Dhatu is tissue, but there is much more. According to Ayurveda, tissues include organs, bones, muscles, lymph, adipose tissue, nervous system, reproductive organs, and blood. Each dhatu feeds off the next, so they are interdependent.

Foto: Sri Sri Ayurveda Hospital
Foto: Sri Sri Ayurveda Hospital

RASA DHATU (lymph or plasma)

Rasa dhatu is formed soon after digestion. It is an essential nutrient that circulates throughout the body and nourishes all other tissues and organs. It is a rough comparison of the plasma part of the blood. Allopathic medicine calls it lymph. The primary function of Rasa is “Preenana” – nourishment of all other body tissues. After the decomposition process, the food is divided into the essence and the waste part. The essential part is called Rasa dhatu. Its main element is water. It is a nutrient fluid that circulates throughout the body and nourishes all body parts. Kapha dosha regulates the eating function.

  1. Rasa dhatu is the first tissue to be nourished by the food we eat.
  2. It constantly circulates through the body.
  3. The primary function of the Rasa dhatu is to nourish so that the other six dhatu can be appropriately formed.
  4. The essential part of the food enters the lymph and later into the bloodstream from the small intestine.
  5. Rasa dhatu is colored in the subsequent tissue, in Rakta dhatu.
  6. Rasa dhatu is colored in the subsequent tissue, in Rakta dhatu.

RAKTA DHATU (blood serum – blood)

Rakta dhatu is directly compared to blood and its constituents. It is formed by receiving nutrients from Rasa dhatu. The primary function of Rakta is “Jeevana” – invigoration. Rasa is directly related to Pitta dosha. An increase in Pitta dosha leads to an imbalance of Rakta.

  1. Rakta dhatu is influenced by Pitta dosha, so it has a characteristic red color. Pitta in good condition means good blood quality.
  2. Rakta dhatu consists of protein and red blood cells.
  3. Rakta is the fuel that regulates blood flow and carries oxygen and liquid nutrients to the tissues. It also regulates the glands and organs and helps them stay healthy and function well.
  4. Blood flow is responsible for our existence, including maintaining body systems and delivering oxygen to the brain so we can think and function in life.
  5. The term Rakta means the liquid which is nourished by the essential part of the food. It is directly connected to the skin and is responsible for the strength and resistance of the body. According to Ayurveda, blood originates from the liver and spleen. Toxins are produced when the blood is poisoned by ama – undigested food. When blood is toxic, all skin diseases are associated with it.

Blood is responsible for the strength and resistance of the liver, skin perfection, comfort, and longevity of the individual. It also plays a vital role in maintaining the life force – “Prana.” The center of this crucial “stream of life” is the heart, which pumps blood through the network of blood vessels that comprise our cardiovascular system.


MAMSA DHATU (muscle tissue – muscles)

Mamsa dhatu is compared to muscle tissue. It is fed from Rakta dhatu. Its primary function is “Lepana” – it gives the body shape, sticks to the bones, and helps with locomotor activities. The Kapha dosha governs it. An increase or decrease in the Kapha dosha results in an increase or decrease in muscle tissue.

  1. Mamsa dhatu receives nourishment from Rakta dhatu.
  2. It is under the influence of Kapha dosha.
  3. Mamsa dhatu consists of earth elements.
  4. “Lepana” is the most essential function.
  5. Mamsa is responsible for the size, strength, and composition of muscle tissue.
  6. Mamsa dhatu is responsible for movement – skeletal muscles and heartbeat – cardiac muscle.
  7. Mamsa dhatu also enables the normal functioning of other organs such as blood vessels, bladder, kidney, esophagus, stomach, and small intestine.

MEDA DHATU (adipose – fat tissue)

Meda dhatu is compared to fatty – adipose tissue. The nutrients from Mamsa dhatu nourish it. Meda’s main task is “Snehana” – oiling. The increase and decrease is influenced by the Kapha dosha. A dominant Kapha dosha is usually rich in adipose tissue.

  1. The word “Meda” is derived from a Sanskrit word that means “oleation/application of oil” and is an oily dhatu (tissue).
  2. Fatty and soft foods are digested the fastest and immediately produce Meda.
  3. Meda dhatu is influenced by Kapha dosha.
  4. The fatty layer reaches deep into the subcutaneous tissue. It is found around the heart, liver, kidneys, yellow marrow of long bones, it takes care of cushioning the joints, and it is also present inside the eye cavity, behind the eyeball.
  5. Meda dhatu acts as an insulating layer by providing mechanical protection that helps reduce heat loss.
  6. It also has a protective function, supporting and protecting vital organs.
  7. Meda dhatu is responsible for energy storage. Excess food is converted into fat and stored in the body’s fatty tissue.

ASHTI DHATU (bones – bone tissue)

Ashti is compared to bone tissue. It is fed with Meda dhatu. Its main task is “Dharana” – keeping the body upright. The Vata dosha influences it. An imbalanced Vata dosha leads to an increase in Ashti dhatu. In old age, when the Vata dosha increases, bone tissue degeneration occurs, leading to rheumatoid arthritis, osteoporosis, growths appearing on the bones, bones breaking more quickly, etc.

  1. Ashti is the strongest dhatu in the body.
  2. It gets its nutrition from Meda dhatu.
  3. It consists predominantly of “Pruthivi Mahabhuta” – earth. (“Pruthivi” or “Prithivi” means earth in Sanskrit).
  4. The properties of this dhatu are strong, coarse, dry, and hard.
  5. The function of Ashti dhatu is “Dharana” or support; it keeps the body upright.
  6. Ashti shapes the skeleton and protects vital organs like the heart and lungs.

Bones form the body’s framework; they are responsible for the movement of the arms and legs, i.e., for walking, running, and swimming. Bones hold the muscles in place and protect the body’s organs: the skull – the brain; the chest – the heart and lungs; the spine and vertebrae – the spinal cord.


MAJJA DHATU (bone marrow)

Maya is compared to the bone marrow and all the bone cavity’s tissues. Eye tissue is also considered under Majja dhatu. The main task of Majja is “Poorana” – to fill bone cavities.

  1. Majja dhatu nourishes the bone tissue and is present inside the long bones.
  2. The essential function of Majja dhatu is “Poorana,” which means to fill the cavities of the long bones.
  3. Majja dhatu consists of water and earth.
  4. Maja dhatu is controlled by Kapha dosha.
  5. Increased Kapha dosha causes edema and joint swelling.
  6. The primary function of Maja dhatu is to generate red and white bone cells.
  7. Majja dhatu removes old cells from the bloodstream.
  8. Majja dhatu also produces fat, cartilage, bone cells, fibrous connective tissue (found in tendons and ligaments), and stromal cells that support blood formation.

SHUKRA DHATU (reproductive organs – male and female)

Shukra is compared to the male and female reproductive systems and their secretions. The primary function is “Garbhotpadana” – reproduction or reproduction. It is governed by Kapha dosha. It is fed with Majja dhatu.

  1. Shukra is a derivative of the Sanskrit word “Shuca,” which means pure.
  2. Shukra is fed from Majja dhatu.
  3. Shukra dhatu overwhelms the entire body.
  4. It is controlled by Kapha dosha.
  5. It is the male and female reproductive system.
  6. Shukra dhatu is responsible for sex hormones – estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone.
  7. Creates men’s sperm and women’s egg cells.