What is Pitta Dosa

The pitta dosa is made up of tejas (fire) and jala (water). The seemingly contradictory combination of fire and water to form pitta is actually complemen-tary. Pitta exists as water or oil in the body, thus pre-serving the  tissues from the destructive aspect of fire. It is pungent, hot, penetrating, greasy, oily, sharp, liquid, spreading and sour. Its primary function is transformation. It is the force of metabolic activity in the body associated with the endocrine function, hormone levels, digestion, body temperature, visual perception, hunger, thirst, and skin quality. Mentally it plays a role in understanding and indigesting sensory impressions. Again, the fiveaspects of pitta determine its location in the body. It resides in the eyes, blood, sweat glands, the small intestine, stomach and lymph. Its primary site is in the small intestine.

Types of Pitta (Fire/Agni)

Alocaka pitta: Resides in the eyes and is responsiblefor transforming light. A¯ locaka  pitta gives lustre and shine to the eyes. It moves inwards and regu-lates the dilation and contraction of the pupil. When aggravated it causes conjunctivitis, styes, ble-pharitis or glaucoma, which are treated using anti-inflammatories such as rose petals (Rosa centifolia).

Sadhaka pitta: Resides in the ‘heart’ and is the centre of ayurvedic consciousness. It controls a rhyth-mical heartbeat and the ability to digest intellectual information. It can transform a feeling into emotion and, when healthy, gives clarity. It functions via the neurotransmitters that are responsible for the production of dopamine and serotonin. Itsregulatory function is seen as controlling the hypothalamus and the balance of sadhaka pitta is often related to the balance of homeostasis in the body. Imbalances manifest as imbalanced hormone production, being excessively critical and inability to concentrate. Use medhya herbs that nourish the mind such as brahmi (Bacopa monniera) to cool any excess pitta and regulate any imbalance.

Ranjaka pitta: Occupies the liver and spleen and gives colour to blood by generating red blood cells from the bone marrow. It is responsible for the colour of the body and our appreciation of the colour of life, giving enthusiasm and vigour. Hepatitis, jaundice, anaemia, skin discolorations, myalgic encephalo-myelitis, gallstones, cirrhosis, and high cholesterol are often related to a ranjaka pitta imbalance best treated on a pattern by pattern basis including red-yellow-coloured herbs such as manjishtha (Rubia cordifolia) and daruharidra (Berberis aristata).

Bhrajaka pitta: Resides in the skin. It keeps the sweat glands active and maintains complexion by regulating pigmentation. It processes the sensation of touch and carries messages of temperature, texture and pain to the brain. It also metabolises the light that touches the skin; this regulates skin colour, vitamin D production and melatonin levels, responsible for sleep and mood patterns. When imbalanced it causes skin problems such as eczema, psoriasis, acne and skin cancer which can be effectively treated using sweet and bitter herbs such as aloe vera (Aloe barbadensis).

Pacaka pitta: Occupies the small intestine between the lower portion of the stomach and the ileocaecal valve as the digestive fire of the gastrointestinal tract. It helps to break food down into an absorbable medium. It is the aspect of pitta responsible for digestion and assimilation and is regulated by the health of prana vayu, hence weak pran a causing weak digestion. Being purely hot and sharp pacaka pitta expresses the inherent qualities of fire. When in excess it can cause hyperacidity, ulcers, nausea and diarrhoea. When deficient it can cause poor digestion, low appetite, bloating, constipation and lethargy. Pacaka pitta isthe most commonly aggravated of all the five pittas and is treated by clearing it from the system with mild purgatives that are bitter and cooling such as rhubarb root (Rheum palmatum) or the more gentle amalaki (Emblica officinalis). Pitta is aggravated by pungent, salty and sour flavours (as they increase heat) in the middle of a meal, at midday, by anger and irritation, repressed emotions, in summer and late spring, from adolescence to middle age, from excessive ambition and in a hot and damp climate. Hot and oily foods likegarlic and fried foods disturb pitta