Ayurvedic pharmacology revolves around the seven dimensions (seven padartha of Dravyaguna) and their effect on three dosha’s (biological elements):-
- Dravya (Material)
- Rasa (Taste)
- Guna (Physical properties)
- Veerya (Potency)
- Vipaka (Change after digestion)
- Pabhava (Specific potency)
- Karma (Action)
Dravya is the material which is used as diet or Ayurvedic medicine. It possesses all the qualities and actions.
Rasa or taste is directly perceivable and it operates only during the period between the contact of the material with the tongue till the start of its digestion. In Ayurveda rasa or taste is not considered only as the taste of the material but also as an indicator of its panchamahabhautic composition which affects on the doshas (three biological elements).
Rasa is of six kinds and is constituted by the predominance of one or more of the five mahabhutas (five basic elements):- sweet, sour, salty, bitter, pungent and astringent.
Gunas are physical properties of the material. The action of Ayurvedic medicine is broadly determined by the gunas. In Ayurveda mainly 20 gunas are described which affect the three biological elements.
Vipaka is the final transformation of the substance after its digestion and is of three kinds, namely:-
- Sweet or madhura vipaka,
- sour or amla and
- pungent or katu vipaka
As a general rule the sweet and salt taste are changed in the course of vipaka into sweet, the sour remains sour, and the pungent, bitter and astringent, are transformed into pungent. The sweet strengthens kapha, the sour pitta, and the pungent vata.
Veerya: is the potency of the substance. It is of two types:
The hot potency is dominant in pitta and cold potency is dominant in both vata and kapha.
In Ayurveda, it is cosidered that veerya is the power of substance which resides in the form of active principle or active fraction or active chemical constituent.
Prabhava is specific potency of a substance. This specific potency is irrespective of the rasa, gunas or gross constitution of the substance. Due to prabhava, the action of substances becomes more specific.
Karma (Action): According to Ayurveda substances act in human body because of their rasa (taste), guna (physical property), veerya (potency), vipaka (change after digestion) and prabhava (specific potency) which have directly effect on the three doshas (three biological elements).