The human body is like a production line that processes raw materials from the outside in the form of food and perceptions and transforms them so that they can be used to build body tissues and regenerate the body.
Agni - the Digestive Fire of Metabolism
According to Ayurveda, the quality and functionality of our daily digestion depends on the presence of a healthy digestive fire (agni). Agni is one of the most famous Ayurvedic terms and refers to the element of biological fire that is responsible for the process of digestion, absorption and conversion of food and perceptions into energy. If agni is optimal, a person will have a healthy metabolism and immune system. Everything that a person receives into his system is well digested, absorbed and the body receives sufficient nutrition to provide its regeneration and vitality.
If the digestive fire is weak, digestion and food conversion will slow down, resulting in the formation of toxic waste products that will accumulate in the large intestine due to insufficient frequency of defecation. This causes intestinal contamination, which leads to flatulence and bloating, discomfort and pain in the abdomen, insufficient absorption of minerals and vitamins, which can affect the deterioration of bones, cartilage and joints. Impurities in the intestinal tract also lead to the absorption of toxic substances into the blood, which then affects the unhealthy condition of the skin with the possible occurrence of rashes and eczema.
On the contrary, too high agni leads to hypermetabolism, where food is digested very quickly with feelings of dry throat and mouth and hot flashes. There may be hyperacidity, inflammation of the gastrointestinal tract, hypoglycaemia or diarrhea, which disrupt the process of absorption of important nutrients.
Keep a Healthy Fire in Your Body
To maintain a healthy digestive fire, a suitably chosen diet is used in accordance with the body's constitution (advice for individual constitutions: Vata, Pitta and Kapha). Ayurveda generally recommends that people with a slower metabolism add stimulant spices to their food, such as black or cayenne pepper, ginger, cumin, cardamom, cinnamon, turmeric or chili peppers. Conversely, people with an excess of agni should be wary of pungent, spicy and sour foods that increase the element of fire in the body and can affect the psychosomatic balance, which can be tilted by increased aggression and irritability. Therefore, foods with mild properties that soothe and harmonize the digestive system and reduce increased fire in the body such as rice, milk, coconut oil or herbal teas from soothing and cooling herbs such as mint, fennel, coriander, lemongrass and others are recommended.
How It Works or 6 Phases of Digestion
The process of digestion begins in the mouth, when food in contact with saliva acquires a taste for us, which affects the individual balance of the unique combination of three life energies (dosha) that forms our psychosomatic health. Some substances such as carbohydrates are already digested at this stage.
Furthermore, digestion takes place on three other levels (stomach, small and large intestine) - the stomach first digests simple sugars (hence this phase is called sweet), which are then released into the bloodstream and increase blood sugar levels. The proteins are then processed in the presence of enzymes and stomach acids. If the lining of the stomach is disturbed, heartburn, ulcers and gastritis can occur. This phase is called acidic. From the stomach, the food moves to the next stage of digestion in the duodenum - the first part of the small intestine. Here it is mixed with basic bile and pancreatic enzymes. Because the acidic nature of the food mixes with the alkaline medium, salt and water are formed. Food becomes salty, which helps digest fats and proteins. This is followed by another phase in the jejunum - the second part of the small intestine, which is associated with a pungent taste. The presence of air also causes the formation of gases that trigger intestinal peristalsis. The fiery element of the pungent taste also causes an increase in temperature and blood circulation. The fifth phase takes place in the ileum - the last and longest part of the small intestine, which is bitter due to the still present part of the bile and helps to absorb a large amount of nutrients. In the sixth astringent phase of digestion in the large intestine, vitamins, minerals and water are finally absorbed and thickened waste products are processed so that they can be eliminated.
Ayurvedic Digestive Tonic from the Pen of Everest Ayurveda
As part of our hand-made Ayurvedic herbal teas in Nepal and the traditional production of Ayurvedic elixirs in India, we focus on preparing two forms of Ayurvedic digestive preparations - the first of which are kvatha - decoctions of broad-spectrum herbs that work synergistically to create the desired effect. As part of our Ayurvedic line, we offer Guduchi herbal tea for diarrhea and vomiting, Shunti herbal tea for bloating and constipation, Pachaka herbal tea for irritated gastric mucosa and gastric ulcers, or the proven Ayurvedic herbal mixture Triphala for general detoxification of the intestinal tract. The second form is herbal jams, so-called avalehas, which with their nutritional value strongly regenerate body tissues and help cleanse the body's pathways. For healthy metabolism and strengthening immunity, the legendary Chyawanprash is recommended in Ayurveda, in the case of stomach upset Annaprash and in the case of problems with bowel movements and cleanliness Purishaprash.
Ayurvedic treatment of any health problem will traditionally always start with a modification of digestion, so that the healing effects of Ayurvedic products are well absorbed into the body and can support the body's natural effort to return to balance. If you need to cleanse and correct digestion after a period of poor diet or chronic indigestion, which are a signal of a problem at a deeper level, try monthly Ayurvedic treatments - Detoxification of the digestive system or Detoxification of the intestinal tract.