Properties of Ayurveda Kapha Dosha in Ayurvedic Medicine
The Kapha dosha in Ayurveda is one of the three bodily humors that play key role in the health and disease in Ayurvedic medicine. This ayurvedic dosha is represented by uniting connective tissues and liquid mucoid elements grossly. There is also Vata and Pitta dosha body types.
Know about this humor of Ayurvedic medicine, its definition and properties as mentioned by ancient ayurvedic sages. Get the info about their practical use in Ayurvedic treatment.
By: Arjun (Bachelor of Ayurvedic Medicine & Surgery With Modern Medicine).
Sanskrit Etymological Description Of Kapha Dosha:
“Shlisha alingane” is the root. “Manin” is the suffix.
This word means union, combination and joining.
“Ken jalen phanati iti kapham” is the another definition. This definition refers to one that originates from Water primary element.
According to Charaka, Soma (the aqueous and unctuous part) is responsible for the function of this humor in body (Charaka Samhita, Sutra Section, 1215).
Qualities Of the Ayurvedic Kapha Dosha:
- Heaviness or heavy.
- Soft or Smooth.
- Viscid or Sliminess.
- Sweet in taste in normal condition.
- Salty taste during vitiated condition.
(Charaka Samhita, Sutra Section, 1/60)
(Sushruta Samhita, Sutra Section, 21/24)
(Ashtanga Hridayam, Sutra Section, 1/12)
Tamas is the psychological attribute that is responsible for this ayurvedic humor.
This humor is responsible for all the anabolic processes in our body during healthy condition. Vata and Kapha have one property in common – Cold. Both are anti to Pitta.
Heaviness And Kapha Dosha:
This property is responsible for the gravitational aspect of matter. Physiologically, it stands for the effects that cause heaviness in body or are hard to digest. Substances with this property decreases the strength of digestive power.
Heaviness is Anti-Vata and increases Kapha. The tissue mass is also gained with this property. This is nutritious and strengthening for the body.
Waste materials like stools are produced in quantity. The body channels turn anointed or smeared so they hinder with the free flow. Purgation supporting substances are heavy and they help to expel out the stool.
Substances with this property are hard to digest and cause satiety earlier.
This property causes laxity, weakness and dullness or looseness in tissues or muscles. Muscle tone is also reduced.
Heaviness is the specific property of Earth primary element. Water primary element also possess this property. Substances with sweet taste, sweet active principle, sweet post-digestion-taste are usually heavy.
Herbs and food with this property are needed in some conditions like weight loss when the patient desires to gain weight.
Softness Of Ayurvedic Kapha:
That which is soft and loose on touch is softness. Muscles, blood, fat or adipose tissue, bone marrow, heart, navel, liver, spleen, intestine and anus are some of the soft organs.
Physiologically this property causes softness in organs and lowers the tone of muscles.
Softness increases Kapha and is Anti-Pitta and Anti-Vata.
Tissues become lax or loose. Muscle tone is reduced. This property reduces inflammation, burning, discharge. Waste materials like feces also become loose.
This property is dominant with Water and Ether primary element.
Medical conditions, wherein body channels are hardened like Atherosclerosis, are benefited with herbs and food with this property.
Stable Or Immobility Of Kapha:
This property stands for slow acting or long acting and poor mobility. Hair, beard, body hair, bones, teeth, nails, veins, ligaments, tendons, artery and semen possess this property.
Physiologically this property produces stability in tissues. This property increases Kapha. Tissue mass is gained with this property. Body strength is also increased.
Flatus and stool like waste materials are affected with astringent like action of this property.
Earth primary element is dominant with this property.
This property is needed in medical conditions with discharge or flux like diarrhea, vomiting, leucorrhea.
This property is present with fibrous structure and stickiness.
Physiologically, this property causes anointing or smearing action in body. When in normal limits, it helps to unite or organize the different parts. When vitiated or in excess, the body channels are blocked functionally and later structurally.
This produces heaviness in body as well. Kapha is increased. Tissue mass is gained. Bone fractures and other torn or fragmented body parts union is promoted. Body strength and longevity is also enhanced.
This property renders the body channels slimy and thereby help in the expulsion of waste excretory substances from the body.
Water primary element is the basis of this property.
Slow Or Dullness:
This property is slow or long acting. Physiologically, it pacifies the vitiated humors in body.
Dullness increases Kapha and pacifies Pitta. Tissue mass is gained and body weight increases by using this property. This is not helpful in the expulsion of excretory waste substances.
Water and Earth primary elements are the basis of this property. Sweet, bitter and astringent taste are dominant with this property. Sweet post-digestion taste and cold active principle do possess this property.
Smoothness is that property that gives smooth touch. Physiologically this possesses the healing property.
Kapha is increase with this property. Tissue mass is gained. Excretory waste materials are expelled out of body. Milk is the example of food with this property.
The Location Of Ayurveda Kapha Dosha:
This humor is present throughout the body. However its presence is manifested at some of the locations more than other organs. Out of all these parts, thoracic region is the prominent location of this humor.
- Thoracic region
- Neck or Cervical region
- Throat region
- Fat or Adipose tissue
- Nasal cavity
The chief action of Kapha is providing moisture. This action is accomplished partially by mucus glands. They secrete mucus. These cells are present on almost all the epithelial tissue layer that covers all the external and internal body surfaces.
Without this moisture, the cells will die from several reasons – lack of oxygen and nutrients, increase in concentration of bio-chemicals in cells, extraneous microbial infections.
In the digestive system, this humor is extremely essential for intake of food (saliva), for mixing and softening of food (stomach), for digestion and absorption (small intestine and large intestine), assimilation in body (transport via plasma, lymph to extra-cellular fluid and thence to cell and taking back the waste excretory materials) and in the last for excretion.
All the anabolic processes in our body are dependent on this humor. This humor prevents the decay, degeneration. It renders us less susceptible to infections.
This importance is felt in Respiratory system, all the organs and their covering.
General Actions Of Kapha Dosha:
Charaka mentioned the general actions of this humor. (Charaka Samhita, Sutra Section, 18/53)
- Unctuousness is promoted in body. Relationships are also strengthened.
- The cells and cellular parts (organelles) are kept together. The bonding of different parts is maintained.
- Stability of organs and body parts with strength is also enhanced.
- Heaviness is increased. There is increased tendency of gaining body weight.
- Virility or sexual power is rendered in the body. The quality and quantity of semen is also improved.
- Strength and power of body and mind is enhanced. Immunity is granted against various diseases.
- Patience, forbearance, fortitude, steadiness, forgiveness, non-covetousness and the like psychological qualities are promoted.
Charaka again explained the effects of healthy and vitiated states of Kapha. (Charaka Samhita, Sutra Section, 12/15)
- In healthy state this humor is responsible for strength, well built body, enthusiasm, virility, knowledge and wisdom.
- In vitiated state, it is responsible for laxity or looseness in tissues, emaciated or weak body, lethargy and lack of enthusiasm, lack of sexual drive, ignorance and dull mind.
Healthy state of this humor is also called as the strength of body or Ojus or the vital essence of all the tissues. In vitiated state, it is called excessive mucus and it is responsible for diseases. (Charaka Samhita, Sutra Section, 17/115)
Sushruta and Vagbhata also agree with Charaka while mentioning the actions of Ayurveda Kapha. (Sushruta Samhita, Sutra Section, 15/5; Ashtanga Hridayam, Sutra Section, 11/3)