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A Beginner’s Guide to the Rakta Dhatu

Ayurveda has given a lot of importance to Rakta dhatu. Along with the three doshas, Rakta is also the basis to sustain the life of an individual. It is considered as the dosha by some experts of Ayurveda. It supports the body by providing all the nutrients and maintains the health of a person. It is one of the dashapranayatana (ten vital points) explained in the texts of Ayurveda. The word rakta dhatu is derived from different kinds of literature like Shabdakalpadruma, which quotes Ranja with the suffix Kta, and from Vachaspatyam, it is derived as ‘Ranjane Karane Kta’ that means to dye or impart color.

Synonyms of rakta

  • Rudhira – The word Rudhira means that which gives Prana (life) to the body or does Dharana (supports) or Samrakshana (protects) of the body.
  • Shonita – The word indicates the red color of the liquid.
  • AsrukaAsruka means Vikshepana, that which moves throughout the body.
  • Asra – This denotes the red color of the liquid.
  • Lohitha – Since it contains Loha (Iron), it is called Lohitha.
  • Kshataja – Any part of the body when injured, the first thing that is visible is the blood or rakta.

Bhautika composition and its guna (qualities)

Rakta dhatu is composed of Teja and Jala Mahabhuta.

Classics have explained the qualities of Shuddha Rakta (pure blood) like the color of Indragopa (golden red, firefly), Padma (red lotus), Laksha (lac-resinous material), and fruit of Gunja (Abrus precatorius). It possesses Madhura (sweet), Lavana (salt) tastes, Snigdha (unctuous), Drava (liquidity), and Chala (mobile or moving) qualities. It is Samashitoshna (neither too hot nor too cold), resembles that of the blood of Avi (sheep) and Shasha (rabbit), and does not get stained on clothes when washed.

Raktasara purusha lakshana (Characteristics of an individual who has ideal rakta)

  • The person’s eyes, ears, nose, lips, tongue, face, nails, palms, soles, forehead, and genitalia are reddish.
  • The above organs are lustrous and appear glossy.
  • Such individuals are attractive, and cannot tolerate heavy mental and physical stress and, a scorching climate.
  • They are happy and intelligent.

A Comprehensive Guide to the Rasa Dhatu Formation

Aahara rasa is formed from the digestion of food under the action of Jatharagni and this Aaahra rasa then is carried to the twenty-four dhamani (blood vessels) originating from the hridaya (cardiac region) where the rasa dhatu is circulated. This rasa dhatu undergoes metabolism by rasa dhatwagni to form two components: sthayi rasa (the component that nourishes the rasa dhatu itself) and the other is poshaka rasa (the component which nourishes the rakta dhatu). This part of rasa reaches Yakrit (liver) and Pleeha (spleen) and there with the help of the metabolic process of Ranjaka pitta (a type of pitta) it attains red color and thus, raktha dhatu is formed.

Seat of raktha dhatu

Yakrit (liver) and Pleeha (spleen) are the main organs where rakta is formed and stored. In addition to these, raktavaha srotas (the transport system of rakta) also carry rakta. Raktadhara kala (the layer made up of blood vessels) is also connected to yakrit and pleeha

Quantity and duration taken to form rakta dhatu

The total quantity of rakta dhatu in the shareera (body) is eight Anjali. The duration to form rakta dhatu is 6030 kala (ten days).

Importance of rakta dhatu in garbhotpadana (embryogenesis)

Rakta dhatu has a vital role during intrauterine life. It is responsible for the formation of organs, Yakrit (liver), Pleeha (spleen), Vrukka (kidneys), Unduka (colon), Phuphussa (lungs), Vrushana (testes) and Hridaya (heart).

Byproducts and the waste metabolites

Kandara (tendons) and Sira (blood vessels) are the Upadhatu (byproducts). Pitta dosha is a waste product and it has its main seat in rakta dhatu.

Functions of rakta dhatu

  • It provides life to the living creature.
  • It gives strength to the body.
  • The skin luster and complexion are due to the rakta dhatu.
  • Sparsha jnana (tactile sensation)
  • Carry out functions of Indriya (both sensory and motor)
  • Dhatu Purana (providing the nutrients and supporting the other dhatu)
  • Mamsapushti (nourishment of mamsa dhatu)
  • Ayuvruddhi (longevity)

Causes of rakta dhatu vitiation

  • Diet factors: Masha (black gram), Kulattha (horse gram), Harita (green leafy vegetables), Jalaja (aquatic animals), excess curds intake, alcohol intake, excess eating of pungent and salt tastes, over-eating, incompatible foods, indigestion, having food even when the meals are not digested, etc.
  • Lifestyle factors: excess exposure to fire, sunlight, fatigue, anger, suppression of the urge to vomit, etc.

Rakta vriddhi lakshana (increased rakta dhatu symptoms)

  • Sira purnata (engorgement of blood vessels)
  • Visarpa (herpes simplex)
  • Pleeha vruddhi (splenomegaly)
  • Vatarakta (gouty arthritis)
  • Vyanga (hyperpigmentation)
  • Gulma (tumor)
  • Raktapitta (bleeding disorders)
  • Rakta varna of twak, netra, mutra (reddish discoloration of skin, eyes, and urine), etc.

Rakta kshaya lakshana (decreased rakta dhatu symptoms)

  • Twak rukshata (dryness of skin)
  • Sira shithilata (emptiness of blood vessels)
  • Amla ichcha (desire for sour food items), etc.

Diseases caused due to vitiation of rakta dhatu

  • Tiktamla udgara (sour and bitter belching)
  • Mukhapaka (ulceration of mouth)
  • Vaivarnya (discoloration)
  • Tamodarshana (darkness in front of eyes)
  • Gudapaka (ulceration of the rectum and anal canal)
  • Akshipaka (ulceration of the eyes)
  • Trishnadhikya (excess thirst)
  • Sharira Daurgandhya (foul smell of the body), etc.

Treatment for the diseases caused by blood vitaiation

A diet that is excess in Katu (pungent), Amla (sour), and Lavana (salt) should be avoided. Madhura (sweet), Tikta (bitter), and Kashaya (astringent) tastes are beneficial in raktaja diseases. 

Shodhana chikitsa (purificatory therapies) are advised when the raktha dhatu is vitiated severely. Mrudu Vamana (mild emesis), Virechana (purgation), Basti (enema), Nasya (installation of medicine in the nose).

Raktamokshana (bloodletting therapy) is one of the ideal procedures when the blood and its components are vitiated. Depending on the location of the pathology, dosha, etc. bloodletting is to be done.

When the disease of Raktha dhatu is mild to moderate, conservative treatments like medicines which are Raktha shodhaka (blood purifiers), Rakthapittahara (medicines which are used in bleeding disorders), Upavasa (fasting therapy), etc are advisable.

Conclusion

The life of a human being is supported by the Raktha dhatu. Raktha dhatu is nourished by rasa dhatu. Rudhira, Shonita, Lohita, Asruka, etc are its synonyms. Teja and Jala Mahabhuta constitute the Raktha dhatu. Sira and Kandara are its byproducts and pitta dosha is its waste product. Yakrit and Pleeha are the organs for the formation and storage of Raktha dhatu. It provides the complexion of the skin and nourishes Mamsa dhatu and other tissues. Rakthamokshana (bloodletting therapy), Virechana (purgation therapy), a treatment line for raktapittahara, and blood purification, are adopted for the diseases caused by Raktha dhatu.

References

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