Etiology -Cause of all diseases

Etiology: Cause of All Disease
All diseases are caused by aggravation of the
doßhas. This aggravation of different doßhas is
caused by the intake of improper diet and leading
an improper lifestyle (Mithya Áhar Vihar). The
three causes of illness are excessive, insufficient,
or improper use of,
1. The senses
2. Actions
3. Seasonal factors
1. Unsuitable use of the senses: Unwholesome
contact of the senses (taste, touch, sight, sound,
and smell) with objects. For example, sound
(hearing loud voices, noise pollution cause serious
mind and health problems). Touch (contact
of the skin with chemicals, hot objects, or
overly cold objects). Sight (exposure to too
much light, such as staring at the sun).
2. Actions: Relate to body, speech, and mind.
These include, conduct, urge, posture, concern,
and emotions. Thoughts and decisions leading
to harmful or unhealthy situations are said to
be errors of the intellect. Spiritually speaking,
the first intellectual error is to believe that anyone
or anything is separate from oneself. The
Áyurvedic texts say that this is the first cause
of all diseases, the loss of faith in the Divine.
3. Seasonal factors: Váyu accumulates during the
dry or dehydrating heat of the summer
(Gríßhma: mid-May to mid-July). It becomes
aggravated during the rainy season (Varßha:
mid-July to mid-September), which causes
weakened digestion, acidic atmospheric conditions,
and gas produced from the earth.
Pitta accumulates during the rainy season due
to the acidic conditions of the atmosphere and a
weakened digestion. It is aggravated during autumn
(£harat: mid- September to mid-November) when
the heat returns (perhaps equivalent to Indian Summer).
This occurs after the cooling spell of the rainy
Kapha accumulates during the cold season
(£hiçhira: mid-January to mid-March) due to the cold and damp caused by the winds, clouds, and
rain. It gets aggravated during the spring (Vasant:
mid-March to mid-May) when the warm weather
liquefies the accumulating Kapha (from the cold
season).Váyu Increasing Causes: Bitter, salty, and astringent
tastes, dry, light, cold foods, fasting, waiting
longer than three or four hours between mealssuppression or premature initiation of the 13 natural
urges, staying awake late at night, prolonged
high pitched speaking, excess emesis and purgation,
sudden grief, fear, worry, or anxiety; excessive
exercise or sexual intercourse; the end of the
digestive process.
Pitta Increasing Causes: Pungent, sour, and salty
tastes, foods causing heat and burning sensations,
anger, autumn, the middle of digestion, sun or heat
exposure, exhaustion, eating with indigestion.
Kapha Increasing Causes: Sweet, sour, and salty
tastes, oils, heavy or indigestible foods, overeating,
cold foods, lack of exercise, excess sleeping,
naps, inadequate emesis and purgation, eating before
hungry, in the spring, before noon and early
night, the first stage of digestion.
Factors Increasing All Doßhas: Eating excessively,
improper diet, uncooked, contaminated or incompatible
foods; spoiled food and drinks; dried vegetables,
raw root vegetables. Other factors include
eating fried sesame seeds and molasses, mud, barley
beer, foul and dry meat, eating food out of season;
direct breeze, negative thoughts, living in
mountain slopes. Malefic positioning of the planets
and constellations, improper administration of
therapies, illegal actions, and being too inactive
also increase all the doßhas.
Food Intake and Doßha Illness
Improper quantity of food results in impairing
strength, complexion, weight, distention,
longevity, virility, and ojas. It afflicts the body,
mind, intellect, and senses, causing harm to the
dhátus (tissues)—especially Váyu. Food taken
in excess aggravates all three doßhas. Obstructions
are produced in the stomach and move
through the upper and lower tracts, producing
diseases according to one’s doßha.
Váyu: Colic pain, constipation, malaise, dry
mouth, fainting, giddiness, irregular digestive
power, rigidity, hardening and contracting of vessels.
Pitta: Fever, diarrhea, internal burning sensation,
thirst, intoxication, giddiness, and delirium.
Kapha: Vomiting, anorexia, indigestion, cold
fever, laziness, and heaviness.
Disease Development: Six Stages
Earlier, it was briefly mentioned that six stages
of disease development exist. However, modern
medical technology can only see the last two stages
of any illness. Áyurveda offers insight into the earlier
stages and enables those monitoring their health
to take care of any small imbalances well before
developing any serious illness. The six stages of
disease development are:
1. Accumulation: Illness begins in one of the three
main doßha sites: stomach (Kapha), small intestine
(Pitta), or the colon (Váyu). Excess Kapha in
the stomach creates a blockage in the system that
leads to lassitude, heaviness, pallor, bloating, and
indigestion. Pitta accumulation creates burning
sensations, fever, hyperacidity, bitter taste in the
mouth, and anger. The collecting of Váyu creates
gas, distention, constipation, dryness, fear, fatigue,
insomnia, and the desire for warm things.
