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Concept of Nabhi – A Review Study

Authors:
  • P D Patel Ayurved hospital, Nadiad, Gujarat, India

Abstract

The central point of body in between Amashaya (location of undigested food) and Pakvashaya (location of digested food) is termed as Nabhi. In classical texts of Ayurveda; scattered references regarding Nabhi are available like Nabhi is mentioned as a vital spot (Marma) of body. Nabhi is also included among the fifteen Koshthangas of body. In Sharirasthana of Sushruta Samhita; Acharya Sushruta mentioned that Sira and Dhamani are originated from Nabhi. Acharya Vagbhatta has quoted Nabhi as a dominant place of Pitta Dosha. Nabhi is an abode of Pranas (vital energy). Available literature and commentary on Nabhi interprets it as a Navel but practically it doesn’t make a sense to stick with this interpretation. Therefore; it is need to review classical texts of Ayurveda and contemporary literature to get clear and unambiguous meaning of the word “Nabhi” now a day. After thoroughly reading and interpreting the literature available regarding Nabhi; core of physiological process would be considered by the term Nabhi.
ISSN: 2456-3110 REVIEW ARTICLE
July-Aug 2017
Journal of Ayurveda and Integrated Medical Sciences | July - Aug 2017 | Vol. 2 | Issue 4
186
Concept of Nabhi – A Review Study
Kishor G. Satani,
1
Hemang U. Raghavani,
2
Kunjal H. Bhatt
3
1
Associate Professor, Dept of Samhita and Siddhanta,
2
Assistant professor, Dept of Panchakarma,
3
Assistant
Professor, Dept of Shalakya Tantra, J. S. Ayurveda College, Nadiad, Gujarat, India.
I
NTRODUCTION
Ayurveda; science of life has focused firstly on
preventive aspect rather than curative one in
compare to other systems of medicine. Through the
aims and objectives of Ayurveda; one can perceive its
holistic approach in service to any living being. In spite
of having oldest stream of living being and medicine;
Ayurveda doesn’t get its original identity in compare
to other systems of healthcare available now a day. So
many causes may be there but one of the leading
cause for that knowingly or unknowingly scholars and
experts of Ayurveda under the influence of modern
systems of medicine always interpret or correlate the
terms of Ayurveda with modern terms. Unless a
Address for correspondence:
Dr. Kishor G. Satani
Associate Professor, Dept of Samhita and Siddhanta,
J. S. Ayurveda College, Nadiad, Gujarat, India.
E-mail: kishorsatani@gmail.com
Submission Date : 07/08/2017 Accepted Date: 28/08/2017
Access this article online
Quick Response Code
Website: www.jaims.in
DOI: 10.21760/jaims.v2i4.9350
person would not have complete knowledge of that
term he cannot become able to interpret the term
accordingly just like ‘Nabhi’.
By the word ‘Nabhi’ in Ayurveda; a central part of
body or Navel is being translated or interpreted.
[1]
Scattered references available in classical texts of
Ayurveda about Nabhi do not fit with this
interpretation. For an example; Acharya Sushruta has
included Nabhi among fifteen types of Koshthangas.
[2]
As per the etymology of Koshtha available in
Amarakosha; Koshtha is a gate between two media
where transformation process continues to maintain
the homeostasis of body.
[3]
E.g. In Yakrit, Pliha,
Amashaya, Vrikka etc. fifteen Koshthangas almost all
types of raw materials are converted in to final
product diurnally. Hence, Navel which is made from
dense fibrous tissue doesn’t fit with Koshthanga
Nabhi’ at this place.
In Sushruta Samhita; Nabhi is highlighted as origin
place of Sira
[4]
and Dhamani.
[5]
On dissecting the Navel
of any person we couldn’t find as such vessels at that
place. Anatomical description of Nabhi mentioned by
Acharya Sushruta in Sharirasthana reveals Nabhi as a
center for reticulation similar to that of the spokes of
a wheel.
[6]
Again here; Navel somehow mismatches
with the correlation made for Nabhi.
