Health Magazine

Concept of Sapta Dhatu in Ayurveda

Posted on the 24 October 2023 by Dr Vikram Chauhan @Planetayurveda9


According to the Ancient Ayurvedic texts- to maintain Swasthya i.e. health our Sharira (body) needs to have maintained compatibility between Dosha, Dhatu, and Mala. Basically, harmony among these components is essential to maintain health. 'Sapta Dhatu'(The seven bodily tissues) as the name itself says - 'Sapta' means seven and 'Dhatu' is that which supports or better to say holds the body. Let's discuss it in detail!


According to Texts and Samhitas of Ayurveda, these Dhatus provide

Nourishment & growth to the entire body. Here the 7 dhatus consist of

  • Rasa (Plasma, WBC, lymph)
  • Rakta (RBCs & platelets)
  • Mamsa (Muscle tissues)
  • Meda (Adipose/fat tissue)
  • Asthi (Bones/Skeletal tissues)
  • Majja (Bone marrow)
  • Shukra (Reproductive tissue)

These are responsible for prime functions of the body. Rasa which is first

among all the dhatus provides nourishment to the other 6 dhatus. Rasa indicates Ahara rasa (Chyle) which is absorbed from Ahara is the diet we consume. Dhatu refers to the 7 structural components of the body, Acharya Sushruta in (S.Su.14/10) says that Rasa dhatu provides nourishment to rakta dhatu, rakta dhatu to mamsa dhatu, mamsa dhatu to meda dhatu, meda dhatu to asthi dhatu and so on.

समदोषः समाग्निश्च समधातु मलःक्रियाः। प्रसन्नात्मेन्द्रियमनः स्वस्थइतिअभिधीयते॥ (S.Su 14/41)
  • Acharya Sushruta says that the sense of well being of Atma (soul), Mana (mind) and Indriyas (sense organs) is attained by a state of equilibrium between dosha, dhatu and mala. And alteration in them causes diseases.
  • So, Ayurveda believes that all the dhatus are nourished by the food we eat. If vitiation of dosha takes place in any dhatu then it will affect all the next dhatus.
  • When dhatus are at the state of equilibrium, it prevents diseases,elements of tissues develop properly hence it slows down ageing. Each of these seven dhatus have their own updhatus (Produced by dhatus during metabolism), particular pramanas (normal values) in Anjali pramana (its a unit of measurement of liquid in Ayurveda) & predominance of different
  • Mahabhutas (According to Ayurveda all living and nonliving things are made of 5 mahabhuta - Prithvi, Agni, Vayu, Jala & Akash are called Panchmahabhutas).
  • According to Acharya, Sushruta dosha gets severity (mahatwa) and stability (sthiratwa) when it invades the Dhatus of the body. It becomes even more difficult to manage, when they have invaded the deeper dhatu and say this should be treated as soon as possible to avoid severity.

Rasa Dhatu

Rasa dhatu has a predominance of Jala Mahabhuta. So this predominance keeps rasa dhatu in liquid form. Rasa basically means something that is mobile, hence this dhatu provides mobility. Dhatu which is circulated continuously in the body is the Rasa dhatu. This dhatu is formed from previously digested food.The important karma/function of Rasa dhatu is Prerana that means satisfaction or feeling of freshness. Acharya Sushruta in S.Su15/51 says that Rasa dhatu by supplying fluid & minerals to every cell of the body keeps the body and mind fresh.

Physiological Functions of Rasa Dhatu Includes

When the rasa dhatu is in sam awastha that is neither increased or decreased the person feels cheerful, happy and as it nourishes the skin so the skin too looks nourished moisturised and also it nourishes the next dhatu that is rakta dhatu.

When the rasa dhatu depletes it makes one's skin dry and hard, the person is pale, lean, fatigued, the person can't tolerate loud noises or voices, the person experiences exhaustion, thirst, feeling of fear, pain in chest.

When the rasa dhatu elevates the person loses appetite , saliva secretion increases, nausea, vomiting, feels heavy, feels cold and sleeps a lot more than usual and bad taste in mouth is felt.

Rakta Dhatu

The physiological function of rakta dhatu that can be correlated to blood (RBC,WBC & Platelets) in modern Science.

