Malas are the waste products produced in the body of living things. Ayurveda lists two main types of malas:
Ahara mala (waste from food): Ahara mala includes purisha (feces), mutra (urine), and sveda (sweat)
Dhatu mala (waste from cells and tissues): Dhatu mala includes secretions from nose, eyes, ears, and elements like hair, nails, carbon dioxide, lactic acid and nails
The malas are also composed of the panchamahabhootas (the five principle elements of nature). All malas serve certain purposes before the body expels them. The skin, before shedding, guards the body tissues from infection. Hair, before expulsion from the body, helps regulating body heat. Sweat maintains body temperature and urine gets rid of toxic wastes from blood. The right balance of elements in the body ensures that the malas function normally.
Impact of malfunctioning Malas
An imbalance of the elements in the body causes abnormality in quality or quantity of the malas, thus leading to diseases. For example:
An increase in Purisha (feces), composed mainly of the element bhoomi (earth), causes abdominal unrest. Any decrease in Purisha can lead to bloating, abdominal pain, back pain, asthma, hypocalcaemia etc.
Mutra or urine is composed mainly of jal (water) and agni (fire). Any increase can cause infections to urinary tract and bladder dysfunction. Reduced urine production can cause kidney stones.
Sveda or sweat is composed mainly of jal (water). Increased sweating can cause dehydration, lowered body temperature, fungus attack on skin, body odour etc. Decreased sweating can lead to dry skin and high body temperature.