What Ayurveda described thousands of years ago is equally relevant now. Ayurveda described the body primarily is compiled of seven dhatus (or tissues), where each tissues’ crucial role is governed by the bodily humor (doshas). In an ordinal fashion the dhatus can be aligned into 7 types beginning with Rasa then Rakta, Mamsa, Meda, Asthi, Majja and then promulgating into Shukra the final product. Oja which is often considered the eighth dhatu is the purified extract of Shukra. Each dhatu is developed or transformed out of the previous tissue layer, starting with Rasa (plasma).
Rasa is the first of seven dhatus, it is nourished from the juices of digested food and after absorption, it circulates in the entire body vis-à-vis specific channels. It functions to provide nutrition to each and every nooks and cranny of the body. Rakta is the second of seven dhatu formed from rasa by metabolic processes. Rakta mainly contains the Red Blood Cells (RBCs), which carry prana (life energy) to all of the body. This oxygenates and provides life function to all the tissues. Mamsa or the muscle tissues is nourished by Rakta. It mainly functions to coordinate movement but also to provide form and protection. Meda (fat) acts as the insulating system to protect the body heat. It also provides lubrication to joints and tissue. Asthi (Bone) gives support to the body structure. Majja (Bone marrow and nerves) fills up the bony spaces, carries motor and sensory impulses and facilities the conversation between the bodily organs and cells. Shukra (Reproductive fluid) provides the deeply seated strength to the body but primarily is involved in the creation of new life.
Each of the Dhatu is controlled by a governing Dosha which is re-iterated from the classical texts as below:
S.No. Dhatu / Body tissue Governing dosha 1. Rasa (Plasma) Kapha 2. Rakta (Blood) Pitta 3. Mamsa (Muscles) Kapha 4. Meda (Adipose tissue / Fat) Kapha 5. Asthi (Bones) Vata 6. Majja (Bone marrow) Kapha 7. Shukra (Semen) Kapha
Thus it goes without saying that an increase or decrease in governing dosha will likely affect the working mechanism of tissues. Increased Vata with old age thus casually associates with osteoporosis; increased Pitta increases your blood cell counts (Polycythemia or Blood cancer) and vice versa (Anemia).
Once the elemental cause of the disease is known, a different therapeutic approach may thus be applied to increase or decrease the respective Dhatu and Dosha. As the concept of Ayurveda goes, usually that which is depleted has to be replenished with the similar components. Depleted mamsa dhatu is to be depleted with meat; however, as there are representatives Dosha governing these tissues, certain representative herbs can and are used to promote the rejuvenation of specific tissue.
The Dhatu Building Herbs
Rasa (Plasma): Shilajeet (Asphaltum punjabianum), Vidari kand (Pueraria tuberosa), Kshir kakoli (Lilium polyphyllum), Punarnava (Boerhavia diffusa)
Rakta (Blood): Punarnava (Boerhavia diffusa), Radish (Raphanus sativus)
Mamsa (Muscles): Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera), Shatavari (Asparagus racemosus), Mahameda (Polygonatum verticillatum), Ghee, Red meat
Meda (Fat): Ashwagandha, Shatavari, Mahameda, Ghee, Fat
Majja (Bone marrow): Ashwagandha, Shatavari, Mahameda, Ghee, Marrow
Asthi (Bone): Prawal pisti (powdered coral), Shatavari, Sesame (Sesamum indicum), Milk, Black lentils, Lac (Laccifer lac)
Shukra (Semen): Shatavari, Ashwagandha, Ivory white lentils
Not only are these herbs to be consumed, but these were used and are to be used in different therapeutic approached that Ayurveda promotes. So, that may be in the form of Panchakarma or oleation in the form of infused way. In either approach, an Ayurvedic physician first finds out the tissues that are in excess or that is in a depleted state and administers herbs helpful in tissue building.