Pitta Dosha

Introduction

After consuming food, water, etc. From the universe, it should be transformed into useful form, with the help of metabolic activity. This transformation, digestion, and metabolism are done by Pitta dosha.

Pitta-nirukti (Etymology)

“तप सन्तापे’ ।| (8.5u. 29:5)

The word ‘Tap-santape’ means the creation of heat or oxidation process or color change etc.

Synonyms of Pitta Dosha

Agni is the most commonly used synonym for Pitta Dosha. While describing subtypes of Pitta Dosha, Sushruta has used the word Agni e.g. Pachak Agni, in spite of Pachak pitta, Ranjak agni in spite of Ranjak pitta.

Synonyms of Agni (Vaishvanara, Vahni, Pavan, Anil) can also be considered synonyms of Pitta. As Pitta and Agni are, many times used as synonyms of each other, the question arises — “whether Pitta and Agni are same or different?” For this, let us see the following:

‘आग्निरेव शरीरे पित्तान्तर्गत: कुपिताकुपित: शुभाशुभानि करोति; तद यथा–पक्तिमपक्तिं, दर्शनमदर्शनम्‌, मात्रामात्रत्वमृष्मण:,  प्रकृतिविकृतिवर्णी, शौर्य भयं क्रोध हर्ष मोहं प्रसादम, इति एवम्‌ आदीनि च अपराणि द्वन्द्वानीति’ ।  (C.Su. 12:11)

Pitta is a substance with specific properties and functions. Agni is the energy residing in Pitta. This agni in normal or abnormal conditions shows positive or negative effects as explained in the above verse eg. proper or improper digestion, proper or improper vision, thermal regulation, normal or abnormal color, courage or fear, anger or joy, satisfaction or attraction, etc.

Agni means hot and penetrating (Ushna and Tikshna) properties and all digestive and metabolic functions. Hot and penetrating capacity is also the main properties of Pitta Dosha, but properties like little oily, fluid, and unpleasant smell also exist in Pitta. Digestion is the main function of Pitta Dosha, but one can also see other functions of Pitta. Students should carefully study the similarities and dissimilarities between Pitta and Agni (The concept of Agni has been thoroughly described in the chapter on Dietetics).

Related: https://ayurvedadvise.com/subtypes-of-kapha-dosha/

Related: https://ayurvedadvise.com/subtypes-of-vata-dosha/

Structure

“पित्त आग्नेयम” । (C.Su. 42:5)

Pitta is fiery in nature.

Composition – Although Pitta Dosha has a composition of five elements, the Fire element is predominant.

Properties of Pitta-dosha

“पित्त सस्नेहतीक्षणोष्ण॑ लघु विखं सर द्रवमू । (A.H.Su. 1:11)

1) Sa-sneha (slightly oily) — This property helps to make the food soft, during the process of digestion or transformation, slight oil is essential. But naturally, the oiliness of Pitta is not that ‘much of Kapha. The utility of oil for digestion can be clarified by practical example — while making vegetables or curry, a housewife puts some oil or ghee for seasoning. Less oil or ghee can burn up the substance.

2) Tikshna (Sharp or penetrating) – ‘Shodhane tikshnah’- This explains penetrating power. This property helps Pitta to reach molecular levels of food, in the process of digestion. The sharp quality of pitta can break the complex molecular structure of the food. But abnormal or excess Pitta can create ulcers in the digestive tract (e.g. Peptic ulcers, Gastric Ulcers, Gastritis).

3) Ushna (Hot) – This property is directly related to digestion. Hence hot and sharp are the main properties of Pita But hotness should also be in appropriate proportion and quality. Hot property changes the color, taste, and smell of a substance Different amount of heat is required to cook different substances. Hot property can stay with only Pitta. (Pittadrute nasi ushma – Vagbhata).

4) Laghu (Light) – Proper digestion creates lightness in the body. Cooked food is easy to digest. Light property is helpful for hot and sharp properties

5) Vista-gandha (unpleasant smell) – Pitta element, by nature has some specific odor. This is specific to each person. Hence every person has a different smell. 

6) Sara – This means fluid or flowing character. This is covering and spreading. In digestion, Pitta Dosha should cover the molecular surfaces of food and also it should spread to cover all areas.

7) Drava (liquid) – Pitta consists of a little amount of water, which is essential for its flowing nature. Pitta Dosha governs various digestive juices that are poured into the gastrointestinal tract. For this action watery content of Pitta is useful, While cooking rice, an adequate amount of water is expected. The absence of water can burn up the rice. Too much water can make too soft rice.

Qualities of Pitta

Charaka Sushruta Vagbhata
Sa-sneha, Ushna, Tikshna,
Drava, Sara 
Ushna, Tikshna Sa-sneha, Ushna, Tikshna, Drava,
Sara, Vidagdha, Vaishadya
Katu-Amla Rasa Katu-Amla Rasa                     –

Common Function of Pitta-Dosha

“पित्त पक्त्युष्मदर्शने: ।

क्षुततुड्रुचिप्रभामेधाधीशौर्यतनुमार्दवै: ॥  (A.H.S. 11)

 

1) Pakti – This means digestion or transformation. This is the main function of Pitta. Inorganic (Bahya Panchabhautika) matter is converted to organic (Sharira Panchabhautika) matter, after proper digestion, due to hot and sharp properties. While understanding the function of digestion. Ayurveda does not only expect food digestion but mentions other aspects of digestion, like digestion of water, and air knowledge also. Improper digestion or improper conversion and improper assimilation are one of the main causes of disease formation.

