By Dr Raghuram Y.S. MD (Ay) & Dr Manasa, B.A.M.S
Doshas are responsible for all activities happening in body. Excretion of metabolic wastes too is effectively handled by doshas.
When doshas are in a state of equilibrium, they excrete body wastes from time to time. But when same doshas are imbalanced, they become responsible for stagnation of excreta in body and toxins in cells. These stagnated excreta and toxins cause many systemic disorders in body.
Read – Tri Malas – The Three Major Waste Matters Of Body
Doshas – excretory system
Excreta are called mala in Ayurveda. There are two types of excreta.
Sthula Malas – They are excreta produced in body in large quantity. They are of three types.
They are produced in form of small quantity of excreta in eyes, ears, nose and throat. They are expelled by respective organs which produce them on regular basis.
In this context we shall only discuss about three main excreta produced in larger quantities as related to doshas.
Read – Diseases Caused Due To Waste Products – Mala Pradoshaja Rogas
There are two different opinions about process of formation and excretion of excreta.
Initial waste formation
1. Process of formation of excreta begins in small intestine by action of pachaka pitta, apana vata helps in excretion of wastes
Food which we consume is partly digested in stomach. Food is later propelled towards small intestine. A type of pitta is said to be located between stomach and colon. This is called pachaka pitta. Pachaka means ‘that which digests food’. Thus, pachaka pitta is food digesting pitta.
We know that pitta is representation
of fire element in body. This pitta not only digests food completely but also
bifurcates food into four components. Thus, after digestion of food by pachaka
pitta, below mentioned byproducts are formed in small intestine, duodenum to be
They are –
- Food juices, essence of digested food
Doshas support their respective doshas. Food juices are put into circulation and nourish body. Urine and Feces are considered as excreta. They also support their counterparts in body i.e. urine supports urine and feces supports feces.
Read – Stool Examination In Ayurveda
Avashtambha is said to be main function of feces.
Avastambha has two meanings.
In normal conditions, it supports feces and also body. When disturbed, feces cause obstruction. Thus, feces either support or disturb the body. This rule is also applicable to other excreta.
As already mentioned, excreta formed after digestion of food supports urine, feces and sweat in the body. This means that quantity of these three excreta increases. When they become excess they create pressure and are eliminated out of body.
Since they are regularly excreted and lost, they need to be replaced. They are replaced when they get support of excreta formed after digestion of ‘next consumed food’. This is a cyclic process and should happen in an uninterrupted way if body needs to be healthy.
Read – Understanding Digestion Process From An Ayurveda View
This explanation pertains to formation of all three types of excreta, including sweat.
We also have a reference that sweat is also formed as excreta of digested food.
Useful essence of food is called rasa. It nourishes body. Waste part which gets separated from useful part after digestion of food is called kitta or mala, excreta. Excreta nourish and support sweat, urine and feces. Sweat is also formed as excreta of fat tissue during fat metabolism.
Read – Rasa Dhatu: Definition, Formation, Circulation, Imbalance Diseases, Treatment
What happens next?
Feces reach colon. Here, formation of feces is completed, remaining essence and water present in feces is absorbed, feces is rendered hard and dry and later excreted by action of apana vata.
Similarly, urine is carried to urinary bladder and voided out by action of apana vata.
Sweat is carried to skin through sweat carrying channels and is excreted by action of vyana vata.
How can excreta support body?
It is not essential that something should stay in body to support it. By getting eliminated out of body from time to time, excreta support body and help it to be clean and healthy. Just like mischievous students help equilibrium of classroom by being out of classroom.
Read – Excessive Sweating: Ayurvedic Medicines, Home Remedies, Tips
Feces in colon
2. Formation of feces in colon by action of apana vayu
A reference from Sushruta Shaareera explains that layers that hold, form and bifurcate excreta are located in colon. This is called purishadhara or maladhara kala.
These membranes are functional components of formation and segregation of excreta. Excreta forming apparatus is precisely said to be located in unduka i.e. caecum, first part of colon.
Process can be explained thus. Waste products of digestion i.e. excreta reaches caecum. Here excreta is bifurcated into three components i.e. feces, urine and sweat. Feces moves ahead into colon wherein it is subjected to shoshyamana vahni or ‘dryness causing fire’ located in colon. Due to these actions, feces will gain solid form after getting devoid of liquidity; water portion being absorbed by large intestine, and due to prevailing pungent environment, vata is formed.
Read – Understanding Agni: Concept, Definition, Functions, Types
This vata supports all types of vata in the body. Feces are completely formed here and are excreted with help of apana vata. Same apana vata helps in excretion of urine through urinary bladder. Sweat passes through sweat carrying channels to skin and gets eliminated. This happens due to proper synchronization of apana vata and vyana vata.
Impact of imbalance of pachaka pitta and apana vata on excretory system
When pachaka pitta and apana vata are disturbed many pathological manifestations related to formation and excretion of feces, urine and sweat occurs.
When digestive pitta is hyperactive, it burns food instead of digesting it. In this instance, excreta are formed in lesser proportion. As a result, there is less excretion.
Read – Why You Should Sweat – To Treat Disease, For Better Health
When pachaka pitta, excreta forming membranes in caecum and apana vata in colon function below par, excreta are not formed properly and to their fullest. Process slows down. There is upward pressure created in upper gastrointestinal tract. Vata moves upwards.
Consequently it leads to
incomplete evacuation and many related illnesses.
It also leads to manifestation of many systemic disorders. Apana vata will be eventually disturbed.
Dysfunction of apana vata and pachaka pitta leads to many disorders like constipation, diarrhea,
irritable bowel syndrome,
distension of abdomen,
urinary retention or excessive urination,
loss of sweating,
skin disorders, sexual disorders etc.