Kapha Dosha in Ayurveda

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Kapha is a structural manifestation representing mass and responsible for shape and form. Biologically, it is combination of liquid and earth. Kapha molecules are complex molecules in the body, which provides stability, strength, firmness and adherence of cells into tissues, tissues into organs and organs into the whole body. Biologically, all cells, tissues, etc. are composed of Kapha, however, its composition may have different proportion of liquid and solids elements.

Kapha Constitution

Kapha ConstitutionJAL (Water/Liquids) + PRITHVI (Earth/Solids)

Our body consists of around 50 to 70% water or fluids. 2/3 of body water is Intracellular fluid present within the cells. One third of body water is extracellular fluid present outside the cells. These fluids represent the JALA manifestation in the body and KAPHA. The massy structures like bones, muscles, solid mass of other organs represent PRITHVI manifestation in the body and KAPHA. The liquids of KAPHA also act as vehicle for PITTA and keeps VATA under control.

Kapha Dosha Qualities

Ayurveda has described the qualities of.

Sanskrit NameEnglish Meaning
GURUHeavy
SHEETACool
MRIDUSoft
SNIGADH or SNEHAUnctuous or Oily
MADHURASweet
STHIRAStatic or Immobility
PICHCHILACloudy or sliminess

Things or food having similar properties aggravate the Kapha and the opposite characteristics pacifies the Kapha.

Kapha Functions

In short, Kapha has following functions:

  1. Anabolism
  2. Adherence & Compaction
  3. Lubrication – like lubrication to joints
  4. Formation – like formation and maintenance of body fluids and intravascular components
  5. Growth and development of the body
  6. Stability and firmness of the body
  7. Strength
  8. Defense

Kapha is responsible for anabolism and formation of complex molecules, so it acts opposite to the Pitta and checks catabolism induced by it.

  • Kapha is major constitution of the body. It is responsible for main mass of the body.
  • All nutrients are prominently represents Kapha.
  • Fluids in the body prevent friction and vehicle for providing nutrition to various cells.
  • It gives strength to the body and all muscles in the body represent the Kapha.
  • It is also responsible for fertility.

Main Kapha Locations

Kapha is present in whole body and it is responsible for whole mass of the body, but ayurveda has described some of its main locations where the main actions of Kapha are observable and have some therapeutic importance in ayurveda for treating Kapha disorders. All parts above the heart are considered Kapha area.

  1. Head
  2. Throat
  3. Chest
  4. Lungs
  5. Connective tissue
  6. Fatty tissue
  7. Ligaments
  8. Lymph
  9. Tendons

Kapha Subtypes

Kapha has five subtypes:

  1. KLEDAKA KAPHA
  2. AVALAMBAKA KAPHA
  3. BODHAKA KAPHA
  4. TARPAKA KAPHA
  5. SHELSHMAKA KAPHA

KLEDAKA KAPHA

Mucus secretion it the alimentary canal represents KLEDAKA KAPHA. It is slightly sticky, sweet, cool, and viscid in characters.

Locations

  • Stomach
  • Intestine to colon

Normal functions

KLEDAKA KAPHA moistens the food stuff and helps PACHAKA PITTA to split the food in smaller particles. It maintains digestion and assists PITTA for assimilation of food and assists VATA to move the food from the stomach to the duodenum, then intestine, and then colon. It helps lubricating the gastrointestinal tract.

Diseases due to its aggravation

Aggravation of KLEDAKA KAPHA can result in digestive problems and constipation with hard stools.

AVALAMBAKA KAPHA

AVALAMBAKA KAPHA is present in the chest and provides nutrition to the lungs and heart. It plays a role in constitution of heart muscles and lung tissue. It is represented Kapha, which constitutes interstitial fluid and mucus secretion, which lubricate and prevents friction between the alveoli.

Locations

Chest including heart, lungs, and serous membranes surrounds the heart, interstitial spaces etc.

Normal functions

  • Constituting the elementary mass of heart and lungs
  • Lubricating and preventing friction
  • Nourishing myocardium and alveoli
  • Supporting circulation and respiration

Diseases due to its aggravation

  1. Diseases of Heart and lungs
  2. Laziness

BODHAKA KAPHA

BODHAKA KAPHA resides in oral cavity and throat and saliva is a good example of it. It moistens the food and dissolves the food particles. When it comes in contact with taste buds, it helps in perception of taste of food.

Locations

  • Oral cavity and Throat

Normal functions

  1. Moistening the food and dissolving the food particles
  2. Helping in recognizing the taste of food

Diseases due to its aggravation

  • Digestive problems
  • Taste alterations

TARPAKA KAPHA

The head is the main site of TARPAKA KAPHA. Elementary mass of brain is due to it. It is further represented by interstitial fluid and cerebrospinal fluid.

