We see a number of plants around us. Some have red flowers, others yellow, and yet others blue. Some of them shed their leaves during a particular season every year. How does it occur? All this is 'natural', prefixed- even before the plant is born. Have you ever wondered-why you like cold ice cream so much, while your brother prefers hot coffee? Born and brought up in the same environment why you catch cold so frequently than your sister? Why you watch dreams that never match with those of your siblings? We, may simply call it the 'personality of an individual' but the vast ocean of Ayurveda presents an answer to all these queries, served on one of its unique blended antique waves called- the 'constitution'. What is constitution of Ayurveda? In one word, it is nature-the nature of an individual that is entirely different from all others. Every individual possess a constitution, that decides his or her physical appearance, likes, dislikes, intelligence, temperament, diseases he is prone to etc; one he is born.
According to Ayurveda, the constitution of an individual is decided right at the time of conception itself. The controlling role is, of course, played by the three basic humors. Depending upon the predominance among these three, the constitution of an individual is fixed at the time of fertilization. And so there are basically seven types of constitution based on permutations and combinations of these three humors. Though constitution ultimately comprises of the three humors, it is actually a final expression of the number of contributing factors. They are the nature of sperm and egg, the time and condition of uterine environment at the time of conception, the diet and regime of the pregnant lady, the five physical components viz. space, wind, fire, water and earth. Depending up on all these factors, whichever the humors are predominantly present in the embryo, decides the future constitution, which further decides the physical and mental traits of the individual child, once he opens his eyes to this world. Accordingly, the constitution can be divided in to two types. They are physical and mental constitutions.
The physical constitution like body measurements, color of the eyes, nails, hair etc., body warmth or coldness, digestive power, appetite, bowel etc. are decided by this constitution. This is the direct manifestation of the state of three humors in the embryo and is decided by the properties of three humors.Mental constitution such as likes, dislikes, interests, temperament, nature of dreams etc. it is also decided by the three humors itself, but manifested indirectly and named otherwise as clean, spark and dark constitution. With the above main discussion one may feel that the concept of constitution discussed in Ayurveda can be well accommodated under the umbrella of genomes. In recent times multiple studies have been conducted to establish the relation between constitution and genome.Study- normal individuals of three most contrasting constitutions were identified. Peripheral blood samples were analyzed for genome-wide expression levels, biochemical and hematological characters. Result- striking differences with respect to biochemical and hematological parameters and at the genome wide expression levels were seen. Components of lipid profiles like triglycerides, total cholesterol, VLDL, LDL, LDL/HDL ratio- common risk factor for CVS diseases was higher in phlegm constitution than wind or fire. Serum prolactin and prothrombin time was high in wind where as hemoglobin, Packed cell volume, RBC count was more in fire. Genetic ontology analysis reveals certain striking points in the constitution analysis. Wind group is rich in genes involved in cellular processes like cell cycle, DNA repair and recombination. Down regulation of genes involve in response to biological stimulus and inflammatory responses. phlegm group is involved in up regulation of genes involved in cellular biosynthesis. e.g-ATP and co-factor biosynthesis etc.
The Ayurveda based method of phenotype classification of extreme constitutional types of man allows uncovering genes that may contribute to system level differences in normal individuals which could lead to differential disease predisposition. Though the above mentioned study has established a relation between, genome expression, biochemical and hematological parameters and the constitution of the subject yet whether based on such experiments a conclusion can be reached that the constitution is exactly equivalent to genome is still questionable. There are objectionable factors related to this. Both genetic make up and constitution of an individual are decided at the time of conception itself, but genetic mutations are possible even after birth while constitution of an individual can never change after the birth. Genetic is the science of inheritance, while constitution has no such bias.
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