Best way to understand Pitta Dosha is by comparing it to liquid fire. Fire burns fuel to generate energy. Similarly, Pitta in the form of digestive fire helps to digest food and yields energy to the body.
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By the word liquid fire, I mean, like boiling water, molten metal, molten lava etc. This comparison is just for understanding Pitta better. Pitta is compared to liquid fire and not directly with the fire as such. This is because, actual fire is instantaneous. But liquid fire is more organized, the effect is longer.
So, whichever functions of the body, that is associated with fire (as in digestion), light (as in vision, body appearance, skin color) and temperature, Pitta is involved.
Pitta Dosha functions
Digestion and metabolism
We already have learnt how Ayurveda explains process of digestion. Pitta is directly involved with digestion and metabolism. This is not only restricted to the level of stomach and intestines, it also extends to cellular level. Like using up of nutrients at the the cellular level to produce energy etc are controlled by Pitta Dosha. So, all processes involving digestion and metabolism, at both digestive track level and at cellular level is performed by Pitta Dosha.
Maintenance of body temperature – Because Pitta means hotness, it keeps the body hot and healthy. Hence, all the conditions where there is increase of temperature, as in inflammation, fever, etc, there is Pitta involvement.
Vision – Fire is also related with light. Vision is always correlated with light. Hence, it is a Pitta function.
Skin complexion and aura – Pitta, blood tissue and skin are interconnected. the skin complexion, aura and skin health are directly controlled by Pitta Dosha.
Hunger, thirst, appetite – Initiation of hunger and thirst and appetite control is handled by Pitta Dosha. Usually person with Pitta body type has more hunger and thirst.
Intelligence, courage, valor – Light is also compared with knowledge, as it takes away darkness / ignorance. Hence, all mental activities pertaining to intelligence, courage and valor are controlled by Pitta Dosha. The person with Pitta body type has more of these mental features.
Pitta, Digestive fire and health –
So long as body maintains its temperature, life exists. So long as digestion process is happening smoothly, health exists.
There is a famous Ayurvedic verse, meaning – all disorders arise due to low digestion strength. If digestion and metabolism is healthy, then digestive system, immune system, blood, respiratory system – all are healthy. Hence, all efforts should be made to have proper Agni – digestive fire. – Related: My best health advice.
Types of Pitta
Types of pitta and their functions.
Though Pitta is only one, based on location and functions, it is divided into five types.
It is located between stomach and large intestine (between Amashaya and pakvashaya)
It is composed of all the five basic elements (Panchamaha Bhuta), it is predominant with fire element and less of water element.
It is called by the term Anala- fire because of its function of Paka – digestion and transformation of food materials.
It cooks the food, divides it into essence and waste,
It bestows grace and influence on other types of Pitta.
Hence, among all the types of Pitta, Pachaka pitta is the dominant one.
The pitta located in the Amashaya- stomach – duodenum is known as Ranjaka. It converts the useful part of the food essence into blood. Hence it converts Rasa Dhatu into Rakta Dhatu.
The pitta located in the Hrudaya –heart is known as Sadhaka.
It attends to mental functions such as knowledge, intelligence, self- consciousness, etc, thereby helping the purpose – aims of life.
It is located in the eyes. It helps in vision.
It resides in skin and helps exhibition of color and complexions.