Structuralism and the Plant Kingdom

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Frodsham (Chester), Cheshire, United Kingdom
Interests: Philosophy, Homeopathy, Ayurveda, Buddhism, Psychosynthesis, Hypnotherapy and R.E.B.T.

Saturday, 27 November 2010

Ayurvedic Tridosha and Homeopathic Remedies

The predominant Ayurvedic attributes of the Ranunculales.

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 Doshas

Misha 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)
  • Contrary. Change, desire for. Embittered, exasperated.  Hurry.
Pulsatilla: Pitta (Energetic Sphere)
  • Affectionate. Amorous. Audacity. Effeminate. Adluterous.  
  • Anger, conversation, from; when obliged to answer.
Pulsatilla: Kapha (Emotional Sphere)
  • Feeling forsaken. Anguish.  Loathing, life. Death, desires.

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 Doshas

Norland 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 situationStaphisagria
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)
  • Egotism, self-esteem. Delusions, low down, everything beneath him
  • Ailments, from honor, wounded, reproaches, indignation and rudeness
Staphisagria: Pitta (Energetic Sphere)
  • Sentimental. Amorous, disposition. Affectionate. 
  • Speechless when angry.
  • Ailments, from love, unhappy.
Staphisagria: Kapha (Emotional Sphere)
  • Weeping, easily. Despair. Delusions, unreal, everything seems. 
  • Suicidal, sadness, from.
Staphy is another sexaul remedy and so inherits some of the emotional volatility of Pulsatilla, which is seen the energetic Pitta 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.
In Cimic, the "ailments from" rubrics show that both Vata and Pitta doshas are vulnerable. The intellectual sphere (vata) is particularly suseptible to shock and stress. As in Staphy, Pitta is increased.
In Cimic, this combination of imbalances results in a mood of angry determination. This anger can turn inwards and condense into a very unhappy Kapha state.

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.


  1. According to the theory of Tridosha, all the diseases that afflict us human beings are born out of imbalances in the humors of the body. A person’s constitution as well as disease manifestation is largely influenced by the dominating humor. Thus, if you are thin bodied and have a narrow frame, you may be having a vatta prakruti (constitution) as per Ayurveda.

  2. According to the theory of Tridosha, all the diseases that afflict us human beings are born out of imbalances in the humors of the body. A person’s constitution as well as disease manifestation is largely influenced by the dominating humor. Thus, if you are thin bodied and have a narrow frame, you may be having a vattaprakruti (constitution) as per Ayurveda.