Smoothness Quality – Shlakshna – Meaning, Action, Therapeutic Uses

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

Shlakshna Guna means smoothness’ quality. It is present in some substances and those substances are said to be smooth in nature. 


Smoothness is one of the 20 gurvadi qualities. It is opposite to khara guna i.e. roughness quality. Smoothness and roughness are opposite qualities and are also mutually balancing. While smoothness causes healing while being pleasant to touch, roughness quality scrapes doshas and tissues while being harsh to touch.
Read – Dravya: Meaning, Ayurvedic Explanation

Smoothness is defined on basis of capability of foods, medicines and activities to produce healing effect in the body. Therefore, foods and medicines which heals damaged tissues, wounds and ulcers and induce smoothness in body parts are considered to have shlakshna guna i.e. smoothness quality.

Smoothness is antagonist to roughness quality. When roughness quality increases in the body leading to vata increase and destruction of tissues due to ‘scraping effect’ of roughness quality its antagonist quality i.e. smoothness quality should be administered. In these cases to prevent damage of the body, foods, medicines and treatments having smoothness quality and have the capacity to nullify the effects of excessive roughness or increased vata should be administered.
Read – How To Balance Vata Dosha? Line Of Treatment And Reasoning

Roughness is caused due to excessive increase of vata in the body. Smoothness is caused by increased kapha. Also, smoothness causes increase in kapha. Kapha is antagonistic to vata. Smoothness caused by kapha antagonizes and balances roughness caused by vata. When vata is thus taken under control by smoothness quality, roughness caused by vata too decreases. Thus, smoothness quality antagonizes the activity of roughness quality and makes the body parts smooth, and removes roughness. Apart from this, smoothness heals the bad effects of tissue damage and vata increase caused by increased roughness and reestablishes tissue health and integrity.
Read – Lifestyle, Food And Factors That Cause Increase Of Kapha Dosha

Salient features

Salient features of smoothness quality

Smoothness in terms of substances medicinal herbs and food substances –
Smoothness is a quality which can be perceived by touch. It is a feel when you touch a marble piece or a smooth surface of a gem. Inside body smoothness can be known through its action, i.e. its ability to heal injuries and damaged structures and cause smoothness of body parts after consumption of foods and medicines and treatments which have smoothness quality in them.

That which is pleasant and smooth to touch is called shlakshna guna, i.e. smoothness quality. Substances having this quality are said to be smooth.

यस्य रोपणे शक्तिः स श्लक्ष्णः।हेमाद्रि।

‘That which is capable of healing wounds, injuries and tissue damage is called shlakshna guna i.e. smoothness quality’
Read – Wound Healing – Ayurvedic Home Remedy For Wound Pain And Itching

Smoothness quality may be introduced or induced in body by administering medicines, food or activities having smoothness quality predominantly.

Elemental relationship

There are different opinions regarding elemental relationship of smoothness quality.

Master Sushruta has opined that this quality is rich in water element just like pichchila guna i.e. sliminess quality.

According to Charaka, it is rich in space element.

Nagarjuna is of opinion that this quality is made up of fire element.

But seeing the action of smoothness qualities, Sushruta’s opinion seems to be appropriate.

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

Effect on doshas

Smoothness quality increases kapha. Therefore it mitigates vata and also pitta to a level. Kapha naturally has smoothness quality. Owing to this quality, kapha induces smoothness in the body. Anything which increases smoothness also increases kapha. Similarly anything which increases kapha increases smoothness.

Vata has roughness as one of its qualities. Increase in vata produces increased roughness in the body. Too much of roughness developing in the body is also harmful to the body.
Read – Vata Increase Caused Due to Tissue Depletion: Dhatu kshaya

Roughness building up in the body acts in a similar way as that of clearness quality. Too much roughness causes scraping of tissues leading to tissue depletion. Tissue destruction will cause vata increase. This increased vata will further destroy tissues and also will hamper many activities in the body. In such conditions smoothness should be induced in the body by administration of foods, activities, medicines and therapies which has smoothness quality in them.

Smoothness being antagonistic to roughness reduces roughness and induces smoothness in these structures. Smoothness also increases kapha which is antagonistic to vata. This increased kapha and the smoothness quality will nullify hyper-activity of vata and also reduce roughness.

Effect on Tissues

Smoothness quality enhances tissues in a healthy way. This restores the tissues in terms of optimum quality and quantity. When opposite quality of smoothness i.e. roughness quality gets increased in the body, scrapes off tissues, depletes and damages the tissues, making body weak.
Read – Decrease Of Tissues – Dhatu Kshaya – Reasoning, Symptoms

Immunity which is dependent on healthy status and balance of tissues is also reduced. Person becomes susceptible to wide array of diseases. In these conditions, foods, medicines and therapies having smoothness quality should be administered to combat the bad effects of increased roughness and vata increase.

When smoothness increases beyond limits it increases kapha. When kapha increases beyond limits, it causes obstruction in channels of transportation of the body. This further leads to reduced nutrition to tissues and organs and decreased excretion of wastes from body.

This condition can be handled by administration of foods and medicines having roughness quality so that excessive smoothness could be handled. Roughness scrapes and removes stagnation caused by excessive smoothness and also destroys accumulated kapha. It also removes the piled up excessive tissues and excreta from body.

Smoothness quality is also anti-pitta and controls hyper-activity of pitta, apart from balancing vata. High pitta causes inflammation, burning sensation, suppuration and discharges. Softness quality controls these symptoms and conditions caused by high pitta.

Effect on Excreta

Smoothness makes excreta smooth, especially faeces. When faeces become smooth due to impact of smoothness quality, it is expelled with ease. This principle can be used to treat conditions like constipation.

Effect on systemic functions

श्लक्ष्णः पिच्छिलवत् ज्ञेयः।सु।

All systemic functions of smoothness quality are similar to sliminess quality. They are as explained below –

Smoothness is responsible for integrity of tissues and enables compactness of structures. Smoothness helps in healing damaged and worn out tissues. It also prevents damage of tissues and body components and is thus responsible for stability and endurance of body.

It removes excessive dryness and roughness from body. It is antagonistic to roughness and clearness quality.
Read – What is Ojas? How To Increase Ojas During Health And Disease?

Smoothness quality can be used to treat pathological manifestations caused due to excessive khara guna i.e. roughness quality and consequential increase of dryness in tissues and increased build up of vata. Thus it is beneficial in subsequent destruction of vata.

Smoothness, like sliminess, enables easy clearance of excreta. Smoothness increases kapha dosha in body. This kapha is antagonistic to vata. Even in this way, smoothness is used to treat high vata conditions.

Excessive increase of kapha due to excessive smoothness is also harmful. Increased kapha will cause obstructions and stagnation, slows down metabolism and other functions of the body. To counteract the effect of excessive smoothness quality, foods and medicines having khara guna i.e. roughness quality should be administered.

Effect of excessive consumption

If foods having smoothness quality are excessively consumed, it leads to kapha increase, excessive accumulation and stagnation, increased stickiness and subsequent blocks in tissues and channels of body.

Increased kapha further slows down body functions and builds up congestion and stagnation. Excessive smoothness may totally destroy its antagonist property in the body i.e. roughness which is essential for some important functions. Example – if roughness which is one of the qualities of vata is totally destroyed, it may lead to imbalance of vata. Many activities that are carried out by vata will be hampered. Bone tissue is rough in nature. If smoothness destroys roughness, bones would become brittle. Subsequently, the support of body will be lost.   

Examples of foods and medicines having smoothness quality

  • Dugdha – milk etc.

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