The study of the body starts with the study of the human cell, it’s constituents and their functions. A tissue is a group of cells, an organ is a group of tissues, a system is a group of tissues and a group of systems is a human body. Thus, study of the most basic part i.e. cells and tissues becomes essential.
Ayurveda explains the human body in a bit different way. It explains the human body on the basis of three controlling energies, that are Vata, Pitta and Kapha, namely. These are known as Tridoshas. The functionality of these Doshas is based on working of tissues from the human body. These tissues are known as Dhatus.
Dhatu is derived from the word “Dhru” of Sanskrit meaning “That which does Dharana (holding together)”. So, Dhatus holds the entire body together. As described in Ayurveda, there are Seven Dhatus known as Saptadhatus. The functionality of Dhatus is governed by Tridoshas.
- Rasa Dhatu – Plasma: It gets it’s essential nutrients from the essential part of food after digestion. It’s function is Preenana (nourishment). It circulates all over the body by pumping of heart, and brings in Nourishment of each body part. It is formed 24hrs. It is influenced by Kapha Dosha. As Kapha Dosha increases, Rasa Dhatu increases; and as Kapha Dosha decreases, Rasa Dhatu decreases. Thus, Rasa Dhatu I’d directly proportional to Kapha Dosha.
- Rakta Dhatu – Blood: It indicates the red colour of tissue. When Rasa Dhatu gets its colour due to the action of Pitta, Rakta Dhatu is formed. It gets its nourishment from Rasa Dhatu. It’s function is Jeevana (Enlivening). It is influenced by Pitta Dosha. As Pitta Dosha increases, Rakta Dhatu increases; and as Pitta Dosha decreases, Rakta Dhatu decreases. Thus, Rakta Dhatu is directly proportional to Pitta Dosha.
If Rakta Dhatu is in good proportions, there is good clarity and uniformity in skin complexion. Good nourishment and strength, happiness, contentment and formal functioning of organs is brought in.
- Mamsa Dhatu – Muscle: It gets its nourishment from Rakta Dhatu. It’s function is Lepana (Supporting). It is made up of earth elements. It is influenced by Kapha Dosha. As Kapha Dosha increases, Mamsa Dhatu increases and vice versa. Thus, Mamsa Dhatu is directly proportional to Kapha Dosha.
It is responsible for locomotion of skeletal muscles, heart beats, proper functioning of organs like kidney, esophagus, stomach, urinary bladder, etc.
- Medha Dhatu – Fat tissue: It gets its nourishment from Mamsa Dhatu. It’s function is Snehana (Oiling, lubricating). It’s qualities are : Softness, heaviness and stability. These are present in the Subcutaneous layer of skin, around the heart, around kidneys, yellow marrow or bones, padding around joints, inside eye socket. Food that is in excess, is converted into fat and stored in adipose tissue. It is influenced by Kapha Dosha. As Kapha Dosha increases, Medha Dhatu increases and vice versa. Kapha Dosha is rich in fat tissues.
- Asthi Dhatu – Bone tissue: It gets its nourishment from Medha Dhatu. It’s function is Dharana (Stabilising, holding). It is influenced by Vata Dosha. It is the hardest Dhatu. It’s qualities are rough, dry and hard. It is responsible for shaping the skeletal body, voluntary motion of legs and hands, and protection of body organs like brain (skull), heart and lunge (Rib cage), Spinal cord (Vertebra). As Vata Dosha increases, Asthi Dhatu decreases and vice versa. This is the reason of ageing. As we grow old, Vata Dosha increases and bone tissue degeneration takes place
- Majja Dhatu – Bone marrow: It gets its nourishment from Asthi Dhatu. It’s function is Poorna (filling in bone cavities). It is made up of water and earth. It is present inside the cavities of long bones. It’s main function is to create red and white blood cells. It produces fat, cartilage, fibrous connective tissue, stromal cells, and bone cells. It also removes old or dead cells from circulation within the body. It is influenced by Kapha Dosha.
- Shukra Dhatu – Reproductive system: It gets its nourishment from Majja Dhatu. It’s function is Garbhotpadana (Reproduction). It is responsible for maintainance of sex hormones like estrogen, progesterone, testosterone. It is influenced by Kapha Dosha.
Every Dhatu has its own Agni (energy) that is used during the metabolic process. These can be mentioned as below:
- Rasagni – In Rasa Dhatu
- Raktagni – In Rakta Dhatu
- Mamsagni – In Mamsa Dhatu
- Medagni – In Meda Dhatu
- Asthyagni – In Asthi Dhatu
- Majjagni – In Majja Dhatu
- Shukragni – In Shukra Dhatu
Importance of knowing these Dhatus:
- Dhatus are the base of actions of Doshas.
- As per Ayurveda, Dhatu, Dosha and Mala (waste) are the roots of the body.
- The Dhatus are formed in organs like liver, stomach, intestine, etc; where the nutrients of food are formed.
- When there is imbalance in Dhatus, the Doshas get imbalanced. Thus, a disease is caused.
When all the Dhatus complete the refining process, the ultimate energy is formed called Ojas. This is the purest form of energy which is stored for the body to get into work. Ojas is also known as Mahadhatu (energy obtained from purified Dhatu).
As we can see from the above context, all these seven Dhatus are interconnected. The malfunctioning of even a single Dhatu can have an effect on others. These Dhatus are composed of five elements known as Mahabhutas (air, fire, water, soil, ethers), also, Doshas are also made up of the same. Thus, it implies that, Harmony of Dhatus is harmony of Doshas, and a body, indeed!
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