Through the wisdom of Ayurveda, we know that our physical bodies are comprised of a variety of incredible elements. We have already touched on the three doshas, This blog post is going to serve as an introduction to the seven Dhatus of our body.
The physical body is comprised of seven basic yet exceedingly vital tissues called dhatus. Dhatu translates into “constructing element” as a Sanskrit word. These seven dhatus are responsible for the structure of the human body in its entirety. The maintenance of each an every function of the various different systems, organs and vital parts of the entire body is governed by the dhatus.
They play a vitally important role in both the body’s development and its nourishment, along with being a part of the body’s mechanisms of biological protection. In conjunction and with the assistance of our Agni or digestive fire, the immune mechanisms of the body also fall under their responsibility.
Much like the links of a chain or the cogs of a watch, the dhatus function sequentially, which means if one dhatu has a defect, it will have a knock-on effect on the successive subsequent dhatu, because each of the dhatus obtains its nourishment and nutritional support from the previous dhatu. Here is a listing of the seven most important dhatus in sequential order.
1.The Dhatu Rasa (which is plasma)
Rasa essentially contains and carries all the nutrients from digested food, it supports and provides nourishment to all of the body’s organs systems and tissues.
2.The Dhatu Rakta (which is blood)
Rakta maintains life by governing and providing oxygen to all of the vital organs and tissues
3.The Dhatu Marnsa (which is muscle)
Marnsa controls and performs all of the movement made by the joints, is responsible for maintaining the body’s physical strength and provides coverage of the vital organs which are delicate like the lungs
4.The Dhatu Meda (which is fat)
Meda ensures that all of the tissues remain oily and lubricated.
5.The Dhatu Asthi (which is bone)
Asthi provides support to the entire body structure.
6.The Dhatu Majja (which is nerves and marrow)
Dhatu transmits sensory and motor impulses and also fills up the spaces in bones
7.The Dhatus Shukra and Artav (which are reproductive tissues)
Artav and Shukra together contain all the ingredients of all the tissues and together have the responsibility for reproduction
Now you should have an idea of how the dhatus function in sequence, and an understanding of their natural, serial order of biological manifestation
All the nutrition required for all of the dhatus comes from the post-digestion of food and is called ‘nutrient plasma, or “ahara rasa”.
With the help of heat called dhatu agni, which is found in each respective dhatu, this nutrient plasma is transformed. Rasa through transformation becomes Rakta, which is again transformed into Marnsa, then Meda, and so the cycle goes.
The transformation occurs because of three simple actions: firstly irrigation; meaning the nutrients are channelled or carried to the seven dhatus via the blood vessels, secondly comes selectivity; each dhatu selects and absorbs the exact nutrients it requires to perform its intended physiological function, and finally direct transformation; while the nutritional plasma moves through each dhatu, the food for the next dhatu is produced.
This trio of processes ( irrigation, selection and transformation) operate and occur at the same time in the seven dhatus formation. The dhatus are both nourished and transformed so they can maintain each standard physiological function that the body’s organs, systems and various tissues require.
The dhatus are affected by any tridoshic imbalance or disorder. In the disease process whichever dosha is disturbed (Kappa, Pitta or Vata) will echo any defective dhatus and be directly involved with the disease or affliction. The health of ones dhatus can be maintained by ensuring a balance in your doshas through exercise, diet and rejuvenative health activities.