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While Vata is the force driving change Pitta and Kapha are the ministers that guide it. Vata binds Pitta and Kapha in its shackles and is responsible for posting them into their ministry – their respective site of actions. The bile and phlegm driven into their respective sites then perform their assigned work. Pitta is the force for biochemical change, an enzyme of sorts, while Kapha nonchalantly working for lubrication (of joints and nadis) and preservation of structural integrity. Any accentuation or de-escalation in the functions of Pitta and Kapha thus brings about whole hosts of health problems related to biochemical processes and structural composition of the being.

Pitta is hot, oily, sour and malodorous liquid. Thus one can imagine if a person has assimilation or dissimilation of Pitta in excess, the physiological substrates of the body becomes deranged. Most of the biochemical process in the body becomes hindered or gets activated in excess. Let’s imagine a jaundiced patient; you notice the yellow discoloration of the skin and mucous membrane. In jaundice, Bilirubin – a metabolic waste – is produced in excess. This is clearly a sign of reduced Pitta activity.

Kapha is oily, cold, heavy and viscid. In its provoked or unprovoked states, it leads to respective qualities being assimilated or reduced in the body. When the quantity of Kapha is reduced to a bare minimum, the lubrication provided by it beings to diminish, the joints ache, crepitations are heard – which sounds the coming of old age. While in excess it preserves the integrity in surplus, the body spills over with the unctuous love that Kapha provides – you become obese.

Let us now delve into the types of Pitta. Sushruta – the surgeon – was first to classify Pitta into 5 types according to its function and situate. Paachaka, Ranjaka, Alochaka, Saadhaka, and Braajaka. Paachaka is due to digestive and other chemicals in the body – which controls digestion and absorption of food substances. Ranjaka produces hemoglobin (the iron-containing pigment in blood). Alochaka drives the biochemical activity of the eye – responsible for visual perception. Saadaka impels mental functioning. Braajaka eradicates waste in form of sweat and enhances the glow of the skin.

The Kapha despite representing integrity is deconstructed by Vagbhata into 5 types. Kledaka, Avalambaka, Bodhaka, Tarpaka, and Sleshaka. Kledaka is the secretions from intestines which dissolves food. Avalambaka is the secretion from respiratory tract facilitating passing of air and flushing out foreign substances. Bodhaka is watery secretion of tongue serving in the perception of taste. Tarpaka is the fluid which surrounds the brain and spinal cord providing nutrition in the form of glucose. Shleshaka is fluid lying in bones and joint spaces helping in lubrication.

Pitta aggravators include sour, salty and hot food while pacifiers are sweet, bitter and astringent food. The prime symptom associated with the aggression of Pitta is a burning sensation. Pitta and its loss in normalcy may be represented in a jaundiced, pallid and febrile person. Ghee may be prescribed in the form of massage or in ingested form before Virechana (medical purgation – the process of cleansing of Pitta and its faults) depending upon severity and location of Pitta aggravation.

Kapha formation occurs in increased proportion with the usage of sweet, sour and salty food while pacifiers of Kapha are hot, bitter and astringent food. The prime symptom of aggravated Kapha is swelling. Kapha diseases symptomize as tumors, cold, pain in joints and increased fluid in tissues. Honey pacifies Kapha and may be prescribed mixed with food or before and after Vamana (medical emesis – the process of normalizing Kapha).

Pitta and Kapha despite being vilified as the ministers of Vata, are not inferior in their proceedings to Vata, they just are symbiotically linked to it – for their action (or inaction). They are rather to be eulogized in texts like these, which praise their existence and reticence (or pandemonium) in the human body. Let’s say Pitta is the home minister and Kapha the finance, the next of kin of Vata.