Ayurveda is an age old medicinal system. The core principle of Ayurveda is not to treat a disease, but to keep the body healthy and prevent diseases. It is a clever system that integrates natural forces to align with the body and mind. According to Ayurveda, nearly 85% of health issues are related to food and its digestion. The quality of food, how to eat and when to eat have been given utmost importance in this medicinal form. Through a series of blogposts, we will discover the secrets of Ayurveda about food and eating.
We need to understand food and the role it plays in our lives. The food we eat today is what we become tomorrow. Ayurveda layouts the seven Dhatus or constituents or tissues in the human body. They are called sapta dhatu or seven constituents. The word dhatu also means primary element.
The food we eat is made up of the five great elements – Air, Space, Fire, Water and Earth. Once this food is processed in the body it takes form of the seven dhatus. The seven contituents are –
- Rasa – The nearest English word for rasa is chyle. There is English word that could aptly define rasa. The taste of food is rasa. The melody in music is rasa. Orgasm during sex is rasa. Visual beauty is rasa. Bodily, it refers to blood plasma. When food consumed is processed, rasa is first manifested.
- Rakta – Rakta refers to blood. Ra+Akta means that which is characteristic of heat. Akta also means oil. Rakta therefore, is the substance that is living as long as it’s constituents have heat and fluidity.
- Mamsa – Muscle is the third dhatu. It is quite interesting that 5000 thousand years ago, Ayurveda differentiated between muscle and fat.
- Meda – Fat is the fourth one. This particularly refers to the adipose tissue and synovial fluid.
- Asthi – The next to be formed are the bones. In Ayurveda, the teeth are also bones.
- Majja – The bone marrow is formed next. It is also called Medha. Interestingly, the word for mental vigour is also Medha. So, we can refer that anything that nourishes your bone marrow will also nourish your brain.
- Shukra – Generally, shukra means semen, but in Ayurveda it connotes reproductive fluids of both men and women. The female sexual fluids are also called artava in Sanskrit.
The ancient texts do not consider shukra as merely a reproductive fluid, but is also considered the creative fluid.
What we eat is primarily broken down into these seven constituents and then further into smaller and subtler substances. Wellness is when all the seven dhatus are well formed.
In the next blog post, we will look at a very interesting concept of “how to eat”. Stay tuned you beautiful people.
Ranjith Vallathol is a wellness consultant based in Bangalore and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org