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The word 'Rakta' refers to red color. Thus Rakta dhatu literally means the body tissue that is red in color. Rakta dhatu is thus similar to blood tissue which is red in color. It is second in order of 7 dhatus forming building blocks of physical body. In Ayurveda, in the context of feminine health, the word 'Rakta' is also used to denote 'menstrual blood' or even 'ovum'.
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The word 'Rakta' (रक्तम्) refers to the color 'Red'. Thus Rakta dhatu (रक्त धातु) literally means the body tissue which is red in color. Therefore, rakta dhatu in Ayurveda is to some extent similar to blood tissue described in western medicine. It is second in order of 7 [[Dhatus (धातवः)|dhatus]] (धातु) forming building blocks of physical body. In Ayurveda, in the context of feminine health, the word 'Rakta' is also used to denote 'menstrual blood'.
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== पर्यायशब्दाः ॥ Synonyms ==
 +
In Ayurveda Rakta dhatu has been referred by using various other terms like Shonita (शोणितम्), rudhira (रुधिरम्), asrik (असृक्), astra (अस्र), lohita (लोहितम्), kshataja (क्षतजम्).  
  
Synonyms
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== रक्तधातोः उत्पत्तिः ॥ Formation of Rakta dhatu ==
 +
Rakta dhatu is formed from '[[Rasa Dhatu (रस धातु)|Rasa]] dhatu'(रस धातु). When Rasa dhatu is subjected to the process of micro-transformation (सूक्ष्मपचनम्), one processed part of it is specifically utilized to provide nourishment to the next dhatu in order i.e. Rakta Dhatu (रक्त धातु). This part is responsible for development and nourishment of rakta dhatu in body.<ref>Charaka Samhita (Chikitsasthanam Adhyaya 15 Sutra 16)</ref> Transformation of this part of rasa into rakta happens by the action of ranjaka pitta (रंजक पित्तम् | one of the 5 types of Pitta dosha) at sites yakrut (यकृत्) and pliha (प्लीहा). <ref>Sushruta Samhita (Sutrasthanam Adhyaya 14 Sutra 4)</ref>
  
Function
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== रक्तधातोः स्थानम् ॥Location of Rakta dhatu ==
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Rakta dhatu is present everywhere in the [[Sharira (शरीरम्)|shariram]] (शरीरम्). However, the channel through which it is predominantly circulated and transformed is called as Raktavaha srotas (रक्तवह स्रोतसम्). Yakrut (यकृत्) and pliha (प्लीहा) are the chief sites of raktavaha srotas. Rakta is metabolized at these sites mainly. Also it flows through siras (सिरा) and reaches to every part of the body.
  
Associated Dosha
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== रक्तधातोः पांचभौतिकत्वम् ॥ Panchabhoutik constitution ==
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The Rakta dhatu which is red in color and serves as the seat of pitta dosha naturally shows dominance of agni mahabhuta. But Ayurveda acharyas have opined, after keenly observing its functions and nature that it shows signs of presence of every mahabhuta equally at the same time. To explain this, qualities of Rakta dhatu and their asssociation with each of the 5 elements has been narrated. See table 1. <ref>Sushruta Samhita (Sutrasthanam Adhyaya 14 Sutra 9)</ref>
  
Characteristics of purity of Rakta dhatu
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{| class="wikitable"
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|+<blockquote>Qualities of Rakta and their association with Panchamahabhutas</blockquote>
 +
!Sr No
 +
!Quality
 +
!Linked Mahabhuta
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|-
 +
|1
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|<nowiki>Visrata (विस्रता | Peculiar Odor) </nowiki>
 +
|<nowiki>Prthvi (पृथ्वी | Earth )</nowiki>
 +
|-
 +
|2
 +
|<nowiki>Dravata (द्रवता | Liquidity)</nowiki>
 +
|<nowiki>Jalam (जलम् | Water)</nowiki>
 +
|-
 +
|3
 +
|<nowiki>Ragam (रागम् | Red color)</nowiki>
 +
|<nowiki>Teja (तेजः | Fire)</nowiki>
 +
|-
 +
|4
 +
|<nowiki>Spandanam (स्पंदनम् | Pulsation)</nowiki>
 +
|<nowiki>Vayu (वायुः | Air)</nowiki>
 +
|-
 +
|5
 +
|<nowiki>Laghuta (लघुता | lightness)</nowiki>
 +
|<nowiki>Akasha (आकाश | Ether/space)</nowiki>
 +
|}
  
