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Updhatu (A Subsidiary Tissue Secondary Tissue Product)


There are seven dhatu (tissues) that give from and shape to the human body. These are seven in number:

  • Rasa Dhatu or plasma
  • Rakta Dhatu or blood
  • Mamsa Dhatu or muscle
  • Meda Dhatu or fat
  • Asthi Dhatu or bone
  • Majja Dhatu or bone-marrow
  • Shukra Dhatu or reproductive fluid.

The nature of 7 dhatu is to support and nourish one another; rasa nourishes rakta, rakta nourishing mamsa, and so on. According to view point of Ayurvedic system of medicine, the seven dhatu are mainly responsible for the immune system. Ayurveda follows a specific and rational method for treating the diseases that have relation to a particular dhatu. The existence and growth of the human body is very much dependent on these 7 dhatu.

The 7 dhatu are composed of five elements (panchmahabhutas). When there is a disequilibrium or imbalance in normal functioning of the dhatu, the disease manifests. All the 7 dhatu of the body contain own fire (agni) in order to metabolize the nutrients (micro as well as macro) supplied through srotas (channels of circulation).

  • Rasagni in the Rasa Dhatu
  • Raktagni in the Rakta Dhatu
  • Mamsagni in the Mamsa Dhatu
  • Medagni in the Meda Dhatu
  • Asthyagni in the Asthi Dhatu
  • Majjagni in the Majja Dhatu
  • Shukragni in the Shukra Dhatu.

Each of 7 dhatu nourishes and supports updhatu (a subsidiary tissue or secondary tissue product) and produce malas (waste products). The updhatu neither nourish each other nor any other tissue for the matter.

The corresponding updhatu of seven dhatu are tabulated below:

Dhatu Corresponding updhatu
Rasa Breast milk and menstrual flow
Rakta Blood vessels and fascia
Mamsa Ligaments and skin
Meda Lymphatic vessels and tendons
Asthi Teeth
Majja Hair
Shukra Ojasa

Breast Milk and Menstrual Flow

Breast milk is produced by the mammary glands or breasts of a human female for infant. Milk is the primary source for supplying nutrition for the newborn before they are in a position to ingest and digest the foods-stuffs.

Menstrual cycle or menstruation is the periodically discharge of blood along with mucosa from the internal lining of the uterus via vagina.

Blood Vessels and Fascia

Blood vessels are better known as Shira. Shira includes dhamani (artery), sira (veins) and capillaries. Dhamani (artery) carries pure or oxygenated blood whereas sira (veins) carry impure or deoxygenated blood. Capillaries carry lymph.

A fascia is basically a connective tissue fiber, primarily masde up of collagen, which forms bands or sheets under the integument. Fascia basically stabilizes, enclose, and separate internal organs and muscles.

Ligaments and Skin

Ligaments are known as snayu in Ayurveda. Ligaments are fibrous, rigid and strong bands and constitute vital support to the joints, hence also known as extra-articular apparatus. Injury to the ligaments affect all the bones which can develop more stress and pain. If ligament undergoes tear, it result in swelling sprain, dislocation of bones.

Skin constitutes the integument system. The skin is the principal seat of the sense of touch and is regarded as a covering for the protection of the deeper tissues. It plays a significant role in the regulation of the body temperature.

Skin Is Divided Into Two Parts:

  1. Epidermis or cuticle
  2. Dermis or true skin

Epidermis or Cuticle - Epidermis is the outer layer which provides protection to the inner layers. On the surface of the skin are the sensitive papillae and within, are sweat glands, sebaceous glands and hair follicles.

Dermis or true skin - Dermis is tough, flexible, and highly elastic. It is very thick in the palms of the hands and soles of the feet. The color of the skin is due to pigment known as melanin.

Lymphatic Vessels and Tendons

In human anatomy, lymphatic vessels or lymph vessels are valved, thin walled structures in which lymph circulates. lymph vessels, being part of the lymphatic system, are complementary to the cardio-vascular system.

Tendons are known as kandra in Ayurveda. A tendon is a rigid and tough band of fibrous connective tissue that links muscle to the bone. Tendons re capable of withstanding tension. Tendons, like the fasciae and ligaments and fasciae; are made up of collagen. Tendons and muscles work as cohesive-unit to move bones.


A tooth is a small, whitish and calcified structure found in the mouth or jaws of vertebrates . Teeth are mainly used for used to break down the food items. The roots of the teeth is covered by the gums. Teeth are not made of bone, but rather of multiple tissues of varying density and hardness.


Hair is a protein filament that grows from follicles found in the skin or the dermis. Hairs and nails are outgrowth of the epidermis.


Ojasa is the ultimate and supreme essence of saptadhatu (seven-tissue) starting from rasa to sukra.

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