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Genomics & Its Relevance / Correlation with Prakriti

Abstract

Ayurveda is a science which is centuries old and was scripted around 3000 years ago. According to the experience of various Acharyas the content was put into words and then the knowledge was passed on to the world. Ayurveda is not an easy science and the curiosity of different races to understand its concepts shows how effective it is. Not just in humans but in animals the Ayurveda has its effect. Ayurveda has the concept of Vata, Pitta and Kapha. These are the three energies of the body that are responsible for the working of physiological and metabolic functions of the body. If any one disbalances then it holds the capacity to disturb the functioning of the entire body. The Vata, Pitta and kapha are also called as Kinetic, thermal and potential energies respectively. These energies are responsible for the entire structure of the human body as well from the tip of the hair to the tip of the toe. Now, you might be thinking why we are discussing this under a topic which has its first word as genomics? Answer to this question is quite straight, Genomics is somewhere, somehow related to the concept of doshas or energy. The dominance of body energies suggest the prakriti of an individual and the type of body he or she is having. The type of body here means tall, short, heated, thin, cold, dry, lustrous etc. and it also tells a lot about an Individual's mind set. It may sound like a magic trick to your head but the things are practically observed in various people and thus the concept has gained its clarity. In the same way the dominance of doshas also play their part in genomics and through this article we will get to know.. How….

Ayurveda Prakriti, Prakriti Classification, Correlation with Prakriti, Genomics with Ayurveda, Tridosha, Genomics concept of prakriti, Relevance,  Prakriti and Genomics

Introduction

Firstly let's get to know about genomics. Genomics is a science which covers the study of a person's genes (the genomes). It also helps in understanding the interaction between the genes with each other and with a person's environment as well. Genomics also discuss the concept of phenotypes. Phenotypes are the traits (Distinguish characteristics) which are observed in the person. Now, if we compare these phenotypes with prakriti then we get our perfect answer about the correlation between both genomics and prakriti. Yes, it's a bit complex to understand but through this article we will discuss this correlation in detail.

Understanding Prakriti

Prakriti is a wide topic which is discussed in Ayurveda under a specific category called as sharir kriya, which means the physiology of the body. Ayurveda has a clear concept that the physiology of the body depends on the Prakriti and Prakriti as mentioned above depends on the dominance of doshas.

There are three doshas Vata, Pitta and kapha. These three doshas also have their peculiar properties. These properties are the result of dominance of panch mahabhuta (Five universal/Fundamental elements). These Five universal elements are Prithvi (Earth), Jala (Water), Agni (fire), Vayu (Air) and Akash (Space). Before moving forward lets discuss the dominance of panchmahabhuta or Five universal/Fundamental elements in tridosha. The tridosha have dominance of one or more than one panchmahabhuta. Following table shows this dominance according to the doshas.

TABLE 1

Dosha Panch Mahabhuta Constituents
Vata (kinetic Energy) Vayu (Air), Akash (Space)
Pitta (Thermal Energy) Agni (Fire)
Kapha (Potential Energy) Jala (Water), Prithavi (Earth)

Now as per dosha we know the dominance of fundamental elements. But the thing to understand is the role of these fundamental elements as per their dominance in tridosha. As mentioned above in the table, the data shows how composition is helpful in determining the phenotypes or prakriti in a person. To understand this, firstly we will specific characteristics of each mahabhuta.

Table below mentions the specific characteristics of each fundamental or universal element

TABLE 2

Mahabhuta (Fundamental Element) Characteristics
Akasha (Space) Free Flow/ Unobstructability
Vayu (Air) Mobility (Chalatava)
Agni (Fire) Heat (Ushnatva)
Jala (Water) Liquidity (Dravatva)
Prithvi (Earth) Roughness (Kharatva)

As per Table 1 and Table 2 we can rule out the necessity to understand correlation of panchmahabhuta and dosha, that Vayu or air is having free flow and unobstructability along with mobility, Pitta or Fire bears heat and Kapha has the liquidity and Roughness.

