The Seven Body Tissues in Ayurveda

The Seven Body Tissues in Ayurveda

In Ayurveda, as in Western medicine, distinctive differences are made between various body tissues. Unlike conventional medicine, these seven body tissues are connected to, and build on one another. 

The seven tissues are referred to sapha dhatu. The term dhatu is derived from Sanskrit and means "support structure".

In Ayurveda, the tissues form a steplike arrangement and differ from one another in the duration of the regeneration cycle. As they build on one another, a diseased tissue may spread to other connected tissues. 

The various tissue are as follows:

  1. The first tissue, upon which all other tissues follow, is called rasa. This type of plasma is formed through the intake of food. All other subsequent tissues are supplied with nutrients via the metabolism.
  2. The rakta is the red blood component.
  3. Mamsa refers to the muscle tissue and skin.
  4. Adipose tissue is generally referred to as meda.
  5. Asthi, the stabilizing component, i.e the bone tissue.
  6. Bone marrow and nerve tissue are named maya.
  7. Reproductive organs and the renewal of cells is referred to as Shukra.

In addition, there is another subtle substance called ojas. This is often referred to as the eighth dhatu. It is created when positivity is experienced and is responsible for the energy balance of the body and the communication between the different types of tissues. It also strengthens the immune system and connects body and mind.

The prerequisite for a strong ojas is a good agni, i.e. digestive fire. When ojas is weakened, vitality and vigor and thus the whole organism is weakened.

Rasa or plasma is therefore the basic substance found in the the structure of all other types of tissues. During digestion, food is transformed into plasma. It circulates throughout the body, providing all tissues with nutrients. Furthermore, it is responsible for water and electrolyte balance. Rasa is headquartered in the heart, the lymphatic system, blood vessels and mucous membranes.

Other metabolic functions takes place in the individual tissues themselves, which then is passed on as nutrients for other tissue levels in the hierarchy. If too little plasma formed, all the body tissues suffer, lacking vitality.

As a result, proper nutrition plays an important role in Ayurveda. The body tissue formed from plasma through metabolism, which is directly linked to nutrition and diet.

If the body is being supplied with an unhealthy or unbalanced diet, insufficient or incorrect nutrients may cause long term problems. The body uses its own depots when nutrients are lacking. This leads to physical health complaints and other unwanted symptoms. After a while, it could also lead to disease.

A well-functioning metabolism function is just as important as proper nutrition, which becomes apparent in both nourishing and purifying aspects. Failure to cleanse waste products, results in accumulating these waste products and eventually leads to disease, because these waste products manifest themselves in the tissue itself, and depending on the type of tissue, different organs may be affected. 

Each tissue can be linked to one of the three Ayurvedic doshas - vata, pitta and kapha. The condition of the tissue, the individual constitutional type and the current ratio of the doshas to one another can thus draw conclusions about the health or or lack thereof of an organism.