Ayurvedic Concepts Of  Health and Disease





Ayurveda is the science of life or longevity, which helps in the promotion of health, prevention of diseases and in achieving a long life. The basic philosophy of Ayurveda is based on the panchamahabhoota (five elements) theory. This theory states that the universe as well as the human body is made up of five elements, namely air (vayu), space (akash), earth (prithvi), fire (agni) and water (jal). These elements combine to form controlling forces or biological humours called Dosha. These dosha are responsible for sustaining the living body in its normal state and are of 3 types: Vaata, Pitta and Kapha. These controlling forces or the doshas act on the tissues of the body known as the Datus and help in the various physiological functions. The waste products formed as a result of various bodily functions are Malas, which are end products of the body. Thus the science of Ayurveda deals with Doshas, Dhaatus & Malas.

Vaata

It is responsible for active movements of different organs and parts of our body.

There are 5 types of Vaata:-

Praana: Praana refers to functions of the brain and nervous system i.e. sensations of smell, taste, touch, hearing and vision, movements of upper and lower limbs, rectum and sex organs and breath.

Udaana: Udaana refers to movements of the chest, diaphragm and voice box. It controls movements of breathing out, sneezing and speech.

Samaana: Samaana refers to movements of the intestine along with digestion and absorption of food substances.

Apaana: Apaana refers to the movements of the bladder, rectum, uterus and is important for passing urine, stools, menstrual fluids, semen and foetus (delivery).

Vyaana: Vyaana is concerned with movements of all kinds of voluntary and involuntary muscles. It is responsible for movements of the heart e.g. blood vessels, lymph is a white fluid present in different parts of the body) glands and glands which produce hormones.

The diseases caused by the disorders of Vaata are: Asthma, Epilepsy (fits) and other mental disorders, Urticaria (a skin disease), Viral fever (due to temperature changes), Anaemia (lack of iron in blood), Obesity (increased weight gain), Diabetes, Diarrhoea, constipation and reduced functions of thyroid and adrenal glands.

Pitta

It is responsible for the chemical reactions that take place in our body.

It is of 5 types:-

Paachaka: Paachaka is due to digestive enzymes and other chemicals in the body, which control the digestion and absorption of food substances.

Ranjaka: Ranjaka is responsible for haemoglobin (the iron-containing pigment in blood) production.

Alochaka: Alochaka is responsible for the biochemical activity of the eye, which is responsible for perception of vision.

Saadaka: Saadaka is responsible for normal functioning of the mind.

Braajaka: Braajaka is responsible for removing waste products in the form of sweat and enhancing the natural glow of the skin.

The diseases caused by disorders of Pitta are as follows: Toxic fevers, Hyperacidity (Gastritis), Vomiting, Diarrhoea, Jaundice, Anaemia Bronchitis, Skin diseases associated with pus formation and All infections due to toxins, bacteria, viruses etc.

Kapha

It refers to promotion or growth brought about by secretions of different types by the organs.

It is of 5 types:-

Kledaka: Kledaka refers to secretions by the mouth, stomach and intestines, which dissolve the food and destroy bacteria.

Avalambika: Avalambika refers to secretions by the respiratory tract from the nose to the lungs and facilitates passing of air and flushes out foreign substances.

Bodhaka: Bodhaka is the watery secretion of the glands around the taste buds of the tongue, which help in perceiving the taste.

Tarpaka: Tarpaka refers to the cerebrospinal fluid which is a secretion surrounding the brair, and spinal cord. It provides nutrition to the brain and protects it from toxic substances.

Shleshaka: SWeshaka is the fluid lying in the bones and joint spaces called as synovial fluid producing movements of bones and joints with ease. The watery fluid surrounding and,protecting the heart and lungs are also referred to as shleshaka Kapha.

The diseases caused by disorders of Kapha are as follows: Common cold, Infection of the lungs and other parts of respiratory system, Diarrhoea due to infection, Jaundice, Eczema, Pimples and other skin infections, Arthritis (painful joints)/ Rheumatic heart disease, Swelling and infection of the kidneys (glomerulonephritis), Peritonitis (swelling of abdominal cavity), Encephalitis, Meningitis and other infections of the brain and, Benign tumours of different parts of body.

Dhaatu

It is a substance which is responsible for formation of basic structure of body. There are 7 types of dhaatus i.e. lymph, blood, muscle tissue, fat tissue, bone marrow, sperm and ovum.

Malas

These are waste products of various dhaatus produced during the course of metabolic changes in the body. Examples of malas are sweatt urine, stool, gases, bile, earwax, nasal discharge, mucous secretions etc. Thus a disease is due to imbalance of doshas, dhaatus and malas.