A B S T R A C T
The central point of body in between Amashaya (location of undigested food) and Pakvashaya
(location of digested food) is termed as Nabhi. In classical texts of Ayurveda; scattered references
regarding Nabhi are available like Nabhi is mentioned as a vital spot (Marma) of body. Nabhi is also
included among the fifteen Koshthangas of body. In Sharirasthana of Sushruta Samhita; Acharya
Sushruta mentioned that Sira and Dhamani are originated from Nabhi. Acharya Vagbhatta has quoted
Nabhi as a dominant place of Pitta Dosha. Nabhi is an abode of Pranas (vital energy). Available
literature and commentary on Nabhi interprets it as a Navel but practically it doesn’t make a sense to
stick with this interpretation. Therefore; it is need to review classical texts of Ayurveda and
contemporary literature to get clear and unambiguous meaning of the word Nabhinow a day. After
thoroughly reading and interpreting the literature available regarding Nabhi; core of physiological
process would be considered by the term Nabhi.
Key words: Nabhi, Marma, Kosthanga.
Kishor G. Satani et.al. Concept of Nabhi – A Review Study
ISSN: 2456-3110 REVIEW ARTICLE
July-Aug 2017
Journal of Ayurveda and Integrated Medical Sciences | July - Aug 2017 | Vol. 2 | Issue 4
187
All the above references force us to draw out the
perfect, clear and unambiguous meaning of the word
Nabhi”. To get the knowledge of different aspect of
any word one should start with etymology, definition,
contemporary views, applicability of different aspect
related to the word.
Etymology of Nabhi
The term is derived from words 'Nah - Bandhe'.
[7]
It
means to bind or tie to the central point just like the
spokes of wheel held at the nave.
Definition
A binding or connecting media of scattredly available
structural parts of body is known as Nabhi.
[8]
Location of Nabhi is mentioned in between Amashaya
(substratum for undigested food) and Pakvashaya
(substratum for digested food).
[9]
M
ATERIALS AND
M
ETHODS
The present study depends on the data collected from
the classical texts of Ayurveda and modern books,
national and international journals, magazines,
conferences, internet materials, critically evaluated
and important information will be sought to approach
the objectives scientifically.
D
ISCUSSION
Due to blind persuasion of methodology of modern
system of healthcare to interpret any word or concept
of Ayurveda; suitable and clear meaning of most of
the fundamental principles or technical terms had not
been perceived by the scholars of Ayurveda. Hence;
not only new comers but scholars of Ayurveda had
suffered with many hurdles to get the exact and
complete aspect of any terms of Ayurveda since few
centuries.
A scattered description about Nabhi is available in
Ayurvedic literature but due to lack of correlative
interpretation and applied aspect of Nabhi with latest
up to date modern parameters; Ayurvedists do not
have confirmative knowledge and applicability of
concept of Nabhi. The advancing age of information
technology demands the classical ancient Ayurveda to
be communicated as well as interpreted in term of
existing knowledge for international debate. An effort
has been made by author to touch the overall aspect
of Nabhi through variable references of classical texts
of Ayurveda.
Anatomical point of view
Nabhi as a Navel
Nabhi is taken as a center of gravitational force in the
body. During the pregnancy period the foetal
movement occurs through this center. Generally;
Nabhi is considered as a superficial regional landmark
to describe the sites of various organs like Grahani is
situated on Nabhi, Pakvashaya at lower side of it.
[10]
Amashaya is situated in between Nabhi and Stana.
[11]
Nabhi is made of dense fibrous tissue. Its position is
variable. In healthy adults, it lays in anterior median
line at the level of disc between L
3
and L
4
vertebrae. It
is lower in infants and in persons with pendulous
abdomen. Nabhi is lying midway between the
suprasternal notch and symphysis pubis.
[12]
A cord which is attached with navel of baby and on
other side with placenta of mother is known as
Umbilical cord (Nabhinadi). Hence; Nabhi is avowed
as the Dharani i.e foundation, truly umbilicus is the
base of your body and during foetal life it is the
support of survival for foetus. Regarding the
describing the signs indicating the elongated life of
baby; Acharya Charaka mentioned that the baby
having right curved Navel would get elongated life.
