Agni in Sanskrit means “fire.” And that is the word with which, in the framework of Hinduism, the Vedic god of fire is named. In the field of Ayurveda, speaking of Agni or digestive fire is the element that allows ingested food to be transformed into nutrients and what the body needs to perform its functions properly. Thus, the characteristic of Agni determines the digestive capacity of each individual.
Digestive fire is a key concept in Ayurveda. If the Agni is weak, the person will be at the mercy of the diseases. But if it is strong and functioning properly, the person will enjoy a perfect state of health. In order for the Agni to function properly, you must respect your diet and combine your food according to the principles of Ayurveda.
Each of the 3 doshas has an Agni that generally characterizes him. Pitta people often have a high digestive fire. They can eat a lot without gaining weight. The digestive fire of the Kapha people, on the other hand, is a slower, slower fire.
That slow metabolism is what makes these people gain weight with relative ease. The Vata people usually have a highly variable digestive fire that is directly related to both their activities and their emotional state.
What happens in the human body when food is not taken care of and the digestive fire is weakened?
In this case, the body is not able to adequately absorb food nutrients and thus generates more waste substances that eventually accumulate in the gastrointestinal tract and in the colon. Sometimes these substances accumulate in other parts of the body causing excess fat, constipation and, in some cases, flatulence.
Adequate food and in accordance with the principles of Ayurveda, on the contrary, favours the strength of the Agni and that strength makes possible the correct absorption of nutrients.
Functions of Agni
- It helps to digest the food.
- Nourish the Doshas. The Agni provides energy to Vata, luminosity to Pitta and strength to Kapha.
- It nourishes the Dhatu, i.e. the seven types of tissue in the body (plasma, blood, muscle tissue, adipose tissue, bone tissue).
- It helps that thoughts and ideas arise in a clear way because thanks to a strong Agni you can have a clear mind.
- Helps in the digestion process.
Types of Agni
Ayurveda distinguishes between 13 types of Agni grouped into three large groups.
#1 – Jataragni
The one of Jatharagni is the main digestive fire. It is located in the stomach and small intestine. He is in charge of digesting food. Within it there are four variations:
Vishamagni: It is a variable digestive fire that causes irregular appetite, various forms of indigestion, fears and anxieties, gases and some neurological problems. This digestive fire is produced by an excess of Vata.
Tikshagni: It is an intense digestive fire that causes toxins and causes problems of acidity, heartburn and skin alterations. The excess of Pitta is found after the presence of this type of digestive fire.
Mandagni: This type of digestive fire is a slow digestive fire and causes obesity, allergies and mucus. In the case of the Mandagni, the one responsible for its existence is the excess of Kapha.
Samagni: This is the correct digestive fire, the one in which the Doshas are in balance. This type allows a perfect absorption of the nutrients and an adequate elimination of the bad ones.
For Ayurveda, this digestive fire is the fire associated with the five elements (ether, air, water, fire and earth) present in every food. The Bhutagni is a digestive fire located in the liver. He is responsible for stimulating the molecular metabolism and, with it, the correct absorption of food.
There is five digestive fire in each of the five basic elements, namely – Parthiva (earth), Apya (water), Tejas (fire), Vayavya (air) and Nabhasa (sky).
#3- Dhatu Agni
If that of Bhutagni is the digestive fire of the five elements, that of Dhatu Agni is the digestive fire of the seven tissues. According to Ayurveda, each tissue has its own digestive fire intended to convert and obtain the necessary nutrients for the Dhatus to function.
The seven digestive fires that compose this group is Rasa-Agni, Rakta-Agni, Mamsa-Agni, Meda-Agni, Asthi-Agni, Majja-Agni, Shukra-Agni.
To strengthen the digestive fire you have to have a balanced diet using spices that stimulate the digestive enzymes. Ayurveda also recommends several types of infusions. One very suitable to strengthen digestive fire would be laurel with a hint of cardamom for after eating.
To strengthen the digestive fire to function properly, it is recommended to enjoy the benefits of an Ayurvedic massage and practice Yoga regularly, especially all those asanas that are based on lateral or spinal twisting.
Recipes to strengthen Agni
Ginger Juice: Drain fresh ginger, and press it to extract the juice. Take a teaspoon in the morning, before breakfast, if you wish sweetened with honey.
- Dry: Boil a large pinch of ginger in a cup of water over low heat until a fourth of the liquid evaporates and then filter. You can take it before or after meals to increase appetite and improve digestion.
- Fresh: Boil sliced ginger in a cup of water, let stand for five minutes and filter it. So, it is perfect for when you feel your digestion very heavy or for every day.
Note: Accompany with herbs and spices in the kitchen improve the quality and liveliness. So, you can use black pepper, cardamom, cayenne pepper, cinnamon, clove, spicy, mustard powder in moderate amounts. Also, chew fennel seeds, anise or cardamom alone or with a teaspoon of honey, before or after eating.
In conclusion, digestive fire is essential to our well-being. So, keeping Agni balanced can be the secret to achieving optimal health and longevity. Therefore, Agni should be very deserving of our attention, understanding, respect and care.
As we have seen, it not only regulates the digestive process. But also directs important physiological functions throughout the body, and plays an important role in mental and emotional health.
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