Tridosha – Vata, Pitta and Kapha in their normalcy and balance leads to health. Their imbalance leads to disease. Dosha imbalance generally means increase. But it may increase or decrease. Vata, Pitta and Kapha when they undergo increase or decrease, produce specific symptoms in the body. Knowing these symptoms helps to –
1. Adjust food and activities so as to bring them to normal state.
2. To avoid further indulgence in food, thoughts and activities of the increased Dosha, which would enhance the imbalance effect and may lead to disease in future.
So, both from preventive and curative aspects, knowing Dosha imbalance symptoms is very important. Let us learn about it.
Vata Vridhhi means pathological increase in vata. This is a deviation from normalcy and an event which may lead to the manifestation of diseases if not addressed timely with comprehensive measures.
Dosha dushti is of many types. Among them kshaya – sthana – vriddhi is a triplet of dosha dushti which takes place due to dosha gati or pathological movement of doshas. Kshaya is decrease in doshas and doesn’t cause disease, it presents with deficiency symptoms. Sthana or samya is the normal state of dosha and is not pathological. Vriddhi is pathological increase in dosha. This contributes to disease formation after having undergone many successive events and steps of pathogenesis (samprapti).
In this article we shall discuss about Vata vriddhi.
Table of Contents
In Vata Vriddhi there is pathological increase of Vata which may either be qualitative or quantitative.
Gunatmaka Vriddhi or qualitative increase of vata – It happens when there is increase in a quality or many qualities of vata. In gunatmaka vata vriddhi, there may be qualitative increase of one or more of qualities of vata i.e. one or more of ruksha (dryness), laghu (lightness), khara (roughness), sukshma (minuteness), chala (mobility) etc.
The symptoms of qualitative increase will be in accordance to the increased dosha. Example, if the sheeta guna or cold quality increases it causes excessive coldness in the body parts, increase in ruksha guna (dry quality) increases dryness in the body parts, etc.
Samanya or Pramanatmaka Vriddhi of Vata – When vata as a single entity increases in quantity (in comparison to other doshas of the body), it is called samanya or pramanatmaka vriddhi of vata. Symptoms of vitiation of vata like karshya (thinness), karshnya (blackish discoloration) etc depict such increase of vata. Along with this, the person will be prone to vata disorders like gulma (abdominal tumors), kampa (tremors), anaha (flatulence), shakrit graham (constipation) etc.
Vata Vriddhi in Dosha Kriya Kala or Rutu Kriya Kala (seasonal impact on dosha increase)
Sanchaya (accumulation of dosha in its own sites), Prakopa (aggravation of doshas in its own sites) and Prasara (overflow or spread of vata to other places of the body) are the first three stages of shat kriya kala (stages of disease formation) and are called as dosha kriya kala. In these three stages only dosha vriddhi takes place. They are also called as Rtu Kriya Kala because these changes take place in accordance to the seasonal changes.
Example, Vata accumulates (sanchaya) in Greeshma rtu (summer) and aggravates in Varsha Rtu (rainy season, monsoon). If Rtucharya or seasonal regimen is followed properly vata gets pacified (prashamana) in the next season i.e. Sharad Rtu (autumn). If seasonal regimen is not followed properly vata instead of getting pacified will progress towards Prasara stage i.e. will start overflowing towards other places of the body. Apart from seasonal changes, vata (or any other dosha) can also go to prasara following consumption of incompatible foods and following erroneous lifestyle.
The vata which has undergone vitiation and spread will later contaminate the dhatus (tissues), damage them and cause diseases in the long run.
Thus, according to dosha kriya kala, the vata increase or vata vriddhi takes place in three stages i.e.
Vata Dosha imbalance symptoms
Symptoms of Vata increase –
Emaciation – The organ affected by Vata undergoes shrinking in size. Usually underweight people have Vata increase.
Weight loss – Usually Vata body type person weighs less.
Black discoloration – The affected organ / part of the body undergoes black discoloration due to Vata increase.
Desire for hot things – The person longs for hot food and beverages.
Tremors – We have learnt in the Functions of Tridosha that movement is a Vata activity. Hence, Vata increase leads to increased movement of hands and legs, increased movement of fluids and impulses in the body etc.
Also note that cold is a Vata quality. Increased coldness as in winter, leads to tremors, which is a symptom of increased Vata.
