupas (Premonitory Symptoms) –
संकोचः पर्वणां स्तम्भो भङ्गो अस्थ्नां पर्वणाम् अपि।
रोमहर्षः प्रलापः च पाणि पृष्ठ शिरो ग्रहः॥
खञ्ज्य पाङ्गुल्य कुब्जत्वं शोथो अङ्गानां अनिद्रता।
शिरो नासा अक्षि जत्रूणां ग्रीवायाः च अपि हुण्डनम्।
भेदः तोदो अर्तिः आक्षेपो मुहुः च आयास एव च॥(च.चि.२८)

Sankochaha Parvanaam – The phalanges, inter-phalangeal joints get constricted, restricted and crooked, movements of fingers and toes will be hampered

  • Parva Stambha – Stiffness of inter-phalangeal joints
  • Asthi Bhanga – fracture or dislocation of bones
  • Parva bhanga – fracture or dislocation of inter-phalangeal joints
  • Roma harsha – horripulation
  • Pralapa – delirium
  • Pani graham – catch, stiffness, tightness in the hands
  • Prushta graham – catch, stiffness, tightness of back
  • Shiro graham – catch, stiffness, tightness of head
  • Khanjya – limp
  • Pangulya – lameness
  • Kubjatwam – dwarfness, hunch-back
  • Angaanaam shotha – swelling of body parts
  • Anidrataa – sleeplessness
  • Garbha nasha – destruction of fetus, abortion, miscarriage
  • Shukra nasha – destruction of sperms, semen, azoospermia, infertility
  • Rajo nasha – destruction of ovum, scanty menstruation or absence of menstruation (oligomenorrhea, amenorrhoea)
  • Spandana – pulsations
  • Gaatra suptataa – numbness of body / body parts
  • Shiro hundanam – twitch, twist, crookedness of head
  • Nasa hundanam – twitch, twist, crookedness of nose
  • Akshi hundanam – twitch, twist, crookedness of eye
  • Jatru hundanam – twitch, twist, crookedness of root of neck, Clavicle region
  • Greeva hundanam – twitch, twist, crookedness of neck
  • Bheda – splitting pain
  • Toda – pricking pain
  • Arti – discomfort, pain
  • Aakshepa – convulsions, tremors
  • Aayaasa – tiredness


Rupa (Symptoms)
Aatma Rupa or symptoms manifested in various forms of Vata Vyadhi are the symptoms of Vata Vyadhi. Vata Vyadhi manifests in several forms. The symptoms too will be identical to the manifestation of the disease. The symptoms of manifested condition are the symptoms of Vata Vyadhi.

Swarupa (form, characteristic) – Apaaya (instability of symptoms i.e. extremes of manifestation, absent sometimes and appearing at other times, severe sometimes and feeble other times) and Laghutaa (feeling of lightness or emptiness) are the characteristic features of all the Vata Vyadhis.

Symptoms of Vata Vyadhi
एवं विधानि रूपाणि करोति कुपितो अनिलः।
हेतु स्थान विषेषाञ्च भवेद् रोग विशेष कृत्॥(च.चि.२८)

Symptoms similar to premonitory symptoms are manifested in Vata Vyaadhi. The same symptoms are manifested in a bigger form. The symptoms are variable and are in accordance with hetu (causative factors) and sthaana (place of manifestation of disease).


Below mentioned is the gist of Vata Vyadhis explained in Ayurvedic treatises.

Gata or Sthita Vayu – This is a condition in which the vitiated Vata is located in various tissues and organs causing damage and degeneration therein. Some of the Gata Vata type of Vata Vyadhis is –

  • Koshtashrita Vayu – Vayu located in visceral spaces
  • Sarvanga Vata – Vayu afflicting the entire body
  • Guda sthita vata – Vitiated Vata located in the anal region
  • Amashaya sthita vata – Vitiated Vata located in the stomach
  • Pakwashaya sthita vata – Vitiated Vata located in colon
  • Twak gata vata – Vitiated Vata located in the skin
  • Rakta gata Vata – Vitiated Vata located in the blood
  • Mamsa gata vata – Vitiated vata located in the muscles
  • Meda sthita vata – vitiated vata located in the fat tissue
  • Asthi gata vata – Vitiated Vata located in the bones
  • Majja gata vata – Vitiated Vata located in the bone marrow
  • Shukra gata vata – Vitiated Vata located in the semen
  • Sira gata vata – Vitiated Vata located in the blood vessels
  • Sandhi gata Vata – Vitiated Vata located in the joints
  • Snayu gata Vata – Vitiated Vata located in the ligaments and tendons

Avarana (Vata Vyadhi caused by obstruction of functions of Vayu and its subtypes by other elements) –

Examples of Avarana are as below mentioned:

