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A Beginner’s Guide to the Meda Dhatu

Meda dhatu is the fourth dhatu after the mamsa dhatu in the sequence. It mainly does oleation or anointing of the structures of the body like Twak (skin), Akshi (eyes), Kesha (scalp hair), Loma (body hair), Nakha (nails), Danta (teeth), Oshta (lips), Mutra (urine) and Shakrut (feces). The word ‘Meda’ originated from the Sanskrit language which means oleation or anointing. The synonyms are Mamsatejasa, Asthikrit, Vasa, Vapa, Gautam, Goda, Mamsaja. It is unctuous just like that of ghee.

Bhautika composition and its guna (qualities)

There are different views regarding the composition of Mahabhuta. Acharya Charaka says it is made up of only Jala Mahabhuta. Sushrutha opines that it is composed of Jala and Prithvi Mahabhuta while Vagbhata mentions Jala, Prithvi, and Agni Mahabhuta are responsible for constituting Meda dhatu.

Sthira (stability), Snigdha (unctuous), Sandra (compactness), Guru (heaviness), and Mrudu (soft) are the qualities of Meda Dhatu.

Medasara purusha lakshana (Characteristics of an individual who has ideal meda)

  • Oleation of Swara (vocal cords), Netra (eyes), Kesha (scalp hair), Loma (body hair), Nakha (nails), Danta (teeth), Oshta (lips), Mutra (urine) and Purisha (feces).
  • Have Brihat Sharira (huge body).
  • Endowed with happiness, wealth, and humbleness characteristics.
  • Intolerable to exhaustion or fatigue.

Formation of meda dhatu

The Medo Dhatwagni acts upon the Medo Dhatu which gets divided into two components, one is the poshya amsha and the other is the poshaka amsha. The poshya amsha nourishes the medo dhatu, and after the metabolism, the upadhatu (byproducts) and the mala (waste products) are formed. The other portion is that poshaka amsha provides the nutrients to the asthi dhatu.

Seat of Meda dhatu

There have been different opinions with respect to the main origins and the site where the formation of meda dhatu takes place. Charaka says Vrikka (kidneys) and Vapavahana (omentum), and Sushrutha quotes Vrikka (kidneys) and Kati pradesha (pelvic region). Vagbhata mentions the places as Vrikka (kidneys) and Mamsa dhatu (muscle tissue).

Quantity and duration taken to form meda dhatu

Two Anjali is the total quantity of meda dhatu present in the body. It is told in the Ayurveda texts that the time taken for the formation of meda dhatu is 9045 kala i.e. fifteen days.

Byproducts and the waste metabolites

Snayu (ligaments) and Sandhi (joints) are the byproducts of upadhatu and the sweda (sweat) and kleda (sebum) is its waste product.

Functions of meda dhatu

  • It provides the snigdhata (unctuousness) or lubricates the Netra (eyes), Twacha (skin), Kesha (hair), Nakha (nails), Danta (teeth), Oshta (lips), Mutra (urine), Purisha (feces), etc. 
  • Swedana– it causes the formation of sweat.
  • Dridhatva – It provides firmness or stability to the body.
  • Asthiposhana – It nourishes the asthi dhatu providing nutrients.

Causes of meda dhatu vitiation

Over-eating, excess eating of sweet, oily food, food that is heavy to digest, excess sleeping during daytime, lack of physical exercise, etc.

Meda vriddhi lakshana (increased meda dhatu symptoms)

  • Increased Snigdhata in the Shareera
  • Increased size of abdomen, flanks
  • Kasa (cough)
  • Shwasa (dyspnea)
  • Bad odor of the body, etc.

Meda kshaya lakshana (decreased meda dhatu symptoms)

  • Decrease in the circumference of the abdomen
  • Crepitations in the joints
  • Fatigue
  • Splenomegaly 
  • Dryness of the skin
  • Craving to have meat or fatty meat

Diseases caused due to vitiation of meda dhatu

  • Jatilibhavam kesheshu -hair becomes sticky
  • Kara pada suptata – numbness of the palms and soles
  • Kara pada daha – the burning sensation of the hands and the feet
  • Pipasa – excess thirst
  • Alasya – lethargy
  • Mukha-Talu shosha – dryness of the mouth and the palate
  • Sthaulya – obesity
  • Sharira Gandha– foul smell of the body
  • Atisweda – excess perspiration
  • Tandra– drowsiness, etc.

Treatment for vitiation of meda dhatu

The treatment of increased meda dhatu is Rukshana (drying therapy) and Lekhana (scraping therapy). Here, the excess kapha and meda dhatu are to be done rukshana and lekhana.

Brimhana (nourishing therapy) and Snehana (oleation therapy) are helpful when the meda dhatu is decreased. 

The diet and lifestyle to be followed is to increase meda dhatu and kapha dosha when there is decreased meda dhatu. To alleviate the meda dhatu and the kapha dosha if it is increased. 

Vamana (emesis) can be advised if there is involvement of kapha dosha. If Pitta dosha is associated, then Virechana (purgation therapy) and Vata dosha Basti (enema therapy) are administered.

Conclusion

The unctuousness in the eyes, skin, hair, nails, teeth, urine, and feces is due to the Meda dhatu. It is predominant in Jala and Prithvi Mahabhuta. Sthira, Snigdha, Sara, Mrudu, and Guru are the qualities of Meda dhatu. Atisweda, Sharira Gandha, Alasya, Pipasa,etc are some of the meda vriddhi symptoms. Dryness, crepitations of the joints, and painful restricted movements are decreased meda dhatu symptoms. Nourishment and oleation are beneficial to increase meda and scraping of kapha dosha and meda dhatu help in reducing the increased meda dhatu.

References
  1. http://www.iamj.in/posts/images/upload/906_909.pdf
  2. https://jaims.in/jaims/article/view/2349
  3. https://ijmhsjournal.in/Jully%202021/ijmhsvolviiissueii/New%20folder/IJMHS%20VOL%20VII%20ISSUE%20II%204.%20%E2%80%9CMEDA%20DHATU%20IN%20AYURVEDA%20-%20A%20REVIEW%20WITH%20RESPECT%20TO%20KRIYA%20SHARIR%E2%80%9D-converted.pdf
  4. https://www.researchgate.net/publication/358692088_Review_of_Concept_of_Dhatu_-_Pradoshaja_Vikara_described_in_Classical_Ayurvedic_Texts

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