The most fundamental and characteristic principle of Ayurveda
is called "Tridosha" or the Three Humors.
All matter is thought to he composed of five basic elements
( panchamahabhutas ) which exhibit the properties of earth
(prithvi), water (jala), fire (tejas), wind (vayu) and space
The structural aspect of our body is made up of five elements,
but the functional aspect of the body is governed by three
biological humors. Ether and air together constitute VATA;
fire and water,PITTA; and water and earth, KAPHA. They govern
psycho-biological changes in the body and physio-pathological
changes too. Vata-pitta-kapha are present in every cell, tissue
Doshas are to be seen as all pervasive, subtle entities, Vata
regulates movement and is represented by the nervous system.
Pitta is the principle of bio transformation and is the cause
of all metabolic processes in the body. Kapha is the principle
of cohesion and functions through the body fluids. In every
person these three doshas differ in permutations and combinations
and thereby determine the physiologic constitution (Prakriti)
of an individual. Vata, pitta and kapha are distinctly present
in every individual and express in each human being differently
according to predominance of their different qualities (gunas).
VATA - The Air or Nerve System Humor
vata is dry, light, cold, mobile, active, clear, astringent,
and it is dispersing. Vata season is autumn, time of day is
afternoon and early morning.
VATA -Types and their Functions:
Vatadosha is further divided into 5 types according to it's
seat and the different functions it carries
• Prana Vata : Governs the senses, creative thinking,
• Udana Vata : Governs quality of voice, memory, movements
• Samana Vata : Governs movement of food through digestive
• Apana Vata : Elimination of wastes, sexual function,
• Vyana Vata : Governs blood flow, heart rhythm, perspiration,
sense of touch
Useful Tips to Balance Vatadosha
• Abhyanga (ayurvedic massage with sesame oil)
• Stay warm in cold, windy weather
• Consume warm, cooked foods (less raw foods)
• Go to bed early have lot of rest and sleep.
• Favour warm, oily, heavy food with sweet, sour, and
• Avoid light, dry, cold, pungent, bitter and astringent
• Avoid raw foods, juices, fasting
• Avoid stimulants ,smoking ,alcohol
• Refrain from excessive aerobic activity
Medication for Vata
Medicines and herbs that are demulcent, emollient, warmly
diaphoretic, nerviness, antispasmodic, warming and carminative
are appropriate for treating Air imbalances. They are also
particularly amenable to the internal and external application
of herbal medicated oils. Castor oil because of its thick
viscosity, is considered the strongest oil for treating excess
vata conditions. Herbs and substances that are bitter and
astringent such as cascara bark and bayberry bark, increase
Air, while those that are sweet and demulcent, such as slippery
elm, marshmallow root and comfrey, ameliorate it. The primary
Panchkarma therapy for vata derangement is the use of medicated
oils usually applied externally.
PITTA - The Fire Humor
Pitta has hot, sharp, light, liquid, sour, oily and spreading
qualities. Pitta has a strong smell, like a fleshy smell,
and has a sour or bitter taste.
Pitta -Types and their Functions
• Alochaka Pitta : Controls functioning of the eyes
• Bhrajaka Pitta : Responsible for healthy glow of the
• Sadhaka Pitta : Controls desire, drive, decisiveness,
• Pachaka Pitta : Responsible for digestion, assimilation,
metabolism for healthy nutrients and tissues
• Ranjaka Pitta : Responsible for healthy, toxin-free
Useful Tips to Balance Pitta dosha
• Keep cool. Avoid hot temperatures and hot food
• Favor cool, heavy, dry, sweet, bitter and astringent
• Keep activities in Moderation.
• Keep regular mealtimes, especially at noon
• Avoid sesame and mustard oils, fish, buttermilk, mutton,
acidic fruits, alcohol, meat and fatty, oily foods.
• Restrict pungent, sour, salty, warm, oily and light
• Avoid over work
• Avoid fasting
Medication for Pitta
Medicines and herbs that are cooling, purging, laxative, antipyretic
and blood detoxifying, cholagogic (releasing bile) are appropriate
for treating Fire imbalances. Laxative herbs such as cascara
bark, rhubarb and senna are used to clear excess Fire. When
there is no constipation, one can use alterative or cholagogic
herbs such as red clover, sarsaparilla, oregon grape root,
barberry root and dandelion root. The major Panchkarma therapy
for excess Fire is bleeding. Generally such patients who are
not predisposed to anemia should make it a point to regularly
donate blood at a local blood bank.
KAPHA -The Water Humor
Heavy, slow, cool, oily, liquid, dense, thick, static and
cloudy qualities. These are the important qualities of kapha,
and kapha is sweet and salty.
Kapha - Types and their Functions :
• Tarpaka Kapha : Responsible for moisture for nose,
mouth, eyes and brain
• Bhodaka Kapha : Governs Sense of taste, which is essential
for good digestion
• Kledaka Kapha : Controls moisture of the stomach and
intestinal mucosal lining
• Avalambaka Kapha : Protects the heart, strong muscles,
• Sleshaka Kapha : Lubricates the joints,Keeps skin
soft and supple.
Useful Tips to Balance Kapha
• Do regular exercise, Begin with Sooryanamaskara to
warm up your body, which should be followed by a Vigorous
• Prefer warm temperatures, Stay warm and dry in cold,
• Use Fresh fruits, vegetables and legumes
• Favor pungent, bitter, astringent, light, dry and
• Reduce heavy, oily, cold, sweet, sour and salty foods
• Avoid heavy meals.
• Sleep promotes Kapha hence avoid excessive sleep,
• All frozen desserts are to be avoided.
Medication for Kapha
Medicines and herbs that are diuretic, warming diaphoretic,
warming stimulant, expectorant, carminative and aperient (mildly
laxative) are appropriate for treating Kapha imbalances.