What Does Mining the Dhatus Mean?

First, what is a dhatu? A dhatu is not an island off the continent of South America, lost in the fog over the ocean between Ecuador and the Galapagos. It is not one of the cute sun hats worn by little kids in a playground south of the center of Patzcuaro, Mexico, playing under their parents’ loving gaze. It is not a brightly colored bug quietly crawling across the border into Khazakstan, unbeknownst to any human. Dhatu is Sanskrit for an essential tissue in Ayurveda, tissues we need for our life and well being. I use the term “mining the dhatus” to mean using up physical resources we can’t afford to give away.

These vital tissues include plasma/serum/lymph, blood cells, muscles, fat, bone, nerves/marrow/fascia, and reproductive tissue. If we nourish all these well, they can function smoothly for a long while; this is the intention. If we starve them, or neglect them, they are more prone to breakdown (aka mining the dhatus). Since most of us aren’t even aware of their existence, it’s easy to ignore them – until we run into troubles.

It’s popular these days to try to prove we’re very macha or macho. Some of this is because we genuinely love to exert ourselves with physical exercise or what not. Some may be related to proving to ourselves or those around us that we really are healthy and with it. A poignant example arose in a novel I was reading recently. (I’ve been on a roll since last September, reading one South Asian novel after another, often by women authors. It has been most nourishing. I guess it’s been my way to get out of Dodge, so to speak. Thank you, blessed sisters!) Be that as it may, reading a passage in this one current book that took place in the US, I thought, “they’re mining their dhatus!” What was happening? One of the young protagonists, approaching 30, was dealing with the miserable reality of a brain tumor. His partner was working hard to be supportive and loving. They were living on the coast of California. He has just had an intense medical procedure that involved screws being inserted into his skull as part of the process. His team of doctors had generously okayed him to go camping five days later in the Big Sur area, a most kind and healing forested place in nature. So the young people go with a whole crew of their friends for the weekend. They take a gentle 5-mile hike into the wilderness the first day. Is a 5-mile hike an appropriate activity for a 20-something? Sure, could be. Yet under these conditions? What do you think? I call it mining the dhatus, taking reserves we can’t afford to give away.

This is an extreme fictional example (with thanks to Falguni Kothari), yet she’s simply communicating what we do here on diverse parts of the planet routinely. Many of us do similarly flavored things frequently. Just one more cup of coffee, just one or two or three more drinks or smokes, no time for lunch today, no problem. (Lunch: it’s the protection.) If I could have been an aging female relative in the novel who stumbles on the protagonists as they get out of their cars at Big Sur, I might have said to the guy, “Here, rest in the shade here with your sweetie, hug and snuggle. Let me get you an Easy Healing Drink…let the others go off on their hike.” (And I could send some Easy Healing Drinks with them for stamina, too.) How would I have gotten him the five miles into that peaceful place? Maybe over a number of days? These are the questions: how can we do the things that speak to us without having them kill us, literally or figuratively?

Ayurveda has become well-known for its ability to resolve challenges that other systems of healing might miss – digestive issues, nerve support, chronic disease. Many people are now familiar with the doshas, Vata, Pitta and Kapha. Yet most of us act like the dhatus don’t exist, like we can miraculously rejuvenate deep tissues like bone or marrow in the blink of an eye or with the swallow of a pill. It takes 40 days to fully nourish all seven dhatus just once. Panchakarma (the five cleansing actions) is a revered healing adventure that more of us are using to work with these tissues. Yet how many of us think to nourish our dhatus on a regular basis?

It’s a primary reason why I wrote this new book that’s just been released, Easy Healing Drinks from the Wisdom of Ayurveda. If we know something vital and alive and beautiful exists, we can choose to protect it. (Bear’s Ears National Monument, for example, thank you Patagonia.) Nourishing our plasma, rasa in Sanskrit, is the first step to taking care of all our precious dhatus. Each dhatu needs a little bit different nourishment to stay well and strong.

In Easy Healing Drinks, each recipe lets you know what doshas it balances and what are its specific health effects. Each recipe also details what dhatus/tissues are nourished. For example, Hibiscus Sun Cooler, a great beverage from Renee Lynn, supports plasma, blood, muscle, heart, nerves and marrow, and more…It clears heat and toxins from the blood, perfect for this time of year. It tastes delicious. It’s easy to make.

Join us for Hibiscus Sun Cooler, Lavender Rose Lemonade (depicted here), Internet Recovery Tea, and Cooling Coconut Green Drink this Sunday in Santa Fe as we offer our Mother’s Day Book Launch, 2 – 5 pm MDT, at Agni Ayurveda, 1622 St. Michael’s Drive. Begin to restore those dhatus, those treasured tissues. One dollar of each book sold in Santa Fe on Mother’s Day will be donated to the Food Depot, our local food bank, for food support for kids. Win a free book while you celebrate with us – or win a free book during our FACEBOOK LIVE event the same afternoon.

Renee Lynn and I want to offer much appreciation to our whole book crew: Karen Bomm, Leslie Waltzer, Cynthia Bancale, Michele Schulz, Mary Neighbor, and Elizabeth Carovillano. Stand up and hear the joyous applause! You all are outstanding. Bravo to everyone who contributed to the book or who is supporting it with your purchase. You are the reason Easy Healing Drinks is #1 in New Releases on Amazon in its category right now. Bless you and thank you!

Amadea Morningstar, MA, RPE, RYT is an expert in Ayurvedic health care. She meets you where you are, and is available with respect, bringing over 40 professional years of experience, academic training and hands-on knowledge to her sessions and books. Sessions with Amadea include Western nutrition, Ayurvedic nutrition and herbalism, Polarity Therapy, Marma therapy, Integral yoga, and nature-based approaches. She and Renee Lynn are co-creators together of the Easy Healing Drinks series.

Lavender Rose Lemonade photograph by Renee Lynn