  • Pitta Avruta Vata – Vitiated Pitta obstructing the functions of Vata
  • Kapha Avruta Vata – Vitiated Kapha obstructing the functions of Vata
  • Pitta Avruta Prana – Vitiated Pitta obstructing the functions of Prana Vayu
  • Kapha Avruta Udana – Vitiated Kapha obstructing the functions of Udana Vayu
  • Rakta Avruta Vata – Vitiated Rakta (blood) obstructing the functions of Vata
  • Mamsa Avruta Vata – Vitiated Mamsa (muscles) obstructing the functions of Vata
  • Anna Avruta Vata – Vitiated food obstructing the functions of Vata
  • Mala Avruta Vata – Vitiated or contaminated feces obstructing the functions of Vata

Anyonya Avarana (Vata subtypes blocking the functions of each other:

  • Prana Avruta Udana – Vitiated Prana Vayu obstructing the functions of Udana Vayu
  • Udana Avruta Prana – Vitiated Udana Vayu obstructing the functions of Prana Vayu
  • Apana Avruta Vyana – Vitiated Apana Vata obstructing the functions of Vyana Vata
  • Samana Avruta Apana – Vitiated Samana Vata obstructing the functions of Apana Vata
  • Prana Avruta Samana – Vitiated Prana obstructing the functions of Samana Vata etc

There are 42 types of Avarana and the above ones are quoted as examples.

Other Vata Vyadhis –

  • Akshepaka – convulsions
  • Dhanurvata / Dhanustambha – tetanus
  • Apatanaka – tetani
  • Apatantraka – hysteria
  • Abhyantara Ayama – Emp-osthotonos
  • Baahya Ayama – Opisthotonos
  • Pakshavadha – Hemiplegia, Paralysis
  • Ardita – Facial paralysis
  • Hanu graham – Lock Jaw
  • Manya stambham – Torticollis or Wry Neck
  • Jihwa stambha – Glossal palsy or tongue paralysis
  • Gridhrasi – Sciatica
  • Vishwachi – Apabahuka – Radial neuritis, Ulnar neuritis, Radio-ulnar paralysis
  • Kroshtu sheersha – Sino-arthritis of knee joint, inflamed knee
  • Khanja – limp, monoplegia
  • Pangu – lame, paraplegia
  • Vata kantaka – ankle arthritis
  • Pada daha – peripheral neuritis
  • Amsa shosha – emaciation of scapular region following paralysis
  • Mukata – aphasia
  • Aadhmaana – distension of abdomen, tympanitis
  • Kampa vata – shaking palsy, paralysis agitans
  • Khalli – muscle cramps etc

Line of treatment

Treating Vayu

  • Sneha – Administration of medicated oils / ghee, Massage, oil pouring etc
  • Sweda – Steaming / sudation / sweating therapy
  • Mridu shodanam – Evacuation treatment (mild cleansing treatments like Virechana etc)
  • Snigdhoshna Vasti – Medicated enemas with oils and ghee, given luke warm
  • Deepana pachana sneha – Oils and ghee processed with deepana (appetizer) and pachana (digestant) drugs
  • Svadu bhojana – Consuming sweet foods
  • Amla bhojana – consuming sour foods
  • Lavana bhojana – consuming salt foods
  • Ushna bhojana – Hot and fresh foods
  • Abhyangam – Massage with herbal oils
  • Mardana – Tapping the body with closed fists after application of vata alleviating oils
  • Seka – Pouring of medicated oils over the body in streams
  • Paishtika Madhya – Alcohol or fermented products prepared with flours
  • Goudika Madhya – Alcohol or fermented products prepared with jaggery

Just Before Finishing
Vata Vyadhi covers a wide range of neurological, neuro-muscular, musculo-skeletal disorders and degenerative disorders. Vata is the master of the body orchestra. If it can be kept healthy and normal through healthy lifestyle and diet practices one would escape the risk of degeneration and disasters caused by Vata. The knowledge of Vata Vyadhi and its diagnosis helps in planning and administering comprehensive treatment towards effectively combating Vata Vyadhi.

Effective decoctions for Vata disorders from Sahasrayogam

1. Vatahara Kashayam

Ref – Sahasrayogam, Kashaya Prakaranam, 59

a. Prasarinyadi Kashayam

IngredientsBotanical NameMethod of usingIndications
PrasariniPaederia foetidaThe decoction prepared with these ingredients should be served fresh mixed with milk1.Vata disorders 2.Shoulder and arm pain (Apabahuka)
Black gramVigna mungo
BalaSida cordifolia
GarlicAllium sativum
RasnaPluchea lanceolata
GingerZingiber officinale

b. Sahacharadi Kashayam

c. Rasonadi Kashayam

d. Gandharvahastadi Kashayam (Vatahara Kashayam)