Further let's get to know the types of Prakriti

There are a total seven types of Prakriti. The seven types are listed below:

  1. Vataja Prakriti
  2. Pittaja Prakriti
  3. Kaphaja Prakriti
  4. Vata Pittaja Prakriti
  5. Vata Kaphaja Prakriti
  6. Kapha Pittaja Prakriti
  7. Vata Pitta Kaphaja Prakriti

In these seven first three are called as Eka doshaja prakriti (single dosha constitution). These are rarely found and among these three vata constitution is understood as heena or bad, Pitta constitution is considered moderate or madhayama and kapha constitution is understood as best or uttama. The next three are called dwandvaja prakriti. Most of us have this type of prakriti.

The last one is sama prakriti which is called the balanced constitution. It is also rare but it is the most superior among and termed as sreshta.

Correlating Embryogenesis and Panch Mahabhuta

Moving forward there is one more concept of correlation of embryogenesis with Panchmahabhuta. According to this concept the five universal/fundamental elements play a role in embryogenesis. Embryogenesis is the formation and development of an embryo.

This process of Panchmahabhuta influence on embryogenesis is explained that Mahabhuta plays an important role once after fertilisation (Garbha). Vayu or Air is responsible for the cell multiplication or division. In Sanskrit the terminology is Vibhajana.

The Agni or fire carries the function of metabolism that is pachana.

Jala or water is responsible for moisture or fluid, understood as kledana Prithvi carries function of compactness or mass formation which is understood as samhanana.

At last akasha carries out the function of enlargement that is vivardhana.

If all of this is carried out in a normal proportion then normal body structure is achieved and according to their dominance, prakriti of a person is also secured at the time of embryogenesis only.

As mentioned prakriti of a person is secured at the time of embryogenesis and the dominance of Mahabhuta is responsible for securing the prakriti. This Prakriti represents the phenotypes a person has.

That is the basic correlation between Embryogenesis and Panch mahabhuta.

The Panch mahabhuta dominance decides the Prakriti but how? Read the following table:

TABLE 3

S.No Panchmahabhuta Dosha
1. Air (Vayu) + Space (Aakash) Vata Dosha
2. Fire (Agni) + Water (Jala) Pitta Prakriti
3. Water (Jala) + Earth (Prithvi) Kapha Prakriti

Now as mentioned above, once fertilisation is done the pancha mahabhutas play their role. As per dominance of pancha mahabhuta prakriti of the garbha is decided. Like if there is dominance of Fire, water, space and vayu then vaat Pittaj prakriti will be the result. Even in that further dominance of any one particular mahabhuta, will be reflected as the phenotypes of the person. Though the body is made up of All five mahabhutas, dominance decides the union of doshas, dominance of doshas and reflection of phenotypes.

Every Mahabhuta has its particular characteristics as mentioned in Table 2 and those are reflected in the phenotypes a person has, like in case of dominance of Vayu the person will show less stability both mentally and physically.

Moving forward in this article we will also discuss the peculiar characteristics of tridosha. The tridosha term represents vata, pitta and kapha dosha. These three are also called Kinetic, thermal and potential energies respectively.

Qualities/ Characteristics Of Tridosha: Vata, Pitta and Kapha

The tridosha that is vata, pitta and kapha have their own qualities individually. The tridosha qualities are mentioned in the verse below:

तत्र रक्षो लघु शीतः खरः सूक्ष्मश्चचलोअनिलः।
पित्तं सस्नेह तीक्ष्णो उष्णं लघु विस्त्रं सरं द्रवं।।
स्निग्धः शीतो गुरुर्मन्दः श्लक्ष्णो मृत्स्नः कफः।

Reference: (अष्टाङ्ग हृदय सुत्रस्थान १/११-१२)

The above verse is mentioned in Ashtanga hridaya sutrasthana chapter 1 shlok 11 and 12.

  • It states that the qualities of Vata are रक्षो (Dry), लघु (Light), खरः (Roughness), सूक्ष्मश्चचलो (Minuteness and movement)
  • Pitta qualities are सस्नेह (Slight oily), तीक्ष्णो (Piercing/ enters deeper tissues), उष्णं (Hotness), लघु (Lightness), विस्त्रं (bad smelling) सरं (Have fluidity), द्रवं (Liquidity)
  • The properties of kapha includes स्निग्धः (Unctuous) शीतो (Cold) गुरुर्मन्दः (Heavy and viscous)श्लक्ष्णो मृत्स्नः(Smooth, clear, slimy and stability)

The reason to mention the above verse is to make the reader understand the basic step for classification of phenotypes according to dominance of doshas and as mentioned before the Dosha dominance is directly correlated with the dominance of particular mahabhuta. Further Let's discuss the Characteristics of particular prakriti in Detail to understand the concept more deeply.

