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Diseases of Vata, Pitta and Kapha

Different sciences analyse the material world from various perspectives and angles, and present a collection of successful data in a methodological manner. In Indian science, a philosophical approach is taken and can be seen very clearly. This philosophical background is common for the arts, sciences and technology.

Ayurveda approaches knowing any kind of substance through its properties. According to Ayurveda, everything in the material universe, including the human body, is a modified reflection of its external environment. The five great elements (pancha mahabhutas) contain a group of properties which are the basic building blocks of everything in the material universe. The rishis (ancient sages of India) presented a logical grouping of these properties and classified then as Vata, Pitta and Kapha, which are the biological equivalents of satwa, rajas and tamas.

A reflection of the sun, moon, wind and so on, in the external environment can be seen in the human body.
– The wind represents transportation and a regulating force
– The sun represents an energy source
– The moon represents a material source.
These three concepts are respectively represented by Vata (wind), Pitta (fire) and Kapha (earth/water) in a living body and this gross approach is primarily philosophical and physiological rather than anatomical in its perspective. In fact, these are three windows through which we can observe, analyse and find solutions to almost all of human nature and illnesses.

For the proper functioning of any mechanical or biological system three factors are necessary:
– a structural formation
– an energy converting system and
– a regulatory system.
In the human body, these factors are represented by Kapha (mucous), Pitta (bile) and Vata (wind), respectively and are called the tridoshas, the three humours. In their normal condition, they sustain the body, while in an abnormal condition, they destroy it.

Although the doshas pervade the entire body,
– kapha’s home is above cardiac region
– pitta’s home is between the cardiac and umbilical region, and
– vata is located below the umbilical region.

Vata, Pitta and Kapha ( wind, bile and mucous) become aggravated during the end, middle, and beginning of the day, respectively. The same cycle continues during the night and also during digestion.

A balanced state of these factors leads to perfect health, and an imbalanced state of any one of these leads to illness. A genuine physician knows the six prevailing factors of a disease, which are doshic
– accumulation
– aggravation
– overflowing
– lodgement in a particular place
– manifestation and
– classification or dissolution of these doshas.


Symptoms of aggravation of Vata, Wind:-

– A bad taste in the mouth, roughness of the skin and irregularity in the power of digestion, emaciation, hyperpigmentation of the skin, tremors, an abnormal pulse, abnormal pulsation in the body, an affinity for heat (in climate, food and so on), fainting, insomnia, inspired sense, acute pain in the bones, depletion of tissues, constipation, flatulence, hyperperistaltic movements, loss of concentration, fear, great and irregular speed in activities such as thinking, speech etc..

– Spreads acute pain to the lumbar and pelvic regions, liver, spleen, back of the chest, abdomen, testicles etc.

– Rigidity and contraction in the hands and legs as well as muscle cramps

– Vata becomes aggravated during the night and is reduced during the daytime.

– Pain can instantaneously be diminished or abated.