[13]
Nabhi has relevance as a vital spot (Marma) and
According to the classical descriptions it is not clear
that the 4 angula size of Nabhi Marma is in terms of
length, breadth or depth. As observed in the cadaveric
dissection, the 4 Angula circumference and depth
around the umbilicus have more relevance.
[14]
Leonardo’s illustration of the theory of Vitruvius is a
pen ink drawing of a male figure whose outstretched
limbs touch the circumference of a circle and the edge
of a square. The navel is the centre of the circle in this
drawing of the Vitruvian Man by Leonardo da Vinci.
[15]
Kishor G. Satani et.al. Concept of Nabhi – A Review Study
ISSN: 2456-3110 REVIEW ARTICLE
July-Aug 2017
Journal of Ayurveda and Integrated Medical Sciences | July - Aug 2017 | Vol. 2 | Issue 4
188
Nabhi as a center of arterioles and venules - capillary
According to Acharya Sushruta; Nabhi is the site of
origin of both Dhamani and Sira. There are 700 Sira
[16]
and 24 Dhamani
[17]
are there in our body. They
originate from the Nabhi and moves in the three
directions - i.e. upwards, downwards and transverse.
In cadaveric dissection of umbilicus there are not any
such types of vessels available at that place. So, as per
the description of above mentioned stanzas through
Nabhi one can assume a media which connects both
the vessels i.e. Sira and Dhamani. In early stage of
pregnancy at the reticular structures of venules and
arterioles are been connected by capillaries which
seems more appropriate with the examples narrated
by Acharya Sushruta.
Capillaries are the smallest type of blood vessel in the
body. They are only one cell thick and their job is to
enable the exchange of oxygen and other nutrients
between the blood and surrounding tissues; they also
collect carbon dioxide waste materials and fluids for
return to the veins. They connect the tiny muscular
branches of arteries, called arterioles, with tiny veins.
Ultimately, the capillary is the site of internal or
cellular respiration and is responsible for the
utilization of oxygen by the tissue and the
transporting of carbon dioxide as waste to the veins
for elimination by the lungs. The arterial blood system
branches extensively to deliver blood to over a billion
capillaries in the body. One place where they can be
easily seen from the outside is on the whites of the
eyes.
[18]
Capillaries are found in every square inch of
the body, from the skin to the deepest tissues in the
body's cavities. There are between 60,000 to 100,000
miles of blood vessels stretching throughout the
human body, depending on the size and weight of the
person, and most of these are capillaries.
In Charaka Samhita; Nabhi is included among the
fifteen types of Kosthangas. As per the discussion
made at introductory portion Koshtha is one type of
media or door to transform the foreign body in to
material homologous to body. Navel or umbilicus
doesn’t perform such types of activity but capillaries
can do as they are supplying the oxygenated blood to
the respective cells as well as they are collecting the
deoxygenated blood and pass it to venules. During
this procedure the supplying and collecting materials
are converted in the finished materials through the
energy available in capillaries.
[19]
That is the reason for
mentioning the Nabhi as a dominant place of Pitta in
Ashtang Hridaya Sutrasthana.
[20]
Twelve types of Prana (Vital energy) of an oraganism
are located at Nabhi as per the reference of Sushruta
Sharirastana seventh chapter.
[21]
Being as one of the Sira Marma any kinds of injury
over Nabhi may lead to sudden death of the person.
By accepting Nabhi as cappilaries it can easily be
understood that Rakta is mentioned as one of the
Pranas and bleeding from plexus of an organism may
lead to hamper the functional integrity of different
mechanism of an organism.
Anatomical description of Nabhi as mentioned in this
stanza also resembles with capillaries of body. Nabhi
having the center for reticulation like spokes of a
wheel become center for the radiating venules and
arterioules.
Physiological point of view
Nabhi being as a center of Agni; or a dominant place
of Pitta with the help of Samana Vayu located at
Nabhi perform the process of digestion through
Grahana (consumption / selection), Pachana
(conversion), Vivechana (separation) and Munchana
(give up for next stage).
