Every substance in the universe is identified by a particular quality. Similarly, to understand the terminologies in Ayurveda, we need to be familiar with the following qualities. These qualities are present in all substances made of Pancha-Mahabhuta including the food, drugs and body tissues.
|Guru (Heavy)||Laghu (Light)|
|Manda (Slow)||Tikshna (Sharp)|
|Seeta (Cold)||Ushna (Hot)|
|Snigdha (Moist)||Rooksha (Dry)|
|Slakshna (Smooth)||Khara (Rough)|
|Sandra (Thick/Solid)||Drava (Liquid)|
|Mrdu (Soft)||Katina (Hard)|
|Sthira (Stable)||Sara (Flowing)|
|Sukshma (Subtle)||Sthula (Gross/bulky)|
|Visada (Non-Slimy)||Pichchila (Slimy)|
The above-mentioned qualities are called Gunas. They occur in 10 pairs and they have qualities that are opposite to each other.
For Example; Drugs and diets having Guru guna increase the heaviness of tissues and body while the laghu guna decrease the heaviness.
We can infer the symptoms of a disease from the increase or decrease in a guna and treatment is directed towards bringing the deranged guna to its normal state. So,Gunas are tools for the assessment of symptoms and for deciding drugs and treatment of disorders.
(Ref: Ashtanga Hridaya)