Majja Dhatu: The Nerves and Bone Marrow

Majja Dhatu: The Nerves and Bone Marrow

Ayurveda recognizes seven tissue layers known as the dhatus, which work together in harmony to create our physical structure and support our overall state of health and well-being. The sixth tissue in this system, after rasa, rakta, mamsa, meda, and ashti, is known as majja dhatu.

Majja Dhatu: To Feel and Respond

The word “majja” means marrow, and refers to the soft organic material that fills the cavities of the bones that carries our RNA and DNA—our genetic code. 

Our nerves are encased within the bone marrow and communicate our genetic code to all the cells of the body. 

These communications are done through electrical impulses and help to keep all of our many parts working together. 

We have two types of cells that make up the nervous system's primary functions: 

  • Neurons are made of gray matter and transmit and receive electrical impulses from the cells.

  • Glial cells are made of white matter and support the function of neurons from brain to spinal cord.

The nervous system process keeps the mind and body working together as a team. It allows us to recognize sensations, such as “I can smell that” or “this is my arm,” and respond appropriately.

It also gives us the ability to learn new information, remember things, and develop a knowledge base. It links us to the twelve cranial nerves behind the eyes, which govern all of our sensory and motor organ functions. 

Majja also nourishes the limbic brain where we store all of our memories and emotions.

Connection to the 13 Natural Urges

The nerves are intimately connected to our thirteen natural urges—to breathe, eat, drink, defecate, urinate, cry, belch, pass gas, sleep, sneeze, vomit, yawn, and orgasm. 

The mind-body connection created by the nervous system allows us to respond to these urges, bringing us contentment and relief. 

Many of the natural urges that are considered socially unacceptable in our society—like passing gas—are accepted in other cultures. This is because it's more readily acknowledged that these urges are, well, natural. 

Ayurveda agrees with this, believing these natural urges need to be expressed if we are to maintain optimal health, rather than being withheld or used in excess. 

For example, if you hold in your stool because you are in a public environment, it is the opposite of the natural urge that is necessary to feel content. Eventually, this pattern gets stored in the psyche and creates a feeling of public shame, not to mention intestinal discomfort. 

The nervous system communicates loudly through pain, feelings, and sensations. 

Often, these experiences become the symptoms that we are just not sure what to do with or don't know how to change. Therefore, expressing our natural urges helps to keep our mind and body balanced. 


woman meditating on bed

Nurturing a Healthy Nervous System

In the Ayurvedic view of the dhatus, the lymph, blood, muscles, skin, and bone layers are all key to nourishing a healthy nervous system. The first gateway to nerve health is through lymphatic flow, which feeds nutrients to the nerves and protects our genetic code within the bone marrow.

When the nervous system is healthy and well, our entire system is able to feel and respond to our environment efficiently and we can translate thoughts into action with ease. We are more capable of sleeping soundly through the night and have a greater chance of remembering our dreams.

Emotionally, we are readily able to handle stress and can easily turn negative thoughts into positive ones. 

We have an increased capacity to connect to a witness consciousness, we take things less personally, and feel generally comfortable and relaxed in our surroundings. 

So how do we get there? The nervous system thrives when it is grounded, nourished, and supported. The following tips are great for all doshas—vata, pitta, and kapha. 

  • Palmarosa essential oil: Rub four drops on your feet up to twice a day.

  • Tend your sleep: Go to bed by 10 or 11 p.m. and wake up by 7.

  • Protect your evenings: Avoid screens and intense conversations or processing after 8 p.m.

  • Relax: Take a bath, rest, meditate, or breathe when you're feeling stressed.

  • Hydrate: Drink plenty of water and take electrolytes throughout the day.

  • Non-GMO lecithin powder: This supplement rebuilds the myelin sheath around the nerves. Take one tablespoon with food or blended with yogurt, juice, or a smoothie. 

In addition, here are tips for recognizing the signs of imbalanced doshas in majja dhatu and supporting greater balance.

Vata in Majja Dhatu

Signs of Excess Vata: 

Sensations of numbness or tingling, shakiness in the limbs, feelings of panic, phobias, restless sleep, random thoughts, sensitivity to sound, prone to sensory overload.

Finding Balance:

Abhyanga: Use Ashwaganda Bala Oil for a grounding self-massage, known as abhyanga in Ayurveda.

Nutrition: Favor warm and grounding foods, including broths, root veggies, and runny egg yolks.

Herbal Support: Nutritive and calming herbs—bala, licorice, ashwaganda, Chyavanprash.

Pitta in Majja Dhatu

Signs of Excess Pitta: 

Burning or sharp sensations, excess heat, analytical or obsessive thoughts, irrationality, sensitivity to light, tendency to focus on perfection.

Finding Balance:

Abhyanga: Use Neem Oil for a calming and relaxing effect.

Nutrition: Enjoy cooling and nourishing foods, including milk, runny egg yolks, and ghee.

Herbal Support: Cooling and nourishing herbs—aloe vera juice, gotu kola, shatavari, triphala.

Kapha in Majja Dhatu

Signs of Excess Kapha: 

Emotional heaviness, stagnation, dull sensations, occasional fatigue, feelings of disconnection from society, excess sleep, sensitivity to change as well as taste and smell.

Finding Balance:

Abhyanga: Give yourself an invigorating massage with Mahanarayan Oil.

Nutrition: Favor light and cleansing foods, such as leafy greens, veggie broths, and spices.

Herbal Support: Motivating and activating herbs—bhringaraj, bilva, tulsi, sitopaladi.

About the Author

DeAnna Batdorff, AP

DeAnna Batdorff is an Ayurvedic Practitioner and “Renegade Health Detective” with over 30 years of experience, who has supported more than 250,000 individuals on...

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