Subtypes of Pitta Dosha


In Ayurveda, Pitta Dosha is further divided into five subtypes, known as Pitta subdoshas. Each sub-dosha exhibits unique qualities and influences different aspects of our physical and mental well-being.  All fiery karmas, chemically resulting karmas, or chemical reactions occurring in the body are attributed to Pitta Dosha. Bile is responsible for auspicious changes by performing intrabody Agnikarmas. Bile similar to vata dosha, is also a special functional and powerful element of the body. All the digestive functions of the body, results, Sara-Kitta Vibhajan, etc. are done by portions of pitta or various Agnis. Digestions from the pancreas are the macroscopic form of bile. The five subtypes of Pitta Dosha are:

1) Pachak Pitta

“पित्त पद्वात्मक॑ तत्र पक्वामाशयमध्यगम्‌ । पश्नभूतात्मकत्वेपि यत्तैजसगुणोदयात्‌ ॥

‘त्यक्तद्रवत्व॑ पाकादिकर्मणा5नलशब्दितम्‌ । पचत्यन्नं विभजते सारकिट्टौ पृथक तथा ॥

तत्रस्थमेव पित्तानां शेषाणामप्यनुग्रहमू । करोति बलदानेन पाचकं नाम तत्स्मृतम्‌’ ॥ (A.H.Su.12:10-12)

i) Site — Pachaka pitta is one of the five types of Pitta Dosha. Digestion occurs mainly in the part between Amashaya (stomach) and Pakwashaya (large intestine). This region is called Grahani (small intestine). This is the site of Pachaka Pitta.

ii) Composition – Although Pachaka pitta is composed of Panchamahabhuta, it is predominant in Teja Mahabhuta (fire element).

iii) Function — Mainly that of digestion. If there is less water content (tyakta dravatva) then this function is carried out best. Due to functions like paka (Pachana — Digestion), this Pitta is called anala (fire). Sara-Kitta separation, after digestion is done (Sara means nourishing, useful part, and Kitta means subtle waste part).

iv) Utility and importance of digestive function – Pachaka pitta from Grahani, gives stimulation, support, and strength to other types of Pitta. In short, if primary digestion in the abdomen is normal, all the other metabolic processes in the abdomen are normal, and all the other metabolic processes in the body can remain normal. Pachaka pitta, at some time, is also called Pachak-agni, Koshta-agni, or Jathar-agni. Digestion due to Pachaka pitta is primary digestion. If this digestion is not proper, then incomplete digested material which is toxic to the body can affect other types of fire i.e. tissue fire. Hence it is said that subtle parts of this central fire exist in all other types of fire (e.g. tissue fire).

2) Ranjaka Pitta

“आमाशयाश्रयं पित्त रञ्जकं रसरञ्जनात् ‘ ।  (A.H.Su. 12:13)

“यत्तु यकृतप्लीह्नो: पित्त॑ तस्मिन्‌ रञ्जको5ग्नि: इति संज्ञा, स रसस्य रागकृत्‌ उक्त: ।  (S.Su. 21:10)

Pitta in Amashaya is called Ranjaka pitta. Its main function is to give color (to blood). Rakta Dhatu Poshaka elements (precursor of blood) are present in the digested food juice (Ahar-rasa). Ranjaka pitta acts on these precursor elements of blood and helps form blood. When “Water” predominant digestive fluid comes into the liver and spleen, Ranjaka pitta participates in the process of transformation of rasa to Rakta. Ranjaka Pitta is responsible for the red color of blood, hence, in anemia, one has to rule out the possibility of pathology in Ranjaka pitta as a cause of paleness.

In short, blood has the normal color of skin and other mucus layers, when Ranjaka pitta gives proper color to blood. (normal haemopoesis). Ranjaka pitta can be considered as Hemoglobin in the blood.

3) Sadhaka Pitta

“बुद्धिमेधाभिमानादैरभिप्रेतार्थसाधनात्‌ ।

साधकं हदूगतं पित्त॑’ ॥   (A.H.Su. 12:13)

Sadhaka pitta is responsible for the proper functioning of Buddhi (intellect), Medha (understanding capacity), and Abhiman (self-esteem). Sadhaka pitta exists in the heart and maintains the normal functioning of Buddhi and mind. Sadhaka pitta removes the obstacles of tamas (ignorance) and Kapha Dosha(inertia) and stimulates the mind to understand its subjects (knowledge matters). Hence it is also called ‘Medhakar pitta. When the mind is under control, Shukra Dhatu (tissue responsible for regeneration) becomes excellent in quality, and ojas production takes place (the immune system becomes strong). For this reason, the Sadhaka pitta is also called the ‘Ojakar pitta’.

We have already seen the common functions of Pitta, Amongst them, Medha (understanding capacity), dhi (courage), and braveness, all these functions occur due to Sadhaka pitta.

The function of buddhi (intelligence) is to take a decision after analysis, to draw conclusions, to perceive the knowledge of sound, touch, etc. e.g. professor teaches 50 students in a classroom in the same manner, But the lecture cannot be grasped equally by all the students. This means knowledge also has to be digested. Hence it is not important for the teacher not to deliver huge information in a class, but care should be taken to see how much information is digested by the students.

Ayurvedic students should understand this new concept of ‘knowledge digestion’ by Sadhaka Pitta.

Medha means grasping or understanding capacity. Abhiman means self-esteem with respect to Desha (surrounding, locality) and Kala (time factor). This is also called Desha-Kala-Atma-vijnan. Normal Medha and self-esteem depend on Sadhaka pitta.