Vitiating factors
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== रक्तधातोः कार्यम् ॥ Function ==
 +
The most important function of Rakta dhatu has been believed to be as Jeevana (जीवनम्) i.e. giving life and sustaining vitality. <ref>Ashtanga Hrudayam (Sutrasthanam Adhyaya 11 Sutra 4)</ref>
  
Importance of Rakta dhatu in health and wellbeing
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It is said that the life of an individual is sustained because of rakta. While explaining this Acharya Charaka says,
 +
 
 +
<blockquote>तद्विशुद्धं हि रुधिरं बलवर्णसुखायुषा| युनक्ति प्राणिनं प्राणः शोणितं ह्यनुवर्तते ॥ (Char. Samh 24.4)<ref name=":0">Charaka Samhita (Sutrasthanam Adhyaya 24 Sutra 4)</ref></blockquote><blockquote>''tadviśuddhaṁ hi rudhiraṁ balavarṇasukhāyuṣā| yunakti prāṇinaṁ prāṇaḥ śoṇitaṁ hyanuvartate ॥ (Char. Samh 24.4)''</blockquote>Meaning: That pure blood provides the individual with strength, complexion, happiness, and life. Because vitality of life depends on blood.
 +
 
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Therefore Rakta dhatu is also called as one of the seats of 'Prana' (life or soul) of a human being and it is called as one of the 10 "pranayatanas' ( दश प्राणायतनानि).
 +
 
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<blockquote>दशैवायतनान्याहुः प्राणा येषु प्रतिष्ठिताः | शङ्खौ मर्मत्रयं कण्ठो रक्तं शुक्रौजसी गुदम् ॥ (Char. Samh 29.3)<ref name=":1">Charaka Samhita (Sutrasthanam Adhyaya 29 Sutra 3)</ref></blockquote><blockquote>''daśaivāyatanānyāhuḥ prāṇā yeṣu pratiṣṭhitāḥ | śaṅkhau marmatrayaṁ kaṇṭho raktaṁ śukraujasī gudam ॥ (Char. Samh 29.3)''</blockquote>Meaning: There are surely ten principal seats in which the life forces are established. The two temples, the three vital organs, the throat, rakta dhatu (blood), shukra dhatu (reproductive fluid), oja (the vital fluid) and the guda (anus).<ref name=":2">Available from [https://www.carakasamhitaonline.com/index.php?title=Dashapranayataneeya_Adhyaya#Ten_principal_seats_of_the_life_forces Charakasamhitaonline.com]</ref>
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 +
Along with this, various other functions performed by Rakta dhatu are as below,<ref>Sushruta Samhita (Sutrasthanam Adhyaya 15 Sutra 5)</ref>
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# वर्ण प्रसादनम् | enhancing complexion,
 +
# मांस धातु पोषणम् | nourishing successor muscle tissue and other components 
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== रक्तधातोः उपधातवः ॥ Upadhatu of Rakta dhatu  ==
 +
Rakta dhatu when subjected to the process of micro-transformation (सूक्ष्मपचनम्), it generates 2 more entities which are known as Upadhatus (उपधातु | metabolic by-products which function as body tissues) of Rakta dhatu. Sira (सिराः | Veins) and Kandara (कण्डराः | tendons) are known to be 2 upadhatus of Rakta dhatu. <ref>Charaka Samhita (Chikitsasthanam Adhyaya 15 Sutra 17)</ref>
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== धातोः मलम् ॥ Mala of Rakta dhatu ==
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During the micro-transformation of Raka dhatu inside body and formation of [[Upadhatus (उपधातवः)|upadhatus]], some fluid secretion is generated as a [[Malas (मलाः)|mala]] (मलः) i.e waste byproduct and it is called as ‘pitta’ (पित्तम्). However, this is waste or unwanted pitta which resembles Pitta [[Doshas (दोषाः)|dosha]] (पित्त दोषः). Thus, pitta dosha is closely associated with rakta dhatu. The clinical features of increase in rakta levels of body are similar to those of pitta dosha increase.<ref>Charaka Samhita (chikitsasthanam Adhyaya 15 Sutra 18-20)</ref> Rakta has been known to be the site of pitta dosha.<ref>Ashtang Hrudayam (Sutrasthanam Adhyaya 12 Sutra 2)</ref> Thus, Pitta dosha is closely associated with rakta dhatu.
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== विशुद्धरक्त लक्षणानि॥ Characteristics of purity of Rakta dhatu ==
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Number of factors from diet, lifestyle, environment affect rakta dhatu. Since Rakta dhatu plays pivotal role in sustaining the life, its purity or quality has also been been given importance and attention. Ayurveda acharyas could find out those supreme qualities of rakta which indicate purest form of Rakta. Acharya Charaka has described characteristics of pure Rakta dhatu with the help of few examples. <blockquote>तपनीयेन्द्रगोपाभं पद्मालक्तकसन्निभम्| गुञ्जाफलसवर्णं च विशुद्धं विद्धि शोणितम्  (Char. Samh. 24.22)<ref>Charaka Samhita (Sutrasthanam Adhyaya 24 Sutra 22)</ref></blockquote><blockquote>''tapanīyendragopābhaṁ padmālaktakasannibham| guñjāphalasavarṇaṁ ca viśuddhaṁ viddhi śoṇitam (Char. Samh. 24.22)''</blockquote>Meaning: The color of pure blood is like golden red, firefly, red lotus, lac-resinous material(लाक्षा | laksha), and fruit of Gunja (गुंजा | ''Abrus precatorius Linn''.).
 +
 
