Kapha comes from two Sanskrit words, Ka meaning Water and Pha meaning to flourish – that which is flourished by Water. Kapha’s nature is also Earth, so Earth and Water give Kapha its definitive qualities. Kapha comprises all our cells, tissues and organs. Kapha makes things stick together and form mass, it is the physical infrastructure of the body, responsible for stability, solidity, sturdiness, lubrication of joints, strong muscles and bones, cellular secretions and memory retention are all part of Kapha’s function.

Kapha is characterized by growth of tissue. Hence it is anabolic. Kapha people tend to produce more mucus and fat, and retain more fluids. Kapha’s best senses are taste and smell.

Water and Earth elements give Kapha the universal attributes of Heavy, Slow, Cold, Oily, Liquid, Slimy, Dense, Soft, Static, Sticky, Cloudy, Hard, and Gross. It is associated with the white color.

Times of increased Kapha:

  1. Between 6:00 – 10:00 A.M.
  2. Between 18:00 – 22:00 P.M.
  3. Morning, a common time for phlegm, vagueness, heaviness and a sticky sensation in the mouth.
  4. Winter
  5. Full moon.
  6. Infants and childhood – children have a supple structure, the muscles are tender and the skin is fairly oily. They easily develop excess dampness. Kapha Dosha naturally decreases with age.

Primary seats of Kapha in the body:

  1. Head.
  2. Sinuses.
  3. Nose.
  4. Mouth.
  5. Throat.
  6. Chest.
  7. Lungs.
  8. Stomach.
  9. Joints.
  10. Lymph system.

Sense organ related to Kapha:

  1. Smell – related to Earth element.
  2. Taste – related to Water element.

Tastes That Increase and Decrease Kapha

Along with the main qualities of Kapha, it is also helpful to know those tastes that increase or decrease Kapha.

Sweet, sour, and salty tastes increase Kapha by increasing bulk and moisture in the body and mind, and by perpetuating the qualities of Kapha. An example of the naturally sweet taste is wheat; of sour: a pickle; of salty: salt.

The pungent, bitter, and astringent tastes traditionally decrease Kapha by drying the body and providing the opposite qualities to those of Kapha. An example of the pungent taste is chili pepper; of bitter and astringent (which are often coupled): many leafy greens and many herbs.

Signs of increased (excess)Kapha Dosha:

Weak digestion

Phlegm formation and congestion




Lack of motivation




Hay fever

Respiratory infections and difficult breathing

Slow to change

Difficulty learning but good memory

Food cravings





High cholesterol


Excess mucous

Thick, white tongue coat

Slow, sticky, sluggish bowel movements

High body weight

Difficulty rising in the morning

Feeling slow, foggy, dull, lethargic or heavy

Easily attached or possessive

Overly sentimental

Complacent or stubborn

Tendency for “emotional overeating”

Signs of decreased (deficient) Kapha Dosha:


A feeling of emptiness and floating

Pronounced heart beats

Joint stiffness

Exaggerated Physical attributes of Kapha characters:

Kapha persons have a strong, dense, wide and possibly large body frame, large eyes, strong teeth and thick hair. They have thick, smooth, oily and hairy skin. Kapha people have a steady appetite and thirst, but tend to have a slow digestion and metabolism. These characteristics often result in weight gain, which Kapha people may find difficult to lose.


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