Blood sustains life and is the foundation for health. Every system, organ, tissue and even every cell in the body depends on healthy blood for proper function. Healthy blood and healthy circulation are truly essential for strong organs and the health of the whole person.
It is the quality of Blood circulating through your system that gives vitality, focus and rosy cheeks. When Blood is abundant you feel alive, nourished and well-connected in mind and spirit.
When blood is abundant we respond appropriately to our environment. It allows us to build meaningful relationships, be calm, experience joy, feel rooted and to be able to adapt.
Functions of Blood
In Western medicine, blood and plasma are treated as one. In Ayurveda, blood (Rakta) is considered to be a separate tissue from plasma (Rasa). However, the two are still intrinsically linked and work together, side by side.
Rakta consists of red blood cells. It warms and energizes every part of the body as it carries oxygen throughout the whole body. Just as a fire needs oxygen to burn, your metabolism is a chemical fire that requires oxygen to burn. People who are anemic tend to feel cold because they can’t transport enough oxygen to their tissues, so their “fire” is low.
Your blood plasma (Rasa) carries food and nutrients to your cells after digestion has finished. Since rasa is full of nutrients, it is known as the essence or juice of the organism. It also acts as the protector, containing white blood cells and antibodies. Rasa also plays many other roles, including removal of waste from the body as it transports carbon dioxide to the lungs and other waste products to the kidney.
Rasa is soothing and nurturing. It is mostly sweet but contains trace amounts of the other five tastes as well. Rakta, on the other hand, is hot, sharp, sour and penetrating.
Rasa, the blood plasma, becomes deficient if you are dehydrated from not taking in enough liquids or as a result of vomiting or diarrhea. Rasa is also imbalanced by sleeping too much, eating a diet that is excessively heavy or light, and by too little or too much electrolytes. Environmental and chemical toxins such as cleaning products, skin and hair care products, car emissions and air pollution will all pollute the plasma and blood.
Another main source of a blood imbalance is phlegm from improperly digested food.Phlegm accumulates in the GI tract, and can build up to such levels they eventually spill out into the bloodstream and circulate throughout the entire body. Phlegm can cause an array of disorders, including a variety of blood imbalances.
Blood & Emotions
In traditional medicine, emotions are related to the blood’s condition. If blood is too cold, the person will be passionless. If the blood has toxins in it, emotions will be easily triggered and out of proportion to circumstances. When the blood is out of balance, the sensitive cells of the nervous system, and your emotions, will go haywire.
When balanced, the passions are directed towards their proper goal. A person will desire what is good for them, and the strength of emotions will be adequate but not overbearing. Balanced blood brings balanced emotions. Balanced emotions show the meaning of events, without undermining reason or ability to think.
Blood not only affects emotions, but emotions affect the blood. If a person is betrayed, or circumstances trigger strong emotions, a flood of hormones will be released into the blood. Rakta will “heat up” with anger, or “cool down” with depression.