Bloating, fullness, distension of the abdomen – Vata is composed of air and ether. So, increase of Vata inside the stomach and intestines leads to increased gas and bloating.
Constipation – Vata is like wind. Wind dries up a wet cloth. Similarly Vata dries up faeces and leads to constipation.
Loss of strength, weakness
Loss of sleep – sense organs and mind are controlled by Vata. Vata increase leads to increase in activities of body and mind, leading to loss of sleep and increased thoughts and worries.
Loss of sensory functions – because Vata controls sense organs.
Irrelevant speech, increased speech – because speaking is a Vata activity.
Delusion, Dizziness, Giddiness – because of lack of strength of sense organs and mind.
Ptosis– drooping down of eyelids due to lack of strength and improper flow of nerve signals.
Dilation – Dilation means increase in the width of pipes. Usually a person with increased Vata will have very prominent veins in arms and legs. After exercise, there is Vata increase, which again leads to prominent blood vessels.
Cutting pain – Pain is a distinctive symptom of Vata. Whenever a disease involves pain, then it clearly indicates Vata Dosha involvement.
Loss of sensation – due to lack of strength of sense organs.
Different variants of pain like cutting pain, splitting pain, twisting pain, body ache etc are Vata increase symptoms.
Shrinking of the organ, reduction in size – just like a wet cloth loses all moisture due to wind, similarly, excess of Vata Dosha leads to emaciation and shrinking of organs.
Tingling sensation – altered sensation
Roughness of body parts – because dryness is a Vata symptom, excess of dryness leads to roughness.
Feeling of emptiness – Because Vata is composed of ether and air.
Pulsation – because of excessive movement of fluids in body channels and blood vessels.
Astringent taste in mouth – because astringent taste increases Vata.
Changes decisions, unstable mind.
Body ache and pains.
Early falling of hairs.
80 diseases that are caused purely due to Vata Dosha imbalance: (Reference: Charaka sutrasthana 20/9-11)
1. Nakhabheda (cracking of nails)
2. Vipadika (cracking of feet)
3. Pada shoola (pain in foot)
4. Pada Bhramsha (foot Drop)
5. Pada Suptata (numbness of foot)
6. Vata khuddata (club foot)
7. Gulpha Graha (stiff ankle)
8. Pindikodveshtana (cramps in calf muscle)
9. Gridhrasi (sciatica)
10. Janu Bheda (Genu varum)- Bow legs
11. Januvishlesha (Genu valgum) – Knock knee
12. Urustambha( stiffness of thigh)
13. Urusada (pain in the thigh)
14. Pangulya (paraplegia)
15. Guda Bhramsa (prolapsed rectum)
16. Gudarti (Tenasmus)
17. Vrushanakshepa (pain in scrotum)
18. Shepha Stambha (stiffness of penis)
19. Vankshana anaha (tension of groin)
20. Shroni Bheda (pain around the pelvic girdle)
21. Vidheda (diarrhea)
22. Udavarta (bloating)
23. Khanjatva (lameness)
24. Kubjatva (kyphosis)
26. Trikagraha (stiffness of sacro-iliac joint)
27. Pristagraha (stiffness of back)
28. Parshva Marda (pain in chest)
29. Udaraveshta (Gripping pain in abdomen)
30. Hrit Moha (bradycardia)
31. Hrit Drava (tachycardia)
32. Vaksha- Udgharsha (rubbing pain in chest)
33. Vaksha- Uparodha (impairment of thoracic movement)
34. Vakshastoda (stabbing pain in chest)
35. Bahu Shosha (atrophy of arm)
36. Greeva Stambha (stiffness of the neck)
37. Manyastambha (torticollis)
38. Kanthoddhvamsa (hoarseness of voice)
39. Hanu Bheda (pain in jaw)
40. Ostha Bheda (pain in lips)
41. Akshi Bheda (pain in eye)
42. Danta Bheda (toothache)
43. Danta Shaithilya (looseness of tooth)
44. Mookatva (aphasia / dumbness)
45. Vak Sanga(stalling speech)
46. Kashaya asyata (astringent taste in mouth)
47. Mukha shosha (dryness of mouth)
48. Arasajnata (ageusia) – loss of taste function
49. Ghrana Nasha(anosmia) – loss of smell function
50. Karna Shoola (ear ache)
51. Ashabda Shravana (tinnitus)
52. Ucchaih Shruti (hard hearing)
53. Badhirya (deafness)
54. Vartma Stambha (Ptosis of eye lid)
55. Vartma Samkocha (entropion)
56. Timira(amaurosis) – a type of vision loss
57. Akshi Shoola (pinching pain in eye)
58. Akshi Vyudasa (Ptosis of eye ball)
59. Bhru Vyudasa (ptosis of eye brow)
60. Shankha Bheda (pain in temporal region)
61. Lalata Bheda (pain in frontal region)
62. Shiro Ruk (headache)
63. Kesha bhumi sphutana (dandruff)
64. Ardita (facial paralysis)
65. Ekanga Roga (monoplegia)
66. Sarvanga Roga (polyplegia)
67. Pakshavadha (hemiplegia)
68. Akshepaka (convulsion)
69. Dandaka (tonic convulsion)
70. Tama (fainting)
71. Bhrama (giddiness, dizziness)
72. Vepathu (tremor)
73. Jrumbha (yawning)
74. Hikka (hiccup)
75. Vishaada (asthenia) – weakness, depression
76. Ati Pralapa (delirium) – excessive irrelevant talk
77. Raukshya (dryness)
78. Parushya (hardness)
79. Shyava Arunaava Bhasata (dusky red appearance)
80. Asvapna (sleeplessness)
81. Anavasthita chittatva (unstable mind).
Vata Dosha while moving from one part of the body to another, if abnormal, exhibits symptoms like –
Sramsa – looseness,
Bhramsa – dislocation,
Vyasa – expansion,
Sangha – obstruction,
Bheda – separation,
Saada – depression,
Harsha – excitation,
Tarsha – thirst,
Kampa – trembling,
Varta – circular movement,
Chaala – motion,
Toda – piercing pain,
Vyatha – aching pain,
Cheshta action, etc.
Khara – coarseness,
Parusha – harshness,
Vishada – non-sliminess,
Sushira – porousness,
Aruna Varna – reddish, (colour of sunrise)
Kashaya – Astringent taste
Virasa Mukhatva – tastelessness in the mouth,
Shosha – wasting pain,
Shoola – pain,
Supti – numbness,
Samkocha – contraction,
Sthambhana- rigidity and
Khanjata – lameness, etc.
Reference: Sushruta Sutrasthana 15/7
Ashtanga Hrudaya Sutrasthana 11/15
My Tridosha ebook –
Bala Upaghata – lack of strength
Varna Upaghata – lack of skin complexion
Sukha Upaghata – lack of comfort
Ayusha Upaghata – depletion of life expectancy
Mano Vyaharsha – depression, anxiety
Sarva Indriyani Upahanti – lack of strength in sense organs
Vinihanti Garbhan / Vikruti / Atikalam dharayati – fetal death, abnormalities, prolonged pregnancy
Bhaya – fear
Shoka – grieving, crying spells, depression
Moha – delusion
Dainya – mental weakness
Atipralapa – irrelevant talk
Prana Uparunaddhi – breathing difficulty, death.
Vata Vyadhi (Special diseases caused by Vata)
Vikruta Vata Janito Asadharana Vyadhihi Vata Vyadhihi (Ref – Madhava Nidanam 22)
The special diseases caused by the vitiation of Vata are called ‘Vata Vyadhis’.
Examples of Vata Vyadhis are:
Note: All the Gata Vata diseases, Avaranas are also included under Vata Vyadhis.
As a part of Dwandwa and Tridoshaja (Sannipataja) Vikriti –
Dwandwa (Samsarga) dushti means vitiation of two doshas simultaneously. Sannipataja dushti or vikriti means vitiation of all 3 doshas. Vata is vitiated along with pitta and kapha in these dual and triple vitiations. The proportionality of vitiation varies in each combination.
Foe example, in Vata-Pittaja vikriti, Vata may be vitiated proportionally more than Pitta and may contribute in bulk towards the disease pathology and manifestation of symptoms. Likewise Pitta too may be vitiated in excess to Vata (we may call it as Pitta-Vataja dushti). Similar pathological manifestations happen in its combination with Kapha also.
The proportions of vitiation of Vata in comparison to Pitta and Kapha in Sannipataja vikriti can also be understood on similar lines of Dwandwaja Vikriti. Foe example in Vata-Kapha-Pittaja sannipata, Vata is severely disturbed, Kapha is moderately disturbed and Pitta is less disturbed. In Kapha-Pitta-Vataja Sannipata, Kapha is severely disturbed while Vata is disturbed to a lesser extent. Pitta is moderately disturbed in the combination in this instance.
These dual and triple vitiation can be found in almost all diseases.
Vata Sanchaya – accumulation of vata in its own seats of predominance
Sanchaya means accumulation. Vata sanchaya is the first pathological state among the shat kriya kalas.
Increase of Vata in its own sites or seats of predominance is called Sanchaya or chaya. Sanchaya is a cumulative form of increase of Vata (Samhati rupa vriddhi). In sanchaya, vata can thus increase in one or more of its chief sites i.e. pakwashaya (colon), kati (pelvis), sakti (thighs), shrotra (ears), asthi (bones) or sparshanendriya (skin).
How to know that there is vata chaya or sanchaya?
Like any other dosha, vata sanchaya is marked with two identification criteria. They are –
Vriddhi Hetushu Pradwesha – In vata sanchaya there is strong aversion (rejection) towards the causative factors responsible for accumulation of vata i.e. foods, lifestyle activities, tastes etc which are responsible for vitiation of vata. Example, feeling of increased coldness and aversion towards cold foods and comforts.
Vipareeta Guna Ichcha – In vata sanchaya there will be a strong inclination or liking towards qualities antagonistic to Vata i.e. things, food, activities, taste etc which have opposite nature and qualities as that of vata. Example, attraction or liking towards hot foods and comforts (opposite to the cold quality of vata).
Symptoms of Vata Sanchaya
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Stabdha Koshtata – rigidity of intestines or hollow spaces of the abdomen
Purna Koshtata – feeling of fullness inside the intestines or hollow spaces of the abdomen (hypo-peristalsis of intestines)
Vata Prakopa – aggravation of vata in its own seats of predominance
Prakopa means aggravation. Vata Prakopa means aggravation or severe vitiation (in comparison to sanchaya) of vata. Prakopa is the second pathological stage (among shat kriya kalas).
Prakopa of vata follows its sanchaya. In prakopa, vata gets further vitiated in its respective seats of predominance. They still do not leave their places or overflow. In Prakopa, Vata liquefies and tends to overflow from its sites to expand and encroach to other places of the body. Prakopa is also called as Vilayana Rupa Vriddhi (increase of doshas through liquification).
Types of Vata Prakopa –
Causes for Vata Prakopa:
Vata vitiating qualities – ruksha (dry), sheeta (cold), laghu (light) etc.
Vata vitiating tastes – Kashaya (astringent), Tikta (bitter), Katu (Pungent)
Vata vitiating foods – Sushka shaaka & matsya (dry vegetables and fish), jangala mamsa (meat of animals and birds living in desert regions), kodrava (ragi) etc.
Vata vitiating activities – ati vyayama (excessive exercise), vyavaaya (excessive sexual indulgence), apatarpana (starving, lack of nutrition), jaagarana (awakening all night), vegadharana (suppression of natural body urges), prapatana (injury), bhagna (fracture), kshaya (wasting), shoka (grief), traasa (fear), etc.
Natural causes – at the end of digestion, evening, end part of night, Varsha Rtu (rainy, monsoon season)
Vata Prakopa Lakshanas (symptoms of Vata vitiation) –
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Some more Prakopa lakshanas (Pathological manifestation of vitiated Vata):
Vata Vriddhi Lakshanas can also be included in vata prakopa symptoms –
Vata Prasara – Overflow or spread of vitiated vata to other parts of the body
Prasara means to spread or overflow or leave its place and spread to other parts of the body which doesn’t belong to it. In Vata prasara, vata leaves its places and moves to other parts of the body. Prasara is the third stage of pathogenesis of Vata vitiation among the 6 kriya kalas.
Vata which has undergone vilayana or free flow in prakopa stage tends to overflow from its respective sites. This is the stage of vata prasara.
In prasara, the vitiated vata leaves its seats and spread to other parts of the body through different srotases (channel and duct system of the body).
As a result of overflow and invasion, the vata in the mode of spread (prasara), gets mixed up with pitta and kapha and forms groups of single doshas, 2 doshas, 3 doshas and 4 doshas along with Rakta or blood. Due to this permutations and combinations of doshas, we get 15 types of prasara.
