Agni is a unique concept of Ayurvedic system of medicine. It symbolizes the digestive power of our body. The food we eat helps in building our body. For this, the food needs to be converted into the form in which it can be assimilated in the body. The physiological mechanism which is the driving force behind this conversion is called as Agni. This mechanism takes place at various levels during the entire process of digestion, depending on which Agnis are broadly divided into the following categories:
It is the Agni present in Digestive tract. It acts on ingested food, breaks it down and converts it into semi digested form (Aahar Rasa). Other Agnis act on this semi digested form to further convert it into the form easier to assimilate. Thus action of other Agnis does depend on Jatharagni. If there is problem at the level of Jatharagni, it affects the whole digestive mechanism.
These are the Agnis of each of the seven Dhatus. Agnis such as Rasadhatvagni, Raktadhatvagni etc.
Food semi digested by Jatharagni travels all over the body through various channels. During this process, Agni of each Dhatu acts on it producing factors for its own nourishment (Poshak Ansha), factors for nourishment of Updhatu and waste products.
Thus, there are total seven Dhatvagnis workings in the body. Dhatvagni has area of action limited to a particular Dhatu. For example, Rakta Dhatvagni acts only at the level of Rakta Dhatu.
As we know our body is made up of five basic elements known as Panchamahabhoota. Ultimately, the food we eat should be converted into the same Panchabhautik form for it to get assimilated. This action is under control of Bhutagni.
Thus, there are total five Bhutagnis i.e. one of each Mahabhoota. For example Parthivagni acts on Parthiv part of semi digested food and convert it into form ready to assimilate.
Agnis are further classified as follows:
Samagni digests the properly taken food in appropriate amount of time. This Agni denotes balance of all three Doshas.
It is a type of Agni which some times digests the food properly, sometimes takes too long and sometimes digests the food quickly. Thus it is irregular in its course of action. Vishamagni is associated with Vata Dosha.
This type of Agni digests any kind of food, in any quantity very quickly. Tikshnagi is associated with Pitta Dosha.
Mandagni (मंदाग्नि ):
This type of Agni takes time to digest even the smallest quantity of food. Mandagni is associated with Kapha Dosha.
The following table denotes the relation between Doshas and Agnis: