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What is Dosha?

Doshas are primary constitutional factors of the body, which maintain integrity. Just like how modern science explains each and every organ with respect to hormonal secretions and individual functioning along with the pathogenesis, cause and probable diseases manifested, ayurveda describes each and every abnormal condition of a body with reference to the 3 doshas or 3 functional units of the body. The available classical references on doshas are described on qualitative and functional basis and hence cannot be quantitatively evaluated.

Three doshas namely VATA, PITTA and KAPHA act as 3 pillars of Ayurveda. The state of well being of a person depends on the equilibrium of these 3 doshas.

Vata is one among the three functional units of the body i.e. “tridoshas” in ayurveda. The word dosha is derived from the root word ‘drush-vaikrithye’ which means the one that is susceptible to vitiation. It is a reflection of physiological activities that is taking place in the body and thus it acts as a window through which we can access the health of an individual.

The origin of the word “Pitta” is from the root “tapa-santhape” which means to heat or to burn up. Pitta is considered a form of fire as its functions resembles that of fire, for instance digestive fire is a form of pitta. The important functions of pitta can be attributed to those of digestion, assimilation, thermo-genesis and metabolism. Pitta dosha is mainly held with catabolic processes and enzymatic activities. It is a combination of fire and water.

Kapha the third dosha is quantitative by nature. The word Kapha originated from the root word ‘slish’ which means to bind or hold together. Kapha comprises of the elements of earth and water providing the bonding required to hold the cells in the body together. Both physical and psychological stability and strength are governed by Kapha dosha. Structural integrity of the body (cohesiveness to maintain a specific form/shape), immunity against diseases, maintenance of body fluids, boosting of emotions like love, compassion, forgiveness, patience, loyalty are all due to it.

These three doshas in balanced form constitutes the prakruthi of a person. Prakruthi represents the physical and mental constitution of an individual. The state of disease occurs whenever there is a deviation from the normal physical or mental constitution of a human being. Prakruthi is employed to understand the nature of an individual and recognize the changes that occur due to disease, when there is a deviation from prakruthi.

The temperament of a human being is heriditary in nature. Prakruthi, or constitution, is formed at the time of union of sperm and ovum inside the womb. Predominance of all the three doshas, the five elements and the three gunas at the time of fertilization determines our physical and mental traits. Different individuals have different combinations of these doshas and they possess different attributes hence each individual will have unique prakruthi, just like each of us has a unique finger print.

Once formed, Prakruthi remains constant for every individual for his or her lifetime. This prakruthi also decides the disease tendency of an individual. The human attempts to maintain a dynamic balance with its prakruthi at all times. Anything that causes deviation from normal prakruthi of a person symbolizes abnormality or vikruthi as per ayurveda. The concept of prakruthi and vikruthi can be identified with variation in temperature of the body, pulse rate, heart beat etc. Much research and studies are still happening to utilize the power of Ayurveda as a form of natural medicine to cure many ailements that are prevelant today. Also steps are being taken by Ayurvedic practitioners to make Ayurveda medicines & treatment more patient friendly, utilizing modern manufacturing techniques.

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