 +
Thus these are some properties related to the appearance of the purest form of Rakta or blood which can be assessed with the help of our sensory organ eyes by anyone wishing to check rakta dhatu purity.
 +
 
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=== विशुद्धरक्तपुरुषस्य लक्षणानि॥ Characteristics of a person with pure blood ===
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The person who possesses pure form of Rakta dhatu displays few characteristics which indicate the purity of blood. These are the features one can attain if purity of rakta dhatu is maintained for a long time. <blockquote>प्रसन्नवर्णेन्द्रियमिन्द्रियार्थानिच्छन्तमव्याहतपक्तृवेगम्| सुखान्वितं तु(पु)ष्टिबलोपपन्नं विशुद्धरक्तं पुरुषं वदन्ति (Char. Samh. 24.24)<ref>Charaka Samhita (Sutrasthanam Adhyaya 24 Sutra 24)</ref></blockquote><blockquote>''prasannavarṇendriyamindriyārthānicchantamavyāhatapaktr̥vegam| sukhānvitaṁ tu(pu)ṣṭibalopapannaṁ viśuddharaktaṁ puruṣaṁ vadanti (Char. Samh. 24.24)''</blockquote>Meaning: A person should be considered as having pure blood if has glowing complexion, well-functioning sense organs, and is cheerful. A person with unvitiated blood has normal digestion and unobstructed natural urges, is happy and is endowed with saturation and strength. <ref>Available from [https://www.carakasamhitaonline.com/index.php?title=Vidhishonitiya_Adhyaya#Characteristics_of_a_person_with_pure_blood) charakasamhitaonline.com]</ref>
 +
 
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== रक्तसारतालक्षणानि॥ Rakta sara ==
 +
Those who have supreme quality of rakta dhatu in a body are identified by some characteristic features. These features are called as rakta-sarata features (रक्तसारता लक्षणानि). Most of these features are manifested on organs and body parts which have Rakta in abundant quantity. Thus one can identify the quality of rakta dhatu by assessing presence or absence of following signs in body.<blockquote>कर्णाक्षिमुखजिह्वानासौष्ठपाणिपादतलनखललाटमेहनं स्निग्धरक्तवर्णं श्रीमद्भ्राजिष्णु रक्तसाराणाम्|</blockquote><blockquote>सा सारता सुखमुद्धतां मेधां मनस्वित्वं सौकुमार्यमनतिबलमक्लेशसहिष्णुत्वमुष्णासहिष्णुत्वं चाचष्टे|| (Char. Samh 8.104)<ref>Charaka Samhita (Vimanasthanam Adhyaya 8 Sutra 104)</ref></blockquote><blockquote>''karṇākṣimukhajihvānāsauṣṭhapāṇipādatalanakhalalāṭamehanaṁ snigdharaktavarṇaṁ śrīmadbhrājiṣṇu raktasārāṇām|''</blockquote><blockquote>''sā sāratā sukhamuddhatāṁ medhāṁ manasvitvaṁ saukumāryamanatibalamakleśasahiṣṇutvamuṣṇāsahiṣṇutvaṁ cācaṣṭe||''</blockquote>Meaning: The characteristics of the essence of rakta dhatu can be observed on ears, eyes, face, tongue, nose, lips, palms, soles, nails, forehead and genitals. These body parts are unctuous, red, beautiful and shining. The persons are endowed with happiness, sharp intellect, magnanimity, tenderness, moderate strength, lack of endurance, and intolerance to heat.<ref>Available from Charakasamhitaonline.com</ref>
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== रक्तदुष्टिहेतवः॥ Vitiating factors ==
 +
Rakta dhatu is vitiated due to following causes,<ref>Charaka Samhita (Sutrasthanam Adhyaya 24 Sutra 5-10)</ref><ref>Available from [https://www.carakasamhitaonline.com/index.php?title=Vidhishonitiya_Adhyaya#Causes_of_blood_vitiation charakasamhitaonline.com]</ref>
 +
 
