The releasing mediators are called hormones controlled by the endocrine system and it plays an important role and the homeostasis mechanism within the body. Hormones are known as information-transferring molecules which are released from one group of cells, traveling through the bloodstream and regulating the activity of cells in different groups of cells.
From the Ayurvedic perspective, the universe is made of five basic elements known as panchamahabhutas. Similarly, our body is also made up of these five elements namely Prithvi, Aap, Tej, Vayu, and Akash. Tejmahabhut is responsible for all the activities in the universe as well as in the human body. It provides energy to the universe, and this activity is performed by the Sun (the ultimate form of energy). This energy is essential in order for biotransformations to take place. Within the body, these activities are performed by Agni and Pitta dosha i.e. due to Teja Mahabhuta.
Further, endocrine glands are responsible for releasing hormones, and hormones are responsible for biotransformation activity within the body. Thus, the activity of hormones can be regarded as a characteristic function of Teja Mahabhuta. The major glands of the endocrine system are the pituitary gland, pancreas, ovaries, testes, pineal gland, thyroid gland, hypothalamus, parathyroid gland, and adrenal glands. So, all these glands are regarded as centers of energy.
In the Ayurvedic text on Hormones, the center of energy is described as Chakras, which are located throughout the body and provide passage for energy and help to regular the flow of energy i.e. Physical, Mental, Spiritual, and Emotional energies. There are six Chakras within the body which are situated along the spinal cord, and each has a special function. Chakras are equidistant, one above the other. Their main function is to distribute Prana within the body. As the endocrine system regulates almost all the functions within the body by releasing that circulate via blood, can be compared to that chakra of Ayurvedic text on Hormones. These are responsible for various
functions like reproduction, growth, water and electrolyte balance, metabolism, behavior, etc. Shatchakra works together as a system to balance individuals’ physical and mental health. These can be listed below:
1. Muladhara Chakra: It is also known as the root chakra, situated in Guda sthanam (anal region). It is at the lowest part of the spine. It can be correlated with Gonads.
2. Swadisthana Chakra: It is also known as Sacral Chakra, situated at Linga Mulam (the root of genitals) i.e. below the navel and above the pubis. It can be correlated with Gonads.
3. Manipura chakra: It is situated in Naabhi (naval). It can be correlated with Pancreas and adrenal glands.
4. Anahata Chakra: It is situated on the spine, at the level of Hridaya (heart). It can be correlated with the thalamus gland.
5. Vishuddha Chakra: It is situated on the spine, at the level of Kanth (throat). It can be correlated with the thyroid and parathyroid glands.
6. Agya Chakra: It is situated on the spine at the level of Bhru-madhya (between eyebrows), in front of the central forehead. It can be correlated with the pituitary gland and pineal gland.
All these Chakras are by the virtue of Teja Mahabhuta whose characteristic features are:
- Ushna (heat): These hormones elevate body temperature while circulation. Eg- Thyroxine.
2. Tikshna (penetrating power): These hormones are able to penetrate into cell membranes due to their small size and permeability. These can change intracellular metabolism activity. Eg- Oestrogen.
3. Sukshma (microscopic): The concentration of these hormones is very less as it reduces target cells, and affects intracellular metabolism in order to modify cellular functions. Eg- Glucagon, Testosterone, etc.
4. Laghu (low molecular weight): These hormones are expelled from the body after their functions are over. Eg- Adrenaline.
5. Ruksha (unctuous): These hormones are just stored at the site of production and do not have
any accumulation action. Eg- Thromboxane A2.
6. Vishada (detergent-like): These hormones are used to inhibit the release of free fatty acids from adipose tissue.
7. Roopa (structure): These hormones have a specific shape and comprise proteins, polypeptides, glycoproteins amino acid derivatives, and steroids.
Insulin, glucocorticosteroids, and glucagon hormones act like Medho Dhatvagni. Beta cells of islets of Langerhans secrete insulin within the pancreas. It stimulates the synthesis of fat and increases the storage of fat in adipose tissue. Excess glucose is transported by insulin into the liver cells. The synthesis of lipids is promoted by insulin by activating the enzymes that convert glucose into fatty acids which are further converted into triglycerides.
Glucagon hormone is secreted by Alpha cells within the pancreas. It shows lipolytic and ketogenic activity. The fatty acids are released from adipose tissue with the help of the glucagon hormone. Medha Dhatu has deteriorated when the glucagon hormone is overactive.
Testosterone and estrogen are responsible for reproductive activity and are the same as Shukragni.
Thus, from the above context, it can be seen that various hormones act as Agni and are mostly influenced by Jatharagni, while some act on cellular metabolism under the influence of Bhutagni and Dhatvaagni. All the biotransformations within the body are carried out by Tejmahabhuta. Also, endocrine hormones are a part of Teja Mahabhuta. All the chakras are related to specific types of hormones in modern medicine. Thus, Ayurveda lays a deep context regarding hormones.