Agni (digestive fire) is the main governor of the body because overall digestion determines the health of an individual. According to Ayurveda, there are four types of agni based on whichever dosha is imbalanced in an individual. They are:
Individuals with sama agni can digest a reasonable quantity of any food in any season without issue, and they tolerate changes in the weather and the seasons quite gracefully. The three process of digestion namely, digestion, absorption, and assimilation are well balanced in such individual. Metabolism is balanced and elimination is regular. There is an overall state of perfect health and the emotions are in equilibrium. No ama is present in the system and the tongue will be clean of any coating.
When agni is affected by vata dosha it becomes irregular and fluctuates the metabolism. The chief symptom of vishama agni is irregular appetite. Indigestion, abdominal distension, gas, gurgling intestines, constipation (or alternating constipation and diarrhea), and colicky pain are other common symptoms.
When excess pitta is present in the body, agni tends to become tikshna (sharp). Pitta’s properties inflame agni in excess which leads to hypermetabolism. Common symptoms such as hyperacidity, acid indigestion, gastritis, heartburn, hot flashes, acidic saliva, and fever are seen in individuals with tikshna agni. Individuals with tikshna agni have a practice of eating on a frequent basis and have an unsatisfied diet. Excretion is extremely active, and stools are usually soft, loose and at times even liquid. Hypoglycemia, diarrhea, loose stools, pain in the liver are observed more in these individuals.
Manda agni is associated with excess of kapha and usually suppresses body’s digestive fire. It lowers your digestive activity, slows down metabolism and causes heaviness in body. It causes over salivation, nausea, hypertension, diabetes, and obesity. Cravings for dry, hot, and spicy food is seen in individuals. Mentally and emotionally, it can cause lethargy, boredom, and desire for excess sleep.
These four types of agni helps find out the difference between a healthy agni and impaired agni. The point of these types of tools is to increase self-awareness so that we can apply the wisdom of Ayurveda and begin to heal. If the entire process feels off-putting or overwhelming, an Ayurvedic practitioner can help you to sort out the particulars of your case and offer personalized support wherever you need it.