 +
=== आहारहेतवः ॥ Dietary factors ===
 +
# प्रदुष्टबहुतीक्ष्णोष्णैर्मद्यैरन्यैश्च तद्विधैः - habitual intake of spoiled or unsuitable food and/or liquids, overeating, acidic or pungent liquor and other similar drinks,
 +
# तिलवणक्षारैरम्लैः कटुभिरेव च - too much salty, alkaline substances, sour and pungent food
 +
# कुलत्थमाषनिष्पावतिलतैलनिषेवणैः - ''kulatha'' (Dolichos biflorus Linn.), ''masha'' (Phaseolus mungo Linn.), ''nishpava'' (Dolichos lablab Linn.), ''tila taila'' (Sesamum indicum Linn. oils)
 +
# पिण्डालुमूलकादीनां हरितानां च सर्वशः - ''pindalu'' (Randia uliginosa DC.), radish and all green (leafy) vegetables
 +
# जलजानूपबैलानां प्रसहानां च सेवनात् - meat of aquatic and marshy animals, burrowing animals and those that snatch birds,
 +
# दध्यम्लमस्तुसुक्तानां सुरासौवीरकस्य च - excessive intake of curd, sour whey (curd-water), vinegars and other sour fermented liquids
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# विरुद्धानामुपक्लिन्नपूतीनां भक्षणेन च - Eating incompatible food, consuming decomposed, putrid food with opposite properties
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# अत्यादानं - Overeating or excessive food intake
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# अजीर्ण, अध्यशन - indigestion, taking meal during indigestion
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=== विहारहेतवः ॥ Lifestyle factors ===
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# भुक्त्वा दिवा प्रस्वपतां द्रवस्निग्धगुरूणि च| - excessive sleeping during the day especially after taking liquids, unctuous and heavy food
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# भजतां चातपानलौ - excessive exposure to the sun and the wind,
 +
# छर्दिवेगप्रतीघातात् - suppression of the natural urges like vomiting,
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# काले चानवसेचनात् - avoidance of blood-letting in prescribed time (autumn)
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# श्रम - too much exertion
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# अभिघात - Injury
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=== मानसहेतवः ॥ Psychological and emotional factors ===
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# क्रोधं - excessive anger
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# सन्ताप - Grief
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=== कालहेतवः ॥ Environmental factors ===
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# शरत्कालस्वभावात् - due to natural pattern in Sharad Rutu or autumn season in India
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== रक्तस्य प्रधानता ॥ Importance of Rakta dhatu in health and well-being ==
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Rakta dhatu has the extremely important function of providing Jivanam (जीवनम्) i.e. holding one's prana (प्राणः | life) and sustain it. Thus Ayurveda acharyas have invested considerable number of verses in describing role of rakta dhatu. Acharya Sushruta describes rakta dhatu significance in maintaining life as below,<blockquote>देहस्य रुधिरं मूलं रुधिरेणैव धार्यते | तस्माद्यत्नेन संरक्ष्यं रक्तं जीव इति स्थितिः ॥ (Sush. Samh. 14.44)<ref>Sushruta Samhita (Sutrasthanam Adhyaya 14 Sutra 44)</ref></blockquote><blockquote>''dehasya rudhiraṁ mūlaṁ rudhireṇaiva dhāryate | tasmādyatnena saṁrakṣyaṁ raktaṁ jīva iti sthitiḥ ॥ (Sush. Samh. 14.44)''</blockquote>Meaning: Rudhira (Synonym of Rakta) is the fundamental source of vitality and life. Thus it is highly recommended that one strives to protect (does not indulge in activities that vitiate) Rakta dhatu since that will sustain the life well.
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Moreover, owing to this important activity Rakta dhatu has been counted in Dasha pranayataneeyas (दशप्राणायतनानि) i.e 10 principal seats of life forces by Acharya Charaka,
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<blockquote>दशैवायतनान्याहुः प्राणा येषु प्रतिष्ठिताः | शङ्खौ मर्मत्रयं कण्ठो रक्तं शुक्रौजसी गुदम् ॥ (Char. Samh 29.3)<ref name=":1" /></blockquote><blockquote>''daśaivāyatanānyāhuḥ prāṇā yeṣu pratiṣṭhitāḥ | śaṅkhau marmatrayaṁ kaṇṭho raktaṁ śukraujasī gudam ॥ (Char. Samh 29.3)''</blockquote>Meaning: There are surely ten principal seats in which the life forces are established. The two temples, the three vital organs, the throat, rakta dhatu (blood), shukra dhatu (reproductive fluid), [[Ojas (ओजः)|ojas]] (the vital fluid) and the guda (anus).<ref name=":2" />
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 +
The role and importance of Rakta dhatu in health and well being is also understood by its functions as described earlier.
 +
 
