Softness Quality – Mrudu Meaning, Action On Doshas, Therapeutic Uses

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

Mrudu Guna means ‘softness’ quality. Substance which has this quality is said to be soft in nature.
Read – Dravya: Meaning, Ayurvedic Explanation

Softness (Mridu) is one of the 20 gurvadi qualities. It is opposite to kathina guna i.e. hardness quality. Softness and hardness are opposite qualities and are also mutually balancing. While softness makes the body parts soft, hardness makes them hard and tough.


Softness (Mrudu) is defined on basis of the capability of foods, medicines and activities to induce softness and laxity in body parts. Therefore, foods and medicines which cause softness and laxity in body parts are considered as having softness quality.
Read – Rasa Panchaka – 5 Qualities Of Substance (Dravya)

Hardness is caused due to excessive increase of vata in the body. Softness is caused by increased kapha. Also, softness causes increase in kapha. Kapha is antagonistic to vata. Softness caused by kapha antagonizes hardness caused by vata. Thus, softness quality antagonizes the activity of hardness quality and makes the body parts soft, and removes the hardness.
Read – Symptoms Of Vata Dosha Increase And Imbalance – Vata Vruddhi Lakshana

Salient features

Salient features of softness quality

Softness in terms of substances medicinal herbs and food substances –
Softness is a quality which can be perceived by touch. Inside the body softness can be known through its action, i.e. its ability to produce softness of body parts after consumption of foods and medicines and treatments which have softness quality in them.

मांस शोणित मेदो मज्जा हृन् नाभि यकृत् प्लीहा अन्त्र गुद प्रभृतीनि मृदूनि।सु.शा.३।

Softness quality is that which feels soft and loose on touch. Structures muscle, blood, fat, bone marrow, heart, navel, liver, spleen, intestine, anus etc are soft and loose on touch.
Read – Pratyaksha Pramana: Knowledge Perception Through Sense Organs

यस्य श्लथने शक्तिः स मृदुः।हेमाद्रि।

‘That which produces softness and looseness of body parts is mrdu guna i.e. softness quality’

Softness quality may be induced in body by administering medicines, food or activities having softness quality predominantly.

Elemental relationship

मार्दवं आन्तरिक्षं आप्यं च।र.वै.३/११५।

Softness quality is related to water and space elements. Therefore softness quality is formed by the combination of water and ether elements.

Medicines and foods rich in water and ether elements will naturally induce softness in body parts.
Read – Relationship Between Doshas And Basic Elements (Pancha Mahabhuta)

Effect on doshas

Softness quality increases kapha and mitigates vata and pitta doshas. Kapha naturally has softness quality. Kapha induces softness and anything which increases softness increases kapha.
Read – Understand Kapha Dosha By Its Functions

Vata has hardness property. Increase in vata produces increased hardness and toughness in the body. Example – if vata increases in muscles, the softness being produced by the kapha located in the muscles, the muscles lose their softness and gain hardness, like in fibrosis of muscles.

The contraction and relaxation of muscles doesn’t take place easily and many functions of skeleton and visceral organs are hampered. In such conditions softness should be induced in body by administration of foods, activities, medicines and therapies which has softness quality in them.
Read – Symptoms Of Vata Dosha Increase And Imbalance – Vata Vruddhi Lakshana

Effect on Tissues

Laxity and looseness of tissues is associated with softness. When this quality is in a state of balance, tissues are good and healthy. When this quality increases, it creates excessive laxity and looseness of tissues.

Excessive laxity of tissues means less support to the body. It also increases kapha. Increased kapha makes up for additional laxity of tissues. This condition can be handled by administration of foods and medicines having hardness quality so that excessive softness could be handled.
Read – Dhatu – 7 Body Tissues As Explained In Ayurveda

Softness quality is also anti-pitta and controls the hyper-activity of pitta like it controls vata imbalances. High pitta causes inflammation, burning sensation, suppuration and discharges. Softness quality controls the conditions caused by high pitta.

Effect on Excreta

Softness makes excreta loose. This makes excretion easy. This quality in the form of foods and medicines rich in softness quality can be administered to make the stools soft in conditions like constipation.
Read – Tri Malas – The Three Major Waste Matters Of Body

Effect on systemic functions

Softness quality can be used to nullify ill-effects of excessive hardness in the body parts and induces softness. Example – in conditions like arthritis, tight muscles and muscle spasm etc

Internal oleation and external treatments like herbal oil massage etc are administered to induce softness in the muscles and soft tissues. It also enhance range of movements which were reduced due to increased hardness. The medicines used have softness quality. It is also used to induce softness in the excreta, make them loose and easy to excrete. Therefore it can be used in treatment of constipation and hard bowel.

Softness quality is used to control vata and treat vata disorders wherein stiffness and hardness of body parts are the symptoms. Similarly softness quality can be used to control inflammation and burning sensation caused by increased pitta. This is possible due to the vata-pitta mitigating action of softness quality.

Softness increases kapha in the body. Kapha provides strength and endurance.
Read – Kapha Increase Symptoms – Kapha Vruddhi Lakshana

Excessive softness causes looseness of tissues leading to loss of integrity and stability in body. To counteract the effect of excessive softness quality, foods and medicines having hardness quality should be administered.

Effect of excessive consumption

If foods having softness quality are excessively consumed, it leads to looseness and flaccidity of muscles and other tissues. As a result there will be less strength and tolerance power. There will be increase in kapha which subsequently causes kapha disorders. Increased softness causes excessive elimination of excreta, mainly faeces. This may cause diseases like diarrhoea, dysentery etc.


Examples of foods and medicines having softness quality

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