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Pitta Dosa- one of the main physical dosa according to Ayurvedic system of medicine.
This physiological entity in normal state is responsible for normal digestion, blood physiology, Neural physiology etc.
What is Dosa…?
• These are those physiological entities which
are responsible for maintaining normal
physiological state of the body.
• But if they are disturbed, they are responsible
for diseases and we fall sick….!!!
Role of dosas in the pathogenesis
of exogenous and endogenous
• The exogenous diseases begin with pain and
then they bring about the disturbance in the
equilibrium of dosas.
• The endogenous diseases on the other hand
begin with the disturbance in the equilibrium
of dosas and then bring about pain.
Physiological sites of dosas in the
The important sites of location of these three dosas are as
Urinary bladder, rectum, waist, thighs, legs, bones and
colon are the sites of vata: amongst them colon is the most
Sweat, rasa lasika (lymph), rakta and small intestine
(lower part of amasaya) are the sites of pitta; amongst them,
small intestine (lower part of amasaya is the most important
Chest, head, neck, joint, stomach (upper part of
amasaya) and fat are the sites of slesma; amongst them chest
is the most important site.
• Pitta Dosa is one among three physical Dosas-
Vata, Pitta & Kapha.
• Constituted by Agni Mahabhuta among five
Panchamahabhutas- Ākāsh, Vāyu, Agni, Jal,
Concept of ‘Pitta’
• ‘Pitta’ includes all those factors responsible
for digestion and metabolism.
• For all practical purposes, ‘Agni’ & ‘Pitta’ are
to be considered as identical entities.
Qualities of Pitta
• According to Vagbhatta-
• Sasneha – slightly oily, unctuous,
• Teekshna – piercing, entering into deep tissues
• Ushna –hotness
• Laghu – lightness
• Visram – bad smell
• Sara – Having fluidity
• Drava –liquidity are the qualities of Pitta.
• Vagbhatta mentioned two extra qualities i.e. light and foul
• According to Acharya Charak, pitta is
unctous with the qualities like oily and
greasy ,hot ,acidic and liquid in nature
and sharp in action i.e. highly
penetrative. Pitta is having sour and
pungent taste ,it spreads quickly like an
oil drop on the surface of water.
• The colour of the Pitta is peeta (yellow),
neela (blue) and some times hareeta
(green). Five Anjali Pitta is present in the
body (Anjali- by joining two palms hallow
space will be formed any thing full of this
cavity either liquid or solid is called as
• According to Acharya Sushruta-
• Pitta is irritant, liquid, foetid, blue or
yellow, hot, pungent or sour when
• Now innate characters of pitta are mentioned
which are useful in treatment.
• Tiksnam-irritant like rajika, marica etc.
• Colour is blue when associated with ama
• The taste of normal pitta is pungent but
during abnormal digestion it becomes sour.
• Some read as
bhavati’, others, however, take
‘vidagdhapitta’ as specific syndrome
known as ‘amlapitta’ (acid gastritis);
Some read ‘sara’ in place of ‘drava’.
• According to Sharangdhara, pitta have
hotness, liquidity, yellowish blue
colouration .Person having dominance of
pitta in their body, have Satva guna.
• It has wide meaning i.e.those person will
be wise, pious ,devoted, brave, good
memory, full of patience and interested
in their work.
• The colour of pitta is peeta (yellow),
neela (blue) and sometimes
hareeta(green). Five anjali pitta is
present in the body.
• (Anjali-by joining two palms hollow
space will be formed any thing full of
this cavity either liquid or solid is
called as one Anjali)
Location of pitta
Nabhi (umbilicus),amasaya (stomach
and small intestine), sweat, lasika
(lymph), blood, rasa (plasma)
Eyes and the organ of touch(skin), are
the seats of pitta.
Especially the nabhi (region around
Types of Pitta
There are five types of Pitta-
1. ‘P caka Pitta’ā
2. ‘Rañjaka Pitta’
3. ‘Bhr jaka Pitta’ā
4. ‘S dhaka Pitta’ā
5. ‘Alocaka Pitta’
• ‘Pācaka Pitta’ is equivalent to
• As its functions suggest, all enzymes
responsible for digestion along with
all gastrointestinal hormones and all
local hormones of G.I.T. are to be
included in it.
