The word ‘Dosha’ literally means impurities or morbidities. In Ayurveda, dosha are the governing principles of physiology and psychology. They are the primary and essential constitutional factors of the human organism. They maintain the integrity of the human body. [Su.Sa. Sutra Sthana 21/23] The three dosha at physical level, vata, pitta, and kapha, vitiate different body tissues and can lead to diseases in disequilibrium state. [SAT-B.382]  They are the actual intrinsic factors which become excited and imbalanced, either conferring a predisposition to or actually causing morbidities disease (vyadhi). Their state of equilibrium is one of the important pre-requisite for disease free state (arogya) [Cha.Sa. Sutra Sthana 9/4] and health [Su.Sa. Sutra Sthana 15/48]. The dosha have been correlated with systems theory in the field of physics, providing a sound theoretical basis for this Ayurvedic concept, and research utilizing a biostatistical approach to quantify the dosha reveals a sound empirical basis as well. Being the units of microcosm in body, the three dosha, kapha, pitta and vata, maintain integrity of the organism by creating, assimilating and diffusing strength in the same way as the Moon (soma), Sun(surya) and Air (anila), maintain integrity of the macrocosm respectively. [Su.Sa. Sutra Sthana 21/8]
Etymology and derivation
The word dosha is derived from Sanskrit root ‘dusha’ meaning causing abnormalities (vaikrutye).
Types and subtypes of dosha
The dosha are broadly categorized into two:
- Somatic or physical level (sharira dosha): Three dosha viz. vata, pitta and kapha.
- Psychic or mental level (manas dosha): Two dosha viz. rajas and tamas. [Cha.Sa. Sutra Sthana 1/ 57]
The present article describes somatic or physical dosha.