Like Tridosha control all parts of the body, they also control the Agni – digestive power.
Agni and Pitta – Wherever there is processing with fuel, like running of a motor engine, there is an element of fire involved. Hence, even in the process of food digestion, where food is used as fuel by the body to burn and generate energy, there is predominant involvement of fire. So, Pitta is the main component of Agni. (In fact, Agni itself means fire.). Pitta acts as the main burning power, which burns the food and divides it into useful part (Rasa) and waste part (Mala – faeces)
Agni and Vata – But as we know, fire alone cannot burn a mass. It needs some amount of air as well. Proper quantity of oxygen rich air will keep the fire alive. Wind is correlated with Vata in Ayurveda. Hence, the process of digestion also involves Vata. For your digestion process to run smoothly, your Vata should also be in a healthy state. Vata helps in maintaining proper Pitta. It also helps in the division of useful and waste part. Vata is responsible for movement of the food taken in normal downward direction, from oral cavity to anal canal. It is also responsible for division and further assorting of useful part of food and waste part.
Agni and Kapha – When there is a big mass, to burn it, only fire and wind might not be sufficient. You need some lubricating liquid that would soften and break down the mass into small particles. Liquid / water are correlated with Kapha. Hence, you need a little amount of Kapha also, in the digestion process. Kapha helps in lubricating the food. It helps to break down the food particles into small pieces.
Common causes of digestive disorders :
Ayurvedic classics emphasize on following satvic diet. But it mayl not be possible all the time. Our tongue demands tasty food all time. Many of the spicy and additives like chilly, garlic when used excessively will cause digestive troubles.
Mostly we are dependent on packed food items that possess significant percentage of preservatives, coloring agents, stabilizers, emulsifiers, taste enhancers etc. which in a long run will cause disorders of the digestive system.
Hurry, worry and curry are the major reasons for all kinds of GIT irritation.
Untimely food, excess food, repeated food intake (before the digestion of previous meal), excess intake of coffee and tea, habits like smoking, tobacco chewing etc contribute to causal as well as aggravation of disease.
Ayurveda emphasizes that stress, job dissatisfaction, jealousy, anger etc are also reasons for GIT diseases.
Due to our busy schedule we often take food at hotels, restaurants or roadside fast food- shops. In most cases , good hygienic measures are not undertaken hence there are chances of contamination. Due to this, there can be bacterial infection , fungus or such other micro organism and indirectly they become the reason for irritation of the stomach and gut.
Now–a-days most of the people do not follow classical food habits. Taking pizza, burger, noodles etc along with packed juices, cold drinks or milk-shake is a typical example of incompatible food.
Other than this, we are unsure about the type of oils and spices used , methods of food processing etc. Incidentally, these also act as incompatible foods. Due to this, the food is not digested properly and it provokes excess of Pitta and thus resulting in gastric irritation.
As per Ayurveda, indigestion and lowered digestive strength leads to formation of Ama (metabolic toxin) which is the cause of many diseases. Hence, improving digestive strength is the first step before starting Panchakarma treatment. Improving digestion is also helpful in treating conditions like rheumatoid arthritis, obesity etc.