Rakta Dhatu-The red blood cells in Ayurvedic vision
What is Rakta Dhatu?
Rakta dhatu means ``reddened`` or ``impassioned`` and is the fire of the body, the blood, the red blood cells, and also the tendons and the bile.
Rakta dhatu is more than blood, is the fire that invigorates the body and mind, the entire being. When rakta is healthy, a person is energized and full of life.
In Ayurveda, rakta is related to Pitta made mostly from fire and a little water, which is light, dry, hot, rough, unstable, bright, subtle, sharp and flowing.
The purpose of rakta dhatu is to energize, heat up the body, and keeps the liver and spleen functioning correctly so they can flush out toxins.
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Rakta Dhatu in excess
When rakta is in excess, heat in the body increases, fever, burnout, tendonitis, heavy menstruation, the tissues experience inflammation, but the mind becomes sharp focusing and intense.
Excess rakta is caused by stress, over-exercise, and/or spicy diet.
When the rakta is in excess, the qualities of pitta dosha and fire increase the body tries to release the heat one way is through the skin; the redder appears and rashes develop.
The frequency of bowel movements urination increases and the stools may become loose. The most noticeable sign of the body in trying to reduce excess heat is the increase in sweat, eventually burning sensations within the mucous membranes, inflammation, and fever.
Rakta has a special relationship with the liver, when is overheated the liver and also the spleen become overheated and/or enlarged, and this also occurs during hepatitis.
Another way when the body is trying to reduce the heat is the eyes which becomes reddened and skin, by which vasodilatation brings the blood to the surface to cool it off which makes the skin appear redder and if the heat to build, the rashes develop.
If the body cannot remove the excess heat, it will result in inflammation, burning sensations and/or fever.
Lifestyle, too spicy diet, hard intellectual study, are factors that increase the rakta dhatu and also the Pitta and make to burn out the Dhatu when Pitta qualities become too intense.
Rakta Dhatu decreased
When rakta dhatu
decrease also the heat in the body decreases, cause bloating gas, malabsorption, short period, the tissues of the body become cold and stiff, and the mind loses its sharpness and focus and is related to Vata Dosha.
When rakta has also depleted the qualities of pitta dosha and fire diminish , coldness, the skin loses its luster and causes constipation, reducing urination and sweat.
In mind, depletion of the rakta dhatu leads to dullness, and difficulty processing and understanding new information which leads to confusion and misunderstandings.
Rakta dhatu is made up primarily from the fire element, qualities similar to Pitta playing an essential role in the health of this Dosha.
A decrease of the dhatu is when the body becomes unable to hold the heat, cold feeling and easy to get fatigued.
Menstrual flow becomes very heavy, the person’s mood intensifies and become slightly over-excited.
The cold and light nature of Vata can reduce the red blood cells count and the fire, leading to the cold and fatigued body.
Unlike Kapha, which on the other hand has the quality to increase the rakta dhatu due to its dense and gross nature resulting in a higher number or size of the red blood cells, skipping meals and irregular eating habits of Vata are activities that reduce the rakta dhatu resulting in malabsorption and malnutrition.
The cold nature of Kapha, the quality of reducing the heat leads to rakta dhatu decrease, which causes sluggishness as well as a feeling of being cold.
Lifestyle, laziness, lack of exercise factors, disinterest in intellectual exploration, are factors of Kapha.
In the subtle body, the fire flow through the Manipura chakra and the Pingala Nadi bringing strong, intense drives and feelings: passion, focus, reason, and logic and is a result of a healthy rakta which is well balanced.
Establish the proper quantity and quality of fire in the body and mind means to heal the rakta dhatu, and the adequate amount depends on the individual.
For those with more qualities of Pitta, naturally, have more rakta dhatu which makes depletion less likely and excess more likely.
The Vata`s naturally have a lower amount of rakta and are most susceptible to depletion.
Kapha`s tend to have an adequate quantity of rakta dhatu but of more inferior quality.
The quantity and quality of rakta dhatu depend on the health of raktagni which partially dependent upon the health of jatharagni.
The red blood cell count represents the quantity of rakta, cellular morphology and the levels of hemoglobin indicate the quality.
Rakta dhatu is more than blood, is the fire that invigorates the body and mind.
When the Rakta Dhatu is healthy the body has a stable temperature, endurance, excellent blood circulation, motivated, ambitious, active and energized.
Increased of Rakta causes high body temperature, heavy menstruation, tendonitis, fever, burnout caused by stress, overexercise, and/or spicy diet related to the Pitta.
Decreased Rakta, causes gas, bloating, scanty periods, malabsorption due to skipping meals, irregular eating habits, malabsorption and/or malnutrition related to Vata.
Rakta carries oxygen to all of the tissues in the body and is nourished by iron-rich foods such as beets, currant, red cabbage, raisins, and cranberry.
Hot, pungent, sharp taste improve the circulation of rakta, stimulate the liver's fire and the delivery of oxygen.
The liver is directly connected with blood production, liver tonics like beets, Guduchi (Tinospora cordifolia;heart-leaved moonseed, giloy, Amrit,) and Amalaki will help to ensure healthy blood and sours, bitters taste to cleanse the liver and spleen which improve the process of hemoglobin and bile, also contribute to nourishes rakta.
In general, leafy green vegetables are a great source of bitter taste - especially dandelion greens and also citrus fruits like lemon, lime, and grapefruit.
Also read-The best foods for the body and mind of Kapha-Pitta-Vata