Role of Agni in Digestion and Metabolism according to Ayurveda

WriteUps By Ishanee Saha

Author's Introduction :-

Ishanee Saha, 1st. proff. BAMS,

BSRGMAC&H, West Bengal.


Ayurveda is the ancient Indian system of life sciences and medicine. Ayurveda has described an important factor of digestion and metabolism in our body as Agni. Agni is responsible for strength, health, longevity; vital breath and it determines the quantity of food to be consumed. Ingested food is to be digested, absorbed and assimilated, which is essential for the maintenance of life, and is performed by Agni in Ayurveda. The term “Agni” is used in the sense of digestion of food and metabolic products. According to the functions and sites of action, Agni has been divided into 13 types, i.e. 1 Jatharagni, 5 Bhutagni and 7 Dhatvagni. About the importance of Agni, Acharya Charak has mentioned that after stoppage of the function of Agni, the individual dies, and when the Agni of an individual is in equilibrium condition, then that person would be absolutely healthy and would lead a long, happy and healthy life. But, if the Agni of a person is vitiated, the whole metabolism in his body would be disturbed, resulting in ill health and disease. Hence, Agni is said to be the base of life. 

Ayurveda has considered AGNI a very important entity for the maintenance of good health. Ayurveda says That if AGNI is not in its normal state than it will result in The formation of a disease. The entire basics of Ayurveda are greatly different from the Modern basic sciences and the understanding of the Structure and function of human body, the pathology and Diagnostics are based on its own theories of Triguna (Sattva- Raja-Tama), Tanmatra, Panchamahabhuta, Tridosha (Vata- Pitta-Kapha) and AGNI. In Ayurveda, The term “Agni” is used in the sense of digestion of food and metabolic products. Agni converts food in the form of energy, which is responsible for all the vital functions of our body. This agni is not in the form of flame as the Terrestrial fire but is in the form of liquid which is called As ‘Pitta’ in Ayurveda. ‘There is no agni apart from pitta and pitta itself is agni’ asserts Caraka.

Consumption of food may be in various forms i.e. eatables, beverages, etc., which is wholesome if consumed in suitable quantity and free from contamination. These substances undergo metabolic transformation by the effect of Jatharagni, Bhutagni and Dhatvagni. Initially Jatharagni gives stimulation to Bhutagni because consumed food is Panchabhautika, it has to undergo transformation by the respective Bhutagnis then only it becomes easy for Tissue metabolism by Dhatvagnis. Then processed Metabolic products circulate inside the srotas continuously by the help of Vata dosha. This favours the Development, strength, complexion and happiness as well as growth of tissues. Dhatus remain in their Normalcy after receiving respective nutrients from Metabolized food substances. Jatharagni is the main Principal substance responsible for disease and health. During its normalcy it is responsible for longevity, Complexion, strength, health, enthusiasm, well built, luster, immunity (ojas), temperature, other Agnis (bhutagni and dhatvagni) and other vital functions all are Dependent on jathargni. Therefore healthy state of body And diseased condition is entirely dependent on status of Agni.


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