Calm your system to avoid pitta
Ninivaggi in his book on Ayurveda defines pitta as the biological dosha that drives changes, conversion, thermogenesis and transformative processes.
Ninivaggi in his book on Ayurveda defines pitta as the biological dosha that drives changes, conversion, thermogenesis and transformative processes. The main site of pitta dosha is the small intestine. If you listen to the conversation of older people when discussing the state of their digestion you will hear them saying that their pitta has increased and hence, they are having acidity. It is fascinating to learn about the way in which our Acharyas have classified the various types of pitta dosha. They have cited five types of pitta namely Pachaka pitta, Ranjaka pitta, Alochaka Pitta, Bharajaka Pitta and Sadhaka Pitta.
Pachaka Pitta is called the pitta of digestion and is located in the small intestine and lower stomach. Increase in pungent foods can vitiate the pitta doshas. Hyperacidity or increase in hydrochloric acid, bile etc. happens when your ahaaram is pungent and sour. Ranjaka pitta resides in the liver and the spleen. It is the pitta that is vitiated when you land up with jaundice. This pitta is responsible for erythropoiesis or the formation of red blood cells. Many times, parents warn children not to eat tamarind fruit as it could lead to anaemia. This may be the reason why Alochaka pitta resides in the eyes. When one has jaundice, pitta is vitiated and you can see the yellowing of the eyes.
Bhrajaka pitta is found in the skin and one sees yellowing of the skin in advanced cases of jaundice. It is pitta that contributes to the lustre of your skin. This of course means that your ahaaram and viharam, which is your diet and lifestyle must be pitta sharana, that is, it should pacify not aggravate pitta. Foods that aggravate pitta are salty, sour and pungent. In Tamil Nadu, you will find grandmothers saying, “Uppu, Puli, Karam, Korai,” meaning reduce your intake of salty, sour and pungent foods.
As the summer progresses and merges into the monsoon season, pitta increases. Your lifestyle should not contribute to increasing body heat like walking in the sun, etc. Monsoons also aggravate pitta because of the nature of the vapours arriving from the earth which have amla vipaka.
The fifth is Sadhaka Pitta, said to be located in the heart and brain. It helps in clean thinking, and if you have any spiritual ambitions, you should cultivate this pitta. You could start with a Sattvic diet. Vitiated pitta dosha can be corrected easily in the early stages. I have often written about triphala, the miracle formulation of our Acharayas. Have a spoonful with hot water every night. Also learn to respect the wisdom of our grandmothers. They used to regularly practice virechanam.
In Tamil Nadu, it was common for the old people to set apart a Sunday every two to three months for a routine course of purgatives for the entire family. Ricinus communis oil (castor oil) or eranda tailam was used with good effect to completely clear the GI tract and remove all vitiated pitta doshas. The mild purgation was followed by a light diet of rasam sadam. Such routine practices ensured that the pitta dosha hardly ever got aggravated. The first thing that Ayurvedic physicians will do to treat jaundice is to prescribe a slightly stronger purgation therapy followed by required medications. So to keep your pitta dosha under control, do get into the habit of having regular virechanams or purgation.
The writer is retired Additional Chief Secretary of Tamil Nadu. She can be reached at sheelarani.arogyamantra@gmail. com/arogyamantra.blogspot.com