 +
<blockquote>तद्विशुद्धं हि रुधिरं बलवर्णसुखायुषा| युनक्ति प्राणिनं प्राणः शोणितं ह्यनुवर्तते ॥ (Char. Samh 24.4)<ref name=":0" /></blockquote><blockquote>''tadviśuddhaṁ hi rudhiraṁ balavarṇasukhāyuṣā| yunakti prāṇinaṁ prāṇaḥ śoṇitaṁ hyanuvartate ॥ (Char. Samh 24.4)''</blockquote>Meaning: That pure blood provides the individual with strength, complexion, happiness, and life. Because vitality of life depends on blood.
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== References ==
 +
[[Category:Ayurveda]]
 +
<references />

Latest revision as of 15:57, 30 June 2021

The word 'Rakta' (रक्तम्) refers to the color 'Red'. Thus Rakta dhatu (रक्त धातु) literally means the body tissue which is red in color. Therefore, rakta dhatu in Ayurveda is to some extent similar to blood tissue described in western medicine. It is second in order of 7 dhatus (धातु) forming building blocks of physical body. In Ayurveda, in the context of feminine health, the word 'Rakta' is also used to denote 'menstrual blood'.

पर्यायशब्दाः ॥ Synonyms

In Ayurveda Rakta dhatu has been referred by using various other terms like Shonita (शोणितम्), rudhira (रुधिरम्), asrik (असृक्), astra (अस्र), lohita (लोहितम्), kshataja (क्षतजम्).

रक्तधातोः उत्पत्तिः ॥ Formation of Rakta dhatu

Rakta dhatu is formed from 'Rasa dhatu'(रस धातु). When Rasa dhatu is subjected to the process of micro-transformation (सूक्ष्मपचनम्), one processed part of it is specifically utilized to provide nourishment to the next dhatu in order i.e. Rakta Dhatu (रक्त धातु). This part is responsible for development and nourishment of rakta dhatu in body.[1] Transformation of this part of rasa into rakta happens by the action of ranjaka pitta (रंजक पित्तम् | one of the 5 types of Pitta dosha) at sites yakrut (यकृत्) and pliha (प्लीहा). [2]

रक्तधातोः स्थानम् ॥Location of Rakta dhatu

Rakta dhatu is present everywhere in the shariram (शरीरम्). However, the channel through which it is predominantly circulated and transformed is called as Raktavaha srotas (रक्तवह स्रोतसम्). Yakrut (यकृत्) and pliha (प्लीहा) are the chief sites of raktavaha srotas. Rakta is metabolized at these sites mainly. Also it flows through siras (सिरा) and reaches to every part of the body.

रक्तधातोः पांचभौतिकत्वम् ॥ Panchabhoutik constitution

The Rakta dhatu which is red in color and serves as the seat of pitta dosha naturally shows dominance of agni mahabhuta. But Ayurveda acharyas have opined, after keenly observing its functions and nature that it shows signs of presence of every mahabhuta equally at the same time. To explain this, qualities of Rakta dhatu and their asssociation with each of the 5 elements has been narrated. See table 1. [3]

Qualities of Rakta and their association with Panchamahabhutas

Sr No Quality Linked Mahabhuta
1 Visrata (विस्रता | Peculiar Odor) Prthvi (पृथ्वी | Earth )
2 Dravata (द्रवता | Liquidity) Jalam (जलम् | Water)
3 Ragam (रागम् | Red color) Teja (तेजः | Fire)
4 Spandanam (स्पंदनम् | Pulsation) Vayu (वायुः | Air)
5 Laghuta (लघुता | lightness) Akasha (आकाश | Ether/space)

रक्तधातोः कार्यम् ॥ Function

The most important function of Rakta dhatu has been believed to be as Jeevana (जीवनम्) i.e. giving life and sustaining vitality. [4]

