Charaka, the great Indian physician, has described the kapha dosha as the viscid substance largely responsible for lubrication of the human body. It has been addressed as mucus, phlegm and biological water. Kapha provides solidity to the body and is derived out of combination of earh and water. Kapha in company of vata and pitta plays an important role at cellular and physiological levels.
Kapha dosha is considered to be cold, moist and heavy in attributes. Kapha imparts stability, lubrication, integration of joints and patience. The principal site of kapha is the stomach. It also resides in vakska (chest), kantha (throat), shira (head), aganshya (pancreas), parshav (lateral side of the body), lasika (lymph), meda (fat), nasika (nose) and jihva (tongue). Tarpaka, Avalambaka, Kledaka, Bodhaka and Sleshaka are five types of kapha located in different parts of the human body.
Attributes of kapha dosha
- Gross (as opposed to subtle)
Five types of kapha dosha
- Kledaka – This variety of kapha is located in the upper half area of the amashya (stomach). It has function of lubrication and protection against the hydrochloric acid released from the stomach and thus plays major role in the process of the digestion.
- Avalambaka – This variety of kapha is located in the chest, heart and lungs. Avalambaka kapha forms the basis of a fluid-tissue encircling the heart and preventing friction. Avalambaka kapha imparts energy to the arms and legs. When aggravated, it produces laziness. Ama jvara (rheumatic fever) and pericardial pain are also encountered may occur.
- Tarpaka – This variety of kapha is located in the brain and spinal-cord. It lubricates the brain, the mind, and the nerves-tissue. When imbalanced, the sensory-organs undergo impairment that resulting in amnesia and even dullness of sensory perceptions.
- Bodhaka – This variety of kapha is located in the mouth and tongue. Mucus and saliva are a form of bodhaka kapha and absolutely vital to the taste-perception. Bodhaka kapha helps in liquefaction of the food. When aggravated, it produces obesity, bulimia, and anorexia.
- Sleshaka – This variety of kapha is located in joints. It protects the joints from wear and tear, lubricates them, and provides stability to movement. If slesaka kapha is deranged, the joints may become swollen, painful and dysfunctional.
Aggravated State of Kapha dosha
In the aggravated state, kapha results in several diseases. Charaka explains twenty diseases caused by aggravation of kapha and are listed below
- Alasya (laziness).
- Apakti (indigestion).
- Ati Sthaulya (obesity)
- Balasaka (loss of strength).
- Dhamani Pratichaya (hardening of vessels).
- Galaganda (goiter).
- Guru Gatrata (heaviness of the body).
- Hrudayopalepa (feeling as if heart is wrapped up with moisture).
- Kantopalepa (phlegm adhered to throat).
- Malaadhikya (excessive excretion of excreta).
- Mukha Maadhurya (sweet taste in mouth).
- Mukha Srava (salivation).
- Nidraadhikya (excessive sleep).
- Sheetaagnita (suppression of digestive power).
- Shleshmodgirana (mucus expectoration).
- Shvetaavabhasata (pallor).
- Staimitya (timidness).
- Tandra (drowsiness).
- Trupti (anorexia nervosa).
- Udarda (urticaria).
Some common manifestations of aggravated kapha seen in routine practice are listed below:
- Depressed appetite.
- Looseness of joints.
- White coloration.
- Heavy built
Kapha Pacifying Diet
Take light fruits like:
Reduce heavier fruits like:
Dairy-products (to be avoided):
- Almond milk
- Organic cow or goat milk
- Mustard seed
Fats and oils (Use small amounts)
- Almond oil
- Corn oil
- Extra virgin olive oil
- Mustard oil
- Safflower oil
- Sunflower oil
Some Common Tips for Balancing Kapha
- Medicinal herbs having pungent, bitter, and astringent taste.
- Shiro Virechana – elimination of Doshas from the head by Nasya procedure.
- Sveda – Hot fomentation.
- Vamana – Therapeutic emesis.
- Medicines having sharp, hot and dryness attributes.
- Vyayama – exercise etc, which should all contain materials having anti- kapha properties.
- Udwartana -this a technique by which the body is massaged with herbal powders that reduces the ama and kapha dosha.
- Even though excessive oiling is not generally advisable in kapha dosha, it s necessary to maintain the stability of the joints and muscles. Buy kapha oil for improves blood circulation, corrects water retention, promotes weight loss.
Kapha Pacifying Herbs
- Sunthi- dry ginger
- Maricha- black pepper
- pippali- long pepper
- Dhanyaka- Corriander
All these herbs can be used in cooking/ garnishing on a daily basis. Click here to buy your pack of Kapha spice mix.
Lifestyle modifications to regulate kapha
- Get moving. Moving helps rather than sulking in one place. Try to make active modifications in you lifestyle like taking a stair instead of an elevator, go for a jog daily, walk to work or for shopping.
- Do not sleep during the day time or after a meal.
- Go on a hike/camp. Climb mountains and burn it off.
- Use kapha reducing herbs in your diet.
- Indulge less in sweets and dairy products.
- Sip your water hot. Take a glass of warm water before meals.
- Have your last meal of the day by 7 pm.
Kapha Pacifying Ayurvedic Formulations
Ama and Kapha
All the diseases are borne out of malfunctioning of the agni. Agni, the digestive fire, correctly has been addressed as vital to health. Agni is vital for absorption of food stuffs in the intestine. Further, it is lethal to pathogens like bacteria and viruses. The food that is not in a proper mode is called as ama.
Ama and kapha share many physical attributes like colour and viscidity. Amavisha often mixes with the subdoshas and results in an array of disease. As an instance, if ama targets the chest, the subdosha, shleshaka kapha gets disturbed. When shleshaka kapha mixes with ama, it produces a type of amavisha popularly called shleshma. Shleshma has specific physical attributes and it is a fatal form of endotoxin. Shleshma targets the lungs, thereby resulting in diseases like bronchial-asthma, bronchitis and asthmatic-bronchitis. Here ama-digesting medicinal herbs can be prescribed with success.
Vamana Treatment in Kapha dosha
Vamana is the important Ayurvedic procedure of emesis/vomitting in pacifying deranged kapha humour. It is also one of the fundamental steps of seasonal purification therapy, panchakarma. Several clinical studies have confirmed the utility of vamana in the treatment of kapha related diseases.
Kapha is the major biological humour of the human body. The balanced state of the three biological humours represents health. By proper diet-regimen and code of conduct, deranged kapha can be normalised. Several Ayurvedic formulations are successfully used by practitioners to pacify kapha. Vamana, as per old belief and the modern clinical research is a complete solution for eradicating kapha disease.