Site of Sadhaka Pitta: Heart

Today we know that intelligence and mental activity are controlled by some parts of the brain. Hence the site of Sadhaka pitta related to Buddhi and Medha, is in the brain. Some Ayurvedic scholars also believe that there is a relationship between cardiac activity and Sadhaka pitta. Since anxiety, and anger (mental emotions), Depression can alter heart activity. 

Low I.Q. (intelligent quotient), loss of memory, and forgetfulness can occur due to abnormality in Sadhaka pitta. There can also be a weak mind which can result in fear and confusion.

4) Bhrajaka Pitta

“त्वक्स्थ॑ भ्राजकं भ्राजनात्‌ त्वच:’ ।  (A.H.Su. 12:14)

“यत्तु त्वचि पित्ते तस्मिन्‌ भ्राजको5ग्निरिति संज्ञा, सो5भ्यङ्गपरिषेकावगाहलेपादीनां क्रियाद्रव्याणां पक्ता छायानां च प्रकाशक: । (S.Su. 21:10)

Pitta in the skin is called Bhrajaka pitta and it maintains, the complexion and color of the skin. Bhrajaka pitta is called Bhrajaka agni by Sushruta. “Bhrajan has the meaning to brighten or to glorify.

Dalhana has differentiated the words, Chhaya and Prabha. Chhaya can be seen from a close distance but Prabha can be seen from a long distance.

“छायाप्रभयो: को भेद: ? उच्यते–

आसन्ना लक्ष्यते छाया, प्रभा दूरात्‌ प्रकाशते ।

वर्णमाक्रमतिच्छाया, प्रभा वर्णप्रकाशिनी’ ॥   (S.Su. 21:10)

Skin is the organ for understanding tactile sensation. Touch sensation is properly digested or understood, due to Bhrajaka pitta. Soft rough, cold-hot these types of different sensations are properly perceived, du to Bhrajaka pitta. Different medicaments are used for abhyanga (oil massage). Parishek (pouring hot oil or water), Avagaha (tub bath), Lepa (paste). These medicaments are absorbed and digested due to Bhrajaka pitta. Herbal pastes which are applied for various skin problems like acne and for cosmetic purposes work through the medium of this type of Pitta. 

Absorption through skin can be experimentally proved e.g. sandalwood paste is applied to reduce the burning of skin. After drying the paste, try to reuse it. It is very well seen that the second time, this paste does not work as effectively as the first time. This clarifies that the active ingredient is absorbed the first time through Bhrajaka pita. 

Sweating occurs through the skin. Therefore Bhrajaka pitta has also related to the sweating mechanism and sweat control.

5) Alochaka Pitta

“–रूपालोचनत: स्मृतम्‌ । दृक्स्थम्‌ आलोचकं–‘     (A.H.Su.12:14)

Alochaka pitta is responsible for normal vision. Understanding of size, color, and appearance of a subject by the eyes means vision (Alochana). While looking at the high mountains, the vision is adjusted and the height is transformed into the appropriate size. Alochaka pita is responsible for all sorts of transformations required for proper vision. The eyes are Teja Mahabhuta’s predominant organ.

Pathology of Pitta

1) Pitta Vriddhi (Hyperactivity)

“पीतविण्मूत्रनेत्रत्वकुक्षुततुट्दाहाल्पनिद्रता ।

पित्त–(वृद्ध॑ तु कुरुते) ॥     (A.H.Su 11:7)

1) Pita means yellow. Due to Pitta-Vriddbhi, yellow-colored stool, urine (high-colored urine), and yellow eyes and skin are seen. We can see highly colored urine and yellow discoloration of eyes and nails in the patients of Kamala (infective hepatitis). Yellow color has been explained as the color of Pitta in all texts (Ref. Sharangdhar, first section).

2) Kshut – Excessive hunger (polyphagia). This occurs due to the excess hot and sharp properties of Pitta. Ayurveda has explained this symptom in Bhasmaka disease.

3) Trit — Excess Thirst (polydipsia). In high fever, due to excess hot and sharp properties of pitta, excessive thirst occurs, desire for liquid increases. This is the natural mechanism of body protection, from heat. These patients are given medicated water with two types of Sandalwood, Vetivera, Musta, Parpata, and Shadangodaka).

4) Daha – Burning Sensation. In hot summer, Pitta constitution people complain of a burning sensation in the whole body or burning eyes, burning hands, and feet. To reduce this effect of excess heat, sandalwood paste application, or putting milk drops in the eyes, these measures are useful.

5) Alpa nidrata – Insomnia. This s due to excess Pitta which can cause inflammation and irritation. Due to burning and irritation, the patient can not sleep properly and becomes restless.

2) Pitta-kshaya (Hypo-activity)

“पित्ते मन्दो$नल: शीत प्रभाहानि:’ । (A.H.Su. 11:16)

1) Manda-Analah — Anal means digestive fire. This fire becomes weak and low digestion occurs. This is due to the lowering of hot and sharp properties. Garlic, ginger, and black pepper can improve this condition.

2) Sheeta (cold) — Pitta does thermal regulation. The patient feels cold, due to the lowering of Pitta.

3) Prabha-hani – Due to low Bhrajaka pitta, the brightening, and glorification function becomes low and skin luster is lost. Pitta and Rakta are closely related. Therefore blood quality also gets disturbed and it affects skin color, complexion, and texture.

Principle of Treatment

Hyper or hypo state of Pitta can occur in 3 types – 1) by substance, 2) by properties, and 3) by function.

In the hyper state of Pitta, one should follow diet, behavior, and medicines of the antagonistic properties of Pitta. Cooling and soothing measures are expected e.g. milk, ghee, sugar, mung dal, adequate sleep, mental rest, and medicines like Shatavari sugar granules – shatavari kalpa, coral, and rose petal jam.

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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