Drava Guna (Liquidity) – Meaning, Action On Doshas, Therapeutic Uses

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

Drava Guna means liquidity quality. It is present in some substances and those substances are said to be liquid in nature. 

Liquidity meaning

Liquidity is one of the 20 gurvadi qualities. It is opposite to saandra guna i.e. solidity quality. Fluidity and solidity are opposite qualities and are also mutually balancing. Liquidity quality is subtle and fine and hence spreads all through the body. It is responsible for flow of substances. It causes dampness and dissolution of materials in it.
Read – Dravya: Meaning, Ayurvedic Explanation

It makes the liquid tissues of the body i.e. lymph, blood and semen and liquid excreta i.e. urine and sweat to flow in an uninterrupted way and thus maintains their flow and balance. Solidity, on the other hand, being bulky and stable would soothe the organs and tissues in the body and has a calming and healing effect.

Liquidity is defined on the basis of the capability of foods, medicines and activities which being subtle and fine in nature tends to flow freely and move in all parts of the body in an uninterrupted way. This quality has the capacity to drip through, dissolve, liquefy, moisten things, circulate, ooze and flow in the body.
Read – Dhatu – 7 Body Tissues As Explained In Ayurveda

By balancing and increasing the tissues, liquidity contributes to the stability, integrity and strength of the body. Liquidity contributes to fluid balance which is very much essential for comprehensive health. Being subtle and fine, liquidity induces the same qualities in the body. It enables free flow of plasma, blood, semen, nutritional juices and water in their respective channels of transportation.

The entire circulation and excretory system, especially the mechanisms of voiding urine and expelling sweat is under the control of liquidity quality.

Liquidity is antagonist to solidity quality. They share some common qualities in terms of bestowing some good and healthy features to the body. When solidity increases in the body, it causes increase of solid tissues like muscles, fat, marrow and bone. In this aspect there is no opposite nature in relation to the solidity quality. Liquidity causes increase in liquid tissues.
Read – Benefits And Usage of Water As per Ayurveda: Complete Compilation

Both solidity and liquidity qualities increase kapha. Liquidity also increases pitta. Increase in solidity quality causes unnecessary build up of tissues and accumulation of excreta in the channels of the body due to increased kapha. Liquidity, when administered in the form of foods and medicines will soften the stagnated tissues and flushes them, thus relieving blocks and stagnation in the body.

Owing to its fineness and subtleness, liquidity causes permeability. This allows things to move freely from one place to the other, including cells and smallest of channels. Owing to its property of dissolution, liquidity, not only flows from one place to another but also gets seeped into the tissues. It also dissolves things in it and thus acts as a carrier.
Read – Benefits Of Drinking Hot Water, Contra Indications

Liquidity would bestow these good virtues in the body when administered in the form of foods, medicines and treatments comprising liquidity quality. These substances would increase liquidity in the body and antagonize the effects of excessive solidity. It would check the excessive accumulation of things in the body and would flush them out relieving the stagnation.

Both, liquidity and solidity are caused by increased kapha in the body. Liquidity also increases kapha in the body. Excessive increase in liquidity leads to abnormal increase in kapha. This kapha causes blocks in the body channels leading to stagnation of unnecessary materials which are harmful for the body. To counteract this effect of fluid buildup in the body tissues and channels, foods and medicines which are rich in solidity quality should be administered.

At the same time, increased solidity will cause more stagnation and consolidation in the body channels and cause many diseases mainly due to accumulation of unwanted wastes and tissues in the body. In these conditions, the antagonistic quality of solidity i.e. liquidity should be administered to counteract the bad effects of increased solidity and to enable easy flow and expulsion of wastes from the body.
Read – Atisara – Diarrhoea symptoms, Causes, Treatment

Since liquidity and kapha increased by this quality are antagonistic to vata, this quality can be utilized to counteract hyperactivity of vata, and cure vata disorders. On the other hand, excessive increase of liquidity will flush out excess water out of the body and increase vata.
Read – Substances, Qualities, Action – 9 Ashtanga Hrudaya Sutrasthana

Liquidity in herbs, food

Liquidity in terms of substances, medicinal herbs and food substances –
Liquidity is a quality which can be perceived by touch. It is a feel when we touch the water or any other liquid substance. Any liquid in fact possesses liquidity quality. Thus, liquidity can be perceived through eyes. Inside the body, its effects can be appreciated through its actions. Actions of increased liquidity can be perceived in the form of increased kapha and pitta activities and related symptoms in the body.