2) Ushma – Means heat. Proper temperature is necessary for many physiological activities. Heat is generated in the process of metabolism. Pitta is responsible for the thermal regulatory mechanism of the body. In fever, due to Pita provocation, body temperature increase.

3) Darshan – Means vision. The eyes are Pitta’s dominant organ. Pita has a predominance of Teja (fire) Mahabhuta. So naturally, the vision function is done by Pitta. Alochaka Pitta does the function of vision assimilation (digestion) through the eyes.

4) Kshut – Means hunger. Hunger sensation develops due to Pitta. Metabolism is a continuous ongoing process. Degenerated cells are constantly replaced by new ones, this requires nourishment from food. This demand for food is expressed with a ‘hunger sensation’. Hunger expression indicates normal metabolic processes in the body. In illness, anorexia develops. Appetite improves as health improves.

5) Trit – This means thirst. Pita activity requires water. This need is expressed with a thirst sensation. To protect mucosa and organs from the heat of Pitta, the body requires adequate water balance, which is maintained by a thirst sensation. In high fever, when the ‘hot’ property of Pitta increase, the thirst sensation increases (dryness of the mouth).

6) Ruchi – Means taste. This is a good indicator of the normal digestion process. When jatharagni digests the food properly, all the internal systems become clean which develops a good taste sensation on the tongue.

7) Prabha – This means luster and the complexion of the skin. It depends on the good internal environment of the body. A good environment means all the Dhatus (tissues) are of good quality. Good tissue formation is dependent on good digestion. Especially digestion a the level of Rasa and Rakta is concerned with skin luster and texture

8) Medha – This means grasping or understanding capacity. When Sadhaka pitta is functioning well, mental and intellectual activity is of high rank and then the person can grasp the knowledge very quickly. The mind and physical body are functionally dependent on each other. Therefore, naturally, when food digestion is good, the chances of good mental activity are more.

9) Shaurya – means braveness and courage. Normal Pitia produces normal metabolism, which gives good quality Dhatus. Dhatus are responsible for body strength which produces braveness.

10) Tanu Mardava – Normal metabolism at the level of Rasa, and Rakta produces good quality skin that is soft, delicate, with good complexion and luster.

Media for Pita activity

1) Metabolism of Pitta takes place at the molecular level, for this media of Rasa-Rakta is helpful. Pitta dosha and Rakta Dhatu are intimately related to each other. The properties and functions of both are similar to each other.

2) Different glands in the gastrointestinal tract, which secrete digestive juices are also media for the activity of Pitta.

Common Sites of Pitta-dosha

“ते व्यापिनो5पि हन्नाभ्योरधोमध्योर्ध्वसंश्रया:’ ।   (A.H.Su. 1:7)

Tridosha pervades throughout the body. Kapha Dosha is predominant in the chest region, Pitta in between the heart and umbilicus, and Vata Dosha in the lower abdomen.

‘नाभिरामाशय: स्वेदो लसीका रुधिरं रस: ।

द्रक् स्पर्शनज्ल पित्तस्य, नाभिख्र विशेषत:’ ॥ (A.H.Su. 12:2)

The sites, where digestion or other functions of Pitta Dosha are predominant are mentioned in the above verse.

1) Nabhi – This means abdominal parts around the umbilicus. The organs related to primary digestion e.g. stomach, small intestine, pancreas, and liver are situated in this region. As Pakvashaya (large intestine) is the main site of Vata and Nabhi (small intestine) is the main site of Pitta activity. Therefore for treating the Pitta area of Nabhi is used e.g. local massage or dhara treatment.

2) Amashaya (stomach) – Chakradatta has explained that Urdhva Amashaya is a site for Pitta Dosha and Adho-Amashaya is a site for Kapha Dosha.

3) Sweda (sweat) – Sweats are useful to control the heat of Pitta Dosha. Excessive heat is removed from the body through sweat.

4) Lasika (serum) – A watery element in the skin that helps in the regeneration of skin tissue.

5) Rudhir (blood) – Pitta Dosha and blood are closely related to each other.

6) Rasa – Rasa-Rakta circulation helps to carry out different functions of Pitta, like metabolic activity, thermal conduction, etc.

7) Drik – In the eyes. Digestion takes place in relation to the visioning topic.

8) Sparshanendriya – The site is skin. Skin is responsible for digestion (transformation of senses) with respect to tactile sensation (soft-hard, hot-cold touch). Also, different skin applications (like paste, and ointments) are digested and absorbed through the skin. This is done by the local Pitta.

By Dr.Dimpal Baldha

I'm DR. Dimple Baldha, an Ayurvedic doctor and I have treated more than a thousand patients in my couple of years of experience in this field. This has given me a lot of insights and positive areas to work with people from different parts of the world managing arthritis issues, Dietary changes, healthy lifestyles, and metabolic disorders. I have good knowledge of Ayurvedic medicine, Panchkarma treatment, Healthy lifestyle and yoga. I have treated so many diseases like spondylitis, psoriasis, allergies and bronchial asthma. Talks about #health, #ayurveda, #wellness, #healthylifestyle

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