Literally, dosha means one that vitiates (spoils) while in visham sthiti (abnormal state). As stated earlier, vata dosha, pitta dosha and kapha dosha are the three dosha of the sharir. These dosha control the physiology of body.
Apart from these, raja and tama are the dosha of the mana (psyche).
Dosha also determine the types of diseases. Therefore, to cure any disease and restore health, one has to mitigate the vitiated dosha.
The word 'vata' originates from 'va gati gandhanayo dhatu'. Simply put, gati means movement. Thus, vata (the motivating factor here) can be interpreted as either one that moves constantly or one that controls movement. The Akasha <> and Vayu <> mahabhoota dominate vata dosha.
Rasa (taste) plays a key role in ayurvedic therapy as it affects the state of equilibrium of dosha. Ayurved categorises rasa into six types: madhura, amla, lavana, tikta, katu and kashaya. While the former three alleviate vata dosha, the latter three aggravate it
The word 'pitta' originates from 'tap', meaning santap (heat or thermal). Therefore, anything that is responsible for the heat in the body is called 'pitta'. Pitta deals with biotransformation. In other words, it controls and regulates all the metabolic activities in the body. It is also responsible for all the changes that take place from digestion to the release of energy (important: pitta should not be confused with bile).
Agni mahabhoota is dominant in pitta dosha.
'Kapha' means 'one that originates from jala (water)'. Kapha is also called shleshma (from 'shlish', meaning 'to cling'). Thus, kapha contains shleshana (clinging) property and jala mahabhoota (water). Its main functions in the body are to bind and to lubricate, thereby providing bala (strength). The pruthwi and jala mahabhoota dominate kapha dosha