Koshtha According to Different Schools of Though
Signs are enumerated below:
- Hridparswa vedana
- Asasya lohagandhatwam
- Gatra viganthada
- Bhakthasya anabhunandanam
Types of Koshtha
- Krura (Hard): In krura koshtha, there is predominance of the biological air, vata. It results in hard stool, difficulty in passage of stools, and non-elimination, also. If there is predominance of the biological fire, pitta, it results in watery stools and repeated frequency.
- Mrdu (Soft): In mrdu koshtha, there is predominance of the biological water, kapha. It causes soft and solid stools coming out in smooth fashion.
- Madhya (Intermediate): In case of Madhya koshtha, there is harmony among the three biological humours. The person passes normal stools once or twice a day.
Some people compare koshtha with the gastrointestinal or the digestive tract. The digestive system is also known as gastrointestinal system. It chiefly consists of the alimentary canal and of certain accessory organs. The alimentary canal is about thirty feet long extending from the mouth to the anus. It is lined by mucus membrane (covering beneath skin) throughout its length. Every organ has definite role to play in digestion. In fact the process of digestion starts from the mouth and continues down to the intestine.
1. Mouth - It includes vestibule, buccal cavity (mouth) and tongue. Vestibule is a narrow space between the lips and cheeks externally and the gums and teeth internally. Buccal cavity is bounded by palate and throat. Palate plays significant role in mastication. Tongue is a muscular organ and its prime function being taste sensation. Taste buds present on the surface of the tongue are responsible for various taste sensations. Above all, tongue plays role in swallowing.
2. Pharynx - It is divided into two parts: nasopharynx (nasal part) and oropharynx (mouth part). Pharynx acts as gateway for the food from mouth to the oesophagus.
3. Oesophagus - It conveys the food from the pharynx to the stomach.
4. Stomach - It is a sac like organ playing prominent role in the process of digestion. Besides it acts as store house of food and proper churning of the food.
5. Small Intestine - It is a 2-2.5 meters long tube. Lengthwise it is the longest part of the intestine. Absorption of the food is the main function of the small intestine.
6. Large Intestine - It is a meter long part of the alimentary canal and chief function is formation of stools. Absorption of water takes place in large intestine. Anus is the last portion guarded by sphincter.
Accessory organs of digestion include digestive glands, liver and pancreas .They play important role in digestion. Bile emulsifies fat. In Ayurveda the stomach is one of the five major organs of the body. Stomach in traditional language is known as amashya, which signifies the organ where the ama resides. In Ayurvedic system of medicine, ama is considered to be the root cause of all diseases. Stomach is vital part of the gastrointestinal system and plays significant role in digestion of food stuffs.
The digestive system is a coordinated structure and is regarded as a series of separate organs, since the functioning of each organ is closely related to that of other parts of the system. According to Ayurveda tongue is the mirror image of the gastrointestinal tract. It aims at the proper functioning of the digestive system and that is the reason mild laxative herbs are recommended before starting treatment. From here we will deal with common problems of the digestive system. Some common diseases concerned with malfunctioning of gastrointestinal tract are described below
Vibandha or Constipation: Ayurvedic physicians see constipation as major cause of the digestive system diseases. In urban areas, constipation has become major problem. Sedentary life, lack of exercise and eating habits are main causes of constipation. People having non-vegetarian diet pass stool once in three or four days.
Agnimandya or Indigestion (Dyspepsia): Dyspepsia is one of the commonest digestive disorders. The aggravated humours (vata, pitta and kapha) lead to this disease. Poor digestion and irregular eating habits lead to the incidence of indigestion. In some cases indigestion is caused by excess hydrochloric acid secretion.
Atisara or Diarrhoea: Common cause is bacterial or viral infection. Sometimes diarrhoea is induced by antibiotics like ampicillin due to killing of intestinal bacteria. Diarrhoea and vomiting are main features of food poisoning. Some people present diarrhoea as malabsorption, in which they are not able to tolerate fat in the diet.
As constipation is considered to be the root cause of piles, Ayurveda recommends use of mild laxatives. Haritaki, one teaspoonful (5 g) with warm water is used for curing constipation in piles. Isabgol is also ideal in dealing with constipation. These remedies help in proper functioning of the koshtha.