Ayurveda theorizes that five elements explain the commonality between humans and the natural world.
All living organisms, plants, animals and humans, existing on Earth are physically made up of the same five elements earth, water, fire, air and space. A person maintains a combination of these elements by breathing, ingesting and metabolizing food and liquids.
Elemental compatibility between Earth and humans elucidates why substances in the natural world are, for the most part, harmonious with the human body and its systems.
In our body:
earth is present in any solid structure like bone, fat, muscles, skin, nails and hair. In our body, earth is that which is gross, dense, heavy, compact, hard and stable.
water is present in plasma, blood, mucus, and saliva. In our body, water is any aspect which is moist, unctuous, cold, slow, unifying, liquid and soft.
fire is present in all digestive processes, metabolic activity, the eyes, intelligence, and body temperature. In our body, fire is hot, burning and transforming, light, sharp, radiant, lustrous and clear.
air is present in all movement of things, lungs, heart, stomach, intestines and joints. In our body, air is cold, dry, pain producing, rough, mobile, clear, light.
space is present in cavities like the nose, sinus, mouth, ears, throat, lungs and stomach. In our body, space is soft, porous, light, cold.
Because their composition is fundamentally equal to that of our body, many substances from nature are easily absorbed by our body with no adverse reactions.
Varying degrees of earth, water, fire, air and space make up each individual human being and every other substance. Each herb has varying proportions of these five elements in its constitution just as each human being is composed of varying degrees of the same five elements.
Food, herbs and spices are able to repair tissue and restore balance and health to the systems of the human body. People are able to use food, herbs and spices to heal their body.
For example, one person may have less fire element present in their digestive system than another person, and cannot metabolize food as easily. They may suffer from gas and a bloating stomach. Another person may have too much fire element, and they may suffer from heart burn or acid reflux. To be healthy and balanced, the person in the first case would use certain food, herbs and spices to fire up metabolism and the person in the second case would use different food, herbs and spices to cool down the digestive tact.
In Ayurveda, different body constitutions are categorized in three groups called doshas. When you know your personal dosha you will be able to choose food for your body constitution/dosha that will bring you optimal health. Next week I will discuss ways to figure out your dosha.
I begin now:
To see if I can notice the varying degrees of the five elements, earth, water, fire, air and space in myself,
and notice the varying degrees of the five elements in all the other living organisms on Earth.