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The Malas

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Malas are the various waste products of the dhatus produced during the normal metabolically process. The three primary malas being Purisa (faeces), Mutra (urine) and Sweda (sweat). Ayurveda clearly states that only a balanced condition of doshas, dhatus and malas is arogya (good health or disease free condition) and their imbalance is the cause of ill health or disease.

Purisa is the waste left back after nutrients of digested food have been absorbed in the small intestine. While water and salt absorbed in the large intestine, the residue now converted into solid faeces, leaves the body. The consistency of the faeces depending both on gastrointestinal mobility and nature of diet.

The Tridoshas must be in balance to ensure normal evacuation. Pitta and Kapha help digestion and Vata governs the mobility throughout the process. Any discrepancy or imbalance between these can lead to various symptoms of abdominal heaviness or pain, flatulence, constipation or diarrhea. It may also give rise to diseases as rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis, low-back pain, asthma, bronchitis as well as stomach ulcers and irritable bowels.

Mutra is derived during the course of biological processes within the human body. The first stage of urine formation begins in the large intestine where fluids are absorbed into the system. The entire urinary system (kidneys, uterus, bladder and urethra) takes part in the formation and elimination of urine, regulating the fluid balance in our body and also maintaining blood pressure. Any imbalance of increased or decreased urine, may result in disorders as kidney stones urinary infections, cystitis, abdominal pain and bladder disorders.

Sweda is the third primary mala, and it occurs as a waste product during the synthesis of meda dhatu (fatty tissue). Eliminated through skin pores, it controls body temperature and helps to regulate the electrolytic balance. The channels responsible for bringing the sweat to skin surface are known as sweda vaha srotas. It is essential that normal formation and flow of sweat takes place as otherwise it may lead to skin infections, itching/burning sensation over the body, loss of fluid balance and reduced body temperature.

Mala - Waste matter

Mala are the substances or waste matter to be thrown out of the body. As a result of  various physiological activities going on in the body, excretory by-products are formed that are known as Mala. They produce toxic effect on the body if not thrown out of the body at an appropriate time. Purish (stool), Mutra (urine) and Sweda (sweat) are considered as main excretory product of the body. These are also known as Dushya as these tend to be influenced to cause pathology or disease by imbalanced doshas. These are known as Mala due to its principle property of Malinikaran i.e. Toxification.

According to Ayurveda only a balanced condition of doshas, dhatus and malas is Aarogya (good health or disease free condition) and their imbalance causes ill health or disease. Malas form the basic constituent of the body and contribute in its sustenance. Therefore these can be called as Dhatu but as their principle property or action is "to toxify" so in order to highlight this action it is called as Mala.

Significance of Mala:

As a result of metabolic processes being carried out in the body, essence of ingested food and waste products are constantly formed. If waste products are not being formed besides the essence i.e. beneficial products that nourish tissues, then metabolic process would be impaired ultimately leading to the formation of malformed tissues. So, there needs to be an appropriate segregation of essence of ingested food and waste product and excretion of the waste matter on appropriate time for maintaining health.

Their formation is mandatory for maintenance of health but its excretion is equally important. If these are retained in the body they toxify the body.

Waste products:

Purish: Faeces 

Mutra: Urine.

Sweda: Sweat.

Faeces : Purish

The mala of ingested food that originates at Pakvashay (large intestine) and Sthool Guda (rectum) and is excreted through anus.  

Urine : Mutra

The Mala of the ingested food which is in the liquid form and is absorbed by the vessels and send to Vasti (urinary bladder) through ureters (gavini ).

Sweat : Sweda

The Mala of med dhatu. Its main function is retention of moisture. It  is excreted through the skin.

Dosh, Dhatu and Mala
Satish Kulkarni.

We saw that Ayurveda is an ancient Indian system of medicine, which stresses principally on prevention of body ailments than simply curing pathological problems. Ayurveda believes in the treatment of an individual as a whole. Giving cone down attention to the treatment of the affected system of the body doesn’t fit into the principles of Ayurveda. Instead Ayurveda says, ‘Nature works on the principle of balance. This balance should be maintained. There should be balance inside and outside the body. If we eliminate all toxic imbalances from the body, we can re-establish a state of health.’ To achieve this balance Ayurveda gives more importance to the functions of the body than to the structure of the body.

Dosh-Dhatu-Mala concept:
Dhatus are a supporting part of the body, limited by the skin. Skin is the boundary between the dhatus and the external world. Dhatus are generated in the mother’s womb and are then maintained by nutrition (ahar) during the rest of one’s life.

The finest essence of nutrition develops a sap (ahar rasa) which helps in survival, growth and protection. This ahar rasa further develops life sap (jeevan rasa) which is the starting point of the creation of dhatus. There are seven dhatus in all (we can say that the dhatus are body tissues): rasa, rakta, mansa, med, asthi, majja and shukra. So from rasa (life sap) the body develops rakta (blood), from rakta it develops mansa (muscles), from mansa is developed med (fat), from med is developed asthi (bones), from asthi the body develops majja (nervous system) and from majja is generated shukra (semen).

Ayurveda evolved around 600 BC. At that time Ayurvedic scholars did not have microscopes; nevertheless, they knew that life starts in the mother’s womb in ‘liquid’ form and becomes ‘solid’ at the time of birth. Thus this hypothesis of developing rasa to rakta rakta to mansa must have arrived from that finding. This hypothesis cannot be accepted as it is today considering the advances made in science since the early Ayurvedic times. We can only say that at the time of Ayurveda, since the microscope was not invented, Ayurvedic scholars must have explained body tissues in this way.

Thus, vaat, pitta and kafa rule the body kingdom, i.e. the kingdom of rasa, rakta, mansa, med, asthi, majja and shukra and hence the body continues to function. Our daily life activities are a result of this functioning. Waste products, which are byproducts of our daily activities, are called malas. Mala (faeces), akshimala (dirt coming from the eyes), mutra (urine) and sweda (sweat) are the malas mentioned by Ayurveda.

To summarize, Ayurveda explains the body functions using the Dosh-Dhatu-Mala concept. Doshas are body constituents which are responsible for the way the body functions. This body is made up of seven dhatus. Malas are waste products of the body. If this chain works well, we can maintain good health. If anything goes wrong in this chain of activity then we are affected by disease.


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