Agni - Digestive Fire

Submitted by Thiruvelan on Tue, 06/02/2015
Agni - Digestive Fire

Agni is the Vedic term meaning transforming or burning. It is composed of different types of enzymes responsible for good digestion. 

Agni digestive fire

According to Ayurveda, Agni (digestive fire) is a dynamic concept determines one’s energy, vitality, wellbeing, and overall health of the individual.

An individual with a strong enough fire can able to take in various food types and properly absorb, metabolize and eventually eliminate unused waste products.

Agni's heat influence various body tissues to produce secretions, metabolic reactions, and other processes require to produce energy, and maintain & repair the body. Agni is part of immune system, its inherent heat destroys harmful organisms & toxins and expel from the body. You need agni for proper digestion, effective immune function, and resistance to disease. Agni is vital to form ojas (vital energy).

There are four types of Agni:

  • Mandagni: Manda means slow and agni means fire; low digestive fire due to influence of kapha. Low digestive fire makes it unable to digest even small quantity of easily digestible food leads to abdomen heaviness, and loose bowel movements. Mandagni is associated with edema, limbs heaviness, feel heavy head, asthma, respiratory problems, bronchitis, cough, nausea, fatigue, and excessive salivation. 
  • Tikshnagni: Tikshn means acute, quick or strong; strong digestive fire due to the influence of pitta. Acute digestive fire makes it digest easily even a heavy meal quickly (in short time). It produces hunger (or desire for food). Tikshnagni is associated with dryness (of throat, palate and lips) through intense heat, bodily heat, rashes and other pitta signs.
  • Vishamagni: Visham means uneven or oddity; strange digestive fire due to the influence of vata. An irregular and sporadic digestive fire results in proper digestion in some time and at other times produces abdominal distension, colicky pain, and constipation. Vishamagni is associated with cholera, diarrhea, dysentery, abdominal tumor, colic, flatulence, and other vata diseases.
  • Samagni: Sama means balanced; optimal digestive fire due to the normal balanced functioning tridoshas. It digests food, assimilates properly, and increases the dhatus (tissues) quality. Individuals with Saman-agni are always healthy. 

When agni is not at an optimal level, then ama (waste) toxic byproduct of undigested food clogs the channels. In due course, leads to a diseased state. Thus, Ayurveda emphasis the most to keep the digestive fire strong throughout the entire life.