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Concept of srotasa in the body is idiosyncratic. Every part of the body is formed in different environment and needed essential things for their growth and nourishment. This need of various environments projects the main emphasis on creating separate space for the personal development of every organ in the body. Different types of Srotasa are described for major systems of the body. Major srotasa in the body are classified into 11 pairs as per Acharya Sushruta while Acharya Charaka has described thirteen gross channels. Moreover, Srotasa are the inner circulatory pathways of the body which provides area for physiological function of general entities of the body like Dosha, tissue (Dhatu), waste material (Mala) and also help in manufacture and circulation of essential nutrients which support the functional entities. In Ancient science the word Srotasa is understood as the active inner transport system of body-mind-spirit. Etymology:
The word Srotasa is derived from the root (moola) “Sravana” which states that to exude, to ooze, to flow of nourishing materials [ Cha. Sa. Sutra Sthana30/12]. Literal meaning of Srotas is “Kha” or empty space, mainly they are considered as tracts, pathways, passages, artery, vein, nerve etc [ Cha. Sa. Vimana Sthana5/9].
According to Acharya Charaka, the human body majorly made up of innumerable channels which are responsible for the transportation of digestive materials into the whole body at the same time nourishes seven types of Dhatu [ Cha. Sa. Vimana Sthana5/3]. “Sravanata Srotansi” [ Cha. Sa. [[Sutra Sthana ]30/12]: The pathways which are helpful in flow of the nutritious substances into the whole body. “Srvanaat Rasaadi Srava Pathatvaat Srotansi” [Gangadhara commentary on charaka Samhita]: After the digestion of food, it is converted into essence (Sara) & waste material (Kitta part). The Srotasa are the pathways through which Sara Bhaga or Rasa is transported into the whole body. The channels which carry the Poshaka Dhatus (the part of the dhatus which provide nourishment to the successive dhatus is called Poshaka) are called Srotasa. [Chakrapani commentary on Charaka Samhita]. According to Acharya Sushruta the pathways which carries or transports all the significant material like, life element (Prana or Rakta Dhatu), 4 types of food, and all the dhatus are called Srotasa [Su. Sa Sharir Sthana 9/13]]. “Srotamayama Hi Sharirama” All the living being are comprised of various macro and micro channels. Generally, the word Srotasa is understood as macro and micro channels steering in the living being.2
Channels (Srotasa) vein, venule (Sira), Artery, arteriole, capillary (Dhamani), lymphatic ducts (Rasayani), portal vein (Rasavahini), nerve likewise radial nerve (Nadi), passage (Pantha), tracts like GIT (Marga), body orifice like eyes, nose, ear, anus, vagina (Sharir Chhidra), closed passages (Savrita), open passages (Asavritni), sites like skin, lungs (Sthana), habitation (Niketa), spaces meant for occupancy likewise liver and spleen (Aashaya) [ Cha. Sa. Vimana Sthana5/9]. Formation of Srotasa: Formation of Srotasa takes place in the uterine life, Air (Vayu) along with equilibrium state of fire (Agni), demarcates the channels (Srotasa) [Su. Sa Sharir Sthana 4/28]]. Similarly, when ovum is fertilized by sperm, genesis of zygote takes place, furthermore zygote is divides into multiple cells in a process known as cleavage, triggering the beginning of embryonic diffraction. Later formation of different channels of the foetus takes place.