[22]
Acharya Sharangdhara has narrated beautifully the
normal physiology of respiration but by accepting
Nabhi as umbilicus it seems difficult to get the
practical applicability of the procedure mentioned in
it. Nabhistha Prana means deoxygenated blood
available in capillaries; converted into oxygenated
Kishor G. Satani et.al. Concept of Nabhi – A Review Study
ISSN: 2456-3110 REVIEW ARTICLE
July-Aug 2017
Journal of Ayurveda and Integrated Medical Sciences | July - Aug 2017 | Vol. 2 | Issue 4
189
blood after connecting through Hrat Kamalantaram
means lungs.
[23]
Same way; mode of action of Basti described in the
definition of Basti would be understood by Vaidya by
accepting Nabhi as capillaries. By entering and oiling
into central part, surrounding part and lateral part of
Kukshi; Basti expels out the vitiated Doshas and Malas
outside the body.
[24]
Capillaries available at small and
large intestines absorb the medicated oil or decoction
on administration of Basti and that is the reason
behind the efficacy of Basti is observed on all over the
body.
Pathological point of view
Samana Vayu is located at Svedavahi (Mala carrier),
Doshavahi (bio-energies carrier) and Ambuvahi
(nutrient carrier) Srotas which are mainly related with
the process of digestion carried out in all over
body.
[25]
In Udararoga; due to obstruction of above
Srotas which are mainly dealt with capillaries Vata
Dosha provokes and it vitiates Agni; hence, Agni
situated in capillaries cannot perform it’s Grahana,
Pachana, Vivechana and Munchana Karma properly
and that is the reason to increase the permeability of
capillaries and exudation of fluid from them.
[26]
In Jatodak Avastha of Jalodara (ascites) accumulation
of fluid in peritoneum occurs due to the Parivritta
Nabhi.
[27]
Parivritta Nabhi indicates the angiogenesis
of capillaries or due to increasing the permeability of
capillaries oozing of free fluid from them. In Sotha
(oedema) also involvement of Nabhi can be assume
due to increasing the permeability of capillaries intra
cellular fluid oozes from them.
Vak Pravritti, Prayatna, Urja, Bala and Varna etc.
Karmas are mainly related with the conversation of
potential energy in to kinetic energy through
capillaries which is carried out by Udana Vayu with
the help of Koshtha.
[28]
Hence, Nabhi is indicated as
one of the places of Udana Vayu.
C
ONCLUSION
To get the appropriate meaning of any word of stanza
one should not stick to any single interpretation but
Shabdartha, Gudhartha and Bhavartha should be
accepted as per context of that particular Stanza. As
per the discussion made over indicates that Nabhi as a
navel only doesn’t reflect its overall aspect but one
should also accept reticular bed formed by capillaries
as a Nabhi. More over Bhavartha of the word Nabhi
as a center part of any physiological process seems
more authentic aspect of it as per the description
made by authors of classical texts of Ayurveda. In
nutshell; three types of meaning of the word Nabhi
alike; Shabdartha - Nabhi as a Navel, Gudhartha -
Nabhi as Capillaries, Bhavartha - Nabhi as core of any
physiological process.
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Kishor G. Satani et.al. Concept of Nabhi – A Review Study
ISSN: 2456-3110 REVIEW ARTICLE
July-Aug 2017
Journal of Ayurveda and Integrated Medical Sciences | July - Aug 2017 | Vol. 2 | Issue 4
190
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******************************
How to cite this article:
Kishor G. Satani, Hemang U.
Raghvani, Kunjal H. Bhatt. Concept of Nabhi - A Review
Study. J Ayurveda Integr Med Sci 2017;4:186-190.
http://dx.doi.org/10.21760/jaims.v2i4.9350
Source of Support: Nil, Conflict of Interest: None
declared.
ResearchGate has not been able to resolve any citations for this publication.
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Nabhi Marma-An Embryological and Anatomical Focus
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