The practice of Ayurveda, the traditional medicine of India, is based on the concept of three major constitutional types (Vata, Pitta and Kapha) defined as “Prakriti”. To the best of our knowledge, no study has convincingly correlated genomic variations with the classification ofPrakriti. In the present study, we performed genome-wide SNP (single nucleotide polymorphism) analysis (Affymetrix, 6.0) of 262 well-classified male individuals (after screening 3416 subjects) belonging to three Prakritis. We found 52 SNPs (p ≤ 1 × 10−5) were significantly different between Prakritis, without any confounding effect of stratification, after 106 permutations. Principal component analysis (PCA) of these SNPs classified 262 individuals into their respective groups (Vata, Pitta and Kapha) irrespective of their ancestry, which represent its power in categorization. We further validated our finding with 297 Indian population samples with known ancestry. Subsequently, we found that PGM1 correlates with phenotype of Pitta as described in the ancient text of Caraka Samhita, suggesting that the phenotypic classification of India’s traditional medicine has a genetic basis; and itsPrakriti-based practice in vogue for many centuries resonates with personalized medicine.

Year : 2014  |  Volume : 5  |  Issue : 3  |  Page : 167-175 
Determinants of Prakriti, the Human Constitution Types of Indian Traditional Medicine and its Correlation with Contemporary Science

1 Division of Biotechnology, School of Life Sciences, Manipal University, Manipal, Karnataka, India,
2 Department of Shalyatantra/Roganidana, Shri Dharmasthala Manjunatheshwara College of Ayurveda, Udupi, Karnataka, India,
3 Department of Biotechnology, Sinhgad College of Engineering, University of Pune, Pune, Maharashtra, India,
4 Centre for Clinical Research, Foundation for Revitalization of Local Health Traditions, Bangalore, Karnataka, India,
5 Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology, Hyderabad, Andhra Pradesh, India,
6 Institute of Vet. Pharmacology and Toxicology, University of Zürich, Switzerland, and Centre for Clinical Research, Institute of Ayurveda and Integrative Medicine, Bangalore, Karnataka, India,
7 Department of Molecular Reproduction, Development and Genetics, Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore, Karnataka, India,
8 Department of Statistics, Manipal University, Manipal, Karnataka, India,
9 Interdisciplinary School of Health Sciences, University of Pune, Pune, Maharashtra, India, 
Date of Submission29-Nov-2013
Date of Decision18-Jan-2014
Date of Acceptance27-Jan-2014
Date of Web Publication9-Sep-2014
Correspondence Address:
Kapaettu Satyamoorthy
School of Life Sciences, Manipal University, Manipal - 576 104, Karnataka, India

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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None
PMC citations2

DOI: 10.4103/0975-9476.140478
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Background: Constitutional type of an individual or prakriti is the basic clinical denominator in Ayurveda, which defines physical, physiological, and psychological traits of an individual and is the template for individualized diet, lifestyle counseling, and treatment. The large number of phenotype description by prakriti determination is based on the knowledge and experience of the assessor, and hence subject to inherent variations and interpretations. Objective: In this study we have attempted to relate dominant prakriti attribute to body mass index (BMI) of individuals by assessing an acceptable tool to provide the quantitative measure to the currently qualitative ayurvedic prakritidetermination. Materials and Methods: The study is cross sectional, multicentered, and prakriti assessment of a total of 3416 subjects was undertaken. Healthy male, nonsmoking, nonalcoholic volunteers between the age group of 20-30 were screened for their prakriti after obtaining written consent to participate in the study. The prakriti was determined on the phenotype description of ayurvedic texts and simultaneously by the use of a computer-aided prakriti assessment tool. Kappa statistical analysis was employed to validate the prakritiassessment and Chi-square, Cramer's V test to determine the relatedness in the dominant prakriti to various attributes. Results: We found 80% concordance between ayurvedic physician and software in predicting the prakriti of an individual. The kappa value of 0.77 showed moderate agreement in prakriti assessment. We observed a significant correlations of dominant prakriti to place of birth and BMI with Chi-square, P < 0.01 (Cramer's V-value of 0.156 and 0.368, respectively). Conclusion: The present study attempts to integrate knowledge of traditional ayurvedic concepts with the contemporary science. We have demonstrated analysis of prakriti classification and its association with BMI and place of birth with the implications to one of the ways for human classification.