Three Humors in Siddha Vaidya

The teachings of the three humors or Doshas or Humoral Pathology is the science of Siddha Vaidya, Ayurveda, the world’s oldest system of healing, healthful living . Understanding humors help to stay healthy. Humoral Pathology was practiced in several parts of the world including Europe. Hippocrates, the father of the Greek medicine (400 B.C) was the first who had promoted Humoral Pathology; but it was Plato who developed it. It was only at the commencement of the 18th century that a change had come in the then prevailing doctrine explaining the essential humoral nature of disease. But Siddhas in Southern part of India were aware of three humors and started treating people based on Humoral Pathology.


Humoral Pathology is based on the three physical elements of the external world, viz., air (wind), heat (fire) and water that form the three fundamental principles on which the physical constitution of human beings has been based. They play an important role in deciding the composition and constitution of the human body.

Humoral Pathology declares the fact that all the diseases are primarily due to the disturbed condition of the fluids in the body which had been prevailed in all the schools of Medicine until the time of Hoffmann argued that even the solids have a vital role for diseases than the fluids.

The external air corresponds to the internal wind; the external Heat corresponds to the internal fire; and the external water corresponds to the internal Phlegm. Man is thus linked with the external world; and any change in the elementary condition of the external world has its corresponding change in the human beings. The interchange of these influences forms the basis of Humoral Pathology or Tridosha theory of Siddha Vaidya.

According to the Siddha Vaidya, normally the three humors are present in the lower, middle and upper parts of the body respectively to keep the balance in the physical body.

For example the wind is present in the regions of the pelvis and the rectum; the fire is in the region of the stomach and the internal viscera while the Phlegm is in the region of the breath, throat and head.
It is also believed that the characteristics of the three humors in the constitution of man are hereditary or depends on the body natural body constitution of the individual.

Scientifically, wind controls the functions of the central and the sympathetic nervous system.

Fire, controls metabolic activities, Phlegm regulates the heat and the formation of the various glands in the body.
Hence it is understood that the human ailments or disposition in the body are inseparable from the three humors. In fact, there is no substance in the universe which does not own its formation to humors in large or small degree.

Materia Medica of Siddha Vaidya also is based on Humoral Pathology. It states the fact that all substances which are of animal, the vegetable and the mineral origin contain one or more of these three humors in their composition; and hence the diet should play an important role in the maintenance of these humors in men and women in preventing diseases or aliments.

Fundamentals of three humors
• Each humor is made up of two elements and possesses the qualities of both. For example Wind is influenced by air and space while Heat contains fire and water and Phlegm is made up of water and earth.
• No disease can be local, not connected to the other parts of the human body.
• Wind, Fire and Phlegm must be in the proportions of 4: 2: 1 respectively.
• The normal degree or force of pulse is also the same in these three humors.
• Any change in these ratios indicates the disease or death.
• Maintenance of their normal ratio gives vitality to the human beings and preserves the health and longevity of life.

Role played by these humors
Wind
• It forms the main life force or moving force of the human body and is present everywhere in the system. The primary site for the wind is the large intestine and other sites are skin, lungs, throat and stomach.
• Wind is believed to be identical with Divine Energy meaning unconditioned, absolute and all pervading in its nature.
• It has two attributes – sound and touch and the root cause and the king of all disease.
• It is very prompt in its action and moves fast through the whole system.

Heat
• It has all the characteristics of the external fire, such as burning, boiling, heating, etc.
• It produces the internal heat necessary to maintain the metabolic functions of the human body.
• The chief function of bile lies in changing the chyme to a proto-plasmic substance to be assimilated in the body parts.
• Heat is the principal agent in digestion and in purging out of the waste matter in the form of urine and feces. Heat in its normal state is present in the lymph, chyme, blood and saliva but chiefly in the stomach.
• It gives sight to the eyes, beauty to the skin and cheerfulness to the mind.
• The ups and downs of heat causes disturbance in the equilibrium of three humors.

Phlegm
• It supplies the body with moisture. The primary site for phlegm is also the stomach and other sites are tongue, joints, head and lungs.
• With the help of heat, phlegm protects the stability and weight of the body.
• It adds strength to the body, increases the firmness of the limbs and keeps them united, preventing their disunion.
• It helps in digestion by moistening and disintegrating food with its humid essence.
• It gives the tongue the power of taste and helps the sense-organs like the eyes, ears and the nose in the performance of their respective functions.

Significance of three humors in the human body
• Every moment of human beings lives, the three humors are in action through the elements of nature.
• The three humors must have a harmonious relationship to keep the body and mind in healthy state
• When they are disturbed, they bring about diseases peculiar to their influence.
• Some physicians are of opinion that the humors by themselves are not the producers of diseases but they give rise to diseases if they are corrupted by other agents.
• Humors are part of the human beings while the diseases are the outcome of external factors.

Author: vijayalakshmi kuchimanchi

I am a retiree worked in the field of Life sciences, greatly interested in promoting alternative medicine, more in Herbs and a student trying to learn Hindu Philosophy for the past several years. In addition to these I want to be a learner of every modern technological inventions , at the same time promote the greatness of Hindu Culture.

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