Srotodushti (Vitiation of Body Channels)-Clinical manifestations and line of treatment of vitiation of body channels

Ayurveda for a healthy life ! – 28/2024 on 16.05.2024

Srotodushti (Vitiation of Body Channels)

What is Srotas ?

The word ‘Srotas’ means body passages or body channels. Any body passage or channel, which carries solids, liquids, gases, nerve impulses, nutrients, waste products and secretions from the glands is termed as srotas. They help in the circulation of body fluids as well as body elements.

मूलात् खादन्तरं देहे प्रसृतं त्वभिवाहि यत्  ।

          स्रोतस्तदिति विज्ञेयं सिराधमनिवर्जितम् ।। –  सु. शा. ९.१३     

Sushruta defines srotas as a channel or a passage, which starts from some space in the body and which secretes or carries fluids. These channels do not include blood vessels and nerves. Unlike sushrut, charak defines srotas as any natural space or passage in the body and includes blood vessels that is arteries, veins, capillaries, nerves, lymphatics and cavities in the body like stomach, intestine etc.

स्रवणात् स्रोतांसि । – च. सू. ३०

Alternatively, he also defines srotas as, “a passage which secretes or from which oozes body fluids”. This definition is more applicable to small passages or channels of secreting glands or capillaries and lymphatics.

Some physicians consider that man is nothing but a network of multitude of channels that is srotas. The colour of the minute channels is, in general, same as that of the tissues or organs from which they arise.

The body channels are classified as internal channels and channels having their natural orifices on the surface of the body.

श्रवणनयनवदनघ्राणगुदमेढ्राणि नवस्रोतांसि नराणां बहिर्मुखानि ।

        एतान्येवस्त्रीणामपराणि च त्रीणि द्वे स्तनयोरधस्ताद् रक्तवहं च ।।   – सु. शा. ५.१०

The two ears, the two eyes, the two nostrils, the mouth, the anus and the urethra are the nine orifices of the body passages opening externally. Females having three more orifices, those of two breasts and the vagina. The internal body channels are divided into large and small channels. The large channels can be counted, while the small channels are innumerable & minute. The intracellular channels are ultra-microscopic and are responsible for carrying the nutrients and waste products within the cells. For each new substance secreted or synthesised by body there is specific variety of channel. Thus, there are innumerable varieties of channels in the body.

Charak describes fourteen types of srotras, while Sushruta describes only eleven types. Sushruta does not include channels of bony tissue, nervous tissue and sweat glands in srotas. The doshas viz Vata, Pitta & Kapha do not have special channels of their own, as they have free access to all the body tissues and channels. Charak being a physician describes the manifestations of vitiation that is the diseased states of various channels, while Sushruta being a surgeon describes the manifestations of injury to the channels.

Vata, Pitta and Kapha, the three doshas are responsible for affection of various body channels. The diet and activities having qualities similar to one or more doshas, but opposite to that of the affected tissues affect the body channels. Thus increased doshas & weakened or vitiated tissues, lead to diseases of various channels. The various channels may be injured by accident or during surgery.

Symptoms in general

अतिप्रवृत्तिः संगो वा सिराणां ग्रन्थयोऽपि  वा ।

        विमार्गगमनं चापि स्रोतसां दुष्टिलक्षणम् ।। – च. वि. ५.२४.

1.     Increased or decreased secretion or flow example diarrhoea or constipation, polyuria or oliguria, excessive or decreased sweating.

  2.     Obstruction to the passage leading to flow in abnormal or reverse direction example obstructive jaundice, renal calculi etc.

  3.     Hypertrophy or varicosities of vessels.

Obstruction to the various channels or body passages is one of the important causes of diseases.

             The etiology, clinical manifestations and line of treatment of vitiation of body channels are described below.

1.     Prana vaha srotas

The word ‘prana vaha srotas’ means channels carrying oxygen. These channels are classified as blood vessels originating from the heart & respiratory passages. These channels get vitiated as a result of wasting, suppression of natural urges, dehydration, undertaking exercise while hungry, starvation and violation of the laws of health. Diseases of these channels result in forceful, restricted, too long or too short, deep or shallow, stertorous and painful respiration. Injuries to these vessels results in groaning, bending down of the body, loss of consciousness, illusion, shivering and ultimately death.

The medical treatment should be on the lines similar to that of shwasa that is breathlessness. In case of injury, the appropriate surgical treatment has to be carried out.

2.     Annavaha srotas

The word ‘Anna vaha srotas’ means channels carrying food. These are represented mainly by gastro-intestinal tract and mesenteric blood vessels carrying nutrients. These channels are vitiated as a result of over-eating, eating at irregular intervals, eating of unwholesome meals and due to impaired digestive power. During diseases of these channels, one suffers from disinclination to eat food, anorexia, indigestion, nausea and vomiting. Injury to these channels gives rise to distension, colicky pain, aversion to food, vomiting, thirst, blindness and even death at the end.

The treatment consists of medicines as prescribed for Aama dosha that is medicines stimulating digestive power and digestion.

3.     Udaka vaha srotas

‘Udaka vaha srotas’ means channels carrying water. These channels consists of palate, pharynx and cloma. Different authorities consider cloma to be adrenal, pancreas or kidney.

These channels are vitiated as a result of heat, indigestion, fright, excessive drinking of alcohol, eating of very dry foods and excessive thirst.

Their pathological states give rise to dryness of tongue, palate, lips & throat and intense thirst. Injury to these channels makes the patient thirsty and ultimately results in death.

The case is to be treated on the lines of treatment of the disease ‘Trushna’ that is thirst.

4.     Rasa vaha srotas

‘Rasa vaha srotas’ that is channels carrying body fluids. Blood vessels and lymphatics constitute the channels of body fluids. These channels of body fluids get vitiated as a result of worrying too much and eating heavy, cold and oily substances in excessive quantity.

Disinclination for food, anorexia, nausea, heaviness, impaired sensation of taste, fever with bodyache, loss of digestive power, premature wrinkling of the skin and graying of hair are the manifestations of vitiation of these channels. Injury to these channels gives rise to wasting, fainting, shivering, unconsciousness and death.

रसजानां विकाराणां  सर्वं लङ्घनमौषधम् । – च. सू. २८.२५.

Fasting is the main line of treatment.