A Beginner’s Guide to Kapha Dosha
Kapha dosha is an anabolic dosha. The word ‘kapha’ is derived from the “kena jalena pihalati iti kapha” which means water is the basis for kapha dosha. Shleshma, Balasa, Balasaka, and Soma are the synonyms of kapha dosha in its normal state while in its abnormal state, it is called Papma, Mala, etc. It provides bala (strength) and regulates the growth of the body. Jala and Prithvi Mahabhuta are the bhautika compositions of Kapha dosha. Satva and tama qualities are associated with Kapha dosha.
Influence of rasa (taste)
The three tastes – Madhura (sweet), Amla (sour), and Lavana (salt) increase kapha. Katu (pungent), Tikta (bitter), and Kashaya (astringent) are the tastes that decrease kapha dosha in the body.
Gunas – the qualities of Kapha
- Guru (heaviness)
- Sheeta (cold)
- Snigdha (unctuous)
- Pichchila (slimy)
- Mrudu (soft)
- Sthira (stable)
- Sandra (compact)
- Manda (sluggish), etc.
Factors influencing Kapha dosha:
- Season: During the winter season, Shishira rutu, there is accumulation of kapha dosha, in spring or Vasanta rutu there is vitiation of kapha dosha and if proper diet and lifestyle are followed it is in the normal state or subsides in Greeshma rutu (summer season).
- Period of the day: Kapha dosha is at its peak in the early part of the mid-day and in the evening.
- Digestion process: In the initial phase of digestion and immediately after the food is consumed there is an increase in kapha dosha.
- Habitat: People and other living creatures living in the Anupa (marshy) area are predominant in kapha dosha.
- Age: Kapha dosha is dominant in the childhood period of life.
Functions of kapha dosha
- Gauravata – provides heaviness in the body.
- Snehana – the unctuousness of the body is maintained by the snehana quality of the kapha dosha.
- Sthirata – The firmness or the stability of all the structures in the body and the mental stability brought by Kapha dosha.
- Bandhana – The bones, joints, tendons, ligaments, tissues, and cells bind to each other with the help of Kapha dosha.
- Bala – Kapha gives strength to the body.
- Upachaya – The growth of the body is dependent on kapha dosha.
- Vrishata – The reproductive system functions are carried out by kapha dosha.
- Kapha dosha has a role in the intellect and knowledge of a person.
Seat of Kapha Dosha
Kapha dosha is primarily located in the urdhwa amashaya (upper part of the stomach). The other structures of kapha dosha are shira (head), ura (chest), greeva (neck), sandhi (joints), kantha (throat), rasa (plasma), meda (fat), ghrana (nose), jihva (tongue), etc.
Types of kapha dosha
There are five types of kapha dosha explained in Ayurveda. Avalambaka kapha, Tarpaka kapha, Bodhaka kapha, Shleshaka kapha, Kledaka kapha.
- Avalambaka: It is situated in the ura pradesha (chest region), trika pradesha (a point where three structures meet, and here it is the midpoint between the two eyebrows), and supports the other types of Kapha by providing nourishment.
- Tarpaka kapha: It resides in the shira (head) and regulates the functions of sense organs.
- Bodhaka kapha: It is located at the root of the tongue and throat and is helpful in the perception of the taste.
- Shleshaka kapha: This is present in the joints, maintains the integrity of the joints, and carries out all the functions.
- Kledaka kapha: This type of Kapha is in the amashaya (stomach) and hence aids in the proper mixing of the food and softens the food particles for easy digestion.
Symptoms of increased and decreased Kapha dosha in the body
Kapha dosha alone can cause 20 diseases independently either due to a decrease or increase in the dosha.
Kapha Vriddhi lakshana (symptoms of increased Kapha dosha)
- Gauravata (heaviness in the body)
- Alasya (fatigue)
- Shukla varnata of twacha (whitish discoloration of the skin)
- Avasada (depression)
- Agnisada (impaired digestion)
- Sandhivishlesha (joints get loosened)
- Praseka (excess salivation)
- Atinidrata (excess sleep)
- Tandra (drowsiness)
- Shwasa (breathlessness)
- Kasa (cough)
- Sthaulya (obesity)
- Hrillasa (nausea)
- Murcha (syncope), etc.
Kapha Kshaya lakshana(symptoms of decreased Kapha Dosha)
- Rukshata (roughness of the skin)
- Anidra (loss of sleep)
- Bhrama (giddiness)
- Daurbalya (weakness)
- Antardaha (internal burning sensation)
- Trishna (thirst)
- Vepathu (tremors),
- Hridayadrava (palpitation) etc.
Diseases caused due to Kapha dosha:
Kapha dosha gets vitiated by excess intake of Madhura (sweet), Amla (sour), and Lavana (salt) food, oily, deep fried, excess day sleeping, lack of physical activities, etc. It can cause 20 diseases independently. To mention some of them are: Madhurasyata (sweet coating of the mouth), Atisthaulya (obesity), Nidradhikya (excess sleep), Agnisada (impaired digestion), Galaganda (goiter), Mukhasrava (excess salivation), Tandra (stupor), Alasya (laziness), Udarda (urticarial rashes), kanthopalepa (coating in the throat), etc.
Treatment for kapha dosha
A diet that is light for digestion, food that has bitter, pungent, and astringent tastes, hot, physical exercise, and avoiding day sleep are some of the lifestyle modifications to be done. Vamana (emesis therapy) is the best treatment for any kaphaja vyadhi (disease of Kapha dosha). Udwarthana (powder massage with oil), Udgharshana (powder massage without oil), sudation therapy, etc. some of the other treatments advised.
Kapha dosha is the anabolic factor responsible for the growth and maintaining stability of the body. The main site of Kapha dosha is the upper part of the gastrointestinal tract. Heaviness, firmness, unctuousness, and sluggishness are some of the qualities. The childhood phase of life is predominant with kapha dosha. The bitter, pungent, and astringent tastes subside the morbid kapha dosha. The five types help in proper digestion, maintaining the integrity of joints, functioning of sense organs, and perceiving the taste of food. Jala and Prithvi are the two Mahabhuta predominant in the Kapha dosha and hence also reside in the tongue and nose in the body. Kapha dosha can cause 20 diseases independently as per the classics of Ayurveda. Vasanta rutu is the ideal season for Vamana since the kapha dosha is increased and helps in treating the disorders caused by kapha dosha.
- Caraka Samhita
- Sushruta Samhita
- Astanga Hridaya