It is said that the life of an individual is sustained because of rakta. While explaining this Acharya Charaka says,

तद्विशुद्धं हि रुधिरं बलवर्णसुखायुषा| युनक्ति प्राणिनं प्राणः शोणितं ह्यनुवर्तते ॥ (Char. Samh 24.4)[5]

tadviśuddhaṁ hi rudhiraṁ balavarṇasukhāyuṣā| yunakti prāṇinaṁ prāṇaḥ śoṇitaṁ hyanuvartate ॥ (Char. Samh 24.4)

Meaning: That pure blood provides the individual with strength, complexion, happiness, and life. Because vitality of life depends on blood.

Therefore Rakta dhatu is also called as one of the seats of 'Prana' (life or soul) of a human being and it is called as one of the 10 "pranayatanas' ( दश प्राणायतनानि).

दशैवायतनान्याहुः प्राणा येषु प्रतिष्ठिताः | शङ्खौ मर्मत्रयं कण्ठो रक्तं शुक्रौजसी गुदम् ॥ (Char. Samh 29.3)[6]

daśaivāyatanānyāhuḥ prāṇā yeṣu pratiṣṭhitāḥ | śaṅkhau marmatrayaṁ kaṇṭho raktaṁ śukraujasī gudam ॥ (Char. Samh 29.3)

Meaning: There are surely ten principal seats in which the life forces are established. The two temples, the three vital organs, the throat, rakta dhatu (blood), shukra dhatu (reproductive fluid), oja (the vital fluid) and the guda (anus).[7]

Along with this, various other functions performed by Rakta dhatu are as below,[8]

  1. वर्ण प्रसादनम् | enhancing complexion,
  2. मांस धातु पोषणम् | nourishing successor muscle tissue and other components

रक्तधातोः उपधातवः ॥ Upadhatu of Rakta dhatu

Rakta dhatu when subjected to the process of micro-transformation (सूक्ष्मपचनम्), it generates 2 more entities which are known as Upadhatus (उपधातु | metabolic by-products which function as body tissues) of Rakta dhatu. Sira (सिराः | Veins) and Kandara (कण्डराः | tendons) are known to be 2 upadhatus of Rakta dhatu. [9]

धातोः मलम् ॥ Mala of Rakta dhatu

During the micro-transformation of Raka dhatu inside body and formation of upadhatus, some fluid secretion is generated as a mala (मलः) i.e waste byproduct and it is called as ‘pitta’ (पित्तम्). However, this is waste or unwanted pitta which resembles Pitta dosha (पित्त दोषः). Thus, pitta dosha is closely associated with rakta dhatu. The clinical features of increase in rakta levels of body are similar to those of pitta dosha increase.[10] Rakta has been known to be the site of pitta dosha.[11] Thus, Pitta dosha is closely associated with rakta dhatu.

विशुद्धरक्त लक्षणानि॥ Characteristics of purity of Rakta dhatu

Number of factors from diet, lifestyle, environment affect rakta dhatu. Since Rakta dhatu plays pivotal role in sustaining the life, its purity or quality has also been been given importance and attention. Ayurveda acharyas could find out those supreme qualities of rakta which indicate purest form of Rakta. Acharya Charaka has described characteristics of pure Rakta dhatu with the help of few examples.

तपनीयेन्द्रगोपाभं पद्मालक्तकसन्निभम्| गुञ्जाफलसवर्णं च विशुद्धं विद्धि शोणितम् (Char. Samh. 24.22)[12]

tapanīyendragopābhaṁ padmālaktakasannibham| guñjāphalasavarṇaṁ ca viśuddhaṁ viddhi śoṇitam (Char. Samh. 24.22)

Meaning: The color of pure blood is like golden red, firefly, red lotus, lac-resinous material(लाक्षा | laksha), and fruit of Gunja (गुंजा | Abrus precatorius Linn.).

Thus these are some properties related to the appearance of the purest form of Rakta or blood which can be assessed with the help of our sensory organ eyes by anyone wishing to check rakta dhatu purity.

विशुद्धरक्तपुरुषस्य लक्षणानि॥ Characteristics of a person with pure blood

The person who possesses pure form of Rakta dhatu displays few characteristics which indicate the purity of blood. These are the features one can attain if purity of rakta dhatu is maintained for a long time.

