In Ayurveda Dhatus are important body tissues and are 7 in number (saptha dhatu). These support normal functions of body. Functions of dhatus are controlled by tridoshas or three body energetic forces (Vata dosha, Pitta dosha and Kapha dosha). Hence saptha dhatus get imbalanced when there is an imbalance in doshas. To keep these vital tissues healthy, we must follow appropriate dinacharya (ayurvedic daily routine) and Ritucharya (ayurvedic seasonal routine).
The word “dhatu” means the one which hold the physical structure and physiological functions of body together. Its root word is “dhru”. There are several definitions for dhatu in ayurveda. Few of them are given below.
“Shareera dharanathdhatawaha” – The tissues which nourish the body and support it are called as dhatus.
“Poshanadharanayoho” – Those which nourish the successive tissue and support it.
“Dadhati datteya vaa shareera manaha praanaan” – these tissues nourish and support the body, mind and life Dhatus are “Shakti yukta dravyas“. i.e they supply nutrients to other vital tissues and keep the body healthy. They nourish and support the successive tissues.
The Seven Dhatus or body tissues according to ayurveda are
- Rasa – Lymph This tissue is described here “Ayurveda definition and function of Rasa Dhatu or lymph”
- Rakta dhatu – Blood (view more at Rakta Dhatu ( Blood ) In Ayurveda https://www.ayurhelp.com/articles/ayurveda-definition-rakta-dhatu-blood/)
- Maamsa- Muscles (Read more at Ayurveda definition of Mamsa Dhatu ( Muscle tissue ))
- Medas – Fat or adipose tissue. Know more at Ayurveda Medha Dhatu or Body Fat
- Asthi – Bone – Ayurveda Definition of Asthi Dhatu ( Bones or Skeletal system )
Majja – Bone marrow. Know about majja dhatu at Ayurveda definition of Majja Dhatu ( Bone marrow )
Shukra – Semen, sex hormones in both men and women . You can read Ayurveda Definition of Shukra Dhatu (semen )
Nourishment of Dhatus
The food which we eat nourishes Rasa dhatu. Nourished Rasa dhatu provides nutrients to Rakta dhatu, like this each dhatu gets nourished from its predecessor dhatu and supplies essential nutrients to successive dhatus. The nourishment chain goes as follows.
Food -> nourishes Rasa > Rakta (blood) > Mamsa (muscle) > Meda (fat) > Asthi (bone) > Majja (marrow) > Shukra (reproductive system)
This implies that food we eat nourishes all the 7 tissues. If our diet is against our constitution or (prakruti), it imbalances three doshas which in turn imbalances sapta dhatus. This affects nourishment of vital tissues and can cause diseases. According to Ayurveda 3 doshas, 7 dhatus and 3 malas are like roots of human body. (Malas are human excretes like stools (mala) ,urine (Mootra) and sweat (Sweda).). These have to be strong and balanced to protect body from diseases.
Proportion of Pancha Mahabhuta in 7 dhatus
We know the whole universe is made up of pancha mahabhuta or 5 basic elements. They are jala (water), agni (fire), pruthvi (earth), akasha (space) and Air (Vayu). 7 tissues are not exception to this. The prominence of 5 basic elements in these tissues are given below.
Rasa (lymph) – Jala +
Rakta (blood) – Jala + Agni ++
Maamsa (muscle) – Pruthvi ++ Jala
Medas (fat) – Jala +++, Pruthvi +
Asthi(bone) – Pruthvi ++ , Aakasha+
Majja (marrow) – Jala +++ Pruthvi +
Sukra (semen) – Jala ++ Pruthvi +