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Ayurveda and the Digestive System

N.D.D.Y, Bachelor of Ayurveda, Medicine and Surgery (BAMS), specialist in ayurvedic ksharsutra therapy
Ayurveda, Delhi  •  15 years experience
Ayurveda and the Digestive System

The Ayurvedic body of knowledge relies on the rhythms and functions of the body to find the root cause of ailments. The digestive tract or system is one of the most important organs of the body. The entry and accumulation of Ama or toxins can lead to an imbalance in the way the small and large intestines functions along with various other participating organs like the liver and more. As per Ayurveda, the digestive fires or Agni also need to be produced in appropriate amounts.

So how can you understand and take care of your digestive system, the Ayurvedic way? Here's our take on the matter:

  1. Types of Agni: The digestive system has four kinds of Agni or fire that keeps it in working condition. The Jathar Agni ensures that hydrochloric acid is being produced in the stomach which directly affects the thyroid gland. The Bhuta Agni takes care of the bile acid formation in the liver. The Kloma Agni manages the pancreatic enzymes that help in digesting and absorbing sugar properly. And finally, the Dhatu Agni takes care of the tissue transformation in this entire process and region. A weak state of any of the four Agnis will lead an imbalance and food will not be digested properly.
  2. Doshas and Agni: As per Ayurvedic science, the state of your Agni and its strength depends on the four Doshas and the one that afflicts your being. In Vata and Kapha Dosha patients, the Agni will be weak which will lead to a 'cold' digestive system where the food will not be digested properly. This can lead to constipation in the long run as well as loose motions and gas. In case there is a Pitta Dosha, the raging fire of Agni will be unbearable, which can lead to acid reflux disease and chronic acidity as well as heartburn.
  3. Herbs and Spices: The use of herbs and spices while cooking can greatly cool or revive the Angi, depending on your Dosha. Ingesting a sliver of ginger along with lemon juice can help in warming the cold fire of the Agni, along with other aroma releasing spices like cardamom, pepper and licorice. Further, saliva and enzyme secretion can happen with these spices too. Also, these herbs can ensure that your digestion does not work overtime or create excess heat.
  4. Ama: Using hing to season your meals can also help in better digestion of food and less accumulation of Ama or toxins.

One needs to know the state of the Agni in the body and regulate the diet and routine with proper sleep and food intake patterns, for a well-functioning digestive system.

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