Article by Dr Raghuram Y.S. MD (Ay) and Dr Manasa, B.A.M.S
Mamsa – muscle tissue is the third Dhatu as per Ayurveda. Vasa (muscle fat) and Twak (skin) are the sub-tissues or upadhatus of Mamsa (muscle) dhatu.
शुद्ध मांसस्य् या स्नेहा सा वसा परिकीर्तिता।(भा.प्र)
The sneha (unctuous part or greasy part) of shuddha mamsa (uncontaminated and sterile, healthy flesh or muscle) is called Vasa.
Vasa is one among the 4 types of Sneha explained in Ayurveda, the other 3 being Sarpi (ghee), majja (bone marrow) and taila (oil). They are all needed for the body. They keep the body lubricated, stable, healthy and strong. Vasa in particular help in lubrication and smooth movement and functioning of muscles. Muscular movements are needed for all our daily activities. After the activities, the muscles get worn and torn due to stress and strain. Vasa are the natural buffer and lubricating substance present within the substance of the muscles, which avoids the damage and degeneration of muscles.
All the internal organs (viscera) are also made up of muscular layers. Even for their smooth functioning the muscles should function properly and this is maintained by the vasa contained by them.
Vasa is compared to the muscle fat.
Read related: Upadhatus: Sub-Tissues Of The Body
एवं प्रवृत्तस्य शुक्र शोणितस्य अभि प्रपच्च्यमानस्य
क्षीरस्य एव सन्तानिकाः सप्त त्वचो भवन्ति।(सु.शा.४)
After the formation of the garbha (fetus) from shukra-shonita (combination of sperm and ovum, zygote), the impregnated matter undergoes metabolism (transformation, abhipachyamaana) and forms 7 layers of Twacha as the cream forms on the surface of the milk after heating.
This means to tell that, the skin or twacha formed during the transformation of shukra-shonita rises up to the surface of the body and covers the outer part of the body, just as the cream of the milk slowly rises towards the brim of the vessel while the milk is being heated.
The 7 layers of Twacha or skin, from without to within (according to Sushruta) are –
Charaka has named 6 types of Twacha and named them as (from without inwards) – Udakadhara, Asrukdhara, Tritiya, Chaturtha, Panchama and Shashti
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