Diseases of Vata

Ayurveda outlines 80 diseases implicated by the aggravation of wind

  1. Splitting of nails
  2. Cracking feet
  3. Pain in the feet
  4. Foot drop, collapsed instep
  5. Numbness in the feet
  6. Club foot
  7. Stiff ankles
  8. Cramps in the calf muscles
  9. Sciatica
  10. Bow leggedness, janu varum,
  11. Knock knees, janu valgum
  12. Stiffness and fullness in the thighs
  13. Pain and weakness in the thighs
  14. Paraplegia
  15. Rectal prolapse
  16. Tenesmus (gudarti)
  17. Scrotal pain
  18. Stiffness in the penis
  19. Fullness in the groin
  20. Pelvic pain
  21. Hard stools
  22. Abdominal distension with constipation
  23. Lameness, kyphosis
  24. Dwarfism, Gigantism
  25. Pain and stiffness in the sacroiliac joint
  26. Stiffness in the back
  27. Chest pain
  28. Spasmodic abdominal pain
  29. Bradycardia
  30. Tachycardia/heart palpitations
  31. A rubbing chest pain
  32. Impairment of thoracic movement
  33. Pricking chest pain
  34. Atrophy of the arms
  35. Stiffness in the neck
  36. Torticollis
  37. Hoarseness of voice
  38. Jaw pain
  39. Lip pain
  40. Eye pain
  41. Toothache
  42. Loose teeth
  43. Dampness
  44. Lalling
  45. An astringent taste in the mouth
  46. Dryness in the mouth
  47. Ageusia
  48. Anosmia
  49. Earache
  50. Tinnitus
  51. Hard of hearing, hearing loss, hearing impairment
  52. Deafness
  53. Ptosis of the eyelids
  54. Entropion
  55. Amaurosis
  56. Pain in the eyes
  57. Ptosis of the eyeballs
  58. Ptosis of the eyebrows
  59. Pain in the temporal region
  60. Pain in the frontal region of the head
  61. Headaches
  62. Dandruff
  63. Facial paralysis
  64. Monoplegia
  65. Polyplegia
  66. Hemiplegia
  67. Clonic seizures
  68. Tonic seizures
  69. Fainting, giddiness
  70. Tremours
  71. Yawning
  72. Hiccups
  73. Asthenia
  74. Delirium, excessive talking
  75. Dryness, Hardness
  76. Dusky dark appearance
  77. Insomnia
  78. An unstable mind

Treatment for the diseases of Vata

  1. Fomentation and oleation.
  2. Mild elimination.
  3. Medicines and a diet with sweet, sour and salty tastes.
  4. Medicines and diet should be hot.
  5. Alcohol made from molasses.
  6. Regular intake of medicated enemas with unctuous and heating medicines.
  7. Leisurely and ordered living.
  8. Oil, ghee, etc., boiled with medicines that are digestant, stimulating and carminative.
  9. Application of hot ointment followed by a hot medicated bath
  10. A diet that includes hot soups and warm milk.


Pitta dosha becomes aggravated by:-

– Anger, grief, fear, exertion, sexual intercourse
– Fasting, an intake of pungent, sour, salty, sharp, hot ingredients, such as chillis and spicy food, sesame or mustard oil, fried and oily food, and yoghurt, are harmful to Pitta’s digestion and cause indigestion, leading to acid formation,
– heat, during summer, at the end of the rainy season, during midday, and midnight, and during the time of the digestion of food.

Symptoms of aggravated Pitta

Yellow colouration of the skin, giddiness, weakness, defective functioning of the sense organs, destruction of ojas, a desire for cold things, burning sensations, a bitter taste in the mouth, excessive thirst, fainting, reduced sleep and anger.

Diseases of Pitta

Ayurveda outlines 40 diseases implicated by the aggravation of pitta dosha in the body, namely:

1.Burning sensation
2. Scorching
3. Burning
4. Boiling
5. Fuming
6. Acid regurgitation (gastroesophageal reflux)
7. Pyrosis (heartburn)
8. Internal burning sensation
9. Burning sensation in the shoulder
10.Excessive temperature
11. Profuse sweating
12. Foetid body smell; unpleasant body odour
13. Cracking body ache
14. Sloughing of blood
15. Sloughing of muscles
16. Burning sensation in the skin
17. Cracking of the skin
18. Itching of the skin
19. Urticaria
20. Red vesicle formation
21. Bleeding disorders
22. Red round patches
23. Greenish discolouration
24. Yellowish discolouration
25. Blue spot
26. Herpes
27. Jaundice
28. Bitter taste in the mouth
29. Metallic odour from the mouth
30. Bad odour from the mouth
31. Excessive thirst
32. Dissatisfaction
33. Stomatitis
34. Pharyngitis
35. Conjunctivitis
36. Proctitis
37. Inflammation of the penis
38. Hemorrhage
39. Fainting
40. Greenish or yellowish discolouration of the eyes, urine or stools.