The value of monitoring these experiences
within one’s body and mind leads to the earliest
detection of an imbalance, while it is still in its
hidden or incubatory stages.
2. Aggravation: As the imbalanced elements (humors)
continue to increase, the symptoms mentioned
above become more aggravated and will be
noticed in other parts of the body as well. Kapha
aggravation causes a loss of appetite, indigestion,
nausea, excess saliva, heaviness in the heart and
head, and oversleeping. The aggravated Pitta experience
is one of increased acidity, burning sensations
in the abdomen, lowered vitality, or insomnia.
Váyu aggravation results in pain and spasm in
the abdomen, gas and rumbling in the bowels, and
3. Overflow: Once the origin site is full with the
excess humor (element), it will begin to overflow
into the rest of the body using different channels
of transportation. The doähas begin to overflow
into the GI tract, then join with the circulating
plasma and blood. During circulation the humors
then begin to seep into the organs, dhátus (tissues),
and malas (waste). Simultaneously, symptoms at
the origin site continue to grow worse.
4. Moving and localization at a distant site: The
humors will move to wherever a weak site exists
in the body. This is where and when specific diseases
begin to develop. For example, a Váyu illness
could move to the bones and begin to create
arthritis. If the duodenum is weak, humors deposit
themselves there and create an ulcer (usually a Pitta
condition). Kapha moves to organs like the lungs
when weakened. Healing is still simple, even at
this fourth stage of illness.
5. Manifestation: This is the first stage of the development
of illness for which Western science can
detect signs of disease. Here, diseases become fully
developed, showing signs of clinical features.
Names are given to imbalances of the humors, such
as cancer, bronchitis, arthritis, etc.
6. Distinction/Chronic Complications: In this last
stage, the symptoms become clear enough so that
the elemental cause may be determined. For example,
Váyu asthma will cause dry skin, constipation,
anxiety, attacks at dawn, and the desiring of
warmth. Pitta asthma will show yellow phlegm,
fever, sweating, and attacks at noon and midnight.
Asthma brought on by Kapha will create white
phlegm, water in the lungs, and attacks during the
morning and evening. Some practitioners describe
this stage as the chronic phase of development.
For example, if one develops an inflammation
or abscess in stage five, in stage six, complications
set in, and the abscess may burst and become
a chronic ulcer.
Three Disease Pathways
In our consideration of the Áyurvedic view of
the body, we also learn of the classification of illness
and the healing process through the three paths
that disease travels.
Inner: This is the digestive tract involving diseases
of the GI tract. These diseases are easy to heal because
toxins are expelled through the tract. Diseases
of the inner path include fever, cough, hiccups,
enlarged abdomen or spleen, internal edema,
vomiting, and hard stools.
Outer: This path refers to the plasma/skin, blood,
and superficial tissues. Toxic blood and skin diseases
are harder to heal because removing an illness
from the tissue is more difficult. Symptoms
include abdominal and other malignant tumors,
edema, and hemorrhoids.
Central: This path refers to muscle, fat, bone, marrow,
and deeper nerve tissues. This is the most
delicate area of the body, affecting the heart, head,
bone joints, and urinary bladder. The most difficult
diseases develop here, such as cancer or arthritis.
These diseases develop between the inner
and outer paths.
Signs and Symptoms of Disease, by Doßha
Excess Váyu: Drooping, dilation, loss of sensation,
and weakness; continuous, cutting, pricking, crushing,
or splitting pain; obstruction, contraction, or
constriction; twisting, tingling, thirst, tremors,
roughness, dryness, throbbing, curvatures, gas,
winding, stiffness, or rigidity; astringent taste in
mouth, blue/crimson discoloration, partial vacuums
in bodily liquids.
Excess Pitta: Burning sensation, reddish discoloration,
heat, high digestive fire, pus, ulcers, perspiration,
moistness, debility, fainting, toxicity, bitter
and sour tastes in the mouth, oozing, fungus.
Excess Kapha: Oiliness, hardness, itching irritations,
cold, heaviness, obstructions, toxic or mucus
coatings inside the srotas (channels), loss of
movement, swelling, edema, indigestion, excessive

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