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Agni - the Digestive Power

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Agni - the Digestive Power

4 min read


The Agni in Ayurveda is important when treating patients. This article will discuss the digestive power (Agni).

Medically reviewed by

Dr. Sneha Kannan

Published At May 31, 2019
Reviewed AtApril 22, 2024

What Is Agni?

The digestive power, known as Agni in Sanskrit, is the human body's digestive power. 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 the daily passing of motion. Properly digested food leads to normal growth, energy, and health, whereas undigested food causes Aama, 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, the Agni of the body.

How Does Agni Benefit the Human Body?

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

  1. Aahar Rasa (chyle).

  2. Kitta (a waste product).

Various Agnis of the body act upon the food a person eats. 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 needs to be 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, only a branch from the mainstream of the chyle may nourish Rasa Dhatu, and a sub-branch supplies blood until the terminal flow joins Ojas. Agni generates good quality Oja by properly digesting food.

What Are the Types of Agni?

Different types of Agni exist, such as Tikshna, Manda, Visham, and Sama. Agni is a major factor required for the proper digestion of food. Other factors are the quantity of food, the characteristics of the food item, etc.

  • Tikshna Agni - This Agni can digest all types of foods, including excess quantity, heavy foods, Viruddha anna, etc. A person who has Pitta predominance has this type of Agni. After digestion, it produces more Pitta and can lead to Pittaj diseases such as hyperacidity, headaches, skin diseases with more of a burning sensation, etc.

  • Manda Agni - In this type, digestion is slow, even if the food is less in quantity and easier to digest. Kapha predominant people have this type of Agni. It produces more Kapha and can lead to Kaphaja diseases such as obesity, thyroid problems, tumors in any part of the body, etc.

  • Vishama Agni - Due to the predominance of Vata dosha in the body, sometimes Agni digests food properly, and sometimes not. This can lead to Vataja diseases such as joint pain, etc.

  • Sama Agni - When the doshas in a person are equal, and no dominance of any dosha is present, then digestion is proper, and it produces an equal amount of Vata, Pitta, and Kapha, which is called Swasthya (health) according to Ayurveda. Sama Agni is best for maintaining health.

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

How to Improve Agni (Digestive Power)?

  • Ghee is the best for increasing Agni. Ghee can be taken with some salt or mixed with food.

  • If it is because of too much dryness in the gut, then have some oil or ghee.

  • If it is due to too much oily food, have some digestive medicine like Chitrakadi Vati or Lavan Bhaskar Churna.

  • If it is due to some disease condition, ghee will also help.

  • If fasting for a long time is the reason, have Manda-Peya-Vilepi with some ghee.

  • If people feel better after eating food and feel debilitation, thirst, burning sensation, fainting, etc., then it is due to Tikshna Agni. Guru, Snigdha, and Pichhil food should be taken, and the next meal should be taken before it is completely digested. This will normalize the increased Agni.

  • Using spices like ginger, black pepper, cardamom, cumin, cinnamon, and cayenne helps digestion by stimulating the digestive juices in the mouth and stomach.

What Factors Disturb the Function of Agni?

Factors that can disturb Agni's function include overeating, eating leftovers 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.

How Can the Agni Be Balanced?

Agni can be balanced by:

Stimulating Agni: Spices, such as ginger, black pepper, cardamom, cayenne, and cumin, are used in food to help in digestion. These help break down the food during cooking and stimulate the digestive juices in the mouth and stomach.

Calming Agni: By balancing the pitta, bitter, sweet, and astringent tastes can help rebalance and curb the digestive fire.


It is important to understand the role of Agni in human bodies. It ensures proper digestion and excretory functions and promotes emotional health and a 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.

Frequently Asked Questions


How Is Agni Digestion Increased or Improved?

The Agni digestion can be increased by adopting the following in our daily routine to light up the digestive system:
- Ghee is considered best for increasing Agni.
- Certain digestive medicines like Chitrakadi Vati or Lavan Bhaskar Churna can also be used.
- Certain spices like ginger, cardamom, cumin, black pepper, cayenne, and cinnamon help in digestion by stimulating the digestive juices in the mouth and stomach.


What Is the Role of Agni?

The role of Agni is to help in digestion. All the food that is consumed has to be absorbed, digested, and assimilated. This process is essential in every individual and is performed by Agni.


What Is Considered Agni in the Stomach?

Agni is the term used in the ayurveda digestion of food and metabolic products. Agni is responsible for converting food into the form of energy that can be used for the vital activities of the body.


Can Agni Karma Cause Pain?

Agni karma is performed by applying heat to the affected area. This heat is used for therapeutic purposes. However, it is done cautiously so that it does scald the skin or cause pain and discomfort.


Can Agni Be Increased Through Exercise?

Yes, exercise helps to increase Agni, which supports the pathways of detoxification in the body. It helps to kindle Agni or the digestive fire throughout the body and improves digestion, elimination, circulation, and lymphatic flow.


How Can Agni and Ojas Be Increased?

The Agni can be increased by eating three meals daily at a regular time. The meals must be taken at room temperature or slightly above. Consumption of cold food or drinks must be avoided. Food must be eaten in a peaceful environment and not when the individual is angry.
Ojas-building foods include dates, ghee, almonds, saffron, honey, whole grains, and raw cow milk. These foods should be taken in abundance if the individual is weak, debilitated, or recovering from a disease.


How Can Digestion Be Improved?

The best ways to improve digestion include eating plenty of fiber, staying hydrated, adding healthy fats to the diet, staying hydrated, and chewing the food mindfully. Moreover, stress should be managed to avoid indigestion.


What Is the Location of Agni in the Body?

Angi, or the digestive fire, is located in the digestive system and is responsible for the transformation of food into substances that support the living system. Digestive Agni is centered in the stomach.


According to Ayurveda, What Is Considered the Best Time to Wake Up?

According to Ayurveda, it is best to wake up before sunrise and sleep before ten at night. Waking up early in the morning makes the individual feel energized and has more time to perform daily activities.


What Should Be Eaten at Night According to Ayurveda?

According to Ayurveda, the foods that should be eaten at night include foods rich like low-fat chicken (grilled), pulses, green leafy vegetables, lentils, and curry leaves. Foods that must be avoided include salt, curd, and low-carb foods.


What Is the Reason Behind Slow Digestion?

The main reason for slow digestion includes the consumption of the following foods:
- Processed food that contains high salt and sugar content.
- Fatty food.
- Dairy products.
- Too much meat.
- Hard cheese and refined carbohydrates.
- Spicy food.


How Is Weak Digestion Cured?

To cure weak digestion or speed up digestion, the following must be included in the daily routine:
- Regular exercise for around 30 minutes daily. 
- Consuming a fiber-rich diet.
- Incorporating yogurt into the diet.
- Limiting the consumption of meat.
- Drinking more water.
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Dr. Singh Vivek Brijbahal
Dr. Singh Vivek Brijbahal

Ayurveda Specialist


digestive problems
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