Basic Elements of Ayurveda – MALA

The human body is nourished by the elements of air, water and food from the external world, by converting these products in bodily assimilable form through the process of digestion. During this process of digestion at macro and micro levels, there are also certain bi-products which are produced in the body as excretory wastes. These products are not useful for the body and hence are regularly disposed off. If these products are not excreted on a regular basis they can prove harmful for the body. These elements are completely opposite to those of Dhatus and hence these excretory wastes are known as ‘Mala’ ‘Malinikaranata Mala’. There are several different excretory wastes formed during the various stages of digestion out of which the Purisha, Mutra and Sweda are the main excretory wastes.

According to Ayurveda only a balanced condition of Dosha, Dhatu and Mala is Aarogya (good health or disease free condition) and their imbalance causes ill health or disease.


Balanced Doshas (humours), healthy Agni, a good state of tissues and their metabolic end- products lead to a balanced state of the senses, mind and spirit, all of which lead to health. Ayurvedic text books talk about two kinds of Eliminate or Waste Materials. I Ahara mala or wastes from food (waste products derived from food) II Dhatu mala or wastes from the tissues (waste products expelled from cells and tissues)

The ahara malas include feces (purisha), urine (mutra), and sweat (sveda). These are the three main malas. The dhatu malas include the various secretions of the nose, eyes, ears; lactic acid, carbon dioxide, and other metabolites of cellular respiration, exfoliated hair, skin, and nails. Although these are all waste products, they serve a role in maintaining health as long as they are normal in their quantity (pramana), qualities (gunas), and function (karma). However, if the malas become abnormal in some regard (i.e. increased or decreased) they become a factor in creating disease. When the dhatus and malas become unbalanced they are called dushyas (soiled).

Ahara Mala:

Ayurveda believes we are not just what we eat – we are also what we digest! Digesting and eliminating whatever we put in our bodies is referred to as Ahara Mala The three primary malas being Purisa (faeces), Mutra (urine) and Sweda (sweat).

  • Purish (stool)
    Purish or Stool are human feces, a result of defecation. It is the waste product of the human digestive system. It vary in appearance from person to person depending on the state of the whole digestive system, influenced by diet and health. Normally stools are semisolid, with a mucus coating. Any discrepancy caused in its normal process of defecation can lead to constipation, diarrhea, flatulence, heaviness or pain.

    According to Ayurveda, Purisha or faeces are the elimination of Earth, and, Water element. In a HEALTHY state, Purisha is described as semisolid, with a mucus coating. Purisa is the waste left back after nutrients of digested food have been absorbed in the small intestine. While water and salt are absorbed in the large intestine,the residue now converted into solid faeces,leaves the body.The consistency of the faeces depends both on gastrointestinal mobility and nature of diet.

    The UNHEALTHY state of any entity can be examined when it is produced in EXCESS[VRIDDHI], INSUFFICIENT[KSHAYA] or when its structure is different from normal.
    • PURISH-VRIDDHI (Excess) “Purisha na kukshau adhmanan atopam gauravam vedana shakrut” SYMPTOMS INCLUDE : Flatulence, Abdominal unrest, Abdominal pain, Heaviness
    • PURISH-KSHAYA (Insufficient) “Purishe vayu antrani sashabdam veshtayan eva|kukshou bhramati yati urdhwam hrit parshwe peedayan bhisham” SYMPTOMS INCLUDE : Abdominal gases, Bloating, Pain in the back, Pain in the chest and heart region.
    • The assessment of Purisha helps evaluate underlying disorders.
  • Mutra (Urine)
    Urine is another important excretion from the human body. It is actually a liquid waste product of the body secreted by the kidneys through a phenomenon of filtration from blood. In human body, it is excreted through the urethra. Any imbalance like increased or decreased urine can lead to problems like urinary infections, kidney stones, abdominal pain and various bladder disorders.

    The Mutra is fluid, exhibiting the dominance of Jala and Agni Mahabhoota. It is a clear fluid with a yellowish tinge to its colour. It is Lavana and Katu in Rasa and also displays a typical foul odor. Urine (mutra) expels water and other solid wastes from the body. To expel the waste material out of the body is the main function of Mutra. The Mutra excretes all the bodily wastes formed as a result of various metabolic processes going on the body, and thereby helps to keep the body clean. The entire urinary system comprising the kidneys, the uterus, the urinary bladder and the urethra takes part in the formation and removal of urine, thus regulating the fluid balance in our body and also preserving the blood pressure at an optimum level. It also performs the important function of regulating the proportion of Apa Dhatu present in the body. The amount of urine obviously also depends on the amount of fluid intake, the increase in fluid intake leads to formation of large amounts of Mutra and vice-versa.
    • MUTRA-VRIDDHI [Excess] “Mutra ñ Basti nistodam krute api akrutnangyatam” SYMPTOMS INCLUDE : Pain in the bladder, Urge to urinate frequently, Increase can indicates underlying causes like diabetes, bladder dysfunction
    • MUTRA-KSHAY [Insufficient] “Mutra na mutre alpam mutrayet kricchrat vivarnan sa asram eva va” SYMPTOMS INCLUDE : Difficulty in passing urine, Heavy colored urine sometimes accompanied with blood, Its decrease can indicate syndromes like kidney disorders and edema.
  • Sweda (Sweat)
    Sweating or Perspiration is known as Sweda in the terms of Ayurveda. It is basically a fluid that comes out of skin pores and primarily consists of water as well as various dissolved solids. It is basically a means of thermoregulation in human body. Any imbalance in sweat production can lead to itching, skin infections, irritation, burning sensation of body or reduced body temperature. The word Sweda literally means the element expelled out of the body due to fomentation or heat treatments. Sweda is formed as the Mala of Meda Dhatu and the main location of Sweda Vaha Srotas are also described as Meda and ‘Romakupa’ or the small pores on the skin. The Sweda is formed as an excretory by product of the digestion of Poshya Meda Dhatu by the Meda Dhatwagni in the Meda Vaha Srotas. - Sveda or sweat is composed mainly of AAPAH[water]. Sweat (sweda) controls the body temperature by way of expelling excess water and toxins, cools the body, moistens the skin and hair, carried excess fat from the body, and purifies the blood.
    • SVEDVRIDDHI [Excess] “sweda na atisweda daurgandhya kandu” SYMPTOMS INCLUDE : Excessive perspiration, Foul odor from the body, Itching, Increase of Sveda can indicate underlying syndromes like hormonal imbalances and cardiac disorders.
    • In addition to these Malas Ayurveda has explained seven Malas of seven Dhatus. Each Dhatus produces Upadhatu and Mala i.e waste product after action of Agni on them. Dhatu Malas are the substances visible outside the body in various forms such as nails which is Mala of Asthi Dhatu.
    • SVEDKSHAY [Insufficient] “sweda na Swede romchyuti stabdha romata sfutanam twacha” SYMPTOMS INCLUDE : Loss of body hair, Cracked skin, dry skin, Decrease of Sveda can indicate immunological disorders, skin disorders. Structural malformation can determine the toxic levels of the body and ORGAN FAILURES.
Dhatu mala or wastes from the tissues:
Dhatu Dhatu- Mala
Rasa Coating on tongue and mucosa of mouth
Rakta Bile
Mamsa Wax of ear
Meda Sticky substances in nose, on teeth, arm pit and sexual part
Asthi Nails
Majja Sticky substance of eye
Shukra Oilyness and acne

This is unique concept of Ayurvedic system of medicines which gives a different dimensions to diagnosis and treatment of diseases.

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