Amlapita and the digestive fire Agni in Ayurveda
Amlapita in Ayurveda indicates a state of increased acidity in the digestive tract that irritates the gastric mucosa. To a great extent its manifestations correspond to the disease, which is known in Western medicine as chronic gastritis.
The development of this condition can lead to an ulcer. To a great extent the occurrence and development of amlapita, is associated with dyspepsia, as it affects not only the stomach but also the initial part of the small intestine.
The disease causes pain and overall digestive disorders, which, in addition to numerous manifestation of the disease, is accompanied by a severely reduced appetite. This condition is often underestimated by the patients, as many of them get used to it and live with it for years, but this is very dangerous. Because if not treated, amlapita over time can lead to perforation of the stomach, which may require urgent surgery, otherwise the patient may die. Moreover, if the disease is left to develop, amlapita can ultimately lead to cancer.
In order to explain what is amlapita in Ayurveda, we have to highlight the Ayurvedic concept with regard to digestion, and in particular, to the digestive fire Agni.
This is a biological fire that is only symbolically related to the visual image of fire. It comprises the chemical processes through which the degradation of food is executed, as well as its processing to simple substances for absorption, and the cell nutrition /metabolism/. Moreover, Agni destroys the harmful bacteria and microorganisms in the stomach and intestines, and various toxins.
In general, the fire Agni is responsible for all transformations, as there are 13 types with different functions. So in the broad sense, apart from digestion, the different types of Agni carry out chemical processes and changes in both the body and mind – sensory sensations, emotional and mental experiences.
With regard to digestion, Jathar Agni is the gastric fire associated with the formation of hydrochloric acid; Bhuta Agni is responsible for the hepatic bile acids; Kolma Agni controls the enzymes and pancreas.
Thus, the digestive fire generally carries out the transformation of the consumed food, as well as its processing with hydrochloric acids, juices and enzymes in the stomach, duodenum and small intestine. If for some reason the digestive fire Agni is suppressed, it cannot fully manage all chemical processes, which leads to an increase in acidity and occurrence of Amlapita.
Amlapita and the three Doshas in Ayurveda
The answer to the question What is amlapita in Ayurveda? can not be complete without explaining, although briefly, the essence of the three Doshas. These are biological forces, essences that enable the existence of the body and its development.
These energies are set in a unique proportion for each person at birth. Each one of them manages certain processes in the body:
- The Agni Fire/transformations of matter/ belongs to Pitta;
- Movements of matter in the body and of the body itself belong to Vata,
- and the control of fluids /tissue fluids, blood, plasma – more than 70 % of the body’s water/ belong to Kapha.
Their proportion is set in a certain balance in which one or two of the Dosha is predominant, which in turn determines the type of constitution. If one of the Doshas goes out of balance, the processes that are controlled by it get disturbed, and this also can cause imbalances in the other two Doshas, respectively disturbances in “their” processes. Thus, complex diseases occur.
The digestive fire can be suppressed by imbalances of Pitta, but also by imbalances in Vata or Kapha. Thus, the amlapita disease can be of the Pitta type, of Vata type or of Kapha type.
If the imbalance is of the Pitta type, people feel heaviness and weakness at the same time; coldness and burning in the stomach; usually accompanied by frequent vomiting, the tongue is covered with coating, as well as skin rashes occur.
If the amlapita is of the Vata type, the discomfort is accompanied by trembling, weakness, anxiety, tingling, and needle-like shooting pain, as the person may fall into delirium – the consciousness is blurred and confused, and hallucinations may occur.
Eye pain is also a possible symptom, as well as dizziness and even seizures. This is because Vata is the dosha of movements and, as such, it is related to the brain activity, its impulses and their transmission through the nervous system.
Seizures may occur also if amplapita is of the Kapha type – this is the Dosha that is responsible also for the brain fluids. Other common symptoms include headache, increased salivation, sweet taste in the mouth and lack of appetite.
In more severe cases, there is a strong thirst; besides the itching, skin rashes may also appear; burning in the stomach, chest and can be accomapnied by burning on the feet and palms, and sweating.
The vomiting may be green, black, blue, yellow, light or bright red with highly acidic material.
Causes of Amlapita according to Ayurveda
For Ayurveda, the basis for the occurrence of amlapita is the unhealthy lifestyle that is inconsistent with the natural essence of human body. This includes improper nutrition – both unsuitable foods and their way of consumption; unhealthy daytime regime of activities, rest and sleep; presence of too many negative feelings and thoughts.
The spiritual beginning and its role in the physical condition should not be ignored, because mental activity, the physiology and energy level are one and do influence each other.