The main function of rakta dhatu is to nourish mamsa dhatu. The rakta dhatu is inseparable from the Pitta dosha. So when rakta dhatu decreases from its usual pramana it diminishes the pitta dhatu and that makes the person feel cold.Even the lustre of skin loses and becomes dull and dusty.

Elevation of Rakta dhatu increases the guna (properties) of Pitta dosha and that makes the person feel warmer than usual. The built up heat in the body, tries to release it along with the malas of the body.this ultimately increases bowel movements of the body even the stools can be loose too. This also increases the frequency of urine.

Mamsa Dhatu

The physiological function of Mamsa dhatu is to strengthen the body, to build tissues of muscle in various regions of the body like in the neck, shoulders and thighs. Also the Mamsa dhatu provides nourishment to Meda dhatu.

  • Updhatu of Mamsa Dhatu includes Vasa (fatty material), Shat twacha (seven layers of skin).
  • Predominant Mahabhuta - Prithvi
  • Pramana - Male - 500 & Female - 520 in nos.
  • Depletion of mamsa dhatu causes debility to the sense organs,it emaciates the cheeks and buttocks,or collapse of blood vessels may also take place, and a person can also experience joint pain.
  • Elevation of the Rakta dhatu can cause obesity, breathing disorders, increase of the abdomen and flanks, fatigue, bad smell from one's body etc.

Meda Dhatu

Meda dhatu which can be correlated to Adipose Tissue in modern, General function of meda dhatu is Snehan (that which provides lubrication). Its function consists of nourishment of asthi dhatu.

If Meda dhatu depletes it can cause enlargement of spleen and also difficulty in movement of joints. Its depletion also increases the urge to eat fatty food.

When Meda dhatu increases than its usual amount the person feels tired and fatigued, fat in regions like abdomen, neck, thighs etc. the person has a foul smell in his/her sweat and experiences breathlessness.

Asthi Dhatu

Asthi dhatu can be correlated with the skeletal tissues or the bones. Dharana can be considered as the general function of Asthi dhatu.

So as per qualities of vayu mahabhuta, Asthi is dry & rough and as like prithvi mahabhuta it is strong & heavy. Physiological functions of Asthi dhatu are that it gives good stability and structure to the body along with a hard working capacity. It nourishes the majja dhatu.

When the amount of Asthi dhatu decreases that its required amount there will be pain in bones (pricking type of pain) & the bones become porous which makes the bone prone to fractures even with a mild trauma. Depletion of this dhatu also leads to hair fall, fragile nails or even falling of teeth.

Similarly, increase in the dhatu leads to unusual growth of bones, teeth can be developed one over the other.

Majja Dhatu

This dhatu is located deep inside the asthi dhatu and are formed when during the formation of asthi dhatu a cavity is left in them, it is formed by nourishing tissues of fat. The Majja dhatu strengthens the bone and also makes the bone flexible. It also balances the dryness of asthi dhatu.

So, depletion in the levels of Majja dhatu weakens the bones which eventually causes pain in the joints, giddiness and also the depletion of this dhatu causes depletion of Shukra dhatu too.

Elevations in the level of this dhatu leads to heaviness of the whole body

especially eyes.

Shukra Dhatu

Shukra is the seventh and the final dhatu in the dhatu formation cycle. Ayurveda considers shukra as the male semen and the female egg. Hence a person with healthy shukra has a brightness of confidence in his/her eyes, and also has a brighter skin.

In case of depletion of Shukra dhatu ejaculation is delayed or even semen mixed with blood can ejaculate, which ultimately causes pain in the testicles. The person will also be weak and an increase in thirst can also be seen. Exhaustion, dryness in mouth, general body aches, impotency can also be seen.

Elevation in Shukra dhatu may lead to a person's increased desire towards

coitus, development of stone in the seminal tract can take place.


The above article concludes that the elevation or depletion of any particular dhatu leads to disease. That's why all the dhatu should be nourished well for their proper functioning and to attain good immunity in order to stabilise the body. A proper harmony between the doshas and dhatus should also be maintained in order to attain a healthy life.

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