Srotasa are numerous in numbers, because humans are complex organism, and all the entities of the body are made up of innumerable Srotasa [ Cha. Sa. Vimana Sthana5/3]. Philosophically every cell of the body could be understood as Srotasa. So as per the Ayurvedic classics Srotasa can be broadly classified into two types: 1) Sthula (numerable): They are further classified into two types: a) Bahiramukha/External openings: Bahirmukha Srotasa are those which have their opening on exterior of the body. Broadly they are 9 in numbers [Su. Sa Sharir Sthana 5/6]], 2 of them situated at lower part of the body remaining are present in the upper part of the body but in females 3 more Srotasa, are mentioned as below: [Su. Sa Sharir Sthana 5/10]] Male (9) Female (12)
2 nostrils (Nasa), external ear openings (Karna), orbital opeings (Akshi), mouth (Mukh), external genitalia, anal orifice (Guda) 9+ breast (Stana), cervical opening or opeing of birth canal (Yoni)
b) Internal openings (Antaramukha): As per Acharya Charaka there are 13 main internal openings described [Ch. Sa Vimana Sthana 5/6]] and Acharya Sushruta mentioned 22 of internal openings [Su Sa Sharir Sthana 5/6]]:
Srotasa Root (moola) Charaka Sushruta Pranavaha Srotasa Heart (Hridaya), GIT (Mahasrotasa) Heart (Hridaya), Rasvahini Dhamani Ambuvaha Srotasa Soft palate (Talu) pancreas (Kloma) Soft palate (Talu), pancreas (Kloma) Annavaha Srotasa Stomach (Amashaya), left lateral region of abdomen (Vamapashrva) Stomach (Amashaya), esophagus (Annavahini Dhamni) Rasavaha Srotasa Heart (Hridaya), branches of Aorta (10 Dhamni) Heart (Hridaya), portal vein (Rasvahini Dhamni) Raktavaha Srotasa Liver (Yakrita), Spleen (pleeha), Liver (Yakrita), spleen (pleeha), Raktavahini Dhamni Mamsavaha Srotasa Ligaments (Snayu), 7 layers of skin (Tvaka) Ligaments (Snayu), 7 layers of skin ( Tvaka), Raktavahini Dhamni Medavaha Srotasa Kidney (Vrikka), fatty layer covering all the organ of the body (Vapavahan) Kati, kidney (Vrikka) Asthivaha Srotasa Adipose tissue (Meda), thigh (Jaghana) - Majjavaha Srotasa Bones (Asthi), joints (Sandhi) - Shukravaha Srotasa Testicles (Vrishana), external genitalia (Shepha) Lactation glands (Stana), Testicles (Vrishana) Artavavaha Srotasa - Womb (Garbhasaya), endometrial arteries (Artavavahini Dhamni) Mutravaha Srotasa Urinary bladder (Basti), groin region (Vakshana) Kidney to urethral opening (Basti), external genitalia (Medra) Purishavaha Srotasa Parts of large intestine like Cecum, rectum, sigmoid colon (Pakvashaya), anal canal (Sthula Guda) Parts of large intestine (Pakvashaya), anal canal (Guda) Swedavaha Srotasa Adipose tissue (Meda), hair follicles (Lomakoopa) -
These srotasa can further divide into the three subgroups for the ease of understanding like: a.) Input channels (3)OR Channels leading to the interior: Annavaha, pranavaha & udakavaha srotasa. These will be acting as channels ingestion and transportation of solids(food), liquid & gases on a broader account. Hence, these will be considered as digestive, respiratory and electrolyte balancing systems. These are the channels which are the main links of the interior of the body with the exterior. Further, these channels are more prone to disorders as they serve as the first line of defence to the external foreign matter entering inside the body. These are the first sites of Ama production. b.) Processor channels (7) OR Channels of Maintenance: Dhatuvaha srotasa. These will be acting as the processors of body and maintains the equilibrium in their physiological states. In Ayurveda, dhatu are the structural units of the body which sustains sharir (body) and responsible for its strength and immunity. These dhatuvaha channels are providing the necessary nutrition for proper growth and development of the sapta dhatu alongwith the space for their transportation, digestion and metabolism.These are the channels where the dislodge of the Ama takes place. c.) Output channels (3)OR Channels leading to the exterior: Purishavaha, mutravaha and swedavaha srotas (malavaha srotas). These will be acting as channels responsible for removal of waste products alongewith toxic substances. The metabolites formed during metabolism in dhatuvaha srotas and three input channels are further transported to malavaha srotas, according to ease of removal through different sites of elimination through the body, after being again processed for easy and smooth expulsion by natural orifices. 2) Sukshma (innumerable): “Sharira Sukshamam Chidrani Cha Anyanimadani Twachi Janminama” Acharya Sharagadhara has emphasized that the small orifice or microscopic pores of the body are known as innumerable channels (Sukshama Srotasa). The navel (Nabhi) and microscopic channels or orifice of the skin are understood as Sukshama Srotasa. Morphological characters: Colour- Colour of Srotasa is similar to the respective tissue (Dhatu) that they carry. Size- Minute (Anu) in size or can be visible under the microscope, (Sthula) macro in size (we can see direct by the naked eyes). Shape- Round (Vritta) in shape, (Dirgha) long, (Pratana) clathrate [Ch. Sa Vimana Sthana 5/25]].
