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Pitta Dosha in Ayurveda

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Pitta is a body humor (Dosha) that represents heat, fire and energy in the body. Biologically, it is combination of energy and liquid. Energy acts as active principle and liquid plays a role of a vehicle. All metabolic processes in the body occur due to Pitta elements. Pitta breakdowns the Kapha molecules (complex substances) into simpler ones and then releases the energy. Pitta word is derived from TAPA, means heat, energy or fire. It consists of fire and water.

Pitta Constitution

Pitta ConstitutionAGNI (Fire) + JAL (Water / Liquids) Elements

Fire represents energy and comes after VAYU (Air) element. Generally, it can be felt in the body by warmness. You may have felt warmness in the body a few minutes after taking food and body temperature is slightly increased because metabolic rate increases. This is due to PITTA according to ayurveda. It assists in digestion and metabolic process in the body. Deeply, it is due to energy element in the PITTA. Liquid in PITTA acts as vehicle and helps in the action of energy in the body.

Pitta Dosha Qualities

Ayurveda has described the qualities of Pitta.

Sanskrit NameEnglish Meaning
IRSHEETA SNIGADHSlightly Viscous or Oily
USHNAHot
TIKSHNASharp or Penetrating power
DRAVALiquid or Fluid
AMALSour
SARA or CHALAMobile or Mobility
KATUPungent

Things or food having similar properties aggravate the Pitta and the opposite characteristics pacifies the Pitta.

Pitta Functions

In short, Pitta has following functions:

  1. Digestion
  2. Catabolism
  3. Cellular activities
  4. Mental activities
  5. Processing and scanning various thoughts
  6. Heat production
  7. Excitations
  8. Pigmentation
  9. Liquidity

Pitta functions starts with digestion of food and converting it into energy for utilization. It controls catabolism and breakdown of the complex molecules into simple ones. This process also releases energy. It checks anabolism induced by Kapha.

  • Pitta plays a role in maintenance of body heat and temperature.
  • It is responsible for appetite and thirst.
  • It regulates the color of the skin, complexion, and luster.
  • Intact vision is due to it. It maintains the vision.
  • Balanced Pitta provides good digestion and maintains cellular activities.
  • It processes the sensory information, thoughts, and other mental activities.
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Main Pitta Locations

However, Pitta is present in everywhere in the body, but some specified locations are mentioned in ayurveda for easier understanding and has therapeutic significance for treating Pitta disorders. All parts between heart and navel are considered Pitta area.

  1. Stomach
  2. Small Intestine
  3. Liver
  4. Pancreas
  5. Spleen
  6. Blood
  7. Eyes
  8. Sweat Glands in the skin

Pitta Subtypes

Pitta has five subtypes:

  1. PACHAKA PITTA
  2. RANJAKA PITTA
  3. SADHAKA PITTA
  4. ALOCHAKA PITTA
  5. BHRAJAKA PITTA

PACHAKA PITTA

The Pitta that digests the food and processes it further use in gastrointestinal tract is called PACHAKA PITTA. PACHAKA means which helps in digestion and metabolism in the body. It plays role in breaking down the food and extracting nutrients for the body. As compared to other types of Pitta, it has less DRAVA (liquid) quality, but more USHNA (hot) quality. Therefore, it is also called AGNI (digestive fire) in ayurveda.

Location

Gastrointestinal tract (stomach, duodenum and small intestine) is main location of PACHAKA PITTA. Digestive juice and all enzymes are considered as part of it.

Normal function

The digestion of food and differentiating the useful part and waste part of the food is main function of PACHAKA PITTA.

Diseases due to its aggravation

Reduced PACHAKA PITTA causes following diseases.

  • Loss of Appetite – it occurs due to reduced secretion of digestive juices and overall reduction in all qualities of PACHAKA PITTA.
  • Decreased Appetite
  • Indigestion
  • Malabsorption

Increased PACHAKA PITTA results in following health conditions:

  • Loss of appetite – it occurs due to increased secretion of acid in the stomach, which cause loss of appetite, anorexia, heartburn and gastritis. In ayurveda, it is called PITTAJ AGNIMADHYA. In such type of appetite loss, DRAVA (liquid) quality of PACHAKA PITTA is increased, but USHNA (hot) quality becomes low, which results in malabsorption and appetite loss.
  • Increased appetite: When PACHAKA PITTA has normal level of DRAVA (liquid) quality, but when its USHNA (hot) and TIKSHNA (Sharp) qualities are increased, a person feel increased appetite and he has frequent desire to eat and digest food very quickly as compared to normal person.
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RANJAKA PITTA

RANJAKA PITTA is present in liver, spleen, stomach and small intestine. It imparts red color to the blood and plays a vital role in hemoglobin synthesis.

Location

  1. Liver
  2. Spleen
  3. Stomach
  4. Small intestine

Normal function

  • Hemoglobin synthesis
  • Imparting red color to hemoglobin

Diseases due to its aggravation

  1. Jaundice
  2. Anemia
  3. Liver and spleen disorders

SADHAKA PITTA

SADHAKA PITTA resides in heart and brain. It is responsible for metabolic activities in the neuron and processing information and thought processes.

Location

  1. Heart
  2. Brain & Nerves

Normal function

  • Metabolic activities in the neuron
  • Processing information and thought processes
  • Maintaining the functions of mind
  • Memory

Some emotions like ego, intellect, anger, joy, attachment, fear and determination are due to SADHAKA PITTA.