When liquidity is balanced, the functions of the body are not hampered. The actions of liquidity can also be appreciated by its capacity to destroy excessive solidity, inducing liquidity in the tissues and excreta which have become more solid and liquefying things. Thus, it prevents solidification of body components leading to congestion. This can be contributed to the mutually balancing effect of pitta and kapha over each other.
Read – Constipation Causes, Ayurvedic Treatment, Home Remedies

सान्द्रः स्थूलः स्याद् बन्धकारकः।सु।

That which is subtle and perforate everywhere and in everything is called drava guna i.e. liquidity quality. That which is responsible for flow of things is called liquidity or is said to possess liquidity quality.

यस्य प्रसादने शक्तिः स सान्द्रः।हेमाद्रि।

‘That which has the capacity of producing wetness in the body, to spread and move everywhere, causes dissolution and mixes easily with everything is called drava guna i.e. liquidity quality’

Liquidity quality may be introduced or induced in the body by administering medicines, food or activities having liquidity quality predominantly.
Read – Qualities Of Vata, Pitta and Kapha Dosha – Easy Explanation

Elemental relationship

Liquidity is predominantly formed from water element. The water element too has liquidity quality in it.

Kapha dosha is made up of water element. Likewise water also takes part in the formation of pitta dosha. Therefore, liquidity quality which is made up of and is dependent on the water element also increases kapha dosha in the body. It partly increases pitta also.
Read – Panchamahabhuta: Application, Areas of Utility in Ayurveda treatment

Water element is liquid in nature. Therefore it is unstable and tends to flow and move easily from one place to the other. When obstructed, liquidity can become stable until it is released. Example, water bound by a dam or milk stored in a vessel.

Liquidity will have gravity, just like water element. We would have observed that the water element or any other liquids would have free flow, percolating nature, getting seeped into things, gravitates and flushes things. The water element bestows the same qualities to the liquidity quality.
Read – Relationship of Water Element With Doshas And Lifespan

Due to the presence of water element, liquidity quality moves easily in the body. Metabolism influenced by liquidity may be quick or slow depending on whether it increases pitta or kapha respectively. When liquidity predominantly increases kapha, metabolism will be slow and when it predominantly increases pitta, metabolism will be comparably quicker.

Since liquidity invariable increases both kapha and pitta in varied proportions, both doshas being predominant in liquidity, it causes flow and propulsion of things in comparison to solidity which causes obstruction. Therefore liquidity, being antagonistic to solidity, is used to relieve the blocks caused by increased solidity.  

In a state of balance, liquidity helps in formation of liquid tissues and maintains their balance and integrity.
Read – Relationship Between Doshas And Basic Elements (Pancha Mahabhuta)

Effect on doshas

Liquidity quality increases kapha and pitta and mitigates vata. Since kapha and pitta, both have water elements as a part of their composition, they naturally carry liquidity quality with them. Thus, kapha and pitta induce liquidity in the body.
Read – Understand Pitta Dosha By Its Functions

When they are increased beyond desired proportions, they tend to increase liquidity in the body. Anything which increases liquidity in the body increases kapha and pitta. Similarly anything which increases kapha and pitta in the body will eventually increase liquidity in the body.

Excessive loss of liquidity in the body will lead to deficit dampness. This will lead to increase of dryness and roughness in the body which will lead to increase of vata.
Read – Symptoms Of Vata Dosha Increase And Imbalance – Vata Vruddhi Lakshana

Liquidity represents the water portion in the body which is nurturing and nutritive to tissues and organs. When liquidity quality is in a state of balance, it nurtures the tissues and organs, keeps the channels wet and enables free flow of substances within the body. Thus, liquidity contributes towards a balanced state in the body.
Read – Lifestyle Tips For Healthy People And Patients In Ayurveda

Effect on Tissues

Like solidity, liquidity also increases the tissues in a healthy way when it is in a state of balance. Liquidity mainly increases the liquid tissues of the body. They include lymph, blood and semen tissues. Among these, the lymph and blood are very essential for smooth running of all the body activities, they are nutritive and enliving for tissues and organs. They are also responsible for formation of other tissues and keeping them in balance.

Semen helps in reproduction. All these tissues should be in a state of balance. If the liquidity portion of these tissues becomes less, they tend to get solidified.
Read – Involvement Of Doshas In Formation Of Organs

When lymph solidifies, body channels get blocked and the tissues do not get sufficient nutrition. Similarly if the blood solidifies, it forms clots and obstructs the circulatory apparatus. Clots cause tissue damages and disorders like stroke, heart attack etc.

Solidification of semen leads to seminal calculi and obstruction to formation and passage of semen. This further leads to impotence, sterility, and other sexual disorders.

