One of characteristic features of Traditional Medical Systems is that they treat the individual rather than only the disease. Treatment is fine tuned to the requirement of the person taking into consideration the individual constitution, susceptibility to diseases, mental make up, lifestyle etc. This has been developed to a very high degree of refinement in Ayurveda with its powerful concept of “Prakruthi”, meaning – constitution at a physical and mental level. The purpose of this monograph is to provide a general introduction outlining the concept of Prakruthi in Ayurveda.

The word Prakruthi means “nature” or natural form of the build and constitution of the human body. It consists of two syllables `Pra’ and `Kruthi’. `Pra’ means the `beginning’, `commencement’ `source of origin’ and `Kruthi’ means `to perform’ `to form’. Together they mean `Natural form’ or `Original Form’ or `Original Source’. Disease occurs when there is a change from this original form at the psychological level. When an individual is in his `Origin’ state without any change in his psychological and physiological function he is in a state of balance and harmony. He is said to be in his `Prakruthi’ state or the original form which represents his natural healthy state. `Vikruthi’ is the opposite of Prakruthi and means unnatural form. However, the basic build up or Prakruthi does not change.

Ayurveda lays great emphasis on the examination of the `Prakruthi’ which is the natural state of an individual and only after this the disease condition or `Vikruthi’ is examined. This is very important because only by understanding the original state of the body function can one understand the possible derangement in the functioning and avoid illness by providing guidelines. The primary aim of Ayurveda is to maintain health in a healthy person and hence the knowledge of constitution is imperative.