The Gerson Institute of Ayurvedic Medicine

Scott Gerson, M.D., Ph.D. (Ayurveda) Medical Director, Jupiter Medical Center Dept. of Integrative Medicine Division of Education and Research

Jupiter Medical Center at The Calcagnini Center for Mindfulness
1210 S. Old Dixie Highway, Jupiter, Florida 33458, Suite M-117.2


 (561) 263-MIND (6463); option #2 or (561) 510-3833
Executive Office: 1116 Jackpine St. Wellington, Florida 33414                                                                                                                                                                     

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Basic Principles Of Ayurveda

Waste Materials--Malas

As a consequence of foods which we take into our bodies from the external world and the normal biological processes which take place internally, we generate different kinds of waste materials, or malas, which must be excreted. Ayurveda generally recognizes two kinds of malas:

  • ahara mala or wastes from food
  • dhatu mala or wastes from the tissues

The ahara malas include feces (purisha), urine (mutra), and sweat (sveda). These are the three main malas. The dhatu malas include the various secretions of the nose, eyes, ears; lactic acid, carbon dioxide, and other metabolites of cellular respiration; exfoliated hair, skin, and nails. Although these are all waste products, they serve a role in maintaining health as long as they are normal in their quantity (pramana), qualities (gunas), and function (karma). However, if the malas become abnormal in some regard (i.e. increased or decreased) they become a factor in creating disease. When the dhatus and malas become unbalanced they are called dushyas (soiled). The malas are composed predominantly of different elements. Feces is composed mainly of earth element; urine, mainly water and fire; sweat, primarily water. Of course all five elements are contained in every mala.

The following chart summarizes the effects of increased (vriddhi) or decreased (ksaya) malas:

The Three Malas


Vriddhi (increase)

Ksaya (decrease)

Feces (purisha) Mahabhuta: earth Heaviness Flatulence Abdominal discomfort (generalized) Bloating Abdominal pain (mid) Low back pain Weakness Asthma Osteoarthritis Hypokalemia Hypocalcemia
Urine (mutra) Mahabhuta: water and fire Urinary frequency Bladder dysfunction Urinary tract infections Reduced urine Chronic thirst Renal stones Abdominal pain (lower)
Sweat (sveda) Mahabhuta : water Perspires easily Fungal dermatoses Low body temperature Constipation Body odor Itching Constipation Decreased perspiration Dry skin Burning sensations High body temperature