Sharpness Quality – Teekshna Meaning, Action, Therapeutic Uses

By Dr Raghuram Y.S. MD (Ay) & Dr Manasa B.A.M.S

Teekshna Guna means ‘sharpness’ quality. Substance which has this quality are said to be sharp in nature. 


Sharpness is one of the qualities included in 20 gurvadi qualities. It is opposite to dullness quality i.e. manda guna. Sharpness and dullness qualities are mutually opposite. At the same time, they also balance each other.

Sharpness is defined on the basis of the quickness and intensiveness with which things work and on the ability of things to cause cleansing and expulsion of materials in the body. Foods and medicines which work quickly and expel the morbid doshas are said to be rich in sharpness quality.

Excessive dullness is harmful to the body since it slows down many activities of the body and mind. To combat excessive dullness and ill-effects caused by abnormal increase in dullness quality, medicines, foods and activities which induce sharpness in the body should be administered.

Dullness is naturally caused by increased kapha in the body. Sharpness increases pitta. Pitta increased by sharpness quality will act against kapha and keeps it under control. Similarly it also keeps vata under control.

Similarly, heat in the environment, aggressive nature and anger will increase pitta and hence the sharpness quality. The increased sharpness and pitta would keep the kapha under control. Sharpness is thus opposite and antagonistic to kapha and dullness quality.

Important features

Salient features of sharpness quality

Sharpness in terms of substances medicinal herbs and food substances Sharpness quality cannot be perceived by touch sensation.

यस्य शोधने शक्तिः स तीक्ष्णः।हेमाद्रि।

‘That which has capacity and strength to expel doshas and waste substance is called teekshna guna i.e. sharpness quality’

Sharpness quality may be introduced in the body by administering medicines, food or activities having dullness quality predominantly.

Elemental relationship

Sharpness is a natural quality present in fire element. Likewise, sharpness is predominantly made up of fire element. We can see that fire element is basically sharp, intense and deep penetrating in nature. Due to this sharpness, materials having this quality are fast acting and make quick impact. Medicines and foods rich in fire element will naturally tend to act quickly in the body and induce sharpness.

Effect on doshas

तीक्ष्णं पित्तकरं प्रायो लेखनं कफवातहृत्।भा.प्र।

Dullness quality increases pitta dosha and mitigates kapha and vata doshas. Kapha is naturally dull and slow acting in nature. Sharpness is opposite to kapha and its quality, especially dullness. Hence it mitigates kapha.

On the other hand, sharpness quality increases pitta. Pitta is antagonistic to qualities of kapha. Thus, pitta increased by sharpness quality controls hyper-activity of kapha and also helps in controlling the diseases and symptoms caused by vitiated kapha and vata.

Effect on Tissues

Sharpness quality depletes the tissues. It scrapes off tissues and causes thinning of body. Kapha is basic nurturing dosha in the body. Most tissues of the body belong to kapha group.

Kapha group tissues are rich in dullness quality. Tissues contributing to the bulk and stoutness of the body are fat and muscle tissues. These tissues also belong to the kapha group. The tissue which nurtures the entire body i.e. rasa tissue too is a kapha group tissue.

Sharpness quality increases pitta. Pitta being sharp and intense in nature, and being antagonist to kapha and kapha group of tissues, depletes them by the virtue of its sharpness quality, subduing the dullness quality of kapha and kapha group of tissues. When these tissues get diminished, the body mass and bulk is lost. Since rasa tissue is also destroyed the tissues do not get sufficient nutrition. The effect of all these events is manifestation of emaciation and loss of tissues.

Effect on Excreta

Since sharpness quality is defined on basis of its capacity to expel the morbid doshas, excreta and toxins out of the body. Medicines used in therapeutic emesis and purgation procedures are rich in sharpness quality. Emetics remove the doshas predominant in kapha through the oral route and purgatives remove doshas predominant in pitta dosha from anal route.

Effect on systemic functions

दाहपाककरः तीक्ष्णः स्रावणः।सुश्रुत।

Due to its ability to cause actions in quick time, sharpness quality is agitating in nature. It flares up certain activities in the body including metabolic processes.

Excessive sharpness also aggravates pitta and pitta in turn causes flare up of some activities in the body. As a result heat and consequent inflammation increases in the body. All these events lead to increased burnouts, inflammation, suppuration and discharges in various parts of the body and from various orifices, including skin pores.

If sharpness quality is in a state of balance, it depicts that pitta is also in balance. Balanced pitta and sharpness qualities help the body in conducting its activities, chiefly the metabolic events to happen effortlessly.

When kapha and kapha induced dullness increases beyond limitations, they cause metabolic slow-down. This leads to decreased digestion, formation of ama and consequent block of multiple channels of the body. This causes deficit supply of nutrients, oxygen and essential elements to tissues and organs. This also hampers the expulsion of morbid doshas, toxins and excreta.

When medicines and food having richness of sharpness quality are administered in the form of interventions, they help in warding off the ill-effects of kapha and manda quality increase.

Effect of excessive consumption

If sharpness quality foods are consumed in excess, it leads to increased metabolism, increased digestion, burnouts, inflammatory diseases, burning sensation, discharges and many diseases of pitta increase. This quality causes destruction of tissues and leads to emaciation. Loss of tissues leads to less strength and immunity.


Examples of foods and medicines having dullness quality

  • Mustard seed, mustard oil, most of the spices such as long pepper, black pepper
  • Bhallataka – Semecarpus anacardium
  • Jayapala – Croton tiglium

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