• This Panchabhoutika (physical) body
is the out come of the food.
• The health of a person not only
depends upon contents of the food.
But it depends upon proper digestion
and assimilation of the food.
• The digestion of the food is the main
function of the Pachaka pitta, along
with this it controlls all other Pitta’s
• The Pachakpitta is located in between
Amashaya and Pakvashaya ie
• This is also called as Grahini where the
cooking process takes place predominantly.
• In Grahini (duodenum) only Pittadharakala is
situated. Like universal matter this
Pachakapitta is also made up of
• Even though it is of Tejoguna predominant, but
in liquid form, not posessing the qualities of
liquid like Snighadha, Sita etc and digest the
food so called by the name “ANAL”.
• It digests the food and also separate Sarabhaga
rich in vitamins, minerals, proteins, fats,
carbohydrates, sugar etc.
• Being seated in Grahini itself gives
strength to Grahini as well as all other
sub-divisions of Pittas and Dhatwagni’s
which are present in Saphtadhatus, This
Pitta is called by the name Pachaka.
Synonyms of Pachakapitta-
• Pachaka Agni- Agni meant for the
digestion of food.
• Kosthagni- Agni, which is present in
• Antharagni-Agni, which is present in
• Kayagni-Agni, which is present in Kaya.
• Jatharagni- Agni, which is present in
• Audartaijas; The Tejas, which is present
in the Udara. Some time the only word
“Agni” indicates the Pachakapitta.
• That pitta which resides in between the
amasaya and pakvasaya is known as
• It is composed of all the five mahabhutas,
yet it has the predominance of qualities
of tejas (fire) and deficiency of qualities of
• Hence it is devoid of liquid-qualities.In
association with factors like vata,
moisture (water) etc, it performs fire like
function for digestion, hence known as
• It digest the food, separates the nutritive and
waste fractions from food. Pacaka pitta by
remaining at its own place supports and
sustains other divisions of pitta located at
different places in the body.
• It is responsible for synthesis of
‘Rakta’. It is situated in stomach
(‘Amāśaya’) according to Vāgbhata
and the sites are liver and spleen
according to Suśruta.
• Gastric intrinsic factor is the best
candidate to represent Vāgbhata’ s
view, as it is required for the
absorption of Vitamin B12, which in turn
is needed for DNA synthesis of RBC
precursors in bone marrow.
• The Ranjaka pitta is located in the amashaya.
• According to Susrata, Yakrit and
Pleeha are the places of ranjaka
pitta. The function of this ranjaka
pitta is to impart red colour to the
watery coloured rasa dhatu and
convert it into red coloured rakta
• According to ayurvedic scripit watery colour
rasa dhatu converts into red coloured rakta
dhatu in presence of ranjaka pitta.
• sushruta explained that some principle
present in the liver and spleen for the
imparting colour to the rasa. He advised the
administration of goat’s raw liver in the
treatment of rakta pitta (haemorrhagic
• Vagbhata’s opinion is that stomach is the seat
of ranjaka pitta can be co-related with the
modern science haemopoietic principles.
• Gastric juice secreted by stomach consists
intrinsic factor it is heat liable mucoprotein.
• Intrinsic factor is essential for the absorption
of vitamin-B12 which deficiency causes
• This vit-B12 is also called as extrinsic factor
• After its secretion, intrinsic factor stored in
the liver, then passes to bone marrow and
helps in the maturation of RBC.
• Intrensic factor is an enzyme like substance
secreted by stomach and present in gastric
juice as well as in the gastric mucus
• The extrensic factor (vit-B12) is consumed
along with food. The intriesic factor interacts
with extrensic factor of the food and helps in
• As is known, pigmentation of skin is under the
control of some hormones like ACTH & MSH
from anterior pituitary.
