Kapha is formed by the combination of the earth and fire elements. Etymologically the term Kapha signifies emanation from water (kena jelena phalathi). Other terms used in similar context are sleshma which means the uniting principle and valasa, a rarely used term, which means bala or strength.
Soft, oily, sweet, cold, moist, heavy, strong, firm etc. are the main attributes related to Kapha. Basically Kapha is slow in action and provides stability, plumpness, strength, firmness and unctuous nature.
Its main bases are chest, thorax, throat, head, trachea, stomach, joints tissue fluid, olfactory sense organ and tongue. Chest is the most important site of Kapha.
Kapha increases in the morning, in the first part of night, in childhood, and in the first phase of digestion. Kapha accumulates in winter and is aggravated in spring.
When Kapha element is aggravated it can cause:
Vitiation of Kapha is caused by indulging in Kapha aggravating diet such as sweet, oily, sour food items, fish, meat, milk, curd etc. Excessive sleeping and lack of exercise can also result in Kapha imbalance.
Remedies include intake of bitter, pungent and hot food, reducing weight, exercising, staying active and cultivating positive thoughts. One of the main treatments recommended for Kapha aggravation is inducing vomiting.
Avalambaka Kapha: The term means supporter. This is the main Kapha division, and its base is chest. This provides support to other Kapha bases.
Kledaka Kapha: Kledaka means that which soaks or moistens. This Kapha facilitates easy digestion of ingested food. Amasaya or the stomach is the base of this Kapha.
Bodhaka Kapha: This is concerned with the perception of taste. It moistens food materials coming in contact with it, so that taste buds can appreciate the taste. Its base is the tongue.
Tarpaka Kapha: Tarpaka means that which nourishes. This is concerned with nourishment of sense organs. The main location of this Kapha is the head.
Sleshaka Kapha: The term means that which binds. It is the provider of lubrication and cohesion of the joints. It is based in the joints.