Kapha Dosha

There is constant wear and tear in the body. However, we experience that from childhood till death the body grows and is maintained well. Because the addition of tissues by proper nourishment is also taking place along with wear and tear. Protection of all organs against wear and tear and by maintaining molecular union and providing stability, to stimulate growth is a function of Kapha dosha. Due to this anabolic activity, the body is preserved from aging. There are five subtypes of Kapha Dosha according to Ayurveda.


“केन (जलेन) फलति इति कफ: ।

This means to increase. The element, which increases due to contact with water, is called Kapha Dosha. This explains the intimate relationship between Kapha and water. Also, it is clear that body growth is dependent on Kapha and water.


Kapha Dosha is soft, stable, and cool in nature.

“श्लेष्मा सोम: (सौम्य:)’ । (A.H.Su. 3:96)

Composition — Although tri doshas are made up of five mahabhutas, Kapha Dosha is predominant in earth and water Mahabhutas.

Properties of Kapha Dosha

“स्निग्ध: शीतो गुरुर्मन्द: श्लक्ष्णो मृत्स्न: स्थिर: कफ: । (A.H.Su. 1:12)

Let us see, how each property of Kapha Dosha, is useful for its function like union, stability, softness, and strength.

1) Snigdha (oiliness or unctuousness) – This is the most important property of Kapha. This provides moisture. This property due to moisture and fat provides softness. This keeps the long-standing union of molecules. If the physical body has to be sustained, Kapha Dosha (having unctuous property) should be normal.

The slight unctuousness of Pitta dosha helps with digestion and the excess oiliness of Kapha helps with the union of molecules. Students should note this difference.

2) Shita (cold) – Within normal limits, this property protects the body organs and prevents aging also. Due to cold, body elements are preserved for a longer time, and degeneration is slowed down. This is why the people from the cold region are having strongly built and better functional capacity with longer life span. In winter, vaso-constriction occurs due to cool properties thereby sweating is prevented and body heat is preserved. Cold increases and heat decreases the density of Kapha Dosha.

3) Guru (heavy) – Heavy property is responsible for weight gain. Union becomes more and also of good quality. Strength increases, wheat, and black gram are heavy-natured as that of Kapha Dosha. Brimhana — weight promoting function of Kapha Dosha is due to its heavy property.

4) Manda (slow) – Slow property gives stability. It prevents degeneration. Shaman (pacification) means to reduce the irritating or excited state. Yatra means journey. Long-time preservation and slow activity of molecules are suggested by the word yatra. Due to the manda property, tissue depletion becomes less.

5) Shlakshna (slimy) – This property replenishes the damaged or degenerated tissues. In nasal, oral, and respiratory passages and in the heart, and lungs, there is continuous movement of air, food, water, and blood circulation. Continuous movement creates more dryness. Kapha with its slimy property is secreted to prevent wear and tear in these places, which gives protection and support. Gum from catechu is of slimy nature.

6) Mritsna (sticky) – This property is responsible for coating, which prevents damage to the tissues.

7) Sthira (stable) – This is against the mobile property of Vata Dosha. Due to this body tissues remain stable which can give more support to the body.

Qualities of Kapha

Charaka Sushruta Vagbhata
Guru, Shita, Snigdha, Manda, Sthira,
Picchila, Mridu, Matsarya, Stimita,
Madhura, Shouklya, V
idaha, Lavana,
Guru, Snigdha, Shita, Pichchhila, Manda,
Shlakshna, Mritsna, Sthira, Madhura,
Snigdha, Guru, Shita

Common Functions of Kapha

“सन्धिसंश्लेषणस्नेहनरोपणपूरणबलस्थैर्यकृत्‌ श्लेष्मा ‘पञ्चधा’ प्रविभक्त उदककर्मणा5नुग्रहं करोति’ । (S.Su. 15:4)

“श्लेष्मा स्थिरत्वस्निग्धत्वसन्धिबन्धक्षमादिभि:’ | (A H.Su. 11:3)

1) Sandhi-sanshleshana – Kapha gives stability to bony joints. Usually, the word joint is used for the bony joint. But Ayurveda has also explained joints between two muscles, two siras, etc. It is clear that Kapha is responsible for the union of any two molecules. This function is achieved by the unctuous, stable, slimy qualities.

2) Snehana – Unctuousness or oiliness. The fat content of every tissue is due to Kapha. Due to this function of Kapha, Vata activity can occur smoothly. Tissue destruction is avoided and the strength of tissue increases.

3) Ropana – Healing function. When any disease attacks the body, the body tissues like rasa, rakta get damaged. Due to the healing function of Kapha, the regeneration process becomes fast. The body can be preserved by the healing properties of Kapha like slimy, sticky, etc.

4) Purana – Replacement or filling function. Healing is meant for partial damage of tissue and filling is required for complete destruction of tissue.

5) Balakrit – Means gives strength. The strength of the body decides the capacity to do maximum work. Kapha by nourishing property gives strength and stability to all Dhatu (body tissues). Strength increases when all the tissues work at their optimal level.

6) Sthairyakrit (stability) – This is due to the heavy and stable properties of Kapha. The physical body in general and tissues in specific get stability due to Kapha (minimum wear and tear).

