Kapha: 17 definitions

Introduction

Kapha means something in Hinduism, Sanskrit, the history of ancient India, Marathi. If you want to know the exact meaning, history, etymology or English translation of this term then check out the descriptions on this page. Add your comment or reference to a book if you want to contribute to this summary article.

In Hinduism

Ayurveda (science of life)

Source: Wisdom Library: Āyurveda and botany

Kapha (कफ) refers to one of the three Doṣas (tridoṣa), representing the “water element” of the human body. It is used throughout Āyurvedic literature such as the Caraka-saṃhitā and the Suśruta-saṃhitā. The three doṣas are three bodily humors, which when in balance, sustain perfect human health. According to Dṛḍhabala, Kapha-doṣa is situated in the śiras (head). The quantum of Kapha-doṣa fluctuates during Childhood, morning and early hours of night and after meals. It also fluctuates according to the different seasons: during during early winter (hemanta) it accumulates, during spring (vasanta) it aggrevates and during summer (grīṣma) it pacifies. It is important to keep track of these fluctuations in order to prevent seasonal disorders.

Source: Wisdom Library: Raj Nighantu

Kapha (कफ) refers to one of the three doṣas (the other being Vāta and Pitta), according to the second chapter (dharaṇyādi-varga), verses 67-68. Accordingly, “the substances, which alleviate vāta, are good digestive and appetizers. Similarly, a drug which alleviates kapha, is also appetizer and slightly digestive stimulant. But, a drug reducing the action of pitta, is not a good digestive. A substance which is heavy (guru), śīta, vīrya and anti-pitta, will aggravate vāta-doṣa. Similarly, a substance which is light, uṣṇa, vīrya, anti-vāta, will alleviate kapha and increase pitta-doṣa”.

Source: Google Books: Essentials of Ayurveda

Kapha (कफ) is the principle of water and as such maintains the body-fluid, controls growth and strength in the body.

Causes of aggravation:—Kapha is aggravated by intake of sweet, sour, salty, unctuous, slimy and heavy substances, day-sleep, lack of physical exercise, in spring season, first phase of day and night, and childhood.

Symptoms:—Aggravated Kapha gives rise to heaviness, diminution of digestive fire, nausea, salivation, lassitude, horripilation, sweetness in body and mouth, itching in throat, drowsiness, excessive sleep, depression of body and mind, pal,lor or whiteness and abnormal growth.

Treatment:—Vāta, Pitta and Kapha should be treated with eliminative therapy (known as ‘pañcakarma’). Thereafter they should be pacified with prescribed measures relating to diet, drug and activity. Kapha is pacified with bitter astringent and pungent substances; application of irritant, hot and rough items; keeping awake in night and physical activity.

Source: Google Books: A Practical Approach to the Science of Ayurveda

Kapha (कफ).—One of the three biological humors (tridoṣa).—Often kapha is translated as mucus or phlegm, which is an important part of kapha, particularly in disease, but kapha is much more than that. It represents potential energy in the body. Kapha-doṣa provides nourishment to all parts of the body and regulates the other two doṣas, pitta and vāta.

Kapha provides moistness, oiliness and smoothness to the body organs. It lubricates and connects joints and bones, increases libido, strength, enthusiasm, heals wounds improves immunity, provides energy for mental and physical activities, and it is responsible for behavioral and psychological changes. Kapha is also the pramry cause for sleep, lethargy and inertia (tamas).

The five types of kapha according to their locations and functions are:

  1. kledaka (located in the stomach),
  2. avalambaka (located in the chest),
  3. bodhaka (located in the tongue and throat),
  4. tarpaka (located in the head),
  5. śleṣaka (located in the bones and joints).
Source: archive.org: Sushruta samhita, Volume I

Kapha (it’s origin) is ascribed to the presence of watery (saumya) principle in the body. Sweetness, oiliness, heaviness, coldness and sliminess form the specific properties of Kapha.

Source: Easy Ayurveda: Carpal Tunnel Syndrome Symptoms

Kapha can be managed by avoiding foods which are cold, oily, stale, refrigerated, heavy to digest, slimy, food rich in sweet, sour and salt taste, keeping away from low moods and depression, avoiding excess of sleep, lack of exercise and sex, sedentary life activities, managing cold season etc – This will prevent stagnations and blocks in the cells and tissues and thus prevent pressure on nerves and tendons

Source: Hand book of domestic medicine: Basic principles of Āyurveda

Kapha is also called Śleṣma. One of its main functions is to provide nutrition to the bodily tissues. Kapha is also of five types viz.

  1. Kledaka Kapha,
  2. Avalambaka Kapha,
  3. Tarpaka Kapha,
  4. Bodhaka Kapha
  5. and Śleṣaka Kapha.
Source: Cogprints: Concepts of Human Physiology in Ayurveda

Kapha performs the functions like protection, strength, stability and resistance. Functions of immune system and all such other protective mechanisms in the body have been grouped under ‘Kapha’ in Ayurveda.

During the first stage of digestion, there occurs the release of froth-like ‘Kapha’ (Carakasaṃhitā Cikitsāsthāna 15/9). Salivary juice and mucous secreted in the stomach serve many protective functions but do not directly participate in the actual process of digestion. These are therefore indicative of froth-like ‘Kapha’, which is ‘Malarūpī ’ in nature.