प्रसन्नवर्णेन्द्रियमिन्द्रियार्थानिच्छन्तमव्याहतपक्तृवेगम्| सुखान्वितं तु(पु)ष्टिबलोपपन्नं विशुद्धरक्तं पुरुषं वदन्ति (Char. Samh. 24.24)[13]

prasannavarṇendriyamindriyārthānicchantamavyāhatapaktr̥vegam| sukhānvitaṁ tu(pu)ṣṭibalopapannaṁ viśuddharaktaṁ puruṣaṁ vadanti (Char. Samh. 24.24)

Meaning: A person should be considered as having pure blood if has glowing complexion, well-functioning sense organs, and is cheerful. A person with unvitiated blood has normal digestion and unobstructed natural urges, is happy and is endowed with saturation and strength. [14]

रक्तसारतालक्षणानि॥ Rakta sara

Those who have supreme quality of rakta dhatu in a body are identified by some characteristic features. These features are called as rakta-sarata features (रक्तसारता लक्षणानि). Most of these features are manifested on organs and body parts which have Rakta in abundant quantity. Thus one can identify the quality of rakta dhatu by assessing presence or absence of following signs in body.

कर्णाक्षिमुखजिह्वानासौष्ठपाणिपादतलनखललाटमेहनं स्निग्धरक्तवर्णं श्रीमद्भ्राजिष्णु रक्तसाराणाम्|

सा सारता सुखमुद्धतां मेधां मनस्वित्वं सौकुमार्यमनतिबलमक्लेशसहिष्णुत्वमुष्णासहिष्णुत्वं चाचष्टे|| (Char. Samh 8.104)[15]

karṇākṣimukhajihvānāsauṣṭhapāṇipādatalanakhalalāṭamehanaṁ snigdharaktavarṇaṁ śrīmadbhrājiṣṇu raktasārāṇām|

sā sāratā sukhamuddhatāṁ medhāṁ manasvitvaṁ saukumāryamanatibalamakleśasahiṣṇutvamuṣṇāsahiṣṇutvaṁ cācaṣṭe||

Meaning: The characteristics of the essence of rakta dhatu can be observed on ears, eyes, face, tongue, nose, lips, palms, soles, nails, forehead and genitals. These body parts are unctuous, red, beautiful and shining. The persons are endowed with happiness, sharp intellect, magnanimity, tenderness, moderate strength, lack of endurance, and intolerance to heat.[16]

रक्तदुष्टिहेतवः॥ Vitiating factors

Rakta dhatu is vitiated due to following causes,[17][18]

आहारहेतवः ॥ Dietary factors

  1. प्रदुष्टबहुतीक्ष्णोष्णैर्मद्यैरन्यैश्च तद्विधैः - habitual intake of spoiled or unsuitable food and/or liquids, overeating, acidic or pungent liquor and other similar drinks,
  2. तिलवणक्षारैरम्लैः कटुभिरेव च - too much salty, alkaline substances, sour and pungent food
  3. कुलत्थमाषनिष्पावतिलतैलनिषेवणैः - kulatha (Dolichos biflorus Linn.), masha (Phaseolus mungo Linn.), nishpava (Dolichos lablab Linn.), tila taila (Sesamum indicum Linn. oils)
  4. पिण्डालुमूलकादीनां हरितानां च सर्वशः - pindalu (Randia uliginosa DC.), radish and all green (leafy) vegetables
  5. जलजानूपबैलानां प्रसहानां च सेवनात् - meat of aquatic and marshy animals, burrowing animals and those that snatch birds,
  6. दध्यम्लमस्तुसुक्तानां सुरासौवीरकस्य च - excessive intake of curd, sour whey (curd-water), vinegars and other sour fermented liquids
  7. विरुद्धानामुपक्लिन्नपूतीनां भक्षणेन च - Eating incompatible food, consuming decomposed, putrid food with opposite properties
  8. अत्यादानं - Overeating or excessive food intake
  9. अजीर्ण, अध्यशन - indigestion, taking meal during indigestion

विहारहेतवः ॥ Lifestyle factors

  1. भुक्त्वा दिवा प्रस्वपतां द्रवस्निग्धगुरूणि च| - excessive sleeping during the day especially after taking liquids, unctuous and heavy food
  2. भजतां चातपानलौ - excessive exposure to the sun and the wind,
  3. छर्दिवेगप्रतीघातात् - suppression of the natural urges like vomiting,
  4. काले चानवसेचनात् - avoidance of blood-letting in prescribed time (autumn)
  5. श्रम - too much exertion
  6. अभिघात - Injury