The combinations made by vata in prasara are 8 in number. They are –
Gati or movement of Doshas undergoing Prasara –
Dosha Gati is a term which defines the direction of flow of dosha in prasara. Dosha gati is an important step in the disease formation. Vata takes one or the other of the below mentioned gatis –
Urdhwa Gati (upward movement) – tends to cause diseases like –
Adho Gati (downward movement) – tends to cause diseases like –
Tiryak Gati (lateral, oblique, cross-wards movement) – tends to cause diseases like –
In all these diseases vitiated vata will be involved and the symptoms too will be those of vata. The vataja types of the above mentioned diseases will be manifested.
Related reading – Urdhwa Adho and Tiryak Gati of Doshas
The vitiated Vata may also take the following 3 courses during their Prasara stage –
Koshta or Abhyantara Roga Marga – in this, the vata type of diseases oriented mainly towards and caused in the alimentary tract or visceral organs are manifested. Example, chardi (vomiting), atisara (diarrhea) etc of vataja type will be manifested.
Shaakas or Bahya Roga Marga – in this, the vata type of diseases are caused in the tissues of the body. Example, rakta rogas (blood borne diseases), galaganda (goiter), napumsakata (impotence) etc are formed.
Marma-Asthi-Sandhiga or Madhyama Roga Marga – in this, the vata type of diseases are formed in vital organs of the body, joints and bones of the body. Example, hridroga (heart diseases), apasmara (epilepsy), ashmari (urinary stones), amavata (rheumatoid arthritis) etc are formed.
Related Reading – Shakha Koshta Marmasthi Sandhi Gati of Doshas
Prasara Lakshanas – Symptoms of spread of doshas
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Symptoms of Vata Prasara:
Vimarga gamana – regurgitation, movement in opposite direction
Atopa – flatulence, gurgling sounds in bowels
What happens after Prasara?
If vata is controlled in the prasara stage of pathogenesis the disease process is aborted. If the doshas are not controlled in the prasara stage, they progress to further stages of pathogenesis (kriya kala, samprapti), invade the tissues of the body, damage them and cause diseases.
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Imagine an old person
Most of the symptoms are Vata symptoms as Vata is naturally dominant in the last 1/3rd of life.
Weak sense organs,
Lack of memory
Sushruta Sutrasthana 15
Vak Parushya Hoarseness of voice – Decrease in voice tone
Karshya = Krusha
Leanness, weight loss, lack of bulkiness of muscles, muscle wasting
Karshnya – Krushnata – dark complexion (pathological)
Black discoloration = vata increase Gatra sphurana Dry and rough skin
Ushna kamita – Patient desires hot foods and hot weather Lean people cannot tolerate cold Fat people can tolerate cold because of fat insulation underneath the skin
Nidranasha Lack of sleep Proper sleep is a Kapha activity. Vata increased means Kapha is decreased. Hence, lack of sleep.
Decreased body strength
Bala = Immunity = Kapha function.
If Vata is increased,
Kapha is decreased
Thick or bulky stools with strong colour, constipation
Reference: AshtangaHrudaya Sutrasthana 11/6
Karshya – Krushata – leanness, weightloss
Karshnya – Krushnata – pathological dark complexion of the whole body or the affected body part
Ushnakamitva – seeks hotness
Kampa – tremors
Chala – movement is the quality of Vata. If Vata is increased, movement of the body is also increased Hence, tremors.
Anaha – bloating, gaseous distension of abdomen
An example of quantitative increase of Vata at the level of stomach and intestines
Shakrut Graha – constipation
Large intestine is the main seat of Vata Dosha.
Shoshana – drying up the excess moisture from the fecal matter is a function of Vata Dosha.
Increased Vata = increased dryness = more solid feces = hard stools = constipation.
Bala bhramsha – lack of strength and immunity
Nidra bhramsha – lack of sleep
Indriya bhramsha – lack of strength in sense organs.
In the last one third of human life,
Vata is naturally dominant. In this time-period, people naturally lose vision and hearing strength.
Pralapa – irrelevant talk,delirium, excess talk
Speech is controlled by Udana Vata. When it is excessively triggered, person speaks irrelevantly and excessively.
Bhrama – dizziness, giddiness
Deenata – depression, tiredness, fatigue