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Agni - the Digestive Power

Published on May 31, 2019 and last reviewed on Nov 11, 2022   -  4 min read

Abstract

The Agni in Ayurveda holds importance while treating patients. This article will discuss the digestive power (Agni).

Contents
Agni - the Digestive Power

What Is Agni?

The digestive power known as Agni in Sanskrit is the digestive power of the human body. Ingested food is digested, absorbed, and assimilated, which can not be avoided for proper maintenance of life, and Agni performs this process. According to Ayurveda, digestion has a vast meaning and is not merely about daily passing of motion. Properly digested food leads to normal growth, energy, and health, whereas undigested food causes Aama, which is the primary cause of many diseases. So, daily accumulation of this Aama can lead to some disease in a few days or months. Therefore, it is important to discuss digestion. The five elements associated with the human body are:

  1. Prithvi (earth - nose, smell).

  2. Jal (water - tongue, taste buds).

  3. Tej (fire - eyes, seeing).

  4. Vayu (air - skin, touch).

  5. Akash (ether - ears, hearing).

Whatever a person eats, it enriches these elements accordingly. The Tej element comprises the digestive power, that is Agni of the body.

How Does Agni Benefit the Human Body?

Good Agni is the reason for a healthy body, vitality, and longevity, and less Agni is the reason for all diseases. There are 13 different Agnis governing the metabolic functions of the body. When Agni is normal, there is proper digestion, excretion of waste, tissue formation, nutrition circulation, immunity, and physical and mental health. As foods and drinks are burnt by digestive fire, they give out two products which are the essence of food:

  1. Aahar Rasa (chyle).

  2. Kitta (a waste product).

The food a person eats is acted upon by various Agnis of the body. Then it enriches the different dhatus of the body like Rasa, Rakta, Mansa, Meda, Asthi, Majja, and Shukra, and the remaining waste products are excreted out of the body. The exact process of replenishment is not clearly understood. It may be that the entire stream of chyle joins and recharges Rasa Dhatu initially and then moves on, in sequence, to act upon blood, fat, muscle, bone marrow, semen, and Ojas. Alternatively, it is possible that only a branch from the mainstream of chyle nourishes Rasa Dhatu, and a sub-branch supplies blood until the terminal flow joins Ojas. Agni generates the good quality of Oja by proper digestion of food.

What Are the Types of Agni?

There are different types of Agni, for example, Tikshna, Manda, Visham, and Sama. Among the various factors required for the proper digestion of food, Agni is a major one. Other factors are the quantity of food, characters of the food item, etc.

The other type of Agni is called Bhautik Agni, which is Bhaum, Aapya, Agneya, Vayavya, and Nabhasai, that is, Agnis of five elements. There are seven more Agnis, those of seven body dhatus, which are Rasa, Rakta, Mansa, Meda, Asthi, Majja, and Shukra.

How to Improve Agni (Digestive Power)?

What Factors Disturb the Function of Agni?

The factors that can disturb the function of Agni include overeating, eating leftover foods and frozen foods, frequent changes in dietary habits, eating at inappropriate and irregular times, drinking too much water after meals, not exercising enough, anger, excess sleep, or grief.

Digestive disorders occur when the digestive fire is disturbed by various dietary indiscretions, misapplication of evaluative measures, suppression of natural urges, and poor adjustment of the individual to places and seasons. Grahani is a collective label applied to several gastrointestinal disorders, the common basis of which would seem to be indigestion. As food no longer gets digested, the Dhatus are deprived of nutrition, and the body gets debilitated. The prophylaxis against Grahani consists of abstinence from eating unwholesome food, eating more or less than necessary at improper hours, and eating before the previous meal has been digested.

Conclusion:

It is important to understand the role of Agni in human bodies. It ensures not only proper digestion and excretory functions but also promotes emotional health and general enthusiasm for life. Imbalanced Agni can be due to many reasons, and it is crucial to check for the root causes of the symptoms and examine the nature of the imbalance.

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Last reviewed at:
11 Nov 2022  -  4 min read

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