Ayurveda, which is also known as “the science of life”, postulates that every human being consists of Tridosha or Prakriti which are fixed for the entire life of an individual. Each individual may have different levels of doshas namely- Vata, Pitta, and Kapha Dosha; leading to diversity. And individuals’ physical, mental, and behavioral traits are based on these Doshas. Individuals in Ayurveda are classified based on the predominance of the doshas.
1. Individuals with predominance of Vata dosha change constantly, as they have energetic and creative minds. Whenever Vata dosha is in balance with body and mind, the person is enthusiastic and has a desire to live. On the other hand, when Vata dosha is imbalanced, the individual may feel out of control and have trouble sleeping, poor appetite, etc. and may take time to regain its balance. It contributes to manifestation of shape, cell division, movement, signaling, cognition, within the body.
2. The individual having predominance of Pitta dosha, are assertive. If Pitta dosha is imbalanced, it can trigger pathologies, anger and irritability due to over accumulation of fire element. While in a balanced state, it leads to energizing behavior and a positive attitude. It is responsible for metabolism, energy hemostasis, pigmentation, host surveillance, vision, and thermoregulation.
3. The individuals having predominance of Kapha dosha are very stable and calm. When it is imbalanced, it is responsible for weight gains, fluid retention, resistance to changes, and allergies. While it is in a balanced state leads to peaceful decision-making and a strong gut. It is responsible for growth and maintenance of structure, storage and stability.
The development of scientific knowledge and its use for prediction of different aspects of science form the basis of the basic science. While the theory of Tridosha, focuses on the science of understanding individuals’ nature or constitution. This theory explains that an individual’s body is governed by three fundamental principles i.e. Vata, Pitta and Kapha doshas. Every individual has a unique combination of these doshas and, one or combination of two you may be predominant in an individual. These three doshas are categorized into seven constitutional types;
4. Vata – Pittaja
5. Pitta – Kaphaja
6. Vata – Kaphaja
7. Vata – Pitta – Kaphaja
Connecting this with modern science, genes of an individual are a unique combination, which makes them different from others. Genes in Ayurveda are known as Bheejabhagavayava, which are hereditary units and are transferred from parents to two offspring. These are responsible for characterization of the offspring. Bheejabhaga corresponds to the chromosome, which is the sequence of nucleotides and is unique for a particular individual.
There are three branches of science which determine characteristics of an individual:
1. Genetics- It is the study of heredity and variation of different inherited characters of the individual from their parents.
2. Genomics- It is concerned with the structure, function, and mapping of genomes which forms a complete set of genetic materials present in an organism.
3. Epigenetics- It is the study of changes in organisms caused by a modification of gene expression. This branch of science describes everything other than DNA that influences the development of an organism. It involves two important concepts:
- Genotype- the genetic constitution of an individual.
- Phenotypes- the observable characteristics of individuals that result from interaction of its genotype.
Thus, the genetic combination and Prakriti are unique for the individuals and do not change throughout their lifetime. If any changes occur during the life period of an individual, it leads to serious illness or Beejangavikriti.
The two concepts that confirm the Prakriti of the individual are Dashavidha-Pariksha and Ashtavidha-Pariksha. NadiPariksha which is performed under Ashtavidha-Pariksha and Dashavidha-Pariksha helps to find Prakriti of an individual, by identifying its basic composition i.e. combination of three Doshas- Vata, Pitta and Kapha Dosha. Genetic and genomics study is performed for the same individual, simultaneously. Ashtavidha-Pariksha also includes the study of genes and minutely finding the reason behind individuals’ diseased condition. Similar techniques in modern medicine are DNA sequencing and gene expression. Thus, a person’s composition of genes is determined, which in turn is used for detailed study of DNA. This detailed study can be useful to recognise which genes have been altered and are responsible for causing genetic disorders. It is also helpful in designing the right drug or combination of drugs for a genetic defect, thus by developing personalized medicine for a particular individual. By knowing the defect in Bheejabhagavayava, Beejadosa is recognised which is dependent on individuals Prakriti. Thus, deep analysis of genetic combinations of individuals and Prakriti gives detailed information about the composition of doshas.
If we assume Prakriti as phenotype and blending it with genotype, a derived concept of genomics the gap between modern science and Ayurveda can be developed, is helpful in preparation of personalized medicines. Here, Ayurveda plays an important role as it adopts a natural way to treat the disease and has lesser side effects when compared to other medical sciences.