The principal site of action for each of doshas and their effects explains the importance attributed to food consumption by Ayurvedic doctors.
Food enters the gastro-intestinal system and encounters the seats of the three doshas one by one. The food interacts with the doshas and transformed into the substance of the body, transported throughout the body which activates the movement of the body. Persons who are sluggish and those who are agitated may each suffer from a disorder in the transformation of food into usable energy and substance; an important aspect of this is the production of unhealthy byproducts, known as ama.
Dietary adjustments, along with the use of herbs, are the most important aspects of healing regimens, at least for long-term therapy.Yet, one should not forget the underlying basis of Ayurveda, which is not physical medicine, but spiritual medicine: it is the unsettled spirit and the mind not opens to full consciousness that remains at the root of these problems.
As per Ayurveda weakness of the digestive fire is the root cause of all diseases, vata is the chief cause of the development of all diseases, and ama is the principal nourisher of disease. The primary stages of progression disease considered are as accumulation, aggravation, overflow, initial manifestation of symptoms,appearance of disease and disease eruption
As a result of exposure to various disease-causing factors, one or more of the doshas accumulates in its seat: kapha in the stomach, pitta in the small intestine, and vata in the colon. Each produces its own characteristic symptoms. The disease is relatively easy to resolve when the imbalance is primarily one of accumulation.
In this stage, the doshas continue to increase and put pressure on their reservoirs, intensifying the symptoms they have produced. It is still fairly easy to remove the doshas even at this stage, but while treating them, their reservoir organs, which have been stressed by the ire of the corresponding doshas, need also to be strengthened. The doshas do not always accumulate before they become enraged; if the causes are strong enough, aggravation of doshas at their normal levels may occur directly.
If aggravation is not controlled and allowed to proceed unchecked, the doshas escape their original seats, wandering about the body and searching for a place to camp. All the symptoms that already existed from aggravation now worsen. At this point, kapha may produce vomiting, pitta may produce burning diarrhea, and vata may produce colicky pain in the colon and painful defecation, with the liberation of copious quantities of gas. Overflow of pitta or kapha can occur without previous accumulation or aggravation in their reservoir organs if either or both of those doshas are displaced by the force of a strongly aggravated vata. The reasons for the accumulation and aggravation of vata may be exposure to strong imbalancing conditions, such as excessive desire, sleeplessness, excessive talking and activity (especially on an empty stomach), sudden vomiting or diarrhea (particularly if self-induced), intense joy or sadness, and the restraint of any of the natural reflex urges.
Initial Manifestation of Disease (Purvarupa)
The fourth stage (purvarupa) is the initial manifestation of symptoms that result from accumulation of the doshas at susceptible sites.
Appearance of Disease (Rupa)
The fifth stage (rupa) is when the disease has become readily apparent: the sites of secondary accumulation of the doshas have been substantially disturbed; there are local structural changes.
The sixth stage is when the disease erupts from the body. At that point, symptoms might include obvious inflammation, enlarged glands, abscesses, skin eruptions, fever, diarrhea, leucorrhea, etc. That is, there are indications that the body is filled, and material is either stuck (as in a swelling), erupting, or draining out. At the same time, complications of the disease, manifesting now at additional sites, will occur.
The therapies at each of the stages of disease progression must become more specific, more potent, and more frequently applied. It is best to detect the disorder early, when dietary adjustments and a few days of using simple herb formulas may be sufficient; perhaps massage will be applied once or twice, and some cleansing procedures might be followed.
The Panchmahabhuta Philosophy Basis for Ayurveda Phylosophy
The basic foundation of Ayurvedic anatomy, physiopathology, and pharmacology is the Panchmahabhuta philosophy. The Panchmahabhuta philosophy considers that in the beginning, the universe existed in an unmanifested state of consciousness. This consciousness was energy that then manifested into five basic elements or mahabhutas: ether (space), air, fire, water, and earth. Human being is a microcosm of nature; and so, all five basic elements present in the universe are also present in each and every human.
In the human body, the five elements combine with each other and represented as three basic principles, or humors, known as doshas.
Collectively, the doshas are referred to as the tridosha and are made up as follows:
Vata is ether (space) + air
Pitta is fire + water
Kapha is water + earth