Synopsis: Its interesting to study the way the elements (and hence doshas) become unbalanced in a group of well documented remedies such as the Ranunculaceae. It helps understand the process of pathology in the whole family of remedies. A physiological or psychological inbalance in one dosha, easily seen in the 'ailments from' rubrics, pushes the others out of kilter. Eventually, physical pathology develops.
Recap: Doshas. To understand the effects of a substance (herb, or food) on the doshas we need to know the state of the dosha and the attributes of the substance. Ayurveda usually assumes a 'like increases like' paradigm. A rough substance will therefore increase vata.
Vata (Air + Ether):> Dry Light Cold Rough Subtle Mobile Clear
Pitta (Fire + Water): Hot Sharp Light Liquid Mobile Oily
Kapha (Earth + Water): Heavy Slow Cold Oily Slimy Static
Deconstruction of Pulsatilla DoshasMisha Norland's study of the elements in Pulsatilla shows that the remedy symptoms tend to be on the phlegmatic <-> choleric axis of the Mappa Mundi. He describes the choleric constitution as a combination of hot and dry elements, which in Ayurvedic terms corresponds to primarily to pitta, but also with a drying vata type influence. He describes the phlegmatic type as cold and wet, which corresponds to kapha.
Bhattacharyya describes Pulsatilla as a Vata and Pitta remedy. A closer look at these aspects of the familiar rubrics describing the mental/emotional state gives a clearer picture.
Pulsatilla: Vata (Intellectual Sphere)
|Pulsatilla: Pitta (Energetic Sphere)|
|Pulsatilla: Kapha (Emotional Sphere)|
The rubrics taken here also suggest a predominantly Pitta state of emotional volatility.
This is combined with changability, which is a good diagnostic characterisitc of scattered vata.
The phlegmatic axis is related to kapha charateristics, especially softness.
Pulsatilla, is usually personified as gentle and emotionally soft. She likes lots of attention and is sensitive to rejection. She feels sorry for heself when this happens, which is when kapha dosha is affected adversley.
Pulsatilla is by nature capricious. It is clear that all three doshas are disturbed in Pulsatilla, there is a changable, mobile quality to the disturbance, a vata trait, which creates instability in each sphere.
Deconstruction of Staphisagria DoshasNorland also places Staphisagria on the choleric <-> phlegmatic axis of the Mappa Mundi. He also emphasises a stronger influence of fire and air on the overall situation. Staphisagria does not wish share her emotions when upset, her self-imposed isolation is a cold and 'airy' quality. The 'firey' quality is seen in the way she builds up anger and resentment - until she either becomes dependent on alcohol or she explodes destructively. Perhaps even both at once, a bit like the fictional character Carla, in Coronation St.
Bhattacharya notes that Vata and Kapha doshas predominate.
|Staphisagria: Vata (Intellectual Sphere) |
|Staphisagria: Pitta (Energetic Sphere) |
|Staphisagria: Kapha (Emotional Sphere) |
However, in Staphy, the intellectual and emotional spheres are easily disturbed by the least slight, and this leads a more serious state of alienation and depression.
Staphy is very sensitive and is listed under 'ailments from reproach', the effect of reproach is to scatter Staphies composure (vata), and aggravate pitta. There can be outbursts of anger but more often than not thier anger is suppressed and sometimes comes out as physical pitta aliments such as colic, or cystitis with burning in the urethra. The effect of the remedy is to reduce aggravated pitta, so I not sure if I quite agree with Bhattacharya's evaluation in this instance.
The two examples highlight how one incident, which may initially affect only one dosha, is quickly transmitted to the other doshas. This is especially true of disturbances of Vata, the light and mobile wind element.
Cimicifuga is another remedy from the Ranunculaceae that shows a similar pattern of vata driven pitta aggravation.
- Vata: Ailments from business failure, vexation, fright. Busy. Hurry, occupation, in.
- Pitta: Ailments, from love. Capriciousness. Angry. Answers, aversion to, loquacious at other times.
- Kapha: Grief Suicidal, sadness from. Despair, life, of.
This way of interpreting the Ranunculaceae rubrics, presupposes that the nature of Kapha is rather like a deep subconsious ocean. It seems that injuries to Kapha tend to stick and solidify; it becomes almost like an inpenetrable tar-pit. Hence, Kapha injuries become very difficult to remove, and without treatment they can exert an insidiously depressing influence on the other, lighter doshas, for a very long time.
Positive thinking is very difficult when we feel heavy and 'Yin' inside.