• Some enzymes in the skin responsible for the
metabolism of certain drugs applied topically
also can be considered under ‘Bhrājaka Pitta’
along with the hormones controlling
• It digests the materials applied over the
skin in the form of oil, massage, water
etc and maintain the complexion.
• This Pitta is located in the skin an
imparts colour to the skin. It helps in
the absorption of medicaments
administered on skin in the form of
oils, ointments, powders etc. lepas. The
massage will enhance the rate of
absorption and more effective.
• It exhibits the Chaya (complexion)
and Prabha of the skin. Chaya
(complexion) means the attraction of
an individual noticed from a close
• This classification is made on the
basis of Mahabhuta
• Those are Akasheeya, Vayuveeya,
Taijasa, Jaleeya and Parthiva
Chaya, Chaya occupies the colour
and the colour will be enlightened
• Skin Colour – Bhrajakapitta is responsible for
the colour of the skin. The skin colour will
determine the body colour.
• The normal colour of the skin is of four types:
Krishana (black), Shayama (blackish), Avadata
(pale red), Shyama-avadata (a mixture of dark
and pale red). This Avadata colour is called as
• According to modern science, five
pigments influence the skin colour.
Those are –
• 1. Melanine
• 2. Melanoid
• 3. Carotene
• 4. Oxyhaemoglobin
• 5. Reduced haemoglobin
• Melanine – A yellow to black pigment
present in the epidermis.
• Sunrays increased the synthesis of
melanine i.e. in hot area dwelling
persons are black.
• Melanine protect the skin against the
effect of ultraviolent rays of sun.
• Melanoid – A pigment related to
• Carotene – A yellow orange pigment
found in lipid rich areas.
• This add the strong yellow component
to the skin in females the
concentration of carotene is more than
• Oxyhaemoglobin- This impart red
colour to the skin, especially a rich
arterial supplied area, ex-face, neck,
palm, sole and nipples etc.
• Reduced Haemoglobin- It imparts
bluish colour to the skin.
• The distribution pattern and
concentration of these five pigments
will determine the nature of colour of
• The thickness of the skin can also
modify skin colour.
• Thin epidermis is more transparent than thick.
This epidermis will allow the pigments to
express their colour characters more readily.
• The light scattering and reflex qualities of the
skin can also act as a factor modifying skin
• The melanine is the most important of the five
in determination of skin colours.
Absorption Functions of Skin
• Whatever is administered on the
skin in the form of Abhyanga (oil
massage), Avaghah (immersion oily
bath), Pralepa (thin layer of
application) etc are get digested by
the Bhrajaka pitta and absorbed by
the skin layer.
• Absorption may not necessarily
mean passage into the blood stream.
But penetrate into the cells of
various layers of the skin and
produces local effect.
• Temperature Regulations- Due to
basal metabolism, muscular
activities and assimilation of the
food some heat is produced in
• These process are under the
control of pitta.
• The secretion of sweat is one of the
important methods of heat loss.
• The degree of sweat secretion depends
upon the body and environment
• The Bhrajakapitta may regulate the body
temperature by its action on the sweat
glands and cutaneous vessels.
• All functions ascribed to this
‘Pitta’are of cerebrum, limbic
system, hypothalamus and other
• For motivation and other
Norepinephrine is a very essential
neurotransmitter in the brain.
• Incidentally, it also acts on heart as a cardiac
stimulant. During emergency situations it is
released from adrenal medulla and it helps for
“fight or flight phenomenon”.
The Sadhaka pitta is
located in the Hridaya.
• Its main function is giving valour and
enthusiasum, to enable the persons
to achieve their aspirations.
• This Pitta funcition is mainly related
to mental faculties rather than
• This Sadhaka pitta is responsible for
the deternination of intelligence,
memory power, and selfsteem .
• Also it is the main instrument
(sadhan) to achieve the individual
By the persons are able to achieve the Chaturvida
Purushartas viz-Dharma (righteous behaviour),
Artha (wealth), Karma (fulfillment of desires),
Moksha (freedom from wordly bondages).
Saadhakapitta always prevents the covering of
heart by Kapha and Tamoguna which are
depress the Hridaya. Hence heart is active. The
Pranavata having command on the Buddhi,
Hridaya, Chitta and Indriya, but this Sadhaka
pitta stimulated them.
