Srotas and digestion

Srotas – channels – all the passages in the body that combine together to form a system. All the systems of the body – digestive, circulatory etc. are srotas. Not necessarily an internal passage, can be external passage too like the nose. Some of these do not exist in Western concepts of the body but other stuff like prana does not either. It is a very different system.

Stravanata strotavansi – anything that oozes/flows through the srotas. The srotas exist because something can flow through it.

Two types of srotas

  1. Bhaya – open to the outside the body – 9 + 3 male/female 2 nostrils, 2 eyes, 2 ears, mouth, anus + nipples and vagina. Used to administer medicines and to excrete.
  2. Abhyantara – all internal open and close.
    1. Charaka and Vagbhata say 13 abhyantara srotas – pranavaha (respiratory), udaka (water/ambu) vaha, annavaha (digestive system) + 7 dhatus + 3 malas – no reference to arthava srotas
    2. Sushruta says there are 11 abhyantara srotas – pranavaha, annavaha, udakavaha, rasa, rakta, mamsa, meda, shukra, purisha, mutra, arthava


  • Srotas are made out of any combination of dhatu but don’t necessarily flow the same material out of it. The composition may be different
    • Annavaha srotas carries food, but not made out of food. Composed of mamsa, meda – the tube is lined formed of mamsa, but not formed of
  • The lining of the srotas takes the color of the material flowing through it. Whatever flows through it determines the color.
  • They come in all sizes and shapes – large small flat round square etc.
  • Without a srotas being involved, a disease can’t be formed. Most important part of disease formation.
  • Translation does not compare directly – ex. Annavaha does NOT compare directly to the digestive system.
  • Every srotas has a certain number of parts to it. Pranavaha srotas has nostrils etc. similarly to respiratory system but not exactly correlary to it.
  • Every srotas has two mulasthana – main organ of it. Main organ of the srotas. Each srotas has two main organs that are important to the srotas. Mulasthana is very important because if it has a defect in it, the srotas will be defective. The function of the mulasthana is to produce the element that flows through the srotas, carry it and excrete it. If the srotas is dushta does not mean the mulasthana will be effected, but if mulasthana is defective, it will definitely mess up the srotas, which can then cause disease. The srotas can be fixed and with more effort, the organ may be able to be helped, but definitely will cause disease if not functioning mulasthana.

Functions of the Srotas

  1. Bhavapadarta Abhivahana – Charaka vimansthan 5th chapter – Srotamsi kalu, purinam apadhyanamanam

The element which flows through the srotas, abhivahanam = to carry. Primary function then is to carry the srotas

  1. Parinamana – change of state of dhatus happens in the srotas – so from one dhatu to the next. Dhatu agni lives with ashray of the srotas. Ashray means the shelter for the agni. Housed by the srotas. Because the dhatu agni is housed by the srotas, the change of state of that dhatu is located in the srotas. Annavaha srotas holds the change of state of food into saara and kitta and then into ahara and then into the rasa.

Everything that makes up the srotas and ALL that flows THROUGH the srotas IS the srotas. Tridosha and Mana – the whole body is their srotas. The whole body is a srotas for the three doshas and the mind. This is Sarvavyapi.

Why Srotas Vyagunya and Dushti happen – causative factors

Srotas Vyagunya – Deformity of Srotas – (opposite of guna is vyagunya – opposing to the gunyas)

Hetu – causative factors –

  1. Agantuka – external factors – anything from poison, to accident, too much cold, anything external
  2. Kulaja Hetu – Heredity – ex. diabetes/prameha causes mutravaha srotas to be defective
  3. Sahaja – Congenital – ex. When wall of heart doesn’t close in children. Unless that is fixed it will cause srotas to be defective due to congenital cause. The mulasthan of the pranavaha srotas is the heart.
  4. Mithya Aahar vihara – wrong food and lifestyle – a causative factor for most of the things which go wrong in the body. Ex. Constipation or you eat too much dry food that causes constipation and don’t treat will eventually cause piles/hemorrhoids which is a disease of the purisha srotas
  5. Previous Disease – say you have a cough, cold fever and you don’t treat properly, it further deteriorates and causes harm to the body which can affect the srotas. Ignoring cough for a long time can cause TB. Previous disease can be a causative factor for a new disease that is formed. So can be a causation

Every disease has multiple srotas involved in its expression, but there is a main srotas which is considered the cause of the disease formation.


Khavaygunya – space where problems are caused – where doshas accumulate and disease forms. Space is always present in srotas, that’s why disease is always present. For disease to form, there must be khavaygunya. Because srotas inherently has space, it is naturally a location of khavaygunya


Dhatu is produced in the srotas. Formed in the mulasthana and then carried into the srotas. The change of state happens in the srotas, that is when the mala is also formed. The dhatus need a space to form and that space is the srotas. Srotas can consist of 7 or 8 organs and khavaygunya can be in any of those spaces. When dhatu flows through it, there may be a weak spot due to various causative factors as above, and then doshas accumulate there, and then spread in disease. If mulasthana is defective the whole srotas will be affected.


When these factors combine with dushta dosha dhatus this will form srotas dushti – vitiation of srotas.

Srotavyagunya + dushta doshas = srotas dushti

Defective srotas + vitiated doshas = vitiated srotas


Symptoms of Srotas Dushti – NOT CAUSES

  1. Atipravruti – overformation/overflowing – formation is defective forms too much, forms in such a way that the element that flows through the srotas it is too liquid so it flows too fast and body can’t take its nutrition – either too much or too fast. High blood pressure too fast, not necessarily too much. Undigested food – too much, too fast.
  2. Sanga – dhatu which forms the srotas lining is defective which causes lining to increase which narrows the passage so the element has a harder time flowing through it. Arteriosclerosis. Or kapha, aam, any of those factors blocking the srotas. Sanga = obstruction. Can be caused either by blockage or too much lining. Must remove blockage or reduce lining.
  3. Siragranthi – all the other factors around the srotas cause the obstruction – from other srotas or organ cause tumor or something else to cause obstruction, so again the passage is blocked, but not internal to the srotas. External causative factor. Herniation comes out and blocks something else.
  4. Vimargagamana – because of sanga and siragranthi, element is blocked. Has to go somewhere, either accumulates or finds new passage. Vimargagamana is when it goes to another passage to eliminate. Losing the normal passage. Very rare that a srotas breaks inside the body, so not a common symptom. Ex. Blood in the urine – vague but an example.

Why srotas are important part of disease formation

All dosha dhatu mala are formed in srotas. Prakruti srotas will have the prakruti, and will form healthy materials. If dosha, dhatu or malas are vikruti will form vikruti srotas, and that will lead to vikruti material being formed. If prakruti is formed will have normal function and balance.

  • Pitta formed in srotas because formed in rakta dhatu
  • Kapha formed in rasa dhatu in srotas
  • Vata formed throughout all generative processes.

SO THEREFORE, since all are formed in srotas, its VERY IMPORTANT for bodily health and disease formation alike. Basically, without a srotas being involved, there is no disease formation.



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