Sapta Dhatu in Ayurveda (Seven Types of Tissues)

The structural and supporting units of the body are called Dhatu in Ayurveda. In modern science, it related to tissues. So, Dhatu meaning in English is tissue. In ayurveda science, there are seven basic tissues that make the body and these tissues are collectively called Sapta Dhatu in Ayurveda.

Rasa DhatuBody fluids
Rakta DhatuBlood
Mamsa DhatuMuscular tissue
Meda DhatuAdipose tissue
Asthi DhatuBony tissue
Majja DhatuBone marrow and nervous tissue
Shukra DhatuGenerative tissue (including semen and ovum constituents, stem cells)

Dhatu Agni

According to Ayurvedic Principles, each Dhatu has its own specific Agni. This is called Dhatu-Agni. This Agni relates to specific enzymes, chemicals and processes in the body that help to convert Dhatu to higher Dhatu or Upadhatu (sub-tissue or secondary tissue). These metabolic processes also give rise to waste products, which are called Mala in Ayurveda. These include nail, hairs, saliva, tear, ear wax, stool, urine, sweat etc.

Precursor of Sapta Dhatu

The food is the precursor of all tissues. The waste products of food are stool and urine.

Sapta Dhatu

Let’s review a brief detail of each Dhatu:

Rasa Dhatu

Rasa Dhatu relates to body fluids in the body. It includes intracellular and extracellular fluids, plasma in the blood and fluid in the lymphatic system. It also includes all nutrients absorbed in the intestine.

DoshaKapha Dosha
UpadhatuStanya (breastmilk), Raja (menstrual fluid/blood)
Mala (Waste Product)Sweat, Tears, and Saliva

Rasa Dhatu is responsible for providing nutrition to all cells, tissues, and organs in the body.

Rakta Dhatu

Rakta Dhatu relates to blood components (RBCs) except plasma in the blood. Rakta is derived from nutrients present in the Rasa.

DoshaPitta Dosha
UpadhatuShira (Blood Vessels), Kandara (Fascia)
Mala (Waste Product)

Rakta Dhatu supplies oxygen to all structures in the body. It is also responsible for maintaining strength, health, and happiness. It supports the functions of skin and sense organs.

Mamsa Dhatu

Mamsa Dhatu relates to muscular tissues in the body. Mamsa tissue is derived from nutrient in the Rakta in addition to Rasa.

DoshaKapha Dosha
UpadhatuMuscle, Fat and Skin
Mala (Waste Product)Earwax, crusts in the nose, and tartar of teeth

The main function of Mamsa Dhatu is to provide strength to the body and protecting internal organs.

Meda Dhatu

Meda Dhatu relates to adipose tissues in the body. It is derived from nutrients in Mamsa Dhatu in addition to Rasa, and Rakta.

DoshaKapha Dosha
UpadhatuSnayu (tendons), Sandhi (joints), Shira (lymphatic vessels), and Sweat (Sharangadhara Samhita)
Mala (Waste Product)Sweat, Smegma of the prepuce

Meda Dhatu is responsible for lubrication and providing strength and nutrition to the bones, joints, tendons, and ligaments.

Asthi Dhatu

Asthi Dhatu relates to bony and skeletal tissues in the body. It is derived from nutrients in Meda Dhatu in addition to Rasa, Rakta, and Mamsa.

DoshaVata Dosha
UpadhatuTeeth
Mala (Waste Product)Nails and Hair

The main function of Asthi Dhatu is to protect delicate nervous tissue, brain, spinal cord and support bone marrow.

Majja Dhatu

Majja Dhatu relates to the Bone marrow and nervous tissue in the body. It is derived from nutrients in the Asthi Dhatu in addition to Rasa, Rakta, Mamsa, and Meda.

DoshaKapha Dosha
UpadhatuHair (according to Sharangadhara Samhita)
Mala (Waste Product)Oily secretions of skin – include secretions of sebaceous gland

Majja Dhatu is responsible for proving nourishment to Shukra Dhatu. All functions of bone marrow, brain, and nervous tissue represent the functions of Majja Dhatu.

Shukra Dhatu

Shukra Dhatu relates to the generative tissue in the body. It is derived from nutrients in the Majja Dhatu in addition to Rasa, Rakta, Mamsa, Meda, and Asthi.

DoshaKapha Dosha
Upadhatu
Mala (Waste Product)– (beard? Some believes)

Shukra Dhatu is not only constituents of semen or ovum. It also includes all generative tissues and stem cells in the body, which are responsible for cellular regeneration and reproduction.