7) Kshamadi (to forgive) – Soft, unctuous, cool, stable qualities of the mind also affect the mind, like the physical body. Kapha reduces the irritation and excess stimulation of the mind and intellect. The tranquil mind can think properly and develops tolerance and flexibility. The person develops the power of forgiveness.

8) Udaka-karma – To keep water and electrolyte balance. Kapha helps the proper functioning of Jala-Mahabhuta.

9) Comparison of Kapha and soma-shakti (cooling principle)

“सोम एवं शरीरे श्लेष्मान्तर्गत: कुपिताकुपित: शुभाशुभानि करोति । तद्यथा-दाढर्य शैथिल्यमुपचयं कार्श्यमुत्साहमालस्यं, वृषतां क्लीबतां, ज्ञानमज्ञान॑, बुद्धिं मोहमेवमादीनि च अपराणि द्न्द्वानीति ।  (C.Su. 12:12)

Soma-shakti from nature exhibits its functions through Kapha dosha. These functions are as follows: 1) Sturdiness — Flaccidity, 2) Proper nourishment — Undernourishment, 3) Energetic — Lethargic, 4) Potent — Impotent, 5) Knowledge —Illiteracy, 6) Intelligence — Ignorance and confusion.

Common Sites of Kapha-dosha

“उर:कण्ठशिर:क्लोमपर्वाण्यामाशयो रस: ।

मेदो घ्राणं च जिह्ला च कफस्य सुतरामुर:’ ॥   (A.H.Su. 12:3)

Kapha functions are predominantly seen in the following organs:

Comparatively in the chest, throat, head, pancreas, small joints, and stomach wetness is more. Rasa is a watery fluid tissue. Fat has similar properties to Kapha e.g. oily.

1) Chest, throat, head, Kloma (pancreas), bony joints, stomach, rasa, fat, nose, and tongue are the main sites of Kapha. The heart and lungs, in the chest cavity, have to perform important functions like blood circulation and respiration throughout life. Due to continuous movement, there is more possibility of wear and tear. To minimize the damage to the heart and lungs, these organs are covered with the sac having slimy – Kapha material in it for protection. As the chest and throat are Kapha organs, the disease of Kapha (cold, cough, asthma) is common in this part.

2) Kloma – This means soft palate or pancreas.

3) Shira (head) -It is a marma (vital organ). All the controlling centers of the motor and sensory systems are in the brain. Mind and senses also act continually. To control Vata activity and to protect the brain, unctuous Kapha is present in the brain in the form of cerebrospinal fluid.

4) Parvani (bony joints) – When any two bones unite together, it is called a Sandhi. Kapha is responsible for keeping this union intact without wear and tear. The activity of Vata at bony joints is counterbalanced by the existence of Kapha at joints.

5) Amashaya (stomach) – Kapha, helps in digestion taking place in the stomach. Kapha provides moistness, and wetness to food. Due to the action of Kapha, food becomes soft and easily digestible. Also, the stomach is protected from acidic digestive juices (of Pitta) by Kapha.

The origin of Kapha disease is many times also found in the stomach. Therefore Kapha diseases are treated by the therapy acting on the stomach i.e. Vaman (induced vomiting).

6) Rasa Dhatu– This tissue is predominant in Jala Mahabhuta and does a similar function. Hence rasa Dhatu and Kapha are similar in composition and function.

7) Medo Dhatu (Fat) – This tissue has maximum oiliness. Kapha and fat are very similar in properties. That is why, Kapha aggravating diet for example excessive sweet and oily substances also make excessive fat deposition in the body (obesity). To cure obesity, the patient is asked to do exercises to reduce the stable property of Kapha.

8) Ghrana (nose) – This organ is concerned with smell, which is a property of Prithvi Mahabhut. Earth is also a part of Kapha’s composition. This clarifies the relation between the nose and Kapha. As the nose is part of the respiratory system, the air is continuously taken in and thrown out through the nostrils. Therefore, to protect the nose from dryness, Kapha exists in the nose. When there is a loss of Kapha in the nose, a disease like atrophic rhinitis develops. Treatment for this is nasal drops instillation (nasya) with Anu Tailm, two drops three times a day.

9) Jivha (tongue) – Digestion starts from the mouth itself. For proper digestion, moisture is required, provided on the tongue and oral cavity by Kapha. This wetness also helps in understanding the taste of food. This is a common experience, that after eating dry food, it is difficult to detect the taste of the substances. Taste and Kapha are both related to jala Mahabhuta.

By Dr.Dimpal Baldha

I'm DR. Dimple Baldha, an Ayurvedic doctor and I have treated more than a thousand patients in my couple of years of experience in this field. This has given me a lot of insights and positive areas to work with people from different parts of the world managing arthritis issues, Dietary changes, healthy lifestyles, and metabolic disorders. I have good knowledge of Ayurvedic medicine, Panchkarma treatment, Healthy lifestyle and yoga. I have treated so many diseases like spondylitis, psoriasis, allergies and bronchial asthma. Talks about #health, #ayurveda, #wellness, #healthylifestyle

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