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 (akasha). These elements do not exist in isolated forms, but always in a combination, in which one or more elements dominate. According to Ayurveda, the human body is composed of derivatives of the five basic elements, in the form of doshas, tissues (dhatus) and waste products (malas).
Doshas:The most fundamental and characteristic principle of Ayurveda is called "tridosha" or the Three Humours.Doshas are the physiological factors of the body. They are to be seen as all pervasive, subtle entities, and are categorized into vata, pitta and kapha. Vata regulates movement and is represented by the nervous system. Pitta is the principle of biotransformation and is the cause of all metabolic processes in the body. Kapha is the principle of cohesion and functions through the body fluids. Together, these three doshas determine the physiologic constitution of an individual.
Dhatus:The tissues are classified into seven categories: plasma, blood cells, muscular tissue, adipose tissue, bony tissue, bone marrow and the reproductive tissue.
Malas:three main waste products are urine, faeces and sweat.
Agni:For the metabolic processes in the body, there are three main groups of biological factors, probably exhibiting enzymatic functions (Agnis). Jatharagni is responsible for the digestion and the absorption of nutritious substances During this process, digestion takes place in three stages: first the digestion of sweet (madhura) and salty (lavana) nutrients, then the digestion of sour (amla) nutrients, and finally the digestion of sharp (tikta), bitter (katu) and astringent (kasaya) nutrients. The respective products of these three stages are sweet, sour and sharp.
containing five types of biological factors, is responsible for the processing of the five basic elements into a composition useful to the body.
The third group contains seven types, each for the assimilation of the seven tissues This assimilation takes place successively. From the absorbed nutritious substance, plasma (rasa) is produced first; from plasma, blood (rakta) is formed, then muscular tissue (mamsa), adipose tissue (meda), bony tissue (asthi), bone marrow (majjan) and the reproductive cells (shukra).
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