Ayurveda Aur Hum

Ayurveda Aur Hum

Trayodosa Agni The Digestive Fire inside body

Ayurveda describes the biological fire of the body required for all the metabolic functions (chemical processes for digestion of food) as ‘Agni’.[i] The food that we eat gets digested and absorbed from the stomach every day, which is important for the maintenance of life. This is performed by Agni.[ii] Agni is the invariable agent in the process of Paka (digestion, transformation). Ingested food which is to be digested, absorbed and assimilated, and is unavoidable for the maintenance of life, is performed by the Agni.

Agni converts food in the form of energy, which is responsible for all the vital processes of our body. Therefore, Ayurveda considers that Dehagni is the cause of life, complexion, strength, health, nourishment, lusture, teja (energy), oja and prana (life energy).

If Tridoshas (vata, pitta and kapha) are in homeostasis, this equilibrium is responsible for Samagni (agni in harmony). Digestive activity gets affected when these three doshas become aggravated, imbalanced or severe.[iii] When the Pitta is higher than normal, the condition is known as Tikshnagni. When Vata and Kapha are greater than normal, the condition is known as Mandagni.

Trayodasa Agni – The Thirteen types of Agni

There are thirteen categories of Agni in the human body. These can be described as follows:3

  • Jatharagni: This works at the gastrointestinal level, governing basic digestion and the 12 other agnis. In the modern medical perspective, the action of Jatharagni can be equated with the digestion in the stomach and duodenum.
  • 5 Bhutagnis: These are a form of heat that is present in all the tissues. Bhutagni is the one that is present in a basic element (five Bhutas). There are five Agnis in each of the five basic elements, namely – Apya (water), Tejas (Agni), Vayavya (vayu), Parthiva (earth) and Nabhasa (akash). Each and every cell in our body is composed of five elements or Panch Mahabhutas that are present in the body’s tissues (air, fire, water, ether & earth), and are responsible for proper functioning and development of the The action of the Bhutagni can be equated with the conversion of digested materials in the liver.
  • 7 Dhatagnis: Metabolize in the seven tissues (saptadhatus). This is a biochemical process beyond food digestion. It includes both the build-up and breakdown of absorbed nutrients to produce energy.

Together, these thirteen agnis are called Trayo Dasa. The most important Agni is the one responsible for digestive fire, Jatharagni. Jatharagni is closely related to Pitta and ultimately Vatta of the body. If the digestive fire in the body is increased due to increased acidity, the elevation in Pitta levels and its relative symptoms are observed. Digestive fire is important as it regulates the normal harmless bacteria in our gut, ensures proper functioning of digestive processes and provides energy to the entire body. Any disturbances in its balance, creates discomfort to the digestive tract and results in disease complications like ulcers, diarrhoea and constipation etc.1

Agni & the Tridoshas

The tridoshas produce three agnis, namely vishamagni, tikshnagni and mandagni. Excess Vayu in the body produces weak, irregular digestion, and causes gas. Excess Pitta creates a situation like an overheated furnace. Food tends to burns up quickly, and the person experiences burning sensations, thirst, acid indigestion, etc. In some cases, the agni fire even burns up useful nutrients, causing malnutrition. When excess Kapha is in the digestive tract, the digestive fire is lesser, making it difficult to digest any foods. As a result, a person feels dull, poor, inadequate, and tired; the stomach becomes heavy, or the person experiences constipation.3

Vayu disorders produce hard stools from the dryness caused by gas. Pitta disorders produce soft and liquidy due to excess heat. Kapha stools are moderate. Healthy stools are also moderate and easily eliminated once or twice a day.3

Importance of Agni

Agnidetermines how long we live. Intelligence, understanding, and ability to focus are also the functions of agni. The color of the skin is monitored by agni and the enzyme system and metabolism also totally dependon agni. As long as agni functions properly, the processes of breaking down food and absorbing into the body operates smoothly.[iv]


[i] Jaiswal YS, Williams LL. A glimpse of Ayurveda–The forgotten history and principles of Indian traditional medicine. Journal of Traditional and Complementary Medicine. 2016 Feb 28.

[ii] Agrawal AK, Yadav CR, Meena MS. Physiological aspects of Agni. Ayu. 2010 Jul;31(3):395.

[iii] Tirtha SS. The Ayurveda encyclopedia: Natural secrets to healing, prevention, and longevity. Sat Yuga Press; 2007.

[iv] Lad V. Ayurveda: The science of self-healing: A practical guide. Lotus press; 1984.