e. Brihat Panchamoola Kashayam

IngredientsBotanical NameMethod of usingIndications
BilwaAegle marmelosThe decoction prepared with these ingredients should be served freshCures – 1.Vata disorders 2.Gout
AgnimanthaClerodendron phlomidis
ShyonakaOroxylum indicum
PatalaStereospermum suaveolens
GambhariGmelina arborea

f. Rasnaerandadi Kashayam (Vatahara Kashayam)

g. Rasnadi Kashayam

2. Rasna Shuntyadi Kashayam

Ref – Sahasrayogam, Parishishta Prakaranam, 5

IngredientsBotanical NameMethod of usingIndications
RasnaPluchea lanceolataThe decoction prepared with these ingredients should be served fresh.1.Stiffness of the nape of neck 2.Hernia 3.Fever 4.Diabetic carbuncles 5.Pain in pelvic region and joints 6.Vata vitiated in the entire body  
GingerZingiber officinale
GuduchiTinospora cordifolia
SahacharaStrobilanthes heynianus
MustaCyperus rotundus
ShatavariAsparagus racemosus
HaritakiTerminalia chebula
ShatahwaAnethum graveolens
KatukiPicrorhiza kurrooa
KacchuraCurcuma zedoaria
VasaAdhatoda vasica
Roots of CastorRicinus communis
DasamoolaTen roots

3. Brahmi Drakshadi Kashayam

Ref – Sahasrayogam, Parishishta Prakaranam, 6

4. Eranda Bilwadi Kashayam

Ref – Sahasrayogam, Parishishta Prakaranam, 68

IngredientsBotanical NameMethod of usingIndications
CastorRicinus communisThe decoction prepared with these ingredients should be served fresh with alkali, asafetida, rock salt and castor oil. 1. Pain in pelvic region, shoulder and shoulder girdle, back, region of heart, breasts & thighs. 
BilwaAegle marmelos
 Gmelina arborea
Brihati DwayaSolanum indicum & Solanum xanthocarpum
MatulungaCitrus medica
PashanabhedaBergenia ligulata
TrikatuPiper longum, Piper nigrum Zingiber officinale
MulakaRaphanus sativus

5. Shatavaryadi Kashayam

Ref – Sahasrayogam, Parishishta Prakaranam, 98

IngredientsBotanical NameMethod of usingIndications
ShatavariAsparagus racemosusPrepare decoction with the above mentioned herbs and divide it into two halves. Administer one half early in the morning with castor oil and rock salt and the second half in the evening, after meals / dinner with powder of cumin seeds and sugar.1. All types (80 types of) Vata disorders    
HaritakiTerminalia chebula
MustaCyperus rotundus
KacchuraCurcuma zedoaria
KatukarohiniPicrorhiza kurrooa
DevadaruCedrus deodara
RasnaPluchea lanceolata
CastorRicinus communis
BalaSida cordifolia
SaireyaBarleria prionitis
SatapushpaAnethum sowa
PunarnavaBoerhavia diffusa
BhunimbaAndrographis paniculata
DashamulaTen roots
VasaAdhatoda vasica

Other medicines from Sahasra Yoga Text book
Yogaraja guggulu
Kasturyadi gulika
Shuddhabala tailam
Kottamchukkadi Tailam
Balashwagandhadi tailam
Sahacharadi tailam
bala tailam
Kshirabala Tailam
Kshirabala Avarthava tailam
Dhanwantaram Tailam
Ketakyadi tailam
Chinchadi tailam
Prabhanjana vimardana tailam
Tintrini swarasadi tailam
Prasarini tailam
Pancha sneham
Chinchadi Lehyam
Sukumara Ghrita
Indukantam Ghrita
Panchatiktaka guggulu Ghrita


Wholesome diet and habits according to Yogaratnakara

Horsegram, blackgram, wheat, red rice, pointed gourd, drumstick, brinjol, pomegranate, falsa fruit, inspissated juice of the sugar-cane, ghee, milk, inspissated milk, dadhi kurchika, jujube fruit, grapes, betel chewing, salt, meat of sparrow, hen, peacock, partridge and animals of arid, desert-like land, shileendhra, parvata, nakra, gargara and khudisha types of fish etc. (according to the condition of the patient)

Unwholesome diet and habits according to Yogaratnakara

Worrying, being awake at night, suppressing the natural urges like urine, feces etc., vomiting, fatigue, fasting, bengal gram, peanut, powder of Barnyard millet, kuruvinda, nivara, Foxtailmillet, green gram, water from pond and river, Caper fruit, honey, astringent, pungent and bitter tastes, sexual intercourse, elephant and horse riding, sleeping on cot etc.
And for patients suffering from distention of abdomen and facial palsy – taking bath with unhygienic water, brushing the tooth etc.

Click to Consult Dr Raghuram Y.S. MD (Ayu)

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