Shukra Dhatu (शुक्र धातुः)

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Shukra Dhatu is one of the 7 body tissues as per Ayurveda. It is the 7th dhatu in Sharira according to Ayurveda. Since it is developed last i.e. at the end of dhatu development and nourishment pathway, it is called as 7th or the last dhatu. Shukra literally means semen, sperm, clear, lucid, white or spotless. Since Shukra dhatu develops at the end of rigorous metabolic transformations occurring during development of all 7 dhatus it is more clear or spotless.

Etymology and definition

The term shukra originates from the root word "शुच क्लेदे + “ऋज्रे न्द्राग्रवज्रेति ।”

In Ayurveda literature, 2 types of shukra dhatu can be found to be mentioned. One Shukra dhatu is that which is ejaculated at the end of mating and which is responsible for conception. The other form of shukra dhatu is also mentioned in treatises, which refers to the body tissue that is present in every part of shariram (physical body) and controls the rebuilding of body tissues, new cell/tissue generation and overall development. Thus the dhatu which controls the function of reproduction in the body is called as shukra dhatu.

Formation of shukra dhatu

During metabolism, the unctuous part of predecessor majja dhatu is transformed into shukra dhatu. The marrow is present in bones. Minute pores are created by the action of vayu and akasha mahabhuta on bones. The shukra dhatu oozes out from these minute pores after action of factors responsible for the metabolism of shukra dhatu (shukra dhatu agni). This process is like water oozing out of new mud pot, shukra also oozes out of these pores. It is then circulated all over the body through channels of transportation of shukra dhatu(shukravahasrotas).[Cha. Sa.Chikitsa Sthana 15/32-33] Thus, shukra dhatu is present all over body.

The second form is present in testicles (vrushana). After maturation, at the time of sexual excitation or urge of ejaculation (vega), the semen (shukra) is discharged through urethra. This process happens just like ghee is melted by heat. [Cha. Sa.Chikitsa Sthana 15/34-35].

Location of Shukra Dhatu

The Channels of transportation and transformation of shukra dhatu (shukravahasrotas) has its roots in testicles and penis. [Cha. Sa. Vimana Sthana 5/8] Sushruta opines that they originate from breast and testicles. There are two vessels to carry Shukra dhatu. [Su. Sa. Sharira Sthana 9/12] There are various other anatomical structures related to shukra dhatu. These can be included in the transport and transformation system of shukra dhatu (shukravaha srotas).

The structures are as described below:

Layer of shukra (shukradhara kala):

Kala is the layer in outer coverings of the body observed in sagittal section. The layer of shukra is the innermost layer that is present in the entire body. Shukra dhatu is distributed all over the body in the same manner that the fat in the milk and juice in the sugar cane plant are distributed. [Cha Sa Chikitsa Sthana 2/46],[Su. Sa. Sharira Sthana 4/20]

Panchabhoutiktwa, of Shukra dhatu

Shukra is constituted by four elements-vayu, agni, prithvi and jala(four mahabhuta) in equal proportion. It is originated from six basic tastes. [Cha.Sa.Sharira Sthana 2/4]

Qualities of best shukra

The pure virile semen (shukra)is unctuous (snigdha), viscous (ghana), slimy (picchila), sweet (madhura). It does not cause a burning sensation in genital tract (avidahi). It looks like white crystal quartz (shukla).[Cha. Sa.Chikitsa Sthana 30/146]

Shukra sarata lakshanas

The persons endowed with the essence of shukra dhatu are gentle (saumya), having charming appearance (saumyaprekshina), beautiful eyes as if filled with milk (kshirapurnalochana) and immensely exhilarated (praharshabahula). Their teeth are unctuous, rounded, firm, even and compact. They have prominent buttocks (large pelvic girdle). They have pleasant, unctuous complexion and voice. They are brilliant. They are liked by women for enjoyment, are strong and endowed with happiness, leisure, health, wealth, honor, and progeny. [Cha. Sa. Vimana Sthana 8/109]

Upadhatu of Shukra dhatu

Ojas is considered as the metabolic byproduct (upadhatu) of shukra.[Sha. Sa. Purva khanda chapter 5] Other scholars opine that as shukra is the essence of all dhatu, there is no metabolic byproduct or waste formed during its formation.

Mala of Shukra dhatu

scholars opine that as shukra is the essence of all dhatu, there is no metabolic byproduct or waste formed during its formation.

Function of shukra dhatu

Shukra bestows courage, ejaculation, lust, strength of the body, pleasure, love, and affection. The main function of shukra is reproduction and embryogenesis. [Su. Sa. Sutra Sthana 15/5]

Causes of vitiation

Causes of vitiation

The following are the causative factors for the vitiation of channels for transport and transformation of shukra dhatu.[Cha. Sa. Vimana Sthana 5/19]

Dietary causes

Consumption of incompatible food, excessive consumption of dry, bitter, astringent, salty, sour, hot food.

Psychological causes

Anxiety, distress, distrust, apprehension, rage, exorcism.

Causes related to coitus

Excess intercourse, untimely coitus, coitus other than in vagina, or complete abstinence from it(suppression of discharge of semen), unaware of female desire, untimely ejaculation etc.

Other causes

Excess exercise, senility, improper usage of surgical instruments, alkali (kshara), heat or cautery (agni), emaciation due to other diseases, repression of natural urges, injury, morbidity causing vitiation of dhatus, doshas individually or collectively reaching reproductive system (retovahasrotas) leads to acute disorders of the shukra (semen). [Cha. Sa. Chikitsa Sthana 30/139]

Importance of Shukra dhatu in preservation of health and wellness

Aphrodisiac therapies (vajikarana) produces lineage of progeny, quick sexual stimulation, enables one to perform sexual act with the women uninterruptedly and promote corpulence and infallible and indestructible semen. [Cha. Sa. Chikitsa Sthana 1/1/9-10] This is one of the most important measures to promote sexual health and prevent diseases.