Terminology

Agni – The biological fire that provides energy for the body to function. Agni regulates body heat and aids digestion, absorption and assimilation of food.

Ama – A toxic, morbid substance (both systemic and cellular) produced by undigested food, which is the root cause of many diseases. 

Ayurveda – The science of life; derived from the Sanskrit words ayur, meaning life and veda, meaning knowledge or science.

Basti – Medicated herbal tea or oil enema, used to eliminate excess vata dosha from the system. 

Dhatu – The structural, building, elemental tissue of the body. There are seven dhatus defined in Ayurveda as: rasa (plasma); rakta (blood tissue); mamsa (muscle tissue); meda (adipose tissue), asthi (bone tissue); majja (bone marrow and nerves); shukra and artave (male and female reproductive tissue).

Dosha – The three main psycho-physiological functional principles of the body (vata, pitta and kapha). They determine each individual’s constitution and maintain the integrity of the human body. The doshas govern the individual’s response to changes. When disturbed, they can initiate the disease process. 

Khavaigunya – A weak or defective space within an organ or tissue of the body where a pathological condition is likely to begin.

Nasya – Method of administering medication through the nose; one of the five measures of Panchakarma. 

Ojas – The pure essence of all bodily tissues (dhatus). Ojas maintains strength, immunity and vitality.

Panchakarma – The five measures for elimination of excess dosha and/or ama from the body.

Prakruti – The inherent nature or psychosomatic, biological constitution of an individual. Prakruti is the fixed constitution of a person, which reflects the proportion of the three doshas (vata, pita and kapha) established at the time of conception.

Prana – The vital life energy. The flow of cellular intelligence from one cell to another. Equivalent to the Oriental ‘Chi’.

Tejas – The pure essence of the fire element, which governs the transformation of matter into energy.

Vikruti – The current state of the individual, as opposed to the original constitution (prakruti) at conception. It may also denote disorder.