Increase of liquidity in plasma and blood will cause increase in blood pressure and increased liquidity in semen will cause premature ejaculation. Lymph and semen belong to kapha category and blood is related to pitta. Drava guna i.e. liquidity quality in a state of balance will increase kapha and pitta in a healthy way. This will keep these doshas and their related tissues in a state of balance.

Liquidity, in a state of balance will keep vata under control and doesn’t allow its hyperactivity. Thus, it prevents destruction of tissues which could likely be caused by increased vata. This also can be attributed to the kapha and pitta increasing tendency of liquidity quality, kapha being antagonistic and vata mitigating in nature.
Read – How To Balance Vata Dosha? Line Of Treatment And Reasoning

When abnormally increased and out of balance, liquidity quality increases kapha and pitta to pathological proportions. This increased kapha and pitta hampers metabolism at both gut and tissue levels and leads to formation of ama and immature nutrition juices. This will eventually lead to formation of immature tissues and increased liquidity in all tissues which is harmful to the body in long run. It also causes metabolic errors, excessive liquefaction of tissues and excessive outflow of tissues and excreta.

Though kapha increase should cause more congestion and blocks, the relative imbalance of pitta and kapha following increase in liquidity in abnormal ways will lead to overflow rather than obstruction and congestion. This leads to depletion of protective tissues and also excessive discharge of wastes leading to proportional imbalance in the body which paves way for many pathological conditions.
Read – Vata Increase Caused Due to Tissue Depletion: Dhatu kshaya

When solidity increases, the body tends to accumulate more things. There is stagnation occurring at different parts of the body which will hamper the smooth running of body functions. Things will slow down, kapha will increase and cause congestion, flow of liquid tissues will be hampered, there will be block in channels, excreta will not be expelled properly and all these events eventually lead to manifestation of many diseases. Therefore, the body needs to have a balance of solidity and liquidity.

Effect on Excreta

Liquidity increases the liquid excreta i.e. urine and sweat and enables easy excretion of these wastes from the body. This would keep the body clean and healthy. This property is exactly opposite to that of solidity quality which causes solidification of excreta, mainly faeces.
Read – Tri Malas – The Three Major Waste Matters Of Body

When liquidity increases beyond limits, it causes excessive expulsion of urine and sweat from the body which is harmful for the body.

Effect on systemic functions

Liquidity, as a principle can be used to treat pathological conditions caused by increased accumulation of unwanted tissues and wastes due to increased solidity and increased kapha.

Liquidity antagonizes the bad effects of increased solidity in the body. Increased solidity accumulates wastes and excreta in excessive proportions, mainly feces and leads to constipation and other related pathological conditions. Too much accumulation of waste excreta and tissues in the body is harmful and damaging to the body since it meddles with smooth functioning of tissues and organs by producing congestion in many channels of transportation of the body. Liquidity quality antagonizes these consequences caused by increased solidity quality and restores balance in the body.  
Read – Diseases Caused Due To Waste Products – Mala Pradoshaja Rogas

Similarly, liquidity helps in formation of liquid tissues in a healthy way and maintains the fluid levels of tissues and keeps them in balance. It restores the tissues which have been damaged and destroyed by increased vata in the body. Also, liquidity increases kapha and pitta, which are antagonistic dosha for vata. Thus, in a state of balance, liquidity is helpful in calming vata.

Liquidity provides strength and stability to the body by maintaining the fluid levels of the body and keeping the body tissues in optimum hydration which is essential for all functions to happen properly in the body, for the shocks to be absorbed and to prevent wear and tear. It is nourishing and replenishing to the tissues and provides the essential hydration. All these events help in restoring health and immunity of the body.

Excessive increase of kapha and pitta caused due to increased liquidity in the body is also not conducive for health and is in fact harmful to the tissues and channels of the body. The relative imbalance between increased pitta and kapha will lead to excessive loss of fluidity leading to dehydration and related disorders. This may also cause diseases like diarrhea, vomiting, dysentery, increased bleeding, premature ejaculation, increased urination and sweating.

Effect of excessive consumption

When foods having liquidity are excessively consumed, they lead to increased fluidity in the body increasing the dampness of the body. Kapha and pitta, especially by means of their liquid portions will gain abnormal increase and hamper metabolism, apart from causing excessive loss of fluids, liquid tissues and excreta leading to excessive dehydration and related complications. Excessive liquidity will also cause diseases like diarrhea etc. Excessive liquidity may also totally destroy its antagonist property in the body i.e. solidity which is essential for many body functions. 

Examples

Examples of foods and medicines having liquidity quality

  • water, cow urine, sugarcane juice, milk etc

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