Published on May 31, 2019 and last reviewed on Nov 11, 2022 - 4 min read
The Agni in Ayurveda holds importance while treating patients. This article will discuss the digestive power (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:
Prithvi (earth - nose, smell).
Jal (water - tongue, taste buds).
Tej (fire - eyes, seeing).
Vayu (air - skin, touch).
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.
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:
Aahar Rasa (chyle).
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.
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.
Tikshna Agni - This Agni can digest all types of foods, that is, 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, headache, 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 light 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 in a person, the doshas are equal, and no dominance of any dosha is there, then the 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, 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.
Ghee is the best for increasing Agni. Ghee can be taken with some salt or can be 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, then have some digestive medicine like Chitrakadi Vati or Lavan Bhaskar Churna.
If it is due to some disease condition, then also ghee will help.
If fasting for a long time is a reason, then have Manda-Peya-Vilepi with some ghee.
If on having food, people feel better and after digestion of the food feel debility, 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 in food like ginger, black pepper, cardamom, cumin, cinnamon, and cayenne help in digestion by stimulating the digestive juices in the mouth and stomach.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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, 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.
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.
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.
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.
Last reviewed at:
11 Nov 2022 - 4 min read
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