Article contributed By Dr Lijesh Vipanchika
A tissue is an ensemble of similar cells from the same origin that together carry out specific functions. Multiple tissue types comprise of organs and body structures. While all animals can generally be considered to contain the four tissue types – connective, muscle, nervous, and epithelial, the manifestation of these tissues can differ depending on the type of organism. Human body tissue is grouped together in a highly organised manner according to specific structure and function. In Ayurveda the structure which nourishes and supports the body is called dhatu or tissues. They are seven in number (Saptadhatu) which is a Sanskrit word. Sapta means seven and dhatu means elements. Seven constituent elements that support the basic structure (and functioning) of the body. They are interdependent, give support and nourish each other.
The word ‘Dhatu’ comes from the verb ‘Dha’ which means ‘to support (Dharana) and to nourish (Poshana). It is the one which supports the body, mind and life. “Sareera Dharanath dhatavah” – meaning those which nourishes and supports the body.
The seven dhatus
1.Rasa dhatu: Plasma lymph, chyle and intercellular fluid.
2.Rakta dhatu: Blood tissue
3.Mamsa dhatu: Muscular tissue
4.Medo dhatu: Fat or adipose tissue
5.Asthi dhatu: Bone tissue
6.Majja dhatu: Bone marrow
7.Sukra dhatu: Reproductive tissue
Functions of the dhatus
Each and every dhatu performs a specific function to sustain the life of the individual by having its own nourishment from its previous dhatu.
Increase and vitiation Of Tissues (Dhatu Vruddhi)
When a body tissue (dhatu) gets over-nourished, it increases in volume and quantity. If this happens within the healthier limits – like exercise leading to good muscles – there will not be any symptoms of disease. But if tissues increase to a large extent, it leads to disease.
- Rasa Dhatu Vruddhi Lakshana
Symptoms of increase in Rasa (essence of digested food, blood plasma) leads to symptoms similar to that of Kapha Dosha increase.
*Agnisadana. Weak digestive activity. Increase in Rasa dhatu leads to increase in water content in the stomach and intestines, leading to decreased digestion strength.
*Praseka: Excess salivation. *Alasya: lassitude, laziness. *Gaurava: feeling of heaviness. *Shvaithya: white discoloration. *Shaithya: feeling cold. *Shlathangatva: looseness of body parts. *Shwasa: dyspnoea, asthma, COPD. *Kasa: cough, cold. *Atinidrata: excess sleep.
Rasa Dhatu, when afflicted with vitiated (imbalanced) Doshas, leads to the following diseases:
Ashraddha: Disinclination for food. When Rasa is vitiated, there will be lack of digestive strength and lack of interest in food.
These are the resulting symptoms and afflictions *Aruchi: anorexia. *Asya Vairasya: foul taste in mouth. *Arasanjnata: lack of tasting capacity. *Hrullasa: nausea. *Gaurava: heaviness. *Tandra: drowsiness, fatigue. *Angamarda: malaise, body ache. *Jwara: fever. *Tama: darkness in front of eyes. *Pandutva: anaemia, pale discoloration of skin. *Srotasam rodha: obstruction of body channels. *Klaibya: impotency. *Saada: heaviness of body, as if the body is stuck and cannot function. *Krushangata: emaciation, shrunken body parts. *Nasho Agnehe: loss of digestive strength. *Ayatha Kala Vali Palita: premature wrinkling of skin and greying of hair.
- Rakta Dhatu Vruddhi Lakshana
Blood tissue when increased leads to diseases related to the skin, liver and spleen.
Examples are: *Visarpa: Herpes, spreading skin disease. *Pleeha: diseases of the spleen. *Vidradhi: abscesses. *Kushta: skin diseases. *Vatasra: gout. *Pittasra: bleeding disease. *Gulma: abdominal tumors. *Upakusa: disease of the teeth. *Kamala: jaundice. *Vyanga: discolored patch on the face. *Agninasha: loss of digestive strength. *Sammoha: coma, unconsciousness. *Red discoloration of the skin, eyes, and urine.
Rakta Pradoshaja Vikara
Rakta Pradoshaja Vyadhis: The following are diseases due to vitiated blood tissue:
*Kushta: skin diseases. *Visarpa: acute diseases of the skin. *Pidaka: carbuncles, pimples. *Raktapitta: a diseases characterised by bleeding from different parts of the body. *Asrugdhara: menorrhagia, heavy periods. *Guda Medhra Paka: inflammation and suppuration in rectum and penis. *Asya Paka: mouth ulcers. *Pleeha: diseases of the spleen, splenomegaly. *Gulma: tumors of the abdomen. *Vidradhi: abscesses. *Neelika: blue moles. *Kaamala: jaundice. *Vyanga: freckles. *Piplava: port wine mark. *Tilakaalaka: black mole. *Dadru: ringworm. *Charmadala: dermatitis, skin tags. *Shvitra: leukoderma. *Pama: papules. Kotha: urticariam and *Asra Mandala: red circular patches.
- Mamsa Dhatu Vruddhi Lakshana
When muscle tissue increases, it produces:
*Ganda: cervical lymphadenitis. *Granthi: tumors *Increase in the size of cheeks, thighs, and abdomen. *Over growth of muscles of the neck and other places.
Mamsa Pradoshaja Vikara
Diseases caused by vitiated muscle tissue are:
*Adhimamsa: granuloma. *Arbuda: myoma. *Keela: piles. *Gala Shalooka: uvulitis. *Gala Shundika: tonsillitis *Pootimamsa: sloughing of flesh. *Alaji: boils. *Ganda: goiter. *Gandamala: cervical adenitis. *Upajihvika: inflammation of the epiglottis.
- Medo Dhatu Vruddhi Lakshana
Excess fat tissue produces similar symptoms and in addition, it causes fatigue, difficulty in breathing even after doing little work, drooping of the buttocks, breasts and abdomen.
Diseases caused by Meda Pradoshaja Vikara (vitiation of fat tissue):
*Premonitory signs and symptoms of Prameha (urinary tract disorders, diabetes mellitus).
- Asthi Dhatu Vriddhi Lakshana
Excess Asthi (bone tissue) causes overgrowth of bones and extra teeth.
Asthi Pradoshaja Vikara (diseases caused by vitiated bone tissue):
*Adhyasthi: hypertrophy of the bones. *Adhi danta: excess teeth. *Dantabheda: cracking sensation in the teeth. *Asthibheda, Shoola: crackling sensation and pain in bone. *Vivarnata: discoloration of hair. *Deformity of hair on the head, body hairs, beards and nails.
- Majja Dhatu Vriddhi Lakshana
Majja (marrow), when increased, produces heaviness in the eyes and the body. Body joints increase in size and cause ulcers which are difficult to cure.
Majja Pradoshaja Vikara (diseases due to vitiated bone marrow tissue) include:
*Parva Ruk: pain in small joints. *Bhrama: delusion, dizziness. *Murcha: fainting, loss of consciousness. *Tamo Darshana: seeing darkness in front of the eyes. *Manifestation of deep-seated abscesses in joints.
- Shukra Dhatu Vriddhi lakshana
Excess Shukra (semen) produces great desire for the woman (sexual desire) and seminal calculi (spermolith).
Shukra Pradoshaja Vikara (diseases due to vitiated semen/reproductory system) include:
*Klaibya: impotency. *Aharshana: lack of eructation and enjoyment in sex. *His progeny, if any, will be sick, sterile, short lived and disfigured. *Either there is no conception or there will be miscarriage. Thus, the vitiation of Shukra (semen) brings misery to the couple and progeny.