Water and Earth Pancha Mahabhuta combine to form the Kaphā dosha, the water principle or energy in the body. It is the binding energy or the glue that holds the cells together and forms the body’s structure.

Kaphā supplies the liquid nourishment required by each cell to maintain their processes or systems and to sustain life, just like water which nourishes all the beings in nature. Kaphā also acts as a lubricant in all the channels of our body, provides strength, vigor and helps in maintaining immunity.

Kaphā in its normal state confers stability of the body, emotions and mind, confers longevity to the person When in balance, Kaphā evokes emotions of love, calmness and compassion. Out of balance Kaphā brings about attachment, greed, possessiveness and laziness.

snigdha: śīto gururmanda: ślakṣṇo mṛtsna: sthira: Kaphā: ||A.H.12||
The qualities of Kaphā include oily or unctuous, cold, heavy, slow or dull/sluggish and liquid/viscous, smooth and slimy, stable and immobile. Kaphā individuals display these qualities in various ways.

  • Oily – Lubrication in the body is achieved due to oily property of Kaphā. Kaphā lubricates all the channels in the body like synovial fluid in the joints, cerebrospinal fluid around brain and spine, pleural fluid in and around lungs. The oiliness of Kaphā also makes the skin and hair oily and smooth. When one indulges in oily, rich food, they tend to put on weight due to Kaphā dosha.
  • Cold – Water and Earth are the primary Mahabhuta of Kaphā dosha. Water is cold in nature, that’s why it is the quality of Kaphā as well. When one indulges in ice creams and frozen stuff they tend to get cold and congestion.
  • Heavy – Imagine wet clay. Water and Earth together will lead to heaviness. Heavy bones, muscles, large body frame and tendency to be overweight.
  • Slow – Due to being heavy, Kaphā is slow and moves sluggishly. This slowness is observed in metabolic activity, gait and speech
  • Liquid/viscous – Due to the presence of water element, the Kaphā dosha is predominantly in a liquid form like blood, lymph, plasma.
  • Smooth and slimy– Combination of Water and Earth element allows Kaphā to provide smoothness and suppleness in the skin and joints.
  • Stable and immobile – The Earth element of Kaphā dosha provides stability and groundedness in the mental and emotional state along with physical strength.

Locations of Kaphā

In the region above the chest including head and neck, Kaphā dosha is grossly present and performs its main function of nourishment for the root of the body – the central nervous system/brain.

The primary seat/location of Kaphā is the chest, throat and head as it supports and sustains the function of respiration, speech and nervous system (Prana). It strengthens the sensory perception of smell (nose) and taste (tongue) due to its presence.
Kaphā dosha’s presence in the digestive tract (stomach, intestine), organs associated with metabolism (pancreas) helps Agni/Pitta to perform its function in a stable environment. It also takes part in the formation of dhatus/tissues post metabolism, predominantly rasa (plasma), meda (fat) and asthi (bone).

Effects of increased Kaphā

Agnisadana – Increased/accumulation of Kaphā weakens Agni/digestive activity due its qualities like cold, heaviness and oiliness. This is similar to smothering a fire with a heavy wet cloth or using wet wood to a bonfire.
Praseka – Enhanced presence of Kaphā dosha in the body also brings in excessive Water element which increases release of secretions especially in the oral cavity, therefore excess salivation happens.
Alasya – Kaphā dosha is by nature a slow, sluggish and dull energy, therefore when it increases due to imbalances it produces the effect of lassitude, laziness and dullness.

Effects of decreased Kaphā

Causes dizziness emptiness of the organs of Kaphā, tremors of the heart(palpitation)and looseness of the joints etc.

Decreased Kaphā dosha especially Tarpaka Kaphā causes weakened nourishment to the brain and nerves, restricted flow of nervous energy and assimilation of information leading to a state of confusion, reduced comprehension and dizziness.

Kaphā provides mass, structure and stability, nourishment to the all organs. In its decreased state it gives a perception of hollowness or emptiness of the organs in a physical aspect. It also reduces sensory awareness making the person feel confused or lost

When Avalambaka Kaphā weakens its nourishing and oxygenating function towards the heart also reduces. The heart has to increase its rate of pumping to keep nourishing and oxygenating all the cells. This leads to the sensation of tremors/palpitation of the heart and feeling of strain

The lubrication, compactness, integrity of joints and ease of movement is due to the healthy presence of Kaphā. If Kaphā decreases, these qualities are reduced leading to laxity or looseness of the joints

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