In Ayurvedic philosophy, there are three doshas, also called humor, that govern our psychobiological functioning of the body. Vata, Pitta and Kapha doshas, are present in every cell, tissue, and organ as they are a combination of the ﬁve elements. When in balance, they create health; when out of balance, they are the cause of disease. These doshas, are responsible for the vast variety of individual differences and preferences and they inﬂuence all we are and all we do, from our choices of food to our modes of relating to others.
The doshas govern the biological and psychological process of our body, mind, and consciousness. They regulate the creation, maintenance, and destruction of body tissue as well as the elimination of waste products. They even govern our emotions and mental state. When in balance, they generate understanding, compassion, love, and health. When their balance is disturbed by stress, improper diet, and environmental conditions, they give rise to many disturbances such as anger, fear, anxiety, confusion, depression, and disease. All five elements are present in each dosha, but the predominance of two elements create a dosha.
Kapha comes from the Sanskrit word “shish”, meaning “that which holds things together, to embrace, coherent.” Kapha dosha is the combination of the Prithvi (earth) and apa (water) elements. As the water element is contained within the earthen structures of the tissues and skin, the dry earth is moistened by the reviving water element. It is responsible for the gross structure of the body, solid and liquid including phlegm and plasma. Kapha fills the inter cellular spaces of the body as connective tissues.
Examples of these tissues include mucus, synovial fluid, and tendons. The protective and immune system are controlled by Kapha. Kapha is also related to the bodies ojas (natural immunity). Kapha is slow, heavy, cool, dense, soft, greasy, unctuous, sticky, cloudy, liquid and sweet. It holds the body together, gives it shape, form, aids with growth, lubricates, protects, and helps with smelling and tasting. Kapha mainly resides in the chest, through, head, pancreas, stomach, lymph, fat, nose and tongue, but its primary site is the stomach.
Kapha provides moisture to the skin; help heals wounds, lubrication to the joints, moisture the respiratory system, and builds the immunity. It gives stability and resistance, strength and vigor. Psychologically, excess Kapha is responsible for the emotions of attachment, greed, lust, and envy. When Kapha is in the balance, it expresses love, calmness, and forgiveness, when out of balance qualities such as heavy, slow, cool, oily, damp and static will appear.
The sole purpose of these articles is to provide information about the tradition of Ayurveda. This information is not intended for use in the diagnosis, treatment, cure or prevention of any disease.