In Ayurveda the menstrual cycle is a window into the state of human body, giving great insight also into a woman's menstrual health.

Menstrual health: An Ayurvedic perspective

Understanding menstrual health

In Ayurveda the menstrual cycle is a window into the state of human body giving great insight into health. All three doshas play a role in menstruation with the menstrual cycle showing imbalances in the doshas long before they show up in other systems (1).  

DoshaElementsResponsibility
VataAir and waterMovement
PittaFire and waterTransformation and metabolism
KaphaWater and earthNourishment and structure
Table 1 (3)

According to Ayurveda the body is composed of seven dhatus (tissues layers) whose function is to provide support and nourishment (1).

After food and water is consumed, provided that agni (digestive fire) is strong, it is digested and transformed into a very fine nourishing essence called ahara rasa. If agni is weak food is unable to be digested properly so ama (toxins) may form (3).

The first dhatu, Rasa (plasma), is formed from this essence. Rasa dhatu doesn’t just build itself but also provides nourishment for the succeeding dhatu. This process is repeated by each dhatu with the essence become more refined and potent as it passes through the layers (6).

The last layer is shukra, the reproductive tissues. Shukra is considered the highest, most refined product of the body. Shukra is the sperm and ovum. Shukra is used as the name for sperm and Artava for the ovum. When shukra is healthy it produces ojas (immunity). Ojas then nourishes all the other dhatus forming a dynamic circle (6).

The seven Dhatus listed in order of nutrient metabolism (3)

  • Rasa – plasma
  • Rakta – blood
  • Mamsa – muscle, skeletal, visceral
  • Medas – fat or adipose
  • Ashti – bone
  • Majja – marrow and nerve
  • Shukra – reproductive

Rasa dhatu is composed of plasma, lymph and white blood cells. It Is the nutrient transport system of the body delivering nourishment and energy to every cell in the body and removing wastes. As rasa dhatu is formed it produces Upadhatus (by-products) of stanya (lactating tissue) and rajah (menstruation) (6).

Rakta dhatu, the blood layer is also part of the menstrual flow which helps to release excess pitta (6).

Being the first two dhatus, Rasa and Rakta are the first to be vitiated by imbalances within the doshas and are easily weakened by wrong food, incorrect lifestyle and stress (7). As a result, they can quickly change in consistency and quality which is why a woman’s menstrual cycle can reveal so much about her health (11).

Many herbs are suitable for self-care. However if a health condition does not resolve with home remedies we recommend using the information in Herbal Reality along with your health advisors, especially herbal practitioners from the professional associations listed in our Resources page (‘If you want to find a herbalist”). When buying any herbal products, you should choose responsible manufacturers with independently assured quality standards and sustainability practices. Check the label carefully for the appropriate safety and sustainability information.

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