In addition to these, there can be pitta giddiness, a feeling of intoxication, dryness in the mouth, delirium, diarrhea, anorexia, fever, desire for cooling things etc.

Treatment for the diseases of pitta dosha

1. An intake of clarified butter (ghee)
2. Purgation with the use of medication that is sweet and cooling
3. Medicines and a diet with sweet, bitter and pungent tastes
4. Bathing in a perfume-scented bath
5. External application of camphor and sandalwood paste
6. Wearing a pearl necklace
7. Practising patience
8. Exposure during the early hours of the night to the moon’s rays from the rooftop
9. Associating with friends who are spirited and informal
10. Speaking with people whose speech is pleasant and sweet
11. Associate with people who are laid back, burn camphor perfume and wear special ornaments
12. Living in a cold house (with underground rooms) through which a stream flows
13. Going for a walk in parks and on the banks of lakes
14. Sit by a lake, on the sand, which has well-formed banks and clean water.

Special regimens to alleviate Pitta

Sit on the bank of a lotus pond
Walk through a park with plentiful trees
Enjoy pleasing gestures from others
Include milk and clarified butter in the diet


Kapha becomes aggravated through:-

– lack of exercise, lazy habits, sleep during the daytime and other wrong regimens.
– eating sweet, sour, salty, cold, unctuous, heavy food, such as wheat
– slimy food which obstructs the channels of circulation, for instance, yoghurt, fish, milk, alkaline food, puddings, sugarcane juice, pastries prepared from sesame seeds, tahini
– intake of excess food
– eating before previous food is digested

Symptoms of aggravated Kapha

Pallor, coldness, flabbiness, obesity, laziness, heaviness, loss of strength in the body, obstruction of channels, fainting, excess sleep, drowsiness, dyspnoea, coughing, excessive salivation, nausea, loss of digestive power, abnormal function of the joints.

Kapha becomes especially aggravated by coldness, during winter and spring, in the forenoon, in the evening, and soon after eating.

Diseases of Kapha

Ayurveda outlines 20 diseases implicated by the aggravation of kapha dosha, namely:-

  1. Anorexia
  2. Drowsiness
  3. Excessive sleep
  4. Timidness
  5. Heaviness in the body
  6. Lethargy
  7. Sweet taste in the mouth
  8. Salivation
  9. Mucous expectoration
  10. Excessive excretion of faeces,
  11. Weakness, indigestion
  12. A feeling like the heart is covered
  13. Phlegm adhered to the throat
  14. Hardening of the blood vessels
  15. Goitre
  16. Obesity
  17. Loss of appetite or digestive fire
  18. Urticaria
  19. Pallor
  20. Whiteness of urine, eyes and stools.

In addition to these, cardiac diseases, itching over the body, excessive horripilation, ineffectiveness of wisdom, vomiting, chronic rhinitis, bronchitis, sensation in lips, throat, tongue, gums, palate, nose, eyes, ears and earlobes.

Treatment for Kaphic Diseases

  1. Administration of emetic and inhalation of sharp, penetrating drugs
  2. Intake of light and ununctuous food
  3. Exercise, kneading, medicated smoke inhalation, medicated gargles
  4. Fat reducing medications
  5. Fomentation
  6. Intake of old wheat, honey
  7. Aged alcoholic drinks (medicinal doses)
  8. Avoid daytime sleep.

As wind is ununctuous (drying), cold and light, warm gingili (sesame) oil alleviates wind (vata).
Bile is hot, not sweet and sharp, so ghee (clarified butter ) alleviates bile (pitta).
Mucous is unctuous, sweet and sluggish. So honey, which is astringent and has a scraping action, alleviates it (kapha).

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About Shanti Gowans

Shanti Gowans is the globally recognised author and founder of Shanti Yoga™, Meditation and Ayurveda for the self, family and community. Shantiji has brought the concepts and practices of a healthy body and a still mind to thousands of Australians through her Yoga and Meditation programs on national television.

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