The qualities of Vata dosha as mentioned above depicts its presence when a person is having features like dry skin, dry scalp, cold extremities like hands and feet, Roughness which usually coexist with dryness, movements in body which are both voluntary and involuntary are due to Vata dosha. The person with dominance of vata dosha in the body will show some peculiar features like a thin body, instability, excessive talking, immediate reactions, quick mood swings etc. If discussed about the peculiar phenotype then following are the phenotypes specially related with person of vata prakriti:

  • Lean / Thin body / Long And angular face
  • Thin Hairs, Curly hairs, dark and coarse
  • Non muscular and thin bony limbs
  • Curly hairs, dark and coarse
  • Nose is small, sunken and narrow
  • Teeth are irregular
  • Body colour – krishna varna (dark skin complexion)/ Dry Skin

The mindset and behaviour is also mentioned like running of too many thoughts in their minds, seeing sky in their dreams, talkative, quick mood swings, are enthusiastic and ready for changes.

  • The mind is restless and memory is weak.
  • Have a habit of over analysing things and express themselves well in sports.
  • Their vast imagination makes them creative.
  • They are a type of catalyst for inventing new ideas plus they are able to multitask quite easily.

If discussed about pitta prakriti then they also have some particular characteristics which are defined as phenotypes of a person. These are as follows:

The physical characteristics of pitta prakriti includes moderately developed physique. The gait is stable with medium speed. The skin is fair and lustrous. Head of a person is in a heart shape with a pointed chin. The nausea and eyes are of average size. Teeth are also average sized.

On the other hand thor mental status and behaviour is also very different from vata prakriti. They are highly ambitious, have confidence and are courageous too. These people are focused, have enthusiasm for knowledge and tend to develop irritation, jealousy and aggressiveness. They can be highly judgemental and proud as well.

Now talking about the kapha prakriti then:

  • Kapha prakriti people have a strong build and excellent stamina to support that body build.
  • They have solid necks, large round faces, large noses, large mouths and big lips.
  • Teeth are large and have strong gums.
  • The hairs are mostly lustrous, thick and Brown in colour.
  • The eyes are big and round.

Discussing their mindset,

  • They have a very centred mind set and are compassionate about the work they are doing
  • They are quite calm, stable, steady and patient people
  • Their best thing is they are understanding and their grows slowly
  • Such people can be lethargic and lazy as well if they are not driven by external factors or others
  • They have excellence in logical analysis
  • Kapha prakriti people are fond of sleeping and find it difficult to sacrifice it

Also the digestion varies according to dominance of doshas. Like Vata Prakriti people have unstable digestion due to the mobility characteristic of dosha, pitta Prakriti people will have good or high digestive fire and kapha Prakriti people have Slow/Low digestive fire.

The above mentioned are the characteristics if a person is having Eka Prakriti that is a Prakriti with one dosha dominance. But a mix up of different characteristics of doshas will be found in dawandaj prakriti as well as sama prakriti.

Aforementioned most of us have dwandvaja prakriti, even in this case any one dosha will be dominant. Like in a vata pittaja prakriti, vata characteristics will be more than pitta one.

So, what have we got so far?

Have we reached the goal of this article?

The answer is "YES", just need to recapitulate certain points

Correlation of Genomics and Prakriti

In the starting of this we have discussed that genomics is the study of genes and the reflection of genotypes is called phenotypes. As we kept on discussing in Article, phenotypes are directly related to the Prakriti. Prakriti is further divided into seven types and the characteristics are mentioned above. Mentioning the definition of phenotypes, these are the characteristics of an individual which can be observed and the phenotypes are the result of genotypes.