Locations

Cranial cavity is the site of TARPAKA KAPHA.

Normal functions

  1. Constitution main mass of the cranial cavity and brain
  2. Providing nutrition to the brain and sense organs
  3. Supporting the sensory and motor centers for their natural functions

Diseases due to its aggravation

  • Memory loss
  • Impairment of natural functions of senses, brain and spinal cord

SHELSHMAKA KAPHA

SHELSHMAKA KAPHA is mainly responsible for lubricating. It is present in joints. The synovial fluid in the joints is good example of it.

Locations

The joints are the main site of SHELSHMAKA KAPHA.

Normal functions

  • Providing nourishment to the joints and surrounding structures
  • Preventing friction during movement by lubricating the joints

Diseases due to its aggravation

  • Osteoarthritis
  • Joint pains

Kapha Dominance & Body

AGNI (Type of Digestive Fire)MANDA – Sluggish (represents Poor appetite)
KOSHTA (Nature  of alimentary tract & motility of intestines)MADHYA (Moderate)
PRAKRITI (Body Type)UTTAMA (Good)

Kapha Pacification & Aggravation (RASA – Taste)

Kapha PacifierKapha Aggravators
KASAYA (Astringent)MADHURA (Sweet)
KATU (Pungent)AMAL (Sour)
TIKTA (Bitter)LAVANA (Salty)

Kapha Cycle

Relation to Food DigestionBefore digestion of food (Immediately after food when you feel fullness in the abdomen and complete satisfaction) *
Relation to Eating FoodAfter eating Food *
Relation to Age GroupChildhood
Relation to DayMorning – around 6 AM to 10 AM
Relation to NightAt Night – around 6 PM to 10 PM
* However, Pitta has started work, but still Kapha is dominant.

Taking Medicines according to Kapha Cycle

This principle is applied when one has generalized Kapha disorders and Kapha symptoms appear in whole body or in abdomen.

  1. Naturally, Kapha is dominant in above time period, as discussed above in table.
  2. Kapha pacifying medicines should be given after food. It applies when you suffer from feeling of heaviness in the abdomen.
  3. Kapha pacifying medicines can also be taken in morning around 6 AM to 10 AM and at night around 6 PM to 10 PM. It applies to Kapha disorders.

Kapha & Seasons

Accumulation of Kapha (KAPHA CHAYA)Late Winter (SHISHIRA)
Excess Vitiation of Kapha (KAPHA PRAKOPA)Spring (VASANTA)
Allaying the increased Kapha (KAPHA PRASHAMA)Summers (GRISHMA)

Late winter (SHISHIRA)

In early winter (HEMANT), digestive fire and body strength are at optimum level. Therefore, food habits continue to be same, but AGNI (digestive power) becomes slightly low. Environment also has cold temperature. These things result in accumulation of Kapha in the body. It is called KAPHA CHAYA.

Spring (VASANTA)

Temperature changes from cold to slightly hot or warm, which cause liquefaction of the accumulated Kapha. It may also produce Kapha symptoms. It is called KAPHA PRAKOPA.

Summers (GRISHMA)

In summers, foods are dry (RUKSHA) and light (LAGHU) and have hot (USHNA) potency. These qualities are opposite to Kapha qualities, which results in allaying the Kapha. It is called KAPHA PRASHAMA.

Kapha Imbalance & Its Symptoms

Kapha in a balanced stage represents good health. Increase or decrease in Kapha represents diseased stage. Decrease or increase in Kapha is called Kapha imbalance. Both have different Kapha imbalance symptoms.

Decreased Kapha Symptoms & Health Conditions

The following symptoms indicate decreased Kapha:

  • Increased dryness on the skin
  • Desire to eat food having sweet taste and oily and heavy foods.
  • Excessive thirst
  • Decreased movement of peristalsis and causing constipation (Vata aggravation)
  • Feeling of weakness of the joints, muscles and bones
  • Giddiness
  • Generalized weakness

Increased Kapha Symptoms & Health Conditions

The following symptoms indicate increased Kapha:

  • Cough with sputum production
  • Chest congestion
  • Breathlessness due to accumulated mucus on the lungs
  • Pallor, cold and clammy skin
  • Excessive salivation
  • Laziness
  • Drowsiness

Aggravated Kapha Symptoms

  • Sweet and salty taste in the mouth
  • Sensation of tightening along with feeling of heaviness
  • Feeling of application of thick paste on the skin
  • Edema
  • Whitish discoloration
  • Itching (pruritus)
  • Excessive sleep
  • Numbness and rigidity


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