Sapta Dhatu in Ayurveda Infographic

References

  1. दोषधातुमलमूलं हि शरीर ।।3।। (सुश्रुत संहिता, सूत्र संस्थान 15।8)
  2. दोषधातुमलमूलो हि देह:। (अष्टांग संग्रह, सूत्र संस्थान 19।1)
  3. दोषधातुमला मूलं सदा देहस्य तं चल:।।1।। (अष्टांग हृदयम्, सूत्र संस्थान 11)
  4. रसा डांसमेदोअस्थिमज्जशुक्राणि धातव:। (अष्टांग हृदयम्, सूत्र संस्थान अध्याय 1)
  5. तत्राहारप्रसादाख्यो रस: किट्ट च मलाख्यमभिनिर्वतंते किट्ठात् स्वेदमूत्रपुरीषवात पित्तश्लेष्माण: कर्णाक्षि नासिकास्य लोमकूप प्रजननमला: केशश्मश्रु लोमनखाद्यश्चाव यवा: पुष्यन्ति (चरक संहिता, सूत्र संस्थान अध्याय 28I4)
  6. किट्टमन्नस्य विण्मूत्रं रसस्य तु कफोअसृज: पित्त, मांसस्य खमला, मल: स्वेदस्तु मेदस:।।8।। स्यात् केट केशलोमाऽस्थ्नो, मज्ज्ञ: स्नेहोऽक्षिविद् त्वचाम्। प्रसादकिट्टे धातून पाकादेवविधच्छत: ।।19।। (चरक संहिता, चिकित्सा संस्थान, अध्याय 15)
  7. एवमयं लोकसम्मित: पुरुष:। यावन्तो हि लोके मूर्तिमन्तो भावविशेषातावन्त: पुरुषे। यावन्त: पुरुषे तावन्तो लोके इति। बुधास्त्वेवं दृष्टुमिच्छन्ति। (चरक संहिता, शारीर संस्थान, 4 I13)
  8. श्लिष आलिंगने (तेन) श्लेषमति।।5।। (सुश्रुत संहिता, सूत्र संस्थान 21)
  9. तत्र वा गतिगन्धनयोरिति धातु: ‘तप’ सन्तापे, शिलश आलिंगने, एतेषां कृद्धिहितै: प्रत्ययवात: पित्त श्लेष्मेति च रूपाणि भवन्ति।।5।। (सुश्रुत संहिता, सूत्र संस्थान 21)

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8 Comments
  1. Rose says

    Hello, What is the reason for hot flashes and how can I get rid of them for good?
    Thanks

    1. Ayur Times says

      In medical science, the exact cause of hot flashes is unknown. However, it is related to fluctuation in reproductive hormones, so it is common during menopause.

      In ayurveda, we advise Saraswatarishta along with Amla Powder, Mukta Pishti, and Praval Pishti.

  2. MORRISPETERS@HOTMAIL.COM says

    ANY SANJEEVNI BOOTI FOR ALL SKIN PROBLEMS DOC

    1. Ayur Times says

      Overall, Manjishta and Khadir are very good herbs for skin. However, herbal remedies may differ in different skin diseases.

  3. SDsh says

    nice and information article.. Many thanks.
    So good to understand.

    However, imp aspect u could link if 7 dhatus if someone have any health problems with regard to this like decrease of dhatus/ dhatu kshaya. What do Ayurveda recommend. pls do include the aspects so that it helps.

    1. Ayur Times says

      We are working on articles on each Dhatu. However, it will take a while to publish.

  4. Kapul says

    Obese people have weak bones and more prone to fractures. It represents they have weak Dhatu Agni that does not process Medha Dhatu into Asthi Dhatu. Which medicines or specific herbs can improve this Agni?

    1. Dr. Jagdev Singh says

      Absolutely, you are right. Medicines will remain the same which improve overall digestive power, liver function, and Agni. For example, Trikatu churna will do the job. In addition to Trikatu Churna, you also require anti-obesity herbs including Vacha, Pushkarmool, Kutki, Nagarmotha, Chitrak, Triphala etc. All these herbs also improve Dhatu Agni. Therefore, they reduce weight and improve bone density. However, the patient may also require supportive treatment for weak bones, especially if he is prone to osteoporosis. Hadjod, Arjuna, Godanti Bhasma and other natural calcium compounds can help in the treatment of weak bones.

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