Moving towards correlating, in the prakriti characteristics according to tridosha (Vata, pitta and kapha) we have discussed many features which are typically observed in individuals. The features about their facial features, hairs, digestion, mental status behaviour etc. Practically many studies have shown that Yes such features are the phenotypes of an individual and yes phenotypes are the reflection of genotypes. Thus, a very well established relationship between genotypes/Phenotypes and prakriti. Prakriti analysis is the most relevant explanation of genomics in Ayurveda. The things are just to be understood from both of the perspectives.

Moreover, if we now understand backwards then prakriti depends on dosha union, dosha depends on mahabhuta/ Fundamental elements union thus the gene interactions, mutations or alterations are also affected by the dominance of panch mahabhuta or dosha or according to the prakriti a person has.

To Prove this point there are many studies done. As far in this article we have proved a very underrated concept but such studies about prakriti or dosha association with genes is a proof that the correlation is underrated due to lack of understanding of this concept.

Research Studies Explaining Correlation of Prakriti or Doshas and Genomics

Following are the studies, which can help you in better understanding:

  • Mahalle et al. (2012), In case of Vata Kapha Prakriti, there was a finding that biomarkers of coronary artery disease that are VLDL and LDL (Very low density lipoprotein and Low density lipoprotein) were significantly lower in Individuals who have Vata kapha Prakriti as compared to other individuals.
  • In the same study, it is observed that Vata kapha body type is significantly more correlated with diabetes mellitus, hypertension and dyslipidemia with highest levels of inflammation markers like IL6, TNF alpha, hsCRP and HOMA IR.
  • Juyal et al., (2012), The study shows that inflammatory genes were more present in the Vata subgroup of patients and in the Pitta subgroup of patients the presence of oxidative stress pathway genes were observed.
  • Purva and Meena (2011), in their paper they have mentioned that ageing and cancer is associated with a body with pitta predominance which is supported by Vata. It was mentioned in the paper the body metabolism rate (BMR) is quite high in such individuals and tends to destroy the tissues at the faster rate.
  • Venkatraghavan et al., (1987), A small sample study has revealed that cancer is observed in the individuals with Pitta dominant bodies followed by kapha dominance. In this study it is stated that Vata is related to bones, pitta is related to blood and kapha is related to structure, storage and adipose tissue. When it comes to understanding cancer, Vata Prakriti develops bone cancer, pitta Prakriti individuals develop leukemias and kapha Prakriti people have soft tissue cancer.
  • Patwardhan et al., (2005), CYP2C19 gene is responsible for providing instructions for making an enzyme which is found in the liver cell's endoplasmic reticulum. More enzyme production or Extensive metabolization was noticed in pitta Prakriti and opposite was there in kapha Prakriti.
  • Joshi et al., (2010), The studies showed that EGLN1 variations are responsible for high altitude adaptations for human beings. The TT genotype of this gene was more frequent in Kapha dominant prakriti. It Is also associated with higher expression of EGLN1 and higher incidence of pulmonary edema but the same genotype was significantly lower in pitta prakriti type.

Above are some of the studies which are being mentioned in the favour of correlation of genomics, prakriti and dosha. There are many more studies which are being done and are going on regarding the same.

Conclusion

Ayurveda is an old science but the concepts, if understood closely, are very much similar to the modern ones but there is lack of acceptance and lack of understanding as well. Ayurveda, being of holistic living is not having much preference in India. But if seen globally people are getting aware of the Ayurveda ways and are understanding their meaning more than Indians do. Yes, modern life needs technology but we also need to accept the benefits this technology can provide in The field of Ayurveda. Yes, modern science is important but so is the deep understanding of Ayurveda. The above-mentioned entire article was to make the reader understand that whatever research is going on in present time, can somehow be answered with Ayurveda concepts for the human body. Though of course the human body is a complex structure to understand and to understand it with Ayurveda concepts is even more complex but this isn't something which can not be done. For any conceptual doubts, mail us on herbalremedies123@gmail.com

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Author Bio:

Best Ayurvedic Doctor - Dr. Meenakshi Chauhan

Dr. Meenakshi Chauhan

MD (ALT. MEDICINE)

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Reviewed By:

Best Ayurvedic Doctor in Mohali - Dr. Vikram Chauhan

Dr. Vikram Chauhan

MD (AYURVEDA)

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