The word pitta is derived from the Sanskrit word “pinj” that means to shine. It is associated with fire that is why it is often regarded as the fire within the body. Every kind of transformation is the job performed by pitta. It organizes all the body activities after transformation. The transformation of foods into nutrients assimilated by the human body is one of the functions of pitta. Pitta is also responsible for metabolism in the organ and tissue systems as well as cellular metabolism.
According to Sir Monier-Williams exact entomology of pitta is a mystery. Pitta governs the ability to digest ideas and impressions that helps the human body to perceive the true nature of reality.
According to ancient Ayurvedic text, Charaka Samhita, pitta, functions in digestion, heat production, provides colour to the blood, provides vision and skin luster.
The various functions provided by pitta are :
Thermogenesis- maintains the proper body temperature
Metabolism or transformation- starting from digestion of food to transformation of all other materials
Appetite – the feeling of hunger and thirst
Comprehension of information into knowledge also includes reasoning and judgment
Courage and braveness to face the situation
Converts external images into optic nerve impulses
Provides colour and softness to the skin
The various effects of balanced pitta are :
Good complexion with healthy facial tone
Lustrous and slightly wavy hair
Strong and complete digestion
Efficient assimilation of foods
Normal heat and thirst mechanisms
Open intellect with good concentration on the truth
Imbalanced pitta results in incomplete digestion, irregular body temperatures, loss of energy and variable skin colour.
Oily, penetrating, hot, light, unpleasant odour, spreading nature and liquid form are some of the properties of pitta. Among the organs major site of pitta is navel, the other sites are blood and lymph, eyes, skin, stomach, upper part of small intestine and sweat.
People with pitta as predominant have the qualities of fire. Pitta people have warm bodies, penetrating ideas and sharp intelligence. People are of average build, height and weight. They tend to be strong with good stamina. They are the most balanced physically and have lighter coloured hair, fairer skin, blue or green eyes. Pitta people tend to have a strong metabolism, good digestion and strong appetites. They tend to suffer from diseases like jaundice, inflammatory diseases, fevers, burning sensation and sore throats.
To balance pitta one should avoid excessive heat, oil and steam. Salt intake should also be restricted. One should eat cooling and non-spicy foods.
The various sub-types of pitta are :
Pachaka helps in the process of digestion and its main site is the stomach. The main site of ranjaka is liver and is responsible for tissue digestion. Sadhaka is present in heart and brain and is responsible for preservation of our cognitive memories and also for the digestion of knowledge.
Alocchaka is present in the eyes and helps the eyes in proper vision. Bharahaka resides in skin and enhances the digestion and absorption of massages of oil.