Wednesday, July 11, 2012



Dhatu are basically the body tissues which are responsible for the functioning of the systems and organs and the structure of the body. Each of the Dhatus is built out of a previous one and they develop on the nourishment that comes from the digestive system. They are basically the result of the action of catalysts that convert one tissue to another. The sole purpose of metabolism is to assemble proper ‘Dhatus’ together in synchronization with which they carry out their role as the field of physiological activity.

Seven Dhatus Of Ayurveda 
Dhatu is originally a Sanskrit word which means ‘that which enters into the formation of the body’. It is thus said to be the base of growth and survival. According to Ayurveda, there are seven basic types of dhatus in a human body. These seven basic dhatus are composed of five mahabhutas. These dhatus remain inside the human body in a proper equilibrium so that the body can function properly. It is said that any kind of disturbance or imbalance in their equilibrium causes ailments and diseases.

1. Rasa
Rasa dhatu refers to the primary waters of the body. The word rasa means sap, juice or liquid.  In the physical body, rasa refers directly to the plasma or non cellular portion of the blood, the lymph and interstitial fluids. As watery secretions, rasa dhatu relates indirectly to breast milk and menstrual fluid.
Rasa is more than fluid, it is nourishment. Sugar and nutrients mix with the plasma and are carried by vyana vayu to all of the tissues of the body.  As such, when rasa dhatu is healthy, a person feels satiated. The satisfaction one feels is both physical and psychological.
Physical satisfaction is the sense of health and well-being that every cell experiences when it is well nourished. Psychological satisfaction is the feeling that our most basic needs have been met. As a result, there is a solid foundation for healthy psychological growth.
When rasa dhatu is depleted the skin becomes dry and rough, dryness in the bowels produces constipation and dry mucous membranes lose their ability to resist disease becoming fertile ground for infections. In addition, the secretion of breast milk is diminished in nursing mothers and menstrual flow becomes scanty.  In the mind, nothing seems right. There is growing dissatisfaction that cannot be easily satiated by changes in the environment.
 When rasa dhatu is in excess, it leads to water retention, swelling and mucous formation in the body. In women, menstrual flow becomes heavier and lasts longer. The mind becomes dull, cloudy and sluggish, and it lacks luster. The mind is happy but that happiness is superficial. It is dependent upon retaining the material objects of satisfaction.
2. Rakta
The word rakta means colored as well as reddened.  Depending upon its usage, it can also mean impassioned. Each of these meanings has important implications from the perspective of health and healing.  In the physical body, rakta refers directly to the blood, specifically the red blood cells, and indirectly to the tendons and blood vessels. 
Rakta dhatu is more than blood.  It is the carrier of the fire that invigorates the body and mind. As such, when rakta dhatu is healthy, a person feels energized with a healthy passion for life. When rakta dhatu is in excess heat in the body increases, the tissues of the body experience inflammation, and the mind experiences greater intensity and sharper focus. When rakta dhatu is deficient, the heat in the body decreases and the tissues of the body become cold and stiff while the mind loses its sharpness and focus.
Rakta dhatu also has a special relationship to the liver. The liver is the site of origin of the raktavaha srota - the channel through which the unstable form of rasa (posya rasa dhatu) must pass prior to the formation of rakta. When the rakta dhatu is overheated, so too is the posya rasa dhatu. As a result, the liver and spleen become overheated and possibly enlarged. This is what occurs during hepatitis.
When rakta dhatu is depleted,a person feels cold, the skin loses its luster becoming pale or dusty gray, and coldness causes the body to hold on to heat by becoming constipated and by reducing urination and sweat.  In the mind, depletion of the rakta dhatu leads to dullness, and difficulty processing and understanding new information. This often leads to confusion and misunderstandings.
When the rakta dhatu is in excess,a person feels warmer. As heat builds up in the body, the body tries to release the heat. This occurs in several ways. One way is through the skin. Vasodilatation brings blood to the surface in order to cool it off. This makes the skin appear redder. At first, the skin takes on a nice luster but if the heat continues to build, rashes develop. Vasodilatation may also be seen in the eyes which also become reddened. The body tries to release the excess heat along with the malas of the body. The frequency of bowel movements increases and the stools may become loose. The frequency of urination also increases. The most noticeable sign of the body trying to reduce excess heat, however, is often experienced as an increase in sweat. If the excess heat cannot be adequately removed, it will result in burning sensations within the mucous membranes and eventually inflammation and fever. As the heat spreads, any tissue or organ can be affected.