• The pitta which is located in the heart region
is known as sadhaka pitta as it helps achieving
the aims of life,by performing the function like
discrimination, intelligence, pride,
• ‘This is said to be responsible for normal
vision. Photosensitive chemicals in the eye,
called Photo-pigments and the whole process
involved in photochemistry of vision can be
represented by ‘Alocaka pitta’.
• Also, neurotransmitters involved in the visual
pathway can be included under this.
• Alochaka pitta is present in the eye
(retina) It catchs the image of
external object and helps in
recollection about that image. The
recollection is the funtion of
Mastiska and Ropagrahan is the
function of Netra.
• Bhela in his Samhita classifed this
pitta into two types:
• Chakshuvaisheshika Alochaka Pitta
• Buddhi Vaisheshika Alochaka Pitta
• Chakshuvaisheshika Alochaka Pitta –
This Alochakapitta is situated in the
eyes and responsible for the
• This Pitta will help for the perception
of vision after the union of Atma,
Manas and Indriya with their
• After seeing the things it helps in the
identification and differentation of
colour, fruits, individuals one from
another, shape and size identification
are under the control of
• According to modern science the
light which strike on the retina get
absorbed and converted into another
form of energy.
• Retina consists of rods and cones. In
the layer of rods, rhodopsin is formed.
Rhodopsin is made up of scotopsin
which is the aldehyde of vit-A.
• Rhodopsin is responsible for the
scotopic (dark) vision. The rods are
particularly sensitive to dimlight. The
cones contain iodopsin, they are
meant for the colour and photopic
Function of Pitta Dosa
2. Synthesis of Rakta
3. Skin pigmentation
4. Psychosocial behaviours
5. Normal vision
What happens when Pitta is
• Burning sensation of the body, desire for
coolness, yellowish coloration (of skin,
eyes, feces, urine), insufficient sleep,
fainting fits, weakness of sense organs.
• Pitta when increased produces yellow
discoloration of the faeces, urine, eyes,
and skin; excess of hunger and thirst,
feeling of burning sensation and very
What happens when Pitta is
According to Susruta....
• Great increases of pitta gives rise to
appearance of yellow colour, discomfort
due to heat, desire for cold things,
diminished sleep, fainting loss of
strength weakness of sense organs
yellow colour in faeces urine and eyes
What happens when Pitta is
According to Astanga Samgraha....
• Pitta, undergoing vriddhi or increase
imparts yellow colouration of the skin,
fatigue, weakness of the sense organs,
mild decrease of ojas, desires for food,
feeling of burning sensation, bitter taste
in mouth, thirst fainting, little sleep,
anger etc other complaints.
• The vrudda pitta dosa if settles in the
twak it causes small-pox and chiken
• If residing in rakta it produces herpes
and burning sensation in them
• In the bone marrow it causes yellow
colouration of the nails and eyes.
• Residing in the sukra dhatu it imparts
bad smell and yellowish colour to it
• Invading the veins it produces angry
mind and irrelevant talk, occupying the
snayus it causes thirst .
• Residing in the alimentary tract it
produces toxicity, thirst, burning and
many other ailments.
Food which are hated or not liked
should be avoided and those which
are like or desired should be
consumed more to mitigate or
What happens when Pitta is decreased…?
• Dullness of complexion and reduced
• Mande anala – weakness of digestive
• Shaitya – coldness and
• Prabha hani – loss of luster (complexion).
According to Susruta....
• When pitta decreases, there will be
diminished body heat and of
digestive fire, loss of complexion etc.
What happens when Pitta is
According to Astanga Samgraha....
• Pitta dosa in ksaya condition causes
stiffness of the body, coldness,
irregular pain, anorexia, indigestion,
roughness, of the body, tremors,
feeling of heaviness, whitish colour
of nail, eyes, etc.
Om Prakash Singh
Department of Kriya Sharir
Faculty of Ayurveda
Institute of Medical Sciences
Banaras Hindu University