Saptadhatu – the seven bodily tissues
Sapta means seven and dhatu means that which bears or supports. Ayurveda identifies seven vital tissues that provide nourishment, growth, and structure to the entire body.
These tissues are called dhatus which are in many ways similar to the major tissues identified by modern science.
They are maintained within limit of the skin from outside and mucus membrane from inside. Each Dhatu has Updhatu or a sub unit and together they make up the body grow strong. They provide support, strength and structure to the body. Each dhatu is governed by one of the three biological humors (Doshas) Updhatu support the body and make them strong, but as they do not nurture the body tissues as Dhatus , they are called Updhatu.
Ayurveda opines that Proper diet and digestion ensure excellent tissue renewal. Once food is fully digested, the building of tissues commences.
The first tissue that gets strength is plasma and then sequentially other tissues are nourished. An imbalance within any tissue will, therefore, affect all subsequent tissues.
Plasma is rich in digestive nutrients and actively transfers these nutrients to subsequent tissue layers. In this way, even the deepest and most complex tissues are nourished by the foods we eat.
Ojas is the ultimate “essence” of each dhatu. The most effective way to improve the health of the dhatus is to increase ojas.
Improper diet and digestion, on the other hand, will lead to ama formation in each tissue layer.
The Seven Dhatus-
Made up of water element.
Rasa means to move.
It can be compared with plasma and extra cellular fluid in the body.
When rasa dhatu is depleted skin becomes dry, and hard, person is dull, lean, tired, and intolerant to loud speech and noise.
When rasa dhatu is in excess loss of appetite, excessive salivation, nausea laziness, feeling of heaviness, coldness, cough and excess of sleep is felt.
It makes the person cheerful, happy and leaves the skin glowing and nourishes Rakta dhatu.
Made up of fire element.
It can be compared with formed elements of blood like Red Blood Cells(RBC), White Blood Cells(WBC), and Platelets etc.
It takes care of our complexion, nourishes Mamsa dhatu and is governed by pitta dosha.
When rakta dhatu is depleted, the qualities of pitta dosha and fire diminish. 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. Person has desire for sour and cold things.
When the rakta dhatu is in excess, the qualities of pitta dosha and fire increase. A person feels warmer. As heat builds up in the body, the body tries to release the heat. 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
Made up of earth element.
Strengthens the body, builds good muscle tissue in neck shoulder and thigh area. Nourishes meda dhatu and is governed by kapha dosha and earth element.
When mamsa dhatu is depleted then it causes debility of sense organs, emaciation of cheeks, buttocks, pain in joints.
When mamsa dhatu is in excess then produces enlargement of lymph glands, tumors, increase in size of cheeks, thighs, abdomen etc.
Made up of earth and water elements.
Well lubricates system, with oily and soft hair, skin and efficient eyes.
Nourishes Asthi dhatu and is governed by Kapha.
When medas dhatu is depleted then it leads to spleen enlargement, difficult joint movements, emaciation at abdomen, desire to consume fatty food.
When medas dhatu is in excess then person gets tired, fat increases at abdomen, thighs, neck etc, and foul smell in sweat, shortness of breath etc.
Made up of air and space elements.
Supports the body. Gives good structure and stability with hard working capacity to the body. Nourishes Majja dhatu. Asthi dhatu is governed by vata dosha.
When asthi dhatu is depleted then there is pricking pain in bones, falling of teeth, nail and hairs
Bones become porous, get easily fractured.
Increase in asthi dhatu lead to excessive growth of bones. Bones and teeth are developed over one another (extra bone, extra teeth)
Made up of water element.
Imparts sharp, clear mind with good intellect and memory. Strong joints.
Govern by kapha dosha.
When majja dhatu is depleted then bones get weak, joint pain, vertigo, giddiness occur and shukra dhatu is also depleted.
When majja dhatu is in excess then heaviness in eyes, and whole body occurs.
Has patience, enjoys life and body strength. Reproductive needs are concern. Govern by kapha dosha.
In case of shukra dhatu depletion ejaculation is delayed, bloody ejaculation occurs, pain in testicles, body is weak and thirst occurs.
When there is excess of shukra dhatu desire of excess coitus is there and stone in the shukravaha strotas may occur with pain.
Made up of water elements.
|1||Rasa||Nine anjali 9x180ml=1.62 lts||Liquid, unctuous, mobile, white, slow||Stomach, intestines, heart, blood vessels, lymphatics,skin||Nourishment, satisfying, nourishing blood|
|2||Rakta||Eight anjali 8x180ml=1.44lts||Warm, penetrating, foul smell, mobile, liquid, light , red,||Spleen, liver, blood vessels, muscles||Life supportive, maintains body temperature, nourishes mamsa|
|3||Mamsa||Muscles 500(males) 520(females)||Gross, Firm, heavy, unctuous, slimy,||Skeletal muscles, visceral muscles||Covers skeleton, movements, nourishes medas|
|4||Medas||Two anjali 2x180ml=360 ml||Unctuous, smooth, heavy, soft, thick liquid, yellow||Buttocks, abdomen, kidneys, bones, chest region.||Lubricates the body, stability, nourishes asthi|
|5||Asthi||360||Heavy, stable, rough, hard, white||Extremities, waist, pelvis, back, chest, head.||Supports body, maintains position, nourishes majja|
|6||Majja||One anjali 180ml||Thick liquid, unctuous, smooth, soft, yellow, red||Inside bones,||Fills bones, lubrication, strength, nourishes shukra|
|7||Shukra||Half anjali 90ml||Liquid, cold, unctuous, thick, sweet||In Men: testicles In Women: ovaries, genital tract||Courage, attraction towards opposite sex, pleasure, formation of embryo|