Kapha is a combination of the water and earth elements, with water as the primary element. The functions of Kapha are stability, energy, lubrication, wound healing, skin health, memory retention, and forgiveness. Kapha also maintains immunity and gives energy to the heart and lungs.

Kapha is responsible for protection and lubrication, providing the protective mucous lining of the stomach and synovial fluid in the joints. It represents softness in the body and compassion, groundedness, and security in the mind. Kapha provides strength and stamina, and longevity of cells. Cell longevity means a longer life can be enjoyed in those who nurture and balance Kapha.

Kapha manifests in the mind as caring, centeredness, patience, compassion, tenderness, stability, and support. Those with a Kapha constitution may take time to learn, but have an excellent memory once they have learned something. They have a steady and reliable mind and are usually content not to seek constant new mental stimulation.

Kapha Constitutional Characteristics

Body – Well-developed, tendency to carry excess weight, good muscle development

Skin – Soft, lustrous, pale, and oily, complexion is fair and bright

Hair – Plentiful, thick, wavy, lustrous, soft, and generally brown

Face – Large, rounded, and full

Neck – Solid, with a tree-trunk quality

Nose – Large and rounded

Eyes -Attractive and large, blue or dark brown in color

Mouth – Large with big, full lips

Teeth – Big and white, and set in strong gums


Key Qualities of Kapha

  • Heavy
  • Cold
  • Oily
  • Slow
  • Slimy
  • Dense
  • Soft
  • Static
  • Sweet

Factors that Increase Kapha

Optimal physical and psychological health requires that you maintain constitutional balance. Different internal and external factors can cause an imbalance, and is it best to restore balance as soon as possible. In order to do that, it is helpful to recognize factors that cause imbalance and act to avoid those factors and remove any excesses. Below is a list of factors that increase Kapha:

  • Exposure to cold
  • Sedatives and tranquilizers
  • Not exercising
  • Excessive water intake
  • Too much sleep
  • Doing nothing
  • Eating too much sweet food, meat, fats, dairy, or fried foods
  • Excessive use of salt
  • Taking naps after meals
  • Eating when full
  • Late winter and spring

Signs and Symptoms of Excess Kapha

The following can be an indication of a Kapha imbalance:

  • Water retention
  • Lethargy
  • Thick white coating on tongue
  • Sadness
  • Feeling possessive
  • Excess mucous
  • Weight gain
  • Sluggish bowel movements
  • Tendency to overeat

To decrease Kapha and bring the body into balance, employ Ayurvedic dietary, lifestyle, and herbal strategies.

Kapha-Balancing Diet

Diet is a key component of the Ayurvedic strategy for decreasing Kapha and balancing the body. Below are some guidelines for which foods to favor and which to avoid:


  • Apples, apricots, berries, cherries, cranberries, mango, pears, pomegranate
  • Pungent vegetables
  • Broccoli, beets, asparagus, cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, celery, eggplant, lettuce
  • Barley, corn, millet, oats (dry), rye (in small amounts)
  • Chicken or turkey (dark meat), eggs, rabbit, shrimp, venison
  • All legumes (except kidney beans, soybeans, lentils, and mung beans)
  • Sunflower and pumpkin seeds
  • Raw honey
  • Spices (except salt)
  • Ghee and goat milk
  • Almond, corn, or sunflower oil (in small amounts)


  • Most sweet and sour fruits
  • Banana, avocado, coconut, figs, grapefruit, grapes, lemon, papaya, pineapple
  • Sweet and juicy vegetables
  • Cucumber, sweet potatoes, tomatoes, zucchini
  • Oats (cooked), rice, wheat
  • Beef, lamb, pork, seafood
  • Kidney beans, soybeans, lentils, mung beans
  • Nuts
  • Seeds
  • Sweeteners (except raw honey)
  • Salt
  • Dairy (except ghee and goat milk)
  • Oils (except almond, corn, or sunflower)

Kapha-Balancing Lifestyle Recommendations


Those with a Kapha constitution are inclined to dislike and avoid exercise. However, vigorous exercise is excellent for balancing Kapha. It can be difficult to engage in regular exercise until it becomes part of a routine. Once activity becomes more regular, Kaphas can benefit from greater stamina than their Vata counterparts.


A vacation based on touring and activities is ideal for those with a Kapha constitution. These are beneficial for Kaphas, bringing new interests and keeping the mind and body active. Kapha-dominant individuals are often content to lay in the sun doing nothing, but it is good to factor movement and discovery into your day.

Kapha-Balancing Herbs

Herbs are an excellent accompaniment to dietary and lifestyle strategies for balancing your constitution. These are some of the best herbs for decreasing Kapha:


Supports digestion, use if thick white coating on tongue


Promotes a healthy metabolism, supports circulation, strengthens digestion

Healthy Kapha

A blend of herbs from Banyan Botanicals designed to decrease Kapha and support overall health

Kapha Lung Support

A blend of herbs to support the respiratory tract and nourish lung tissue


More information about herbs to balance Kapha can be found here.

Your constitution may shift as you move through life seasons and gain new experiences. It can be helpful to periodically test for your dominant dosha. If your constitution changes, you can then make adjustments to diet, lifestyle, and herbal supplementation accordingly.