Ayurved uses the characteristics of these five elements (pancha mahabhutas) to identify
The elegance of this science lies in the simplicity of the basic concepts, and the
powerful analytical tool they provide for internal (body-mind) and external (environmental)
assessment. The elements (mahabhutas) have certain qualities, attributes and impacts
on the body and mind. All objects and substances are a mixture of the five elements,
but they have one dominant element that allows them to be identified and classified.
Within a simple, single living cell for example the earth element predominates by
giving structure to the cell. The water element is present in the cytoplasm or the
liquid within the cell membrane. The fire element regulates the metabolic processes
regulating the cell. While the air element predominates the gases therein. The space
occupied by the cell denoting the last of the elements. In our multi cellular body;
- Space / akasha is present wherever there is a cavity like in the nostrils, mouth,
ears, throat, lungs, and stomach
- Air /vaayu in movement of the lungs, heart, stomach, intestines and joints, mind.
- Fire / Agni in all metabolic activity, the eyes, intelligence and body temperature.
- Water / jala in all body fluids like plasma, blood, mucus, and saliva
- Earth / Prithvi in any solid structure like fat, muscles, skin, nails, hair and
The equilibrium of these five elements in the body denotes health while their imbalance
or disturbance denotes disease. Panchabhautik chikitsa is a branch of Ayurveda which
bases the analysis and treatment based upon this principle.
The word Panchabhautik chikitsa encompasses a variety of aspects regarding health,
diet, exercise, profession, environment, drugs, and preparation of the medicines,
diagnosis and treatment, based on Panchamahabhuta theory. The core concept involves
interpretation of the scientific knowledge and disease management approach on the
background of Panchamahabhuta theory.