Updated: Aug 31, 2021
Agni (The Digestive Fire)
Agni means fire, and in Ayurveda, it is referred to as the digestive flame that assimilates and transforms food into valuable energy. There are three types of agni disorders, all of which require different management tools.
Related: Ayurveda 101
Hypermetabolism / Tikshna (Teek-Sha) Agni
indicates a scorching and overactive flame. People who have Tikshna Agni have strong appetites, often to the point of hanger! These folks regularly experience loose stool, diarrhea, and indigestion soon after eating. Heartburn and acid reflux can be symptoms too.
Eat cool and stay cool. Avoid spicy foods and avoid doing sweaty workouts during high noon. Practice yoga in a non-heated room and stay extra hydrated (yes, be that person at the bar with their reusable water bottle!)
Eat cooling and juicy foods like cucumbers, avocados, watermelons, zucchini, and mangos. Cook your food with coconut oil or avocado whenever possible. Lastly, allow yourself simple snacks and try not to let yourself get too hungry.
Hypermetabolism / Manda (Mun-Duh) Agni
Indicates a dull and weak flame. People who have Manda Agni are the exact opposite of those with Tikshna Agni. They can skip meals easily, feel full quickly, and often feel tired after meals. Some people with Manda Agni might experience regular bowel movements, while others might experience occasional constipation.
Manda Agni indicates ama (toxins), and one of the most incredible ways to clear ama is with digestive herbs. In the morning, add ginger to hot water and blend them to make a ginger solution. If you don’t have a blender, you can simply steep the ginger root in hot water.
After that, stir in ¼ teaspoon of turmeric and add lemon. This will stimulate the agni and reduce the ama in the gut. Eat bitter, pungent, and somewhat spicy foods like arugula, onion, garlic, and calciferous vegetables. Cook these vegetables in a small amount of ghee and spice them with hot and invigorating spices.
Try Tum Tum Tea for Happy Digestion!
Irregular Metabolism / Vishama (Vish-Ah-Ma) Agni
Or irregular appetite indicates an erratic and unpredictable flame. Some people experience a lot of gas, bloating, constipation or diarrhea. There is very little consistency with Vishama Agni, meaning one meal you could feel great, and then the next meal leaves you wildly uncomfortable. Those with Vishama Agni usually describe themselves as having a “sensitive digestive system” and are often on a gut reset diet.
Ground yourself! With Vishama Agni, how and when you eat is just as important as what you eat. Eat at the same time every day and always strive to eat sitting down. Avoid eating in the car, while working, or watching TV. Orient your diet towards grounding and nourishing meals filled with warming and pleasant herbs. Avoid raw, cold, and frozen foods as best you can.
Regular Metabolism / Sama (Sa-Ma) Agni
Indicates a beautiful warm golden fire. Not too hot, not too dull, but just right. This Goldie Locks Agni is a sign of good health and means all your bodily systems are functioning well! Signs of Sama Agni are healthy bowel movements that do not have a foul odor, are well-formed, easy to pass, and consistent. Those who have Sama Agni hardly ever feel uncomfortable after eating and experience an average amount of gas. They have energy in the day and sleep throughout the night.
Let us remind you that the goal here is to get closer and closer to your body’s version of a balanced state. Holistic health is about observing yourself regularly and meeting the moment with the appropriate counteractions to balance and heal.