The Three Doshas
According to Ayurvedic wisdom, the body is composed of three constitutional humors or energetic qualities, called in Sanskrit doshas (tridoṣa), and these three doshas are known as Vata, Pitta and Kapha (vāta, pitta, kapha).
Vata: The Vata dosha is generally characterized as light, thin, dry, quick, high-strung, fragile, wiry, flighty, brittle, and airy. It is intimately connected with the nervous and respiratory system. Disorder and imbalance of the Vata dosha can lead to insomnia, anxiety, stress-related disorders, asthma, arthritis and other illnesses.
Pitta: The Pitta dosha is generally characterized as dynamic, ruddy, fiery-tempered, excessive, well-proportioned, sharp, bold, and hot. It is intimately connected to the circulatory, endocrine and digestive systems. Disorder and imbalance of the Pitta dosha can lead to inflammation, fever, hair loss, diarrhea, high blood pressure, liver problems and other diseases.
Kapha: The Kapha dosha is generally characterized as slow, steady, dull, heavy, easy-going, oily, smooth, thick, cold, calm, and grounded. It is intimately connected with the immune and lymphatic systems. Disorder and imbalance of the Kapha dosha can lead to low energy, depression, obesity, gout, diabetes and other illnesses.
One or other of these doshas normally predominates in an individual and thus it becomes a science of body types, wherein individuals are said to be either of the Vata body-type or Pitta body-type or Kapha body-type, or sometimes there is one dosha predominant and one subdominant such as in a Vata-Pitta or Vata-Kapha body-type. The predominance of one dosha over another is not necessarily fixed throughout life and can change depending on health and climatic or seasonal factors and can change as one ages.
Regardless of one’s predominant dosha and body type, the standard of health according to Ayurvedic wisdom is to have a balance and harmony between the doshas in the body, as imbalances between the doshas lead to illness and disease. Too much of one dosha and not enough of another dosha in various tissues or organs or systems of the body will lead to illness of that tissue or body system.
Thus it becomes important to stimulate inactive doshas or to pacify overactive ones and harmonize their actions in different contexts to promote overall health and well-being.
Aromatherapy is the therapeutic science of fragrance and aroma, called in Sanskrit gandha cikitsā. This therapy focuses on the healing power of fragrances to restore balance and harmony on a subtle level to the emotions and nervous system.
The healing power of aromas and fragrances is usually harnessed through the diffusion of essential oils, or traditionally in Ayurveda through the burning of incense.
Individual fragrances like Lavender, Sandalwood, Citrus, Camphor, Rose, etc., each have specific properties and actions on the subtle nervous system of the body and are useful in different conditions. Certain fragrances can help to calm the nerves and emotions or to stimulate the mind and senses, to aid in sleep and relaxation or to relieve certain kinds of pain or to prepare the mind for meditation and spiritual practice, among other things.
Each fragrance also will have an action on one or other of the three Ayurvedic doshas of the body, and thus certain fragrances are better on a general level to support health and well-being for each of the different dosha body-types.
Here we mention a few fragrances (not exhaustive) which are generally helpful for each dosha and body-type:
Fragrances for balancing Vata and for Vata body-types
The following fragrances are helpful for balancing Vata body-types and are known to soothe and have a grounding effect on airy, high-strung Vata natures. These incense fragrances help to calm restlessness, while instilling a serene sense of deepened purpose, harmony, and well-being.
Amber: (Pinus succinifera) Calming for disturbed Vata conditions, restoring equilibrium by harmonizing energy imbalances and centering the being in the heart chakra.
Costen: (Costus speciosus) Has a soothing effect on the nerves and enhances the sense of well-being.
Lily: (Lilium) Gently sedative and soothing, calming the heart, nerves and emotions. Helpful for irritability, anxiety, and insomnia. Prevents negative dreams and reduces worries.
Sandalwood: (Santalum album) Aids spiritual purification and meditation, focusing the mind away from distracting influences and reducing irritability, anxiety and depression.
Vanilla: (Vanilla sp.) Especially helpful during stressful times, it is known to help dissolve pent-up emotions, improve self-confidence and evoke a soothing sense of well-being.
Fragrances for balancing Pitta and for Pitta body-types
The following fragrances are helpful for balancing Pitta body-types with their soothing, calming and cooling effect on fiery Pitta natures, and their ability to reduce stress and excess tension. They help to promote calm, restful states, aiding in meditation and relaxation.
Jasmine: (Jasminum grandiflorum) Balancing to male and female hormones, stimulates the brain, calms and restores balance and confidence, anti-depressive, soothes headaches, insomnia and psychosomatic problems and promotes feeling of optimism.
Parijata: (Nyctanthes arbor-tristis) Helpful in focusing and turning the emotions into positive channels.
Rose: (Rosa indica) Increases love, compassion and devotion. Reduces anger, calms strife and instills a feeling of peace, happiness and confidence. Helpful during menopause and for fluctuating female hormones.
Sambrani: (Shorea robusta) Used in spiritual ceremonies since ancient times, its aroma creates a soothing atmosphere of calm serenity.
Sandalwood: (Santalum album) Focuses the mind away from distracting influences and reduces irritability, anxiety and depression. Also used to cool the nervous system when there is excess Pitta.
Fragrances for balancing Kapha and for Kapha body-types
The following fragrances are helpful for balancing Kapha body-types with their warming, energizing and stimulating effect on earthy, languid Kapha natures, and for their ability to brighten dull or torpid states, inspiring freshness, happiness, and harmony.
Cinnamon: (Cinnamomum zeylanicum) Stimulates and refreshes the mind, steadies the nerves and invigorates the senses.
Indian Cedar: (Cedrus deodara) Calming and elevating, anti-depressive and helps develop a sense of self-control, integrity and fortitude. Clears the mind (good for daydreamers and the absent-minded) and is helpful for breath control (prāṇāyāma).
Kasturi: (Curcuma aromatica) is traditionally used as therapy for depression and to keep aspiration in the mind.
Lavender: (Lavandula officinalis) Promotes a steadying influence on the psyche, tempering extreme emotional states with a sense of rationality. Counteractive for stress, anger, depression, hypertension, mood swings, insomnia, etc. Also good for balancing Vata.
Patchouli: (Pogostemon patchouli) Strengthens the nerves and stimulates the senses. Anti-depressive, helping to put problems into perspective. Acts as an aphrodisiac and is regenerative.
Dosha-balancing Incense Sets
Auromere’s Dosha-balancing incense sets are a good introduction into the therapeutic potential of Aromatherapy in balancing the body’s three doshas. There is one set of 5 aromas for each dosha/body-type: Vata, Pitta and Kapha. They also make great gifts for your friends and loved ones!
***With all best wishes for your health and wellness from Auromere!***