Sweat – Importance, Formation, Disorders in Ayurveda (Sweda Mala)

By – Dr Renita D’Souza
We usually ignore the process of sweating unless it happens in excess and gives bad odor to the body. Today lets explore how this simple process of sweating influence skin texture, constitution of body to the definite signs of death.

Ayurveda mentions different substances that influences normal functioning of the body. Normal excretion of sweda is one among them.

Word meaning

Sweat is considered as swedha in Ayurveda. It is one among three waste matter of the body which are called as mala. Literally the word sveda is vapor.


What is swedana?
The process that causes sweating is known as swedana. Sweating is the process of excreting the toxins from skin pores in the form of sweat.
Read related – Sweating Treatment – Swedana Types And Methods – Charaka Samhita 14

Mala – ‘Malinikaranath malah’

The word mala means which cause intoxication. Stools, urine and sweat are considered as three waste products that has to be excreted out from the body regularly. In normalcy they sustain health but same  when gets contaminated can be hazardous to health.

Excess sweating symptoms(aa. hr. su 12 and su.su 15)

  • Dourghandhya – foul smell
  • Kandu – itching
  • Ati sweda – excess sweating


Reduced sweating symptoms

  • Stabdha Roma koopata – contracted sweat glands and ducts.
  • Twakshosha – dry skin
  • Sparsha Vaigunya – altered skin sensations
  • Sweada nasha – lack of sweat
  • Twak sputana – scaling of skin
  • Roma Chyuti – falling of hair


  • Abyanga – oil massage
  • Vyayama – exercise
  • Swedana – therapeutic sudation
  • Madya pana – use of alcoholic beverages
  • Swapna – sleep
  • Nivaatha sarana – living in non ventilated rooms

Read related – Why You Should Sweat – To Treat Disease, For Better Health

Panchabhautika composition of sweat

Bhanumathi on su. su 15/8 says

Jala – water element
Agni – fire element

Quantity of sweat formed in body

10 anjali. 1 Anjali is the amount of water that you can hold in your curved palm.

Amout of water loss per day

500 ml/day

Sweat formation and functioning of Doshas

Food is digested by particular digestive fire (pachaka pitta) . The moisture particles of digested food is supplied to meda dhatu (fat tissues) which excretes them through sweat glands. this process of excretion of sweat is carried out by Vyana vata.
Some part of sweat is derived directly from tissues, many fat tissue and some part of it is derived from the water content of food.

Relation of sweat with obesity

‘Malanaha sweadha medhaha’ – Waste product of fat tissue is sweat. Hence increase in fat tissue will increase sweating. Excess sweating is one among the 8 symptoms of obesity ().

Sweat and tridosha

Sweat is the site of pitta. (A. H Su 12/2). This is why Pitta people sweat more. When we are angry or excessively stressed, we sweat. When we go out on a sunny day, we sweat. All these increase Pitta Dosha in the body, leading to sweating.
On the contrary, sweating process decreases Kapha and Vata Dosha. Hence, Kapha and Vata body type persons do not sweat much, compared to Pitta body type person.


  • Kledha  vridhi  – moisturizes the skin
  • Saukumarya krit – make skin soft and smooth
  • Maintains body temperature – Pitta resides in sweat and blood. When ushna guna of pitta increases it raises the body temperature which is then maintained by excreting excess heat  from body through sweat.
  • Sweat eliminates the heat generated along with water soluble toxins present in blood, rasa, medha (fat tissues).

Read related – General Causes For Skin Diseases As Per Ayurveda


Sweat is considered as ap dhatu (water element of body)
Sweat, urine excretory channels and water carrying channels are considered as water balancing system of body. When these systems get contaminated they cause various diseases due to disturbed water balance.

Roots of channels used for excretion of sweat – Medha (fat tissue) and loma kupa (hair follices

Causes for vitiation

Causes for vitiation of sweat channels (cha. vi 5/22 and 11) 

  • Excess excessive
  • Excessive exposure to sun
  • Krodha – anger
  • Shoka – grief
  • Bhaya – fear
  • Sheetha ushna akrama sevanath – irrational use of cold and hot substance simultaneously.
  • Intake of hot food substances
  • Indigestion
  • Excess intake of water and dry food items
  • Suffering from excessive thirst
    Read related – Sensitive Skin: Diet Changes, Ayurvedic Remedies, Medicines


Symptoms of vitiation of channel of sweat

  • Aswedha – absence of perspiration
  • Ati sweda – excessive sweating
  • Ati parushya – roughness
  • Ati shlakshna angha – excessive sliminess of skin
  • Paridhaha – burning sensation all over body
  • Lomaharsha – horripilation


Fever treatment is adopted, mainly which cause sweating. During fever, as per Ayurveda, the digestion strength is reduced and the core heat of the body is shifted to periphery. This is corrected with bitter digestive herbs to improve digestion strength and to open up the body channels and sweat pores. This leads to sweating and relief from fever.


  • Skin diseases – psoriasis, sheethapita (urticaria), herpes, measles, dermatitis, dryness, scaling of skin etc
  • Sthoulya – obesity
  • Daha roga – burning sensation
  • Fever
  • Prameha – diabetes
  • Raktha pitta – bleeding disorders
  • Read related – Effective Obesity Treatment, Remedies And Ayurveda Tips

Body type based on sweating

  • Vatika – less sweating
  • Pittika – profuse sweating, foul smell
  • Kaphaja – less sweating

Sudation effects

Effect of therapeutic sudation on skin texture

Signs of in-curability based on sweating
Excessive sweating or its absence, without any appropriate


Sweating is a natural process of the body to let out excess heat and to cool down the body. But excessive sweating can be a sign of underlying disease. Excess sweating is called Hyperhidrosis. A research article published in Archives of dermatological research has stated that patients suffering with hyper-hidrosis is significantly higher than the previous estimate (1)

Another research done in Tokyo, stated the total body sweat rate responds to factors such as resting metabolic rate (RMR) and rectal temperature with a high correlation coefficient. It was concluded that the total body sweat rate can be used as a practical index for prescribing exercise. (2)

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