What are the Tridoshas?
According to Ayurveda, the basic constituents of human body are
These are called Tridosha or three Humors.Tridoshas influence in all movements, all transformations, all sensory functions, and many of the other activities in the human body and mind.
Definitions in Ayurvedic treatises-
"Shareera dushanat dosha - dhatavo deha dharanat
Vata pitta kapam scheya - malini karanat mala: " Sa/ Pu/ 5
"Vayu: pittam kaphashcheti - trayo dosha samasata:
Vikurta'vikurta deham - ghnanti te vartayanticha" A.h/ Su /1
Tridoshas are the three fundamental principles that sustain and regulate all physiologic functions of the body. Imbalance of Tridoshas causes impairment of normal physiological function- "disease".
Elemental Composition of the three doshas:
The physical characteristics of Vata are; light, dry, mobile, cold, abundant, rough, swift etc.
Vata dosha is the most important of the three doshas. It is the main driver or mover of the body, including the other two doshas, all the tissues (dhatus) and all of the waste products (malas). When Vata becomes imbalanced for long enough and sufficiently enough, it can also cause the other two doshas (Pitta or Kapha) to become imbalanced.
Physical functions of Vata: The two main functions of the vata is movement and sensation
It is responsible for,
- Body movement
- Blood circulation
- All eliminations: fetus, semen, feces, urine, sweat, and a few others
- Brain functions- Relays all sensory input from the various sense organs to the brain
- Formation of fetus
- Sexual act etc.
Vata governs breathing, blinking of the eyelids, movements in the muscles and tissues, pulsations in the heart, all expansion and contraction, the movements of cytoplasm and the cell membranes, and the movement of the single impulses in nerve cells. Vata also governs such feelings and emotions as freshness, nervousness, fear, anxiety, pain, tremors, and spasms.
The primary seat or location of the Vata in the body is the colon [Pakvashaya]. It also resides in the hips, thighs, ears, bones, large intestine, pelvic cavity, and skin.
Types of Vata :
- Prana Vayu
- Udana Vayu
- Vyana Vayu
- Saman Vayu
- Apan Vayu
Factors which increase Vata:
- Excessive physical exercise
- Suppression of nature urges
- Exposure to cold
- Staying awake late at night
- Rainy season
- Old age
- Evening and last part of the night
- Eating dry food
- Excessive sexual intercourse
Sign of Vitiated Vata:
- General stiffness and pain in the body
- Lack of appetite
- Constipation, Intestinal bloating, gas, Belching
- Dry skin
- Bad taste and dryness in the mout
- Dark color stool
- Pain in temporal region
- Withdrawn and timid behavior
- Weight loss, under weight
- Insomnia; wake up at night and can't go back to sleep
- Very sensitive to cold
- Generalized aches, sharp pains, Arthritis, stiff and painful joints
- Agitated movement
- Rough, flaky skin, Chapped lips
- Fainting spells
- Heart palpitations
- Dry, sore throat, Dry eyes
Treatment of Vitiated Vata:
- Oleation & fomentation
- Sweet, sour and hot therapeutic measures
- Vata decreasing diet
- Rest, relaxation and sleep
- Peaceful atmosphere
- Cheerful mental state
- Controlling the Vata increasing factors etc.
The Pitta dosha is associated with fire or heat. Characteristics of Pitta; sharp, sour, pungent, fluid, soothing and mobile.
It is responsible for,
- Vision - converts external images into optic nerve impulses
- Appetite -Hunger and Thirst
- Absorption, assimilation, nutrition, metabolism
- Softness and luster in the complexion
- Regulation of heat in the body 'Thermogenesis'
- Sexual vigor
Locations of Pitta are the small intestine, stomach, sweat glands, blood, fat, eyes, and skin.
Types of Pitta:
- Pachaka Pitta
- Ranjaka Pitta
- Sadhaka Pitta
- Alochaka Pitta
- Bhrajaka Pitta
Factor which increase Pitta:
- Sharp, alkaline, salty, oily food
- Food or drink that creates burning sensations.
- Time of digestion
- Time factors ;noon time,midnight,autumn
- Alcohol and cigarettes
- Emotions like hostility, hatred, intolerance, and jealousy etc.
Sign of Vitiated Pitta:
- Burning sensation
- Excessive perspiration
- Smell in the body
- Abnormal hunger and thirst
- Tearing and thickening of skin
- Excessive heat in the body
- Weakness due to low blood sugar
- Loss of contentment
- Bloodshot eyes
- Fevers, Night sweats
- Acidity, heartburn, Stomach ulcer
- Diarrhoea, Food allergies
- Fitful sleep, Disturbing dreams
Treatment of Vitiated Pitta:
- Sweet, bitter, astringent and cold measures
- Cold bath and massage
- Unction and purgation
- Special Pitta decreasing diet
- Avoiding the Pitta increasing factors
Kapha is the heaviest of the three doshas. It provides the structures and the lubrication that the body needs. It is smooth, cold, heavy, dull, and viscid
The functions of the Kapha are;
- Sexual potency -to produce healthy offspring
Kapha cements the elements in the body, providing the material for physical structure. It lubricates the joints, provides moisture to the skin, helps to heal wounds, fills the spaces in the body; gives biological strength, vigor and stability; supports memory retention, gives energy to the heart and lungs, and maintains immunity.
Psychologically, Kapha is responsible for the emotions of attachment, greed, and long-standing envy. It is also expressed in tendencies toward calmness, forgiveness, and love.
Kapha is present in the chest, throat, head, sinuses, nose, mouth, stomach, joints, cytoplasm, plasma, and in the liquid secretions of the body such as mucus
Types of Kapha.
- Avalambaka Kapha
- Kledaka Kapha
- Bodaka Kapha
- Tarpaka Kapha
- Shleshaka Kapha.
Factor which increase Kapha:
- Salty, sweet & alkaline food
- Oily, Fatty & Heavy Nutrientional diet
- Sedentary Life style
- Lack of exercise
- Day dreaming
- Spring Season
- Morning Time
- First part of the Night
Signs of Vitiated Kapha:
- Cold sensation
- Heaviness in Body
- Itchy feeling
- Excessive Sleep
- Sweet Taste in Mouth
- Excessive Salivation
- Sluggish digestion, food "just sits" in the stomach
- Whiteness in Urine, Eyes & Faces
- Sleeping too much
- Deformed body organs
- Edema, water retention, Bloated feeling
- Apathetic, no desire
- Clingy, hanging on to people and ideas
- Greedy, Possessive, Materialistic
- Very tired in the morning, hard to get out of bed
Treatment of Vitiated Kapha:
- Pungent, Bitter, Astringent, Salt, Hot & Rough Measures
- Keeping awake
- Kapha decreasing Diet
- Controlling the factors which increase Kapha
Dr. Indunil Weerarathne