Pitta is made up of the two elements fire and water. The most revered ayurvedic text, the Charaka Samhita, defines the characteristics of Pitta dosha: hot and a little unctuous (sahasnehamushnam); sharp, burning (tikshnam); liquid and acidic (dravamlam); always flowing in an unbounded manner (saram); pungent and sharp (katuhu). Pitta contains fire, but it also contains water. It is the source of the flame, but not the flame itself. It governs the digestion or proper assimilation of physical, mental and emotional elements of a biological entity. Hence, Pitta is responsible for metabolism in the organ and tissue systems, as well as cellular metabolism.
Functions of Vata Dosha
Pitta is responsible for the formation of tissues, waste products, and energy from the food, water, and air that we take in from the outside world. It controls metabolic activities and governs all secretions that occur in the gastrointestinal tract and the enzymes and hormones that flow from ductless glands into the blood stream. Pitta regulates body temperature, hunger, thirst, fear, anxiety, anger, and sexual desire, which are’ all stimulated by heat. Psychologically, Pitta is responsible for courage and will power, and assimilation of knowledge from the outside world (mental digestion).
Five Types of Pitta Dosha
The five types or subdoshas of Pitta are: Pachaka, Ranjaka, Alochaka, Sadhaka and Bhrajaka. All these are responsible for some type of digestion, which process occurs on various levels throughout the body and mind.
- Pachaka Pitta :- Pachaka Pitta is responsible for the primary conversion process in the body, the digestion of food. It makes up the stomach acids, bile salts and other digestive juices. Because of its hot and penetrating quality, it disintegrates and di8ests food in the gastrointestinal tract.
- Ranjaka Pitta :- Ranjaka Pitta aids in the secondary digestion of food for the formation of tissues. The formation of blood (Rakta) and other tissues in the liver is the chief function of Ranjaka Pitta, which colors the blood and other secretions.
- Alochaka Pitta :- Alochaka Pitta is responsible for the assimilation and conversion of visual stimuli that take place when an object is sensed by the eyes. Sensations of sound, touch, taste, and smell also require the proper digestion. The factor responsible for this digestion of impressions is Alochaka Pitta.
- Sadhaka Pitta :- Sadhaka Pitta is located in the brain and works through the nervous system. After sensing any object, its recognition is dependent upon a specific sequence of conversions in the brain cells governed by Sadhaka Pitta. The capacity to appreciate art is another function of it. Sadhaka Pitta works to digest ideas and experiences in the brain, particularly in the cerebrum.
- Bhrajaka Pitta :- Bhrajaka Pitta maintains the temperature and complexion of the skin, and helps in the absorption of sunlight, oils and ointments through the skin. Its condition is reflected by the lustre of the skin.
Causes of High Pitta
Pitta is aggravated by food that is hot in temperature, by spicy food like chili, black pepper, and mustard, by fried food, and by too salty or sour food. Working night shifts, in hot environments or in excessive exposure to the sun and heat increases Pitta. Prime psychological factors are anger, irritability, short temper, argument and conflict.
Symptoms of High Pitta
High Pitta brings about a desire for cooling foods, cool environment and cool clothing. Physical symptoms are excessive hunger and thirst, and burning sensations in the skin, eyes, or hands. Hypersensitivity may develop in the form of allergic rashes, fevers or giddiness. There is yellowish discoloration of the skin, eyes, urine and feces. Psychological factors of anger, rage, hatred and jealousy increase. Many inflammatory and infectious diseases can occur or problems with the blood and the liver.
Management of Pitta
Anti-Pitta diet should be taken’ emphasizing sweet, bitter and astringent tastes. This includes dairy products like milk, butter and ghee, mung beans, basmati rice, wheat, sweet fruit, and cool spices like coriander, turmeric and cloves. Bathing or swimming in cool water should be done, followed by light massage with cool oils like coconut or sunflower oil. Sweet aromas can be used like rose or sandalwood, or rose water can be applied to the head and nose. Purgation can be carried out in serious conditions. When Pitta has caused tissue depletion, tonic herbs like shatavari or amalaki (Chyavanprash) should be resorted to.