By Dr Raghuram Y.S. MD (Ay) & Dr Manasa B.A.M.S
Slow acting or dullness is explained as Manda in Ayurveda. The substance in which it is present is said to be dull in nature.
Read – Substances, Qualities, Action – 9 Ashtanga Hrudaya Sutrasthana
Dullness is one of the qualities included in 20 gurvadi qualities. It is opposite to sharpness quality i.e. teekshna guna. Dullness and sharpness qualities are mutually antagonists and balancing qualities. Dullness is defined on the basis of the slowness with which things work. Foods and medicines which work slowly and pacify the doshas over period of time are called manda dravya.
Read – Dravya: Meaning, Ayurvedic Explanation
At times due to the sharpness or fast acting medicines and foods or life activities, there is increased sharpness in the body. Excessive sharpness is harmful and damaging to all tissues and health. To combat this excessive sharpness, foods, medicines and activities which induce dullness in the body are administered. Sharpness is naturally caused by increased pitta in the body. Increasing kapha naturally keeps sharpness under control. Similarly sleep naturally decreases sharpness. Kapha and sleep naturally increase dullness, which is antagonistic to sharpness in the body.
Salient features of dullness quality
Dullness in terms of medicinal herbs and food substances – Dullness is a quality which can be known by the virtue of its action. It cannot be perceived by touch sensation.
Read – How Knowledge Is Gained Through Sense Organs?
‘That which works very slowly and in milder form is called manda guna i.e. dullness quality’
‘That which, on entering the body, pacifies the aggravated doshas and balances them is called manda guna i.e. dullness quality’
Dullness quality may be induced in the body by administering medicines, food or activities having dullness quality predominantly. Read – Are Doshas Substances Or Energies?
Dullness is a natural quality present in earth and water elements. Likewise, dullness quality is made up of predominance of earth and water elements. We can see that earth and water are basically heavy in nature. Due to this heaviness they are also dull and slow acting. Medicines and foods rich in earth and water elements will naturally tend to act slowly in the body and induce dullness.
Read – Relationship Between Doshas And Basic Elements (Pancha Mahabhuta)
Effect on doshas
Dullness quality increases kapha dosha and mitigates pitta and vata doshas. Pitta is naturally sharp and penetrating in nature. Vata is quick moving in nature. Dullness is opposite to these qualities and hence mitigates pitta and vata.
Read – Lifestyle, Food And Factors That Cause Increase Of Kapha Dosha
On the other hand, dullness quality increases kapha. Kapha is antagonistic to qualities of pitta and vata. Kapha increased by dullness quality controls hyper-activity of pitta and vata and also helps in controlling the diseases and symptoms caused by vitiated pitta and vata.
Effect on Tissues
Dullness quality increases the tissues and makes the body bulky and stout. Since dullness increases kapha, the kapha being nurturing in nature enables tissue build up. The quality and quantity of tissues increase on administration of dullness quality and subsequent increase of kapha. Most of the body tissues belong to the kapha group; hence dullness contributes to increase of kapha and kapha group of tissues. Muscle and fat tissues determine much of the bulk of the body and both these tissues belong to the kapha group of tissues. When kapha increases, these tissues naturally increase following the rule of similarity.
Read – Dhatu – 7 Body Tissues As Explained In Ayurveda
Effect on Excreta
Dullness quality doesn’t facilitate to the easy elimination of excreta. Though dullness is predominant in earth and water elements and by nature it should produce gravity enabling easy excretion of excreta, it doesn’t contribute to easy elimination. This is owing to its slow nature. Since the process is slow, excretion of waste products of the body seems difficult and time taking.
Read – Diseases Caused Due To Waste Products – Mala Pradoshaja Rogas
Effect on systemic functions
Dullness quality slows down the process of digestion, metabolism, excretion and distribution of nutrients. In spite of that dullness doesn’t cause any harm to the system. In fact it enables slow and sustained functioning owing to predominance of kapha increase caused by dullness quality. If kapha is excessively increased due to too much dullness, the things may slow down to great proportions. This may pose threat to smooth functioning of the body. In these cases, medicines and foods and activities which are antagonistic to the dullness quality i.e. rich in sharpness quality should be administered.
This quality also endows one with immense strength, endurance and tolerance power since dullness increases the quality and quantity of tissues.
Read – Kapha Increase Symptoms – Kapha Vruddhi Lakshana
Below mentioned are also dull in nature and quality –
- Foods predominantly having , bitter and astringent tastes
- Madhura vipaka – sweet post-digestion effect, first stage of digestion of food is also dull in nature
- Sheeta veerya – cold potency
Effect of excessive consumption
If dullness quality foods are consumed in excess, it leads to sluggish metabolism, slowing down of digestion of food, absorption, distribution and utilisation, delayed elimination of waste products of the body and slowing down of thought process, memory and judgement power. It also causes lethargy, laziness and low mood, including depression. All physical activities and functions of organs and tissues get dull and slow. This makes the body susceptible to many diseases.
Examples of foods and medicines having dullness quality Curd, jackfruit, Bang – Marijuana.