For example, anger, jelaousy, hatered activate the Pitta energy, to which the Agni Fire belongs, and these contribute to its imbalance. These feelings and the thoughts related to them are typical of the disturbed Pitta, which causes an increase in acidity, infections, ulcers and a number of other diseases associated with digestion and with other systems.
Anxiety and fear contribute to imbalances in the Vata energy. This leads to digestive disorders, gasses, constipation, bloating and many other problems, apart from the degradation and absorption of consumed food.
Still, when we classify the causes of amplapita, Ayurveda puts in the first place the nutrition, which is not suitable for the specific type of body /Dosha/ of the person. There are certain types of healthy foods for each Dosha, as well as way of eating, and if we do not observe them, one of the energies may disturb the harmony.
In general, however, amlapita is associated with irregular eating, periods of starvation and overeating alternating, as well as consumption of too oily, spicy, salty foods, and highly processed and canned foods with long shelf life.
According to Ayurveda food is useful if consumed within 3 hours after it is freshly prepared, then it loses its natural power. In addition, there comes stress, insomnia or the habit to take a nap just after eating, or going to bed late at night, prolonged intake of medications, for example, aspirin or anti-inflammatory drugs, alcohol abuse, smoking, and so on.
Ayurvedic nutrition for Amlapita
As mentioned, amlapita may be caused by complex deviations in all three Doshas. The diagnosis done by the Ayurveda specialist, will determine what deviations have occurred and in which energy, as well as the extent of the deviations. This is essential for the determination of the combinations in the nutritional regime that are intended to soothe the Doshas, which have come out of balance and to restore the digestive fire.
This diet is strictly individual for everyone according to their body type and the energy imbalances that have been detected, possible concomitant diseases, age, sex, etc.
In general, light, cold and more liquid foods with astringent, bitter and sweet taste are recommended for the treatment of amlapita. Fried foods, as well as the spicy, salty, sour and hot foods are contraindicated. The patient should consume lots of fruits and vegetables. The recommended fruits include pomegranate, mango, coconut, avocado, pineapple, melons, cherries, plums, apples, but more sour fruits should be avoided.
Vegetables that have beneficial effect include sweet potatoes, zucchini, asparagus, broccoli, peas, cooked beets, salad and celery. Vegetables that are not recommended include tomatoes, potatoes, eggplant, peppers, raw onion and garlic, raw spinach and raw beets. Buckwheat, Basmati rice and when can be consumed.
It goes without saying that alcohol is not allowed, as well as strong energizing teas, coffee and chocolate. Patients should also avoid yoghurt and meats, especially the fatty ones. The suitable spices are dill, coriander, cardamom, and in moderate doses – clove, dry ginger and mustard seeds. Clove and hot peppers are not recommended.
Eating should be three times a day and always at the same hours. Breakfast is advisable to be between 6 and 8 a.m., as the main meal should be at lunch and the dinner should be light, with at least 4 hour interval between meals. It is especially important to eat in peace, without distraction, especially negative news, loud music, etc. the goal is, while eating, the person to be in a good mood and completely focused on the eating process, receiving vital energy from the food. For example, if he is irritated or angry, the soothing healing effect of food can not be fully realized.
Treatment of amlapita with the help of Ayurveda
The treatment of Ayurveda follows the principle of complete recovery of health by restoring the balance of the Doshas, so they can perform their functions optimally.
Thus all the processes in the body are running normally, the organism returns to its original state, set by nature – to be able to self-regulate and protect itself. In other words – the basis that enables the occurrence and development of diseases disappears.
As mentioned, nutrition is essential for this purpose, but along with it, Ayurveda applies other complex measures. Among them is the consumption of natural healing remedies – herbs, potions, oils that are extracted from plants; procedures for cleansing the tissues and energy channels from the accumulated toxins; complete daily regime.
The treatment includes also special yogic elements and meditation, as well as other techniques that will help to reduce the stress and to restore the spiritual balance; asanas and exercises that will affect specific organs and systems, and so on. The medicines are in the form of spices to food, pills, syrups, ointments, etc.
One of Ayurveda’s most used remedies for disturbed digestion and gastrointestinal problems in general, is Chitrakadi vati. These pills balance Kapha and Vata, and improve the state of Pitta dosha.
Another widely used remedy is Triphala – to strengthen the gastrointestinal tract as well as the liver, heart, immunity, brain and nervous system. Other popular remedy is the oats-based broth with raisins, which is easily digestible and has rapid effect on the gastric mucosa, relieving pain and improving bowel activity. Here we should mention some herbs such as the guduchi herb, known as the “divine nectar”, as well as amalaki, which is good for all three Doshas, and licorice, basil and many others.