(Last Updated on : 03/06/2013)
talks about the three bodily humors or the three doshas - Vata, pitta and kapha, which determine the body's physical and mental functions. For a healthy, vital and well-protected body, a balanced condition of the three doshas is mandatory. These doshas are in fact derived from the five components, namely earth, water, divine fire, air and universal space, which are collectively termed as the panchamahabhootas. Each dosha combines any two of the five bhootas and out of these two, one dominates. Since these three doshas supervise all the physiological and psychological processes within the body and mind, every physical activity, characteristic, mental capacity, physical energy, thoughts and the emotional tendency of human beings can be explained in terms of doshas. Although the structure of the human body is built up of five elements, the three humors define its functional status. Any one dosha predominates in each human body, determining the respective body type and making the person prone to ailments related to that dosha.
Pitta, one of the three doshas, is made up of the elements fire and water. It is responsible for thirst, digestion, hunger, heat regulation, vision, softness and luster, intellect, cheerfulness and sexual vigour. In short, this dosha governs all changes taking place in the physiology, from the digestion of food to the regulation of feelings, emotions and sensory perceptions. According to Ashtang Ayurveda, the site of existance of pitta is between the naval line and the 'epigastrum' line.
The Charaka Samhita
, a well known Ayurvedic text, defines the characteristics of Pitta
dosha in the following way: hot and a little sycophantic (sahasnehamushnam), liquid and acidic (dravamlam), sharp, burning (tikshnam), always flowing in an unbounded manner (saram); pungent and sharp (katuhu). People of pitta personality tend to be of medium proportions and frame. They possess warm skin that is very fair or glowing and may be sensitive. Their fine hair may show signs of premature graying or thinning. These people are intelligent and strong-minded in thought, speech and action. They show signs of purpose and ambition in each step as well as intensity in their voice whenever they speak. They are moderate sleepers and like to stay in cooler environments. Balanced pitta is specifically characterized by self-confidence and entrepreneurship.
There are five types of pitta, each having its own specific area of activity. These types are pachack pitta, ranjak pitta, sadhak pitta, alochak pitta and bhrajak pitta. Pachack pitta enables digestion and metabolism and is found in the duodenum and the intestines, those locations where the main process of digestion (breakdown and conversion) takes place. Apart from digestion, this pitta administers the formation of all other types of pitta in the body. Since formation of body structures and synthesis of energy occur as a result of proper digestion and metabolism, pachack pitta is essential for the maintenance of normal bodily activities. Ranjak pitta originates in the liver and determines to a certain extant the color and odor of blood, urine, faecal matter and other substances.
Changes in the colour of these substances indicate improper functioning of ranjak pitta and suggest disturbances in the liver. Sadhak pitta is present in the heart area and governs most mental and physical activities. Because this pitta promotes concentration, good will, good work, courage, capability, sharpness, intelligence, positive thoughts and energy, it plays a major role in the achievement of life goals.
Alochak pitta is present in the eyes and at the point between the eyebrows, which is often refferred to as the spiritual "third" eye. This pitta converts the reflection of an item on the retina into an image and thus enables us to see. Bhrajak pitta invests the skin tissue, giving it color, shine and quality. It helps in the regulation of body temperature by getting rid of excess heat through sweating. It facilitates the transport of ointments, oils and other such substances that are applied externally and enables them to enter the deeper layers of the skin so that they can effectively reach the place of action.
Food with bitter, sweet and astringent tastes find favour with the pitta constitution. An excessive intake of hot, spicy or sour foods, fermented, fried, oily, stale and "fast" foods; artificial colourings and flavourings, sour or unripe fruits and alcoholic drinks, hamper the normal pitta constitution of the body. Prolonged exposure to the sun, experiencing hot weather, indoor heat, chemicals, corrosives and undergoing strenuous exercises augment the constitution of pitta. In addition, an excess of normal human impulses such as mental tensions, fighting, fasting, cruelty, jealousy, competition and greed can cause a misbalance in the pitta. Misbalanced pitta leads to improper digestion, acidity, burning sensations, irritation, ulcers, elevated body temperature, redness, skin disorders, hemorrhages, piles, eye problems, disturbed sleep, loss of confidence, mal absorption of food, malnourishment, loss of appetite or excessive hunger and thirst, discolorations of the skin and body substances such as urine and blood as well as reduced or excessive secretions of hormones and enzymes. If these complications are not properly treated, the body eventually becomes weak and cold.
Thus we can conclude that those person in which pitta dominates exhibit the pitta type of personality. Disorders in pitta may prevent a person from leading a healthy life. If this pitta is well balanced, the digestive system functions properly thus ensuring proper metabolism.