In Ayurveda, impairment of digestive fire (jathar-agni) and tissue metabolic function (dhatu-agni) are the root cause of all diseases, including those which caused by infections.
Unfortunately, the classical texts are vague about the definition of agni and we are yet to decipher what it means in biochemical terms. Nonetheless, the concept of Agni may be used as an intellectual and philosophical anchor, to understand the workings of the human body. Balancing and achieving homeostasis of agni is considered critical to be healthy in the Ayurveda system of medicine.
Common symptoms of impaired agni are :
– general lethargy
– loss of appetite both in terms of interest and ability to appreciate the taste of food
– feeling of fullness in the abdomen
– lack of enthusiasm to work
To prevent invading micro-organism from wreaking havoc in our bodies, we require good immunity. The ability to protect oneself from any disease affliction is called vyadhikshamatva, a term that has been in use since the time of Charaka Samhitha. When body tissues are formed and functioning at optimum health, ojas or bala is formed thus leading the whole body to exhibit vyadhikshamatva. Depletion of ojas, with immunity being one way of interpreting this, is categorised as ojokshaya, ojovisramsa and ojovyapad, which leads to a situation of the body being vulnerable to diseases – infectious or systemic.
Ayurvedic treatises and practices indicate hundreds of measures to enhance ojas and balance agni. A few simple home-made recipes, using ingredients commonly found in any Indian household’s masala dubba, are shared for you and your family!
Author: Dr. Subrahmanya Kumar, Assistant Professor, CABHN