The “Dosha” theory (Three Doshas) is one of the basic theories of Ayurveda. The word “Dosha” is a Sanskrit word whose expansion is “Dooshayati Dosha” i.e. That which gets easily vitiated is “Dosha.”
Body constituents (tissues) are always in the process of metabolism, which is a combination of deterioration (catabolism) on one side and construction (anabolism) on the other. Health is maintained by balancing these activities.
Metabolism is controlled by a lot of chemical reactions, hormonal activity etc. When these systemic and natural functions get disturbed, it results in various types of diseases. As the basic functions of the body are innumerable, the number of diseases are also innumerable. Even Hippocrates, the father of the Modern System of Medicines accepts the importance of the “Dosha” Theory.
According to Indian philosophy, the basic constituents of all beings are “Pancha Maha Bhootas.”
The five Maha bhootas are:
- Prithvi (Earth)
- Ap (Water)
- Tejas (Fire)
- Vayu (Air)
- Akash (Ether)
The basic constituents of the human body are also the same “Pancha Maha Bhootas.” Each and every cell, system and organ is made up of these constituents. The proportion of the five “Pancha Maha Bhootas” is different in the various body systems and organs. The proportion is based on the involvement, the qualities and functions of the organs. The deficiency or excess of their involvement results in various diseases.
Ancient Ayurvedic experts developed this “Pancha Maha Bhootas” theory into the “Tri Dosha” theory for their easy diagnosis and treatment.
The “Tri Doshas” are:
The “Tri Doshas” are also made up of the “Pancha Maha Bhootas”. The functions of the “Tri Doshas” should be taken in a broad spectrum.
“Tri Doshas” decide the “Prakrithi” (body constitution) of a being. If “Vatha” is predominant it is known as “Vatha Prakrithi” (Vatha constitution). A “Vatha Prakrithi” person is prone to be afflicted by “Vatha diseases” if exposed to conducive surroundings and causes. Similarly, for the “Pittha Prakrithi” and the “Kapha Prakrithi”. A brief explanation is given below.
All movements in the body are maintained by the “Vatha Dosha”. The expansion of the term “Vatha” in Sanskrit is “Tatra va gati Gandhanayoriti”, i.e. all movements and catabolic activities of body are controlled by “Vatha”.
Finer movements like cell division, circulation etc. are maintained by “Vatha”. The predominant “Maha Bhoota” involved in “Vatha Dosha” is Vayu (Air) and Akash (Ether).
The “Maha Bhoota” predominance in “Pittha” is Teja (Fire). All the digestive activities of body are controlled by “Pittha.”
Digestive activity means not only the digestion of food occurring in the intestine but the hormonal, chemical and metabolic changes are attributed to “Pittha.” Body warmth, taste, vision, appetite, skin luster, intelligence, bravery – are all qualities attributed to “Pittha”.
The predominant “Maha Bhootas” in “Kapha” are Prithvi (Earth) and Jal (Water). All of the anabolic activities of the body are maintained by “Kapha.” It contributes to the nourishment and bulky form of the body.
By analyzing these symptoms the physician can come to a conclusion that this “Dosha” is vitiated and an Ayurvedic treatment plan can be created.
Due to various causes, when the body functions become imbalanced, it results in various diseases. Whole body functions are maintained and controlled by the “Tri Doshas”. So when the “Doshas” get disturbed it results in symptoms like Vridhi(Increase),Â Kshayam (Decrease) or Prakopam (Vitiation of Doshas). An observing Ayurvedic physician can diagnose the disease based on the symptoms exhibited by the “Doshas” vitiation.
The factors that cause ailments are innumerable. They may be caused by several types of microorganisms, allergens, surrounding factors, climatic conditions, systemic disorders etc. Whatever the cause, when the body is exposed to these, it results in the vitiation of “Doshas.”
Once a full Ayurvedic assessment is done, the Ayurvedic practitioner can come to a conclusion based on the involvement of “Doshas.” Ayurvedic practitioners view the human being as a whole while diagnosing the disease and administering the treatment. This specific concept is lacking in the modern system of medicine.
Many new diseases are on the rise and uncertainty prevails in the medical field when approaching several diseases. The majority of the common diseases are incurable, e.g. auto immune disorders, chronic skin diseases, arthritis, malignancy etc.
The allopathic medical system, medication of chronic diseases, is comprised of steroids and immuno suppressant drugs, which have various side effects. In this context Ayurvedic concepts are very important. They are time tested, all natural and free from side-effects. This is the reason that Ayurveda is being accepted all over the world.