In the present scenario people are more suffering from the digestion problems due to eating unhealthy food. For digesting these unhealthy junk foods, the digestive system of humans should be strong and it requires energy for digesting and metabolising it. Ayurveda calls this energy ‘Agni’. Here is a brief report of Importance of the Agni, it’s functioning and types including the remedies of Mandagni (low digestive fire) and how one can improve the digestion power to live a healthy life.
Importance of Agni
Digestion is defined as the process by which food is broken down into simple chemical substances that can be absorbed and used as nutrients by the body. So, to explain how this whole process works, Energy is required which is in the form of ‘Agni’. As the ‘Agni’ term itself defines that it means ‘fire’
Ayurveda says (Ch. Chik. 15|5) that the consumed food gives nutrients (dhatu bala), stronger immune (oja bala) and complexion (varna) to the human body. And all this happens due to the function of ‘Agni’. If this ‘Agni’ doesn’t work properly and is not able to digest the ingested food then, the raw food will not convert into the absorbable forms and will fail in providing nourishment to the whole body.
Ayurveda says that human body is composed of indriya (sense), mana and atma (soul), varna (complexion), shakti (energy), swasthya (health), and development (growth), lusture (kanti), homeostasis (ushma), 7 Dhatvagni and 5 Bhutagni, prana (life) all these are dependent on the function of the Jatharagni. (Ch. Chik. 15|3)
When Agni will stop working, the person will die. And when Agni will function properly i.e. in ‘Sama-avastha’, then the person will live a happy, healthy, disease free long life but when this Agni becomes manda, tikshna or vishama then the person becomes diseased. Hence Agni is very important. (Ch. Chik. 15|4)
According to modern medical science, most of the substances in the diet cannot be utilised as such hence they are required to be broken into smaller particles, so that they can be absorbed into blood and distributed to various parts of the body for utilisation. This process is accomplished by mechanical and enzymatic breakdown of food. Ayurveda calls this digestion power ‘Agni’, the digestive fire which is responsible for digestion and metabolism.
Agni Is Classified Into 13 Types
On the basis of location and site of action it is of 3 types: Jatharagni, Bhutagni, Dhatvagni. Ayurveda says that Jatharagni is known as the foremost important of the rest of the Agni because all other Agni are dependent on Jatharagni. (Ch. Chik. 15|39) That is why it is very important to eat a proper balanced diet (ahara vidhi vidhana) so that Jatharagni can work accordingly.
By the action of Jatharagni the ingested food is broken into smaller particles, which are absorbed further. The ingested food is converted into two parts: necessary part (Rasa) and waste part (kitta).
Strength Divides Jatharagni into 4 types:
- Vishamagni (irregular)– Person having Vishamagni will have improper digestive function, as sometimes it will digest food quickly and sometimes it will take longer than required.
- Tikshnagni (intense)– The food ingested in larger quantities gets digested easily. Tiksha means ‘very quick’ hence, after digestion it creates more hunger, dryness of throat, and burning sensation.
- Mandagni (low)– Person having Mandagni digests food very slowly even if food is taken in appropriate amounts and is not able to digest even a small amount of food.
- Samagni (regular digestive fire)– The ingested food (balanced diet) is digested properly by this Agni. At this time all the three doshas (vata, pitta, kapha) of the body are at the same level and the person remains healthy.
After Jatharagni, Bhutagni acts by assimilating the food at tissue level. Ayurveda says that food is composed of panchmahabhuta. The food component is known with the name of the dominant bhuta. After the action of Jatharagni, the Agni present in different mahabhuta also start functioning. Bhutagni use to digest only their part of the element present in food and is of 5 types- Parthiva (earth), Apya (water), Tejas (Agni), Vayavya (vayu) and Nabhasa (akash). (Cha. Chi. 15/13, 14)
Dhatvagni acts on absorbed food after Bhutagni. After the action of Dhatvagni, the body gets nourishment (poshana) and growth (vridhi). The unwanted parts of the food are taken out from the body (kitta). All the seven Dhatus (element tissues of the body) contain their own Agni to metabolize the nutrient materials through their own Srotas (channels). The seven Dhatvagni are Rasagni, Raktagni, Mamsagni, Medagni, Asthyagni, Majjagni, Shukragni.
Mandagni (Low Digestive Power)
As the name ‘Mandagni’ suggests, the Agni is ‘low’ in nature. Low Agni is not able to make nutritive Rasa dhatu which provides nutrition to subsequent dhatu. Hence a person having Mandagni is not called healthy. It is mostly seen in the ‘kapha’ dominant people.
- Pain in abdomen
- Low appetite
- Dryness of mouth
- Increased Thirst
- Loss of Taste
- Heaviness in Body
- Atyambupana (Drinking large quantity of water)
- Vishmashana (Taking food either in large or small quantity)
- Sandharana (Suppression of natural urges)
- Swapna Viparyaya (Loss of sleep at nights)
- Irshya (Envy)
- Bhaya (Panic)
- Krodha (Annoyance)
- Rog dainya (Suffering from disease)
- Shoka (Grief)
- Dukh (Sadness)
- Hematological investigation
- Liver function test
- Fasting blood sugar, postprandial blood sugar
- Urine (routine and microscopic)
Herbal Remedies of Mandagni by Planet Ayurveda
Planet Ayurveda provides the best combination of effective herbal remedies for natural treatment of Mandagni. They don’t cause any side effects and are safe to use. All of the medicines from the house are made without the addition of chemicals or additives or preservatives.
- Chitrakadi Vati-500mg tablet, take one- two tables, once or twice in a day before or after food.
- Chitraka Haritaki- 5-10gm, one to two times a day, after meals with milk; for children below 5 year of age- 1-2 gram; for age of 5-12 years- up to 5 grams
- Marichadi Gulika-Two tablets, two times a day, before or after a meal.
- Hingwadi Vati-1-2 tablets at night, before or after having meals with water.
- Trikatu Churna-½- 2 gram after meals with lukewarm water.
Deepaniya (increasing digestive power) herbs which are helpful in Mandagni are following:
- Hingu- (Ferula narthex) Rasa- Katu; Guna- Laghu, Snigdha, tikshna; Vipaka- Katu; Veerya- Ushna
- Ativisha- (Aconitum heterophyllum) Rasa-Tikta, Katu; Guna- Laghu, Rooksha; Vipaka- Katu; Veerya- Ushna
- Chitrak- (Plumbago zeylanica) Rasa- Katu; Guna- Laghu, Rooksha, tikshna; Vipaka- Katu; Veerya- Ushna
- Marich- (Piper nigrum) Rasa- Katu; Guna- Laghu, tikshna; Vipaka- Katu; Veerya- Ushna
- Jeerak- (Cuminum Cyminum) Rasa- Katu; Guna- Laghu, Rooksha; Vipaka- Katu; Veerya- Ushna
- Krishna Jeeraka- (Carum bulbocastanum) Rasa- Katu; Guna- Laghu, Rooksha; Vipaka- Katu; Veerya- Ushna
For a better lifestyle people should be aware of the Agni (digestive fire). The concept of Agni should be utilized in Ayurvedic management of any digestion problems . Everyone should try to eat healthy food so that their Agni also works properly and the ingested food gets digested easily.