Significance of Srotasa:
• Structural and functional unit of the body that transports essential components throughout the whole body. • Synthesis of tissue (Dhatu) in the body. • Elimination of waste products from the body in the form of urine, feces, sweat etc. • Responsible for nutrition, protection and equilibrium of the structural entities in the body. • As per ancient science srotasa are the supreme factor which are responsible for health and diseases throughout the life. • As per Acharya Charaka, nerve (Nadi) is also one of the synonyms of Srotasa, which controls and transports sensory and motor reflexes in the whole body. • Maintains homeostasis in the various systems of the body. All the Dosha, Dhatu, Mala relies on Srotasa for their development, conveyance and demolition.
Relation of Srotasa with body tissue (Dhatu):
The diet and regimen in context of daily and seasonal routine which possess quality similar to the Dhatu are beneficial for respective Dhatus and also suitable for the Srotasa. [Ch. Sa Vimana Sthana 5/23]] Causes of vitiation of Srotasa: The food & life style which has quality similar to the Doshas at the same time opposite to the qualities of Dhatus are the prime factor for vitiation of Srotasa. [Ch. Sa Vimana Sthana 5/23]] Characteristics of vitiation of Srotasa: As per Acharya Charaka vitiation of Srotasa are majorly classified into 4 stated below: [Ch. Sa Vimana Sthana 5/24]] 1. Excessive flow (Atipravatti): Excessive formation or elimination of Dosha, Dhatu, Mala eg., Bahumutra in Prameha, diarrhea (Atisar), hemorrhage, etc. 2. Accumulation or obstruction (Sanga): Sanga means obstruction in the passages eg., obstruction of sweda (sweating) in fever, obstruction of Vata Dosha in Gulma disease, obstruction of Piita Dosha due to Kapha in Shakhaashrita Kaamla, Alasaka, Grahani, cold, constipation, etc. 3. Siragranthi: It denotes thickening or unnatural growth in the natural orifice of body eg., Granthi, aneurysm in the artery, splenomegaly, varicose vein, tumors, etc. 4. Deviated flow (Vimargagamana): Diversion from natural passages eg., movement of Apana Vata in Udavarta, movement of food in upward direction in chhardi, Udara roga, raktapitta, visuchika, fistula (Bhagandara) General line of treatment of Srotasa: The above stated srotodushti (vitiation of srotasa) should be first clinically identified by the physicians thereafter the treatment protocol decided based on the principle of treating particular srotasa as described by Acharya Charaka. General line of treatment was similar to the line of treatment of selective diseases which are listed below in the table [Ch. Sa Vimana Sthana 5/26-28]]. The treatment modalities to be performed during the pathological conditions stated below are elaboratively explained in chikitsasthana of Charaka Samhita.
