Agni digestive fire

Agni is a thermic principle, which effectuates the transformation from food into body structure.

Agni is our life – and digestive fire and has in Ayurveda a very important meaning. According to ayurveda, all deseases are related to agni disturbances.

Su headquarter is the upper stomach and is produced from Pitta (but it´s not Pitta). Agni is not being active only in this area, but works as an essential life-fire in each cell and is relevant for all necessary life functions.

All transformation processes in our body – both anabolic and catabolic – go back to the priciple of heat. Is agni working good, the person feals happy and healthy. If agni doesn´t “burn” right, deseases come up. Very important: Agni defines the strenght and the quality, how agni nurtures the body tissues. Beside the three doshas Vata, Pitta and Kapha is agni the fourth functional principle in our organism.

The whole Ayurveda therapy is based on the process of transformation of food into tissues (dhatu-parinama)!

The classical ayurvda literature distingiushes three agni subspecies:

1 – Jatharagni: here takes place the first contact between agni and the ingested food. This agni is located in the stomach area, liver and from the duodenum till the end of the small intestine. The Jatharagni can be balanced, or to strong or to weak. It is responsible for the primary digestion and the resorption of all food, the separation from nurturing and waste parts, it controles all other agni types, it controles all ohter agni types, it controles all Pitta types and regulates in an indirect way the quality and the quantity of the dhatus (body tissues).

2 – Buthagni: decomposes the ingested food into the five elements (water, air, fire, ether and earth). Buthagni can be find in each cell. It invokes the sensual qualities of food: audibility, palpability, visibility, taste and smell through the five senses.

3 – Dathvagni: are the seven tissue fires and this agni type is responsible for the tissue metabolism. A specific Dathagni transforms the digestion products in the sebstances, wihich are needed to create new ones. The seven dhatus are builded, the structural components of the human body.

Agni digestive fire is subdivided in four conditions:

1 – Samagni: is a balanced agni, which works good. Not to strong not to weak. Healthy food according to your constitution is being digested without any problems. The skin has a good teint, the general health condotions is good, the eyes are shining, the body is full of energy, and the immun system is operating well (ojas). Resilience against deseases is present. Enthusiam, happyness and energy are perceptible. Memory is good.

2 – Visamagni: this agni works irregular. Healthy food according to your constitution is digested sometimes good, sometimes with difficulties. This is caused by an increased Vata. Typical symptons are: flatulence, colicky pain, a tumid belly. Warm, sweet dishes are recommended, chewing all foods well and the practice of relaxing execises before eating.

3 – Mandagni: this agni is weak. The nutrition might be balanced, but the food cannot be digested in a porper way. Symptons like heaviness and a lack of appetite can come up. Is produced from an increased Kapha. A weak agni provokes ama, slag, a product of metabolism, which cannot be used by the body. Freshly cooked meals, seasoned with hot spices can help. An agni supportive drink made out of ginger, salt, cumin and raw sugar, such as the compliance of pauses between the meals are essential for a better use of food.

4 – Tikshna: this agni is working to much and to fast, in parts incomplete. That can lead to tissue lost. Is produced by an increased Pitta. It can lead to acidity, stomach inflamation and diarrhea. Try to avoid sour and hot seasoned dishes and implement cooling ones like cucumber, banana, rose water or cilantro.

In Ayurveda healthy and digestible food is always adjusted to the agni power of each person.

Food, that our body cannot “cook” in a proper way is called ama. Ama are residues, slags, which are straining the body. They don´t find entry in the energy circle of our body and can be generated on all levels (Jatharagni, Dathvagni, Buthagni). Ama has properties, which are clearly opposite to agni. Ama is cold, humid, heavy, not clear, bad smelling, dirty, sticky. Many ayurvedic therapies have as a goal to liberate the body from those slags. Typical symptons of ama are: overweight, rheumatism, skin deseases, allergies, laziness, stiffness and cardio-vascular system damages.

For a balanced agni it is nesessary to have balanced doshas. If this equilibrity is not given, the three agni disturbances will manifest.

Some tipps for a balanced agni:

  • chewing all foods well
  • do not eat before 11h in the morning
  • eat small dishes
  • drink ginger tea in small gulps
  • do short time fasting
  • use hot spices like chili, pepper (not if your Pitta is high)
  • Hingvashtaka churna is good for Vata caused agni disturbance
  • Trikatu is a very good mix out of three peppers (piper longum, black pepperm Zingiber) Take it with honey
  • Triphala churna is slightly detoxifying, increases agni, opens the srotas (transport spaces)


Agni digestive fire


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