By Sheyna Haisman-Holmes 

In Ayurveda, there are 7 layers of tissues in the body. These tissues create our composition and all of its functions. From a nutritional perspective, each level of tissue is nourished from food consumption that flows into the next tissue. Sometimes there is deficiency in nutrition, causing a halt to the flow, especially to the deepest layers. There are physical symptoms that can point to the tissue where nourishment is stopped, showing up as physical and psychological imbalances. When the tissue is sufficiently nourished, there are superior by-products that keep the body lubricated and glowing. The tissues can also be overly increased, causing congestion at that tissue level. Proper nutrition and movement is important to keep all the tissues and the deepest layers in a state of development, detoxification and nourishment.

Because the cascade of nutrients nourishes all the tissues, we want to first address rasa (plasma) in the case of an imbalance. When sufficient, these abundant levels will overflow to the next layer and so on. To increase nourishment, we can work with Rasāyanas (rejuvenation herbs & foods) to nourish the tissues, promote longevity and good health. There are also specific foods and herbs that can target tissues that need more support.

The Seven Dhātus:

Rasa (Plasma)

~Preenan (Nourishment)

-Carries nutrients to the tissues

-Composes the entire lymphatic system

-Holds together universal faith

-Clear perception, faith, love and trust

-Top layer of skin, lactation and menstruation

Signs of imbalance: lack of faith, heaviness, cold extremities, dehydration, dizziness, irritated by loud noise, dry skin & anemia.


Rakta (Blood)

~Jeevana (Life Giving)

-Carries oxygen to the tissues and waste products away

-Red blood cells, gives oxygen to every cell (responsible for breath)

-Produces blood vessels and small tendons/sinews

-Molecules carrying oxygen help fight infection and boost immunity

Signs of imbalance: eczema/psoriasis, red cheeks, bruises easily, anemia and enlarged liver/spleen.


Mamsa (Muscles)

~Lepana (Supporting)

-Covers vital organs, moves joints, metabolism and strength

-Stiff muscles can be from unresolved emotions and stress

Signs of imbalance: fibroids, stiffness, muscle atrophy/hypertrophy, fatigue, TMJ issues, emaciation and joint dislocation.


Meda (Fat)

~Snehana (Lubricating)

-Lubricates tissues

-Creates endorphins and feeling of being grounded

-Flat muscles, sinews, tendons and ligaments

-Thyroid, adrenal and pituitary function

Signs of imbalance: obesity, lethargy, gallstones, arthritis, lumbago, enlarged spleen and diabetes.


Asthi (Bones)

~Dharana (Stabilizing)

-Supports structure

-Bones, teeth, hair & nails

-Bones carry seeds from past lives and unresolved hurts & unexpressed emotions

-Mineral retention in bones helps maintain electrolyte balance

Signs of imbalance: bone spurs, calcification, scoliosis, arthritis, joint pain, brittle teeth, white spots on nails, excess hair growth or hair loss.


Majja (Bone Marrow)

~Poorana (Filling)

-In bone hollows

-In the brain, hypothalamus, spinal chord & cranial nerves

-Creates dreams

-Tears from eyes are a by-product

Signs of imbalance: sluggishness, osteoporosis, arthritis, MS, Parkinson’s, neurological issues, epilepsy, poor communication, lack of understanding, anxiety, fear, poor coordination, shingles and sciatica.


Skukra (Male Reproductive Tissue)

~Prajanana (Producing)

-Final manifestation of food transformation

-Sperm for men

Signs of imbalance: low libido or the opposite, sterility, fear, pain


Artava (Female Reproductive Tissues)

~Prajanana (Producing)

-Final manifestation of food transformation

-Cells in ovaries for women

Signs of imbalance: low libido or the opposite, sterility, fear, pain


To help nourish rasa, try this Rasāyana recipe!

Date Rasāyana

8oz milk

4 dates

4 almonds

2-4 saffron threads

¼ tsp. cardamom powder

Soak the dates and almonds in water overnight. In the morning, remove skin from almonds and strain water out. Blend all ingredients and enjoy as a shake!


Simple Recipe:

Soak 5 dates in warm water overnight. Blend with warm milk in the morning and drink 2 hours before other food is consumed. This is to treat rasa depletion.


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