Srotasa Lines of treatment as mentioned for Pranvaha srotasa Bronchial asthma (Tamak Shwasa) [Ch. Sa Chikitsa Sthana 17/71-73]] Annvaha Srotasa Ama Dosha [Ch. Sa Chikitsa Sthana 15/95,98]] Udakavaha Srotasa Polydipsia (Trishna) [Ch. Sa Chikitsa Sthana 22/27,33,36-39]] Rasadi Dhatuvaha Srotasa Dhatu pradoshaj vikara [Ch. Sa Sutra Sthana 28/25-28]] Mutrava Srotasa Dysuria (Mutrakrichha) [Ch. Sa Chikitsa Sthana 26/45,49,54,58]] Purishavaha Srotasa Diarrhea (Atisaara) [Ch. Sa Chikitsa Sthana 19/19,122]] Swedavaha Srotasa Fever (Jwara) [Ch. Sa Chikitsa Sthana 3/139,142,239]]
Clinical significance of Srotasa:
Clinical assessment of srotasa is done at the level of roots (mulasthana), therefore, srotasadushti are easily identified in various disorders related to the Srotasa. Elaborated understanding of Srotasa is very necessary because Srotasa are the factors involve in the genesis of entire body. When there is pathogenesis or vitiation in transport system it leads to stagnation of unwanted things, depletion of essential nutrients, destruction in the body tissue and cells alongwith imbalance in the body, mind, health which leads to multiple diseases related to different channels of the body.3 Conclusion: Hence, it can be concluded that the srotasa are the inner transport or circulatory system of the body. These can be depicted on macroscopic (Sthula) as well as microscopic (Sukshama) level for the descriptions pertaining to exchange of gases, transportation of various nutrients from GIT to various parts of the body and elimination of waste products (Kitta bhaga) like urine & feces, from the body. Mainly, they are structural and functional units of the body and carry essential nutrients, transmit sensory and motor reflex throughout the body. Sthula srotasa along with their roots have been emphasized for the purpose of pathology & treatment. Srotasa are distinct to the carrier substances which they transport and plays a prime role to understand physiology, pathology, clinical medicine etc.
1) Review on Concept of Srotas: Srotasa acts as the inner transport system of the body. These macro, micro level channels also include all range of structural and functional units designed to carry specific material, molecules, messages, impulses, emotions and thoughts and are specific for the substances which they transport. The concept of receptor theory and their specificity and membrane biology is also indicated by the functional physiology of Srotamsi, which has importance from point of view of pathophysiology and pharmacophysiology.2. 2) Critical Evaluation of Srotas and its Clinical Significance: Srotasa plays important role in the manifestation of disease is a must for an Ayurvedic physician to approach in a holistic way. Understanding the concept of Srotasa and Srotovaigunya are vital to prognosis and treatment.4 2) Ayurveda Literary Research Study on Some Important Aspects of Srotas: This study mainly focuses on the understanding the srotas with reference to microcirculation and exploration of minute aspects of micro channels.5 3) Critical Appraisal of Doshavaha Srotas: The study is based on the various synonyms described in classical texts and focusing on the sira (vein) and further divided into three categories like the divisions of sira as vatavaha, pittavaha, kaphavaha & sarvavaha srotas. It makes easier to understand srotas in context of tridosha for better and systematic treatment protocol.6 4) A Review Article on Concept of Srotas with Special Emphasis of Pranavah Srotas: This article emphasizes over the pranavah srotasa and being the conducter and channeliser of prana (living force).7
References: 1) 2) 3) https://www.easyayurveda.com/2016/06/02/srotas-body-channels-and-duct.. 4) Dr. Savita Katwal and Dr. Neha Udainiya, 2018. “Critical evaluation of srotas and its clinical significance” International Journal of Current Research in Life Sciences, 7, (03), 1407-1409. 5) Chouhan PK. Ayurveda Literary Research Study on Some Important Aspects of Srotas. JDDT [Internet]. 10Sep.2018 [cited 23Sep.2022];8(5):280-3. Available from: http://jddtonline.info/index.php/jddt/article/view/1869 6) Byadgi PS. Critical appraisal of Doshavaha Srotas. Ayu. 2012 Jul;33(3):337-42. doi: 10.4103/0974- 8520.108819. PMID: 23723638; PMCID: PMC3665105.
7) Dr. Prakash Joshi1, Dr. Yogesh Wane2 A REVIEW ARTICLE ON CONCEPT OF SROTAS WITH SPECIAL EMPHASIS OF PRANAVAH SROTAS 2021 JETIR November 2021, Volume 8, Issue 11 www.jetir.org (ISSN-2349-5162)
- ↑ Dr Nandini Dilip Dhargalkar, Sharira-kriya-Vidnana, Second edition, Chapter no7, page no 332 Chaukhambha Sanskrit Pratishthana, Delhi
- ↑ Verma, Vandana & Gehlot, Sangeeta. (2014). Review on concept of srotas. INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF RESEARCH IN AYURVEDA & PHARMACY. 5. 232-234. 10.7897/2277-4343.05246.