Dhatus seven nutritive levels of digestion and processing of the foods

Food is the life, because we share the secret of livingness with foods alone. What we eat, makes leads us to the livingness. But this is not like- you ate something and it will be processed to the life all of a sudden by activities of some of the hormones and enzymes. This all happens under a process- step by step.

These steps are told as Dhatus in Ayurveda.

What are Dhatus?

Dhatu, this word stands for a character- which holds and nourishes. So the attribute in the body which holds the body together and which provides the nutrition to the body is known as Dhatu. These Dhatus are seven in number and all are interdependent on each other. Before understanding the concept of these Dhatus let’s be familiar with their names-

These are seven- Rasa, Rakta, Mamsa, Medas, Asthi, Majja, Shukra! This is the final order. These Dhatus, nourishes the body in the same pattern and order, as these are written above.

Rasa: This is the primordial stage of the food. Whatever we eat is changed to this first stage after the activities of the Agni inside the body. So this is full of nutrients and now this is the duty of the Rasa to carry this nutrition to the different levels- next level.

Rakta: Rasa delivers all these nutrients to the courier- Rakta. Rakta is a moving transport system of the body, responsible for the supply of the different nutrients to the body. Rasa nourishes the Rakta, itself and leaves the nourishment for rest of the five Dhatus.

Mamsa: Duty of Mamsa is to hold the body together so all kind of muscles, ligaments and tendons are linked to Mamsa Dhatu. This is nourished by Rakta and it further nourishes the Medas Dhatu.

Medas: This is the fatty part of the body, which is similar to the adipose tissue. But this is not only fatty tissue, all kind of fatty content- it might be the Myelin sheath of the nerves  all such parts are involved with this Dhatu. This later on transforms in to the Asthi Dhatu.

Asthi: This is nourished by Medas Dhatu and duty of it is to uphold the body straight in a posture. Without this Dhatu we all will be a lump of meat only. This is being represented by the skeletal system- the bones, cartilages etc.

Majja: This is situated in the marrow of the bones, so is considered to be bone marrow by modern authors of Ayurveda. This is nourished via a bone that is why perhaps this is considered to be nourished by the Asthis. But nevertheless, when we will look at this again with pathology and its role in the body, we will find that this is not alone Bone Marrow, which represents the Majja, there are much more similarities to this.

Shukra: This is told as an essence of the food and Dhatus. This is mainly associated with the reproductive system of the body and there are certain confusions about this. This is main- because for every human being this is the main thing to continue the life on this planet for his/her species.

So these are seven Dhatus, which are nourished by food we eat one by one. You will be amazed to see that there is a particular order of these Dhatus to nourish each other one by one. So if there will be a problem at one level of this nourishment chain, the whole chain will be distorted, once we will discuss the diseases one by one, we will find that different Dhatus are involved in different diseases, similar to Doshas. This is really an important factor to understand the treatment of the different diseases.

Nowadays we can see that cases of obesity are increasing day by day and along with this the following conditions are also increasing all over the world- Osteoporosis/ Osteoarthritis (Asthi Dhatu), Blood related disorders (Majja Dhatu) and obviously the cases of the infertility as well as the diseases of the reproductive system (Shukra Dhatu). So this is a very practical and clinical oriented description of the things in Ayurveda.

So whatever you eat for your body, it passes the seven steps to bring elixir and vigor, what we call Life or the same is Ayu in Ayurveda! Just to fill the stomach is not enough for complete health. Health is an achievement, what we can get from continuous efforts.