Agni, The Digestive Fire
- By Tim Larson, Ph.D.
An important concept in Ayurveda is the digestive fire
which kindles all biological processes. Ayurveda refers to
this by the sanskrit term, agni. It is manifested by
enzymes and acids that break down the food in your
stomach and intestines (like a fire), so that the cells of
your body can assimilate the nutrients. When agni is
strong, the enzymes and acids do a thorough job of
breaking down and metabolizing the foods you eat so
that they can provide proper nourishment for your cells
and tissues to function and replenish themselves. Agni
also destroys harmful bacteria, microorganisms, and
toxins in your digestive tract.
Improvement and maintenance of good health and a
vibrant appearance are dependent on proper care and
nourishment of agni.
Actions which disrupt agni are
- improper nourishment
- eating at inappropriate times (late at night, etc.)
- eating too fast
- eating when upset
- eating poor food combinations
- inattention to act of eating (watching TV, etc while
- drinking iced drinks
- drinking excessive liquids during a meal
- drinking coffee with or after meals
- eating stale foods
- eating microwaved foods (destroys life force)
- excessive sleep
- extreme climates
- anger, rage, and immoral actions.
Actions that you can take to balance your agni are as
follows: eat fresh, nutritious foods (preferably fruits and
vegetables, in season), eat moderate portions at meals
(about two handfuls), chew well, properly spice foods,
stimulate your appetite with a small amount of bitter
herbs before meals.
There are a number of signs that indicate that agni is low:
gas, burping, slow digestion, constipation, and dull
complexion. Agni is increased by hot, fragrant spices like
ginger, black pepper, and cayenne.
Agni can also go out of balance and be too high. Signs of
this are strong belching, diarrhea, burning in digestive
tract, rashes, heavy perspiration, and feelings of agitation.
Signs of balanced agni include:
- Bright eyes
- Pleasant body odor and breath
- Clear, straw-colored urine
- Normal feces without strong smell
- Good digestion
- No discomfort after eating
- No belching of gas
- Enthusiasm for life and work
- Abundant energy
- Strong resistance to disease
- Hunger before next regular meal
If you exhibit any of these signs that agni is too low or too high in your body, you might want to check the balance of your system and restore balance to prevent disease. Then you should exhibit the signs of balanced agni shown above.
Tim Larson developed the first computer program on Ayurveda. His mix of the ancient secrets of Ayurveda with the modern technology of computer programming brought a new interactive experience of Ayurveda, custom-tailored for the user. You can find more information about health at http://www.mindxpansion.com/health
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