3. Mansa
Mansa dhatu refers to the muscles of the body, but the term literally means flesh or meat. In the physical body, mansa dhatu refers directly to the muscles and indirectly to the ligaments and skin, which are upadhatus formed as the unstable form of rakta dhatu (posaka rakta) is converted to mansa dhatu.
Mansa dhatu is more than muscle; it is the provider of strength, courage, fortitude and self-confidence. It is also the vehicle through which we express ourselves. When healthy, our muscles work in a modest fashion to express the needs and desires of the ego, while also available to express the creative inspiration of the Divine. 
When mansa is less the body may be hard but proportionately weak. These muscles can do little work relative to their size.
When mansa is excess in the body, the structure may be strong but prone to inflammation.
When mansa is balanced, the body is healthy and capable of large amounts of work without injury.

4. Meda

Medas dhatu refers to the fatty tissues of the body. The term can literally be translated to mean fat. In the physical body, in addition to body fat the medas dhatu relates to the greater and lesser omentum which are its updhatu. These tissues are the primary storage sites for excess body fat in the abdomen.  The waste products produced by the formation of medas dhatu are the skin secretions of sweat and sebum (oil).
When medas dhatu is healthy, the body has an appropriate amount of body fat, the skin and hair are neither too oily nor dry and the voice is melodious and soft.
Excessive medas dhatu reveals itself as excessive soft tissue, particularly in the abdomen. In addition, the skin and hair will be excessively moist and oily and the voice may become obstructed by oily phlegm. 
Deficient medas dhatu is observed as minimal body fat exposing the articulations of the body and the ribs. The face may appear gaunt. In addition, the skin and hair will be dry and there may be deeps cracks over the lips and on the tongue. The voice may crack often or become piercing, whiney or high pitched.

5. Asthi
Asthi means bone. The asthi dhatu gives solid structure to the body.
In addition to the formation of the bones of the body, teeth are formed as the upadhatu (secondary tissue) of the production of asthi dhatu. The waste products (malas) of this metabolic process are the hair and nails.
Bones are made up of a solid structure organized as a matrix. This matrix can be visualized as the letter X. The lines that form the letter are solid and made of earth. The spaces between the lines are filled with air. Thus, bones create a solid but light structure allowing the body to easily move.  Long bones have a hollow core that is filled with hemopoetic tissue called the marrow.  This is an aspect of the majja dhatu.
When the asthi dhatu is deficient, hair density becomes scanty.  Hair loss may be distributed throughout the scalp or in patches. In addition, palpation of the nails reveals that they have become thin and break easily. The teeth will appear crooked or become darker (gray) than usual.  
When the asthi dhatu is in excess, the hair density is full. In addition, the nails are thick and the teeth large, straight and white. 

6. Majja

Majja means marrow as in bone-marrow. However, the term has become synonymous with nervous system which like bone marrow, is encased within bone. The skull is the casing of the brain. The vertebras are the casing of the spinal cord. While the brain and spinal cord make up the central nervous system, the Majja dhatu is associated with the entire nervous system.  The nervous system and the bone marrow are treated as homologous structures in ayurveda.
The waste products (malas) of the metabolic process of the majja are eye secretions. 
Functions of majja dhatu:
It nourishes body and helps to maintain its functions. Majja dhatu strengthens body, fills bones and helps in the functions of
shukra dhatu.

Symptoms of increased majja dhatu -  
Feeling of heaviness in eyes , feeling of heaviness of body and clubbing of fingers.

Symptoms of decreased majja dhatu
Osteoporosis, vertigo and blurring of vision.
7. Shukra
It represents the reproductive tissues of both male and female. Apart from the reproductive elements, Sukra also refers to cellular reproductive elements.
The Shukra is responsible for vitality and energy of the body.
Ayurveda honors shukra as the supreme body tissue because of its generative property. Therefore, for intimate satisfaction and for better progeny the shukra dhatu should be in good state. Vajikaran tantra is that branch of Ashtang Ayurveda that is concerned with all types of physical, and psychological sexual problems like impotence, libido, poor erection and early ejaculation in the males as well as sterility and frigidity in the females. The vajikaran drugs help in giving strength and vigor to the shukra dhatu thus strengthening the reproductive potentiality.
The shukra dhatu is the seventh tissue-the last in a chain of metabolic processes. The transformation of food into tissues starts when you eat food and it gets transformed into the nutrient fluid, known as rasa dhatu. The transformation continues in an orderly progression as each dhatu gets transformed into the next: from rasa to rakta (blood), to mansa (muscle), to meda (fat), to asthi (bone), to bone majja (bone marrow) and into the reproductive tissue, shukra dhatu. But the finest product of this chain of transformations or digestive processes is ojas.
According to ayurveda, Shukra can be classified into 2 types –
1.     Vyakta Shukra ( sperms or ovum)
2.     Avyakta Shukra ( sexual hormones)
Thus this explains the fact that shukra is contained in all over the body and which comes out during sexual intercourse as sperms in men.

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