Types and comparison with the allopathic counterparts
Anatomical and physiological importance
Srotas, in broad term refers to the channels of circulation present in the human body. Anatomically and physiologically, channels of circulation have great importance. The credit of defining Srotas for the first time goes to the great Indian surgeon, Sushruta first of all. Sushruta says that the channels of circulation are present in intra-cellular, inter-cellular and extra-- cellular spaces) of the human-body.
The major function of the channels of circulation is active transportation of the fluids in a continuous fashion. Anatomically, the channels of circulation are distinct from blood vessels including arteries, veins and capillaries and are omnipresent in the human body. From physiological point of view, channels of circulation are primarily responsible for the circulation of three biological humours, tissues and waste-products to organs and organelles.
When process of circulation is on in the channels of circulation, the tissues undergo transformations from first tissue layer to the last tissue layer. These layers are known as Kala in Ayurveda. Physiologically, each tissue performs two significant functions.
- To ensure its own nutrition
- To provide nutritional factors for development of the corresponding tissue
According to the Ayurvedic pathology, the diagnosis of the disease is based on malfunctioning of any of the three biological humours. One humour creates spill-over effect in the human body. The disease having roots in one of the biological humour can travel though the channels of circulation and reach site of another biological humour. Aggravated biological humours obstruct the channels of circulation thus creating hindrance in the transportation of the fluids.
Classification of channels of circulation
According to Ayurvedic anatomy, men contain thirteen groups of channels of circulation. Women, on the other side have fifteen channels of circulation:-
1. Pranavahastrotas (Air Channels of Circulation)
The site for Pranavahastrotas is the heart and the gastrointestinal tract. They are responsible for proper circulation of oxygen to the tissues. When Pranavahastrotas are obstructed, respiratory ailments, anxiety-neurosis and impending fear are the presenting features.
2. Annavahastrotas (Food Channels of Circulation)
The site for Annavahastrotas is the stomach. The chief function is transportation of food in the digestive tract. When Pranavahastrotas are obstructed, loss of appetite, dyspepsia, emesis and anorexia, are the presenting features
3. Udakavahastrotas (Water Channels of Circulation)
The site for Udakavahastrotas in the palate and aganshya (pancreas). The chief function is regulation of the body fluid.
4. Rasavahastrotas (Rasa Channels of Circulation
Rasavahastrotas originate from the heart. They are responsible for transportation of rasa (plasma) through blood vessels to the rasa dhatu.
5. Raktavahastrotas (Rakta Channels of Circulation)
Raktavahastrotas originate from the ykrita (liver) and pliha (spleen). The chief function of Raktavahastrotas is transportation of rakta (blood) to the rakta dhatu.
6. Mamsavahastrotas (Muscular Channels of Circulation)
The origin of Mamsavahastrotas lies in the snayu (ligaments), kandra (tendons), and tvaca (skin). They ensure supply of nutrients to the muscle dhatu.
7. Medavahastrotas (Fat Channels of Circulation
The origin of medavahastrotas (the adipose tissue), lies in the in the vrrka (kidneys) and the omentum. They ensure proper supply of fatty tissue ingredients to the Meda dhatus.
8. Asthivahastrotas (Bone Channels of Circulation)
Asthivahastrotas originate from meda and thigh part. They are responsible for supplying nutritional factors to the asthi (bone) and extra-articular apparatus.
9. Majjavahastrotas (Bone-marrow Channels of Circulation)
Majjavahastrotas originate from joint and bone. They are responsible for supplying nutritional factors to the majja (bone marrow) dhatu.
10. Shukravahastrotas (Ovum and Sperm Channels of Circulation)
The originating point for Shukravahastrotas is in the testes and ovaries. Their prome responsibility is to carry sukra (semen), dimba (ovum), and ojas (immunity) the male and female reproductive system.
11. Mutravahastrotas (Urinary Channels of Circulation)
The vrrka (kidneys) and mutrayshya (urinary bladder) are origination points Mutravahastrotas. They are responsible for the dieresis.
12. Purishvahastrotas (Excretory Channels of Circulation)
The originating point for Purishvahastrotas is in the colon and rectum. They help in evacuation of feces from the human body.
13. Swedavahastrotas (Sweat Channels of Circulation)
The originating point for Purishvahastrotas is in the adipose tissue and hair follicles. They help in evacuation of expelling sweat the human body.
Female Channels: Anatomically, females have two additional channels of circulation
14. Aartavahasrotas (Menstrual Channels of Circulation)
Aartavahasrotas flush menstrual fluid, and products of waste from the garbahshya (uterus), and the breast milk channel, which carries milk to the nourishing mother's breast. There site is garbahshya (uterus) and aartava vahi Dhamanies.
15. Stanyavahasrotas (Milk Channels of Circulation)
Stanyavahasrotas are part of the Rasavahastrotas.
Srotas (Channels of Circulation) have great signifiance in Ayurvedic system of medicine, as far as disease and health is concerned. Channels of Circulation are working at micro as well as macro levels in the human body. Charak sees Srotas as the channels through which various important physicoigial functions takes place.