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CONCEPT OF Dosha Vriddhi and Dosha Kshaya


The three biological humours viz; Vata (biological air), Pitta (biological fire), and Kapha (biological water), have been defined as integral components of the human anatomy. Pancha Mahabhutas are building blocks of three biological humours (Tridosha) as well as Triguna (Sattva, Rajas and Tama).

In human beings, one or the other Dosha and Guna is dominant either singularly or in combination. We cannot imagine this universe without Pancha Mahabhutas, the three biological humours (Tridoshas) and Trigunas as they are essential parameters for sustainability of life. The three biological humours (Tridoshas) and Trigunas (Satva, Rajas and Tamas) are intrinsically related to each other as they are responsible for an integrated personality composition at the physical and psychological level.

Dosha Vriddhi (incresae in three biological humours), Dosha Kshaya (decresae in three biological humours) are important as far as pathogensis of the disease is concerned.

Five Elements and Three Biological Humours (Tridosha)

Tridosha theory of Ayurvedic system of medicine is the mainstay of Ayurveda way of practice. Tridosha (vata, pitta and kapha) are the primary life-forces in the human body. The three biological humours correspond to the elements of biological air, fire and water. Ageing and senescence are under the influence of three biological humours.

  • Vata is derived when air and ether interact.
  • Pitta is derived when fire and water interact.
  • Kapha is derived when earth and water interact.

Vata, pitta and kapha remain in dynamic equilibrium which represents health. Imbalance among vata, pitta and kapha is disease. With medicines, either formulated from medicinal herbs or minerals, one enhances the opposing elements to achieve equilibrium among three biological humours.

Taste and Humours

Enhancing effect

  • Bitter, astringent and pungent increases Vata.
  • Sour, pungent and salty increases Pitta
  • Sweet, salt and sour increases Kapha.

Retarding Effect

  • Salt, sour and sweet decreases Vata
  • Bitter, astringent and sweet decreases Pitta
  • Pungent, bitter and astringent decreases Kapha.

Vata and Caraka

What is Vata: Vata in scientific language can be described as wind or the biological humour that moves things.

Quality: Vata is dry, cold and light.

Actions: The two other biological humours, pitta and kapha are considered to be lame without vata. It affects physical and mental abilities of the body.

Aggravated State: When aggravated vata causes emaciation, debility, desire for warmth, disorientation, ataxia, dizziness, mental confusion and depression. Caraka has described eighty diseases caused by aggravation of vata.

Site: The primary site of vata is the colon. Other sites include thigh, hips, ear, bones and skin.

Types: See table below

Sr. No. Name Function
1. Prana Breathing, blood circulation and swallowing
2. Udana Sound, speech, memory
3. Vyana Perspiration, blinking and other movements
4. Samana Digestion and formation of stools
5. Apana Excretion of the waste products

Table 1: Five types of vata (air) humour

Rasa (taste) and vata

  1. Vata is increased by bitter, astringent and pungent.
  2. Vata is decreased by salt, sour and sweet.

Pitta and Caraka

What is Pitta: Pitta in scientific language can be described as biological fire.

Quality: Pitta is hot, moist and light.

Actions: Pitta is responsible for digestion, body temperature, visual perception, hunger, thirst, complexion, courage, softness and intelligence.

Aggravated State: When aggravated pitta imparts yellow colour to stool, urine, eyes and skin. It leads to hunger, thirst, burning sensation and inflammation. Caraka has described forty diseases caused by aggravation of pitta.

Site: The primary site of pitta is small intestine. Other sites include stomach, sweat, sebaceous glands, blood, lymph and eye.

Types: See table below

Sr. No. Name Function
1. Ranjaka Colour of blood, bile and stools
2. Sadhaka Deals with intellect and memory
3. Alocaka Visual perception
4. Bharajaka Colour of the skin
5. Pacaka Digestion of food stuffs

Table 2: Five types of pitta (fire) humour

Rasa (taste) and Pitta

  • Pitta is increased by sour, pungent and salt.
  • Pitta is decreased by sweet, bitter and astringent.

Kapha and Caraka

What is Kapha: Kapha in scientific language can be described as mucus or phlegm or water humour?

Quality: Kapha is cold, moist and heavy.

Actions: Kapha imparts stability, lubrication, integration of joints and patience.

Aggravated State: When aggravated kapha lead to depressed appetite, nausea, lethargy, white coloration, chills, looseness of joints, cough, dyspnoea and hypersomnia. Caraka has described twenty diseases caused by aggravation of kapha.

Site: The primary site of kapha is stomach. Other sites include chest, throat, head, and pancreas, lateral side of the body, lymph, fat, nose and tongue.

Types: See table below

Sr. No. Name Function
1. Tarpaka Sense and hearing
2. Avalambaka Protects heart and lungs
3. Kledaka Digestion
4. Bodhaka Gustatory perception
5. Slesaka Lubrication in the joints

Table 2: Five types of kapha (water) humour

Rasa (taste) and kapha

  • Kapha is increased by sweet, salt and sour.
  • Kapha is decreased by astringent, pungent, and bitter.

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