Diseases due to its aggravation

  • Memory impairment
  • Deterioration of natural mental functions

ALOCHAKA PITTA

The Pitta that helps perceiving the light in the eyes is called ALOCHAKA PITTA.

Location

  1. Eyes

Metabolic activities in the rods and cones in the retina are due to ALOCHAKA PITTA.

Normal function

The main function of ALOCHAKA PITTA is vision. It perceives the light and further process it to the brain.

Diseases due to its aggravation

Eyes disorders or impairment of vision are due to aggravation of ALOCHAKA PITTA.

BHRAJAKA PITTA

Pitta responsible for color and complexion of the skin and keep it warm is called BHRAJAKA PITTA.

Location

The skin is the main location of BHRAJAKA PITTA.

Normal function

  • Color & complexion of the skin
  • Maintaining warmness of the skin
  • Digesting the local medicaments applied externally on the skin

Diseases due to its aggravation

Many skin diseases with Pitta symptoms are due to aggravation of BHRAJAKA PITTA.

Pitta Dominance & Body

AGNI (Type of Digestive Fire)TIKSHANA – Intense (represents Good appetite)
KOSHTA (Nature  of alimentary tract & motility of intestines)MRIDU (Soft)
PRAKRITI (Body Type)MADHYA (Moderate)

Pitta Pacification & Aggravation (RASA – Taste)

Pitta PacifierPitta Aggravators
KASAYA (Astringent)KATU (Pungent)
MADHURA (Sweet)AMAL (Sour)
TIKTA (Bitter)LAVANA (Salty)

Pitta Cycle

Relation to Food DigestionDuring digestion of the food (up to 2 hours after food)
Relation to Eating FoodBefore food
Relation to Age GroupAdulthood
Relation to DayLate Morning to Noon – around 10 AM to 2 PM
Relation to NightMid Night – around 10 PM to 2 AM

Taking Medicines according to Pitta Cycle

This principle is applied when one has generalized Pitta disorders and Pitta symptoms appear in whole body or in abdomen.

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  1. Naturally, Pitta is dominant in above time period, as discussed above in table.
  2. Pitta pacifying medicines should be given before food. It applies when you suffer from gastritis, heartburn, GERD, dyspepsia etc.
  3. Pitta pacifying medicines can also be taken in late morning to noon and mid night. It applies when one suffer from generalized Pitta disease.

Pitta & Seasons

Accumulation of Pitta (PITTA CHAYA)Rainy Season (VARSHA)
Excess Vitiation of Pitta (PITTA PRAKOPA)Autumn (SHARAD)
Allaying the increased Pitta (PITTA PRASHAMA)Early Winter (HEMANTA)

Rainy Season (VARSHA)

Heat in the summers causes exhaustion, loss of strength, and low digestive fire. The digestive fire and strength further reduce in rainy season due to muddy water. Low AGNI (metabolic power and digestive fire) results in indigestion. AMAL RASA (Sour Taste) becomes dominant in food and water. These things lead to accumulation of Pitta. This stage is called PITTA CHAYA.

Autumn Season (SHARAD)

Heat in the autumn results in aggravation of accumulated Pitta. This stage is called PITTA PRAKOPA.

Early Winter Season (HEMANTA)

Sweet taste becomes dominant in food and water. The environment also becomes cool. These characteristics naturally allay Pitta. This stage is called PITTA PRASHAMA.

Pitta Imbalance & Its Symptoms

Pitta in a balanced stage represents good health. Increase or decrease in Pitta represents diseased stage. Decrease or increase in Pitta is called Pitta imbalance. Both have different Pitta imbalance symptoms.

Decreased Pitta Symptoms & Health Conditions

The following symptoms and clinical manifestations indicate decreased Pitta:

  • Hypothermia – low body temperature
  • Achlorhydria – absence of hydrochloric acid in the gastric secretions
  • Hypochlorhydria – decreased secretion or production of absence of hydrochloric acid in the gastric secretions

Increased Pitta Symptoms & Health Conditions

The following symptoms and health conditions indicate increased Pitta:

  • Desire to eat food having cool potency
  • Generalized weakness
  • Sleeplessness
  • Feeling of losing consciousness
  • Yellowish discoloration of the skin
  • Abnormally yellow colored stool

Aggravated Pitta Symptoms

  • Sour or pungent taste in the mouth
  • Burning sensation
  • Delirium
  • Excessive discharge
  • Excessive sweating
  • Feeling of exhaustion
  • Feeling of increased heat
  • Pain with feeling of burning
  • Redness
  • Suppuration – formation of pus
  • Unconsciousness
  • Yellowish, bluish or greenish discoloration
  • Fever
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3 Comments
  1. LarryD says

    Dr. Singh,
    I have read that SADHAKA PITTA is found in the heart, so I am puzzled to see that you mention only the brain.

    1. Dr. Jagdev Singh says

      Yes, you are right. We updated article for the same.

  2. Rakesh Prajapati says

    i m suffuring for this types of symptoms:
    Increased Pitta Symptoms & Health Conditions
    The following symptoms and health conditions indicate increased Pitta:

    Desire to eat food having cool potency
    Generalized weakness
    Sleeplessness
    Feeling of losing consciousness
    Yellowish discoloration of the skin
    Abnormally yellow colored stool
    Aggravated Pitta Symptoms
    Sour or pungent taste in the mouth
    Burning sensation
    Delirium
    Excessive discharge
    Excessive sweating
    Feeling of exhaustion
    Feeling of increased heat
    Pain with feeling of burning
    Redness
    Suppuration – formation of pus
    Unconsciousness
    Yellowish, bluish or greenish discoloration
    Fever

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