Ojas is also closely related with Kapha. When the Śleṣma (Kapha) is in normal state, it is called ‘Bala’ as well as ‘Ojas’; but when it attains an abnormal state, it is then called ‘Mala’ (Waste) and ‘Pāpmā ’ (Disease) (Carakasaṃhitā Sūtrasthāna 27/117).

Source: Shodhganga: Dietetics and culinary art in ancient and medieval India

Kapha (कफ) refers to “phlegm”, according to the 17th century Bhojanakutūhala (dravyaguṇāguṇa-kathana), and is commonly found in literature dealing with the topics of dietetics and culinary art, also known as Pākaśāstra or Pākakalā.—Water drunk at the beginning of a meal leads to thinness of body and will dampen the digestive fire. Water drunk excessively in the middle of a meal prevents the digestion of food. Water drunk at the end of a meal leads to corpulence and aggravation of kapha.

Procedure to alleviate kapha (phlegm) after meals: The excess phlegm in the human body can lead to the weakening of digestive fire. Sleeping immediately after the meal will result in the aggravation of phlegm. The excess phlegm must be alleviated by employing fumes of the fragrant substances such as agaru (aloe wood) or consuming fruits like pūga (areca-nut), karpūra (camphor), kastūri (musk), lavaṅga (clove) and sumanas (spanish jasmine) that are pungent, astringent and bitter. After a meal, one must walk a few steps. Practising this lightens the food mass and imparts comfort in the neck, knees and loins. The excess phlegm can also be alleviated by savoring betel leaves along with fragrant substances.

Ayurveda book cover
context information

Āyurveda (आयुर्वेद, ayurveda) is a branch of Indian science dealing with medicine, herbalism, taxology, anatomy, surgery, alchemy and related topics. Traditional practice of Āyurveda in ancient India dates back to at least the first millenium BC. Literature is commonly written in Sanskrit using various poetic metres.

Discover the meaning of kapha in the context of Ayurveda from relevant books on Exotic India

General definition (in Hinduism)

Source: WikiPedia: Hinduism

Kapha is the body fluid principle which relates to mucus, lubrication, and the carrier of nutrients.

India history and geogprahy

Source: Cologne Digital Sanskrit Dictionaries: Indian Epigraphical Glossary

Kaphā.—d8ī (Chamba), same as kapahad8ī. Note: kaphā is defined in the “Indian epigraphical glossary” as it can be found on ancient inscriptions commonly written in Sanskrit, Prakrit or Dravidian languages.

India history book cover
context information

The history of India traces the identification of countries, villages, towns and other regions of India, as well as royal dynasties, rulers, tribes, local festivities and traditions and regional languages. Ancient India enjoyed religious freedom and encourages the path of Dharma, a concept common to Buddhism, Hinduism, and Jainism.

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Languages of India and abroad

Marathi-English dictionary

Source: DDSA: The Molesworth Marathi and English Dictionary

kapha (कफ).—m C (Or kapa) Cotton or similar substance used as tinder. 2 A block (with or without a pulley).

--- OR ---

kapha (कफ).—m (S) Phlegm, one of the three humors: also the mucus hawked up. 2 Watery froth or foam gen.

Source: DDSA: The Aryabhusan school dictionary, Marathi-English

kapha (कफ).—m Phlegm; watery froth.

context information

Marathi is an Indo-European language having over 70 million native speakers people in (predominantly) Maharashtra India. Marathi, like many other Indo-Aryan languages, evolved from early forms of Prakrit, which itself is a subset of Sanskrit, one of the most ancient languages of the world.

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Sanskrit-English dictionary

Source: DDSA: The practical Sanskrit-English dictionary

Kapha (कफ).—[kena jalena phalati phal-ḍa Tv.]

1) Phlegm, one of the three humours of the body (the other two being vāta and pitta); कफापचयादारोग्यैकमूलमाशयाग्निदीप्तिः (kaphāpacayādārogyaikamūlamāśayāgnidīptiḥ) Dk.16; प्राणप्रयाणसमये कफवातपित्तैः कण्ठावरोधनविधौ स्मरणं कुतस्ते (prāṇaprayāṇasamaye kaphavātapittaiḥ kaṇṭhāvarodhanavidhau smaraṇaṃ kutaste) Udb.

2) A watery foam or froth in general.

Derivable forms: kaphaḥ (कफः).

Source: Cologne Digital Sanskrit Dictionaries: Shabda-Sagara Sanskrit-English Dictionary

Kapha (कफ).—m.

(-phaḥ) 1. Phlegm, one of the three humours of the body. 2. Watery froth or foam in general. E. ka water, and phala to bud or flower, ḍa aff.

Source: Cologne Digital Sanskrit Dictionaries: Cappeller Sanskrit-English Dictionary

Kapha (कफ).—[masculine] phlegm (one of the three humours of the body).

context information

Sanskrit, also spelled संस्कृतम् (saṃskṛtam), is an ancient language of India commonly seen as the grandmother of the Indo-European language family. Closely allied with Prakrit and Pali, Sanskrit is more exhaustive in both grammar and terms and has the most extensive collection of literature in the world, greatly surpassing its sister-languages Greek and Latin.

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