मानसहेतवः ॥ Psychological and emotional factors

  1. क्रोधं - excessive anger
  2. सन्ताप - Grief

कालहेतवः ॥ Environmental factors

  1. शरत्कालस्वभावात् - due to natural pattern in Sharad Rutu or autumn season in India

रक्तस्य प्रधानता ॥ Importance of Rakta dhatu in health and well-being

Rakta dhatu has the extremely important function of providing Jivanam (जीवनम्) i.e. holding one's prana (प्राणः | life) and sustain it. Thus Ayurveda acharyas have invested considerable number of verses in describing role of rakta dhatu. Acharya Sushruta describes rakta dhatu significance in maintaining life as below,

देहस्य रुधिरं मूलं रुधिरेणैव धार्यते | तस्माद्यत्नेन संरक्ष्यं रक्तं जीव इति स्थितिः ॥ (Sush. Samh. 14.44)[19]

dehasya rudhiraṁ mūlaṁ rudhireṇaiva dhāryate | tasmādyatnena saṁrakṣyaṁ raktaṁ jīva iti sthitiḥ ॥ (Sush. Samh. 14.44)

Meaning: Rudhira (Synonym of Rakta) is the fundamental source of vitality and life. Thus it is highly recommended that one strives to protect (does not indulge in activities that vitiate) Rakta dhatu since that will sustain the life well.

Moreover, owing to this important activity Rakta dhatu has been counted in Dasha pranayataneeyas (दशप्राणायतनानि) i.e 10 principal seats of life forces by Acharya Charaka,

दशैवायतनान्याहुः प्राणा येषु प्रतिष्ठिताः | शङ्खौ मर्मत्रयं कण्ठो रक्तं शुक्रौजसी गुदम् ॥ (Char. Samh 29.3)[6]

daśaivāyatanānyāhuḥ prāṇā yeṣu pratiṣṭhitāḥ | śaṅkhau marmatrayaṁ kaṇṭho raktaṁ śukraujasī gudam ॥ (Char. Samh 29.3)

Meaning: There are surely ten principal seats in which the life forces are established. The two temples, the three vital organs, the throat, rakta dhatu (blood), shukra dhatu (reproductive fluid), ojas (the vital fluid) and the guda (anus).[7]

The role and importance of Rakta dhatu in health and well being is also understood by its functions as described earlier.

तद्विशुद्धं हि रुधिरं बलवर्णसुखायुषा| युनक्ति प्राणिनं प्राणः शोणितं ह्यनुवर्तते ॥ (Char. Samh 24.4)[5]

tadviśuddhaṁ hi rudhiraṁ balavarṇasukhāyuṣā| yunakti prāṇinaṁ prāṇaḥ śoṇitaṁ hyanuvartate ॥ (Char. Samh 24.4)

Meaning: That pure blood provides the individual with strength, complexion, happiness, and life. Because vitality of life depends on blood.

References

  1. Charaka Samhita (Chikitsasthanam Adhyaya 15 Sutra 16)
  2. Sushruta Samhita (Sutrasthanam Adhyaya 14 Sutra 4)
  3. Sushruta Samhita (Sutrasthanam Adhyaya 14 Sutra 9)
  4. Ashtanga Hrudayam (Sutrasthanam Adhyaya 11 Sutra 4)
  5. 5.0 5.1 Charaka Samhita (Sutrasthanam Adhyaya 24 Sutra 4)
  6. 6.0 6.1 Charaka Samhita (Sutrasthanam Adhyaya 29 Sutra 3)
  7. 7.0 7.1 Available from Charakasamhitaonline.com
  8. Sushruta Samhita (Sutrasthanam Adhyaya 15 Sutra 5)
  9. Charaka Samhita (Chikitsasthanam Adhyaya 15 Sutra 17)
  10. Charaka Samhita (chikitsasthanam Adhyaya 15 Sutra 18-20)
  11. Ashtang Hrudayam (Sutrasthanam Adhyaya 12 Sutra 2)
  12. Charaka Samhita (Sutrasthanam Adhyaya 24 Sutra 22)
  13. Charaka Samhita (Sutrasthanam Adhyaya 24 Sutra 24)
  14. Available from charakasamhitaonline.com
  15. Charaka Samhita (Vimanasthanam Adhyaya 8 Sutra 104)
  16. Available from Charakasamhitaonline.com
  17. Charaka Samhita (Sutrasthanam Adhyaya 24 Sutra 5-10)
  18. Available from charakasamhitaonline.com
  19. Sushruta Samhita (Sutrasthanam Adhyaya 14 Sutra 44)