Agni means 'FIRE' and according to Ayurveda it is responsible for our digestive fire in our belly. It also denotes the digestive fire which regulates temperature, performs digestion, absorption, and assimilation of ingested food, and transforms food into energy or consciousness.
We all have different levels of 'AGNI'. Some of us have a high agni and digest our food very fast while others have low agni nd digest food very slowly. You can slo have a veriable agni and this case sometimes your agni is high and sometimes low.
Western medicine often assumes our digestion is powerful enough for everything. All we need to do is to chuck the right foods and drinks down our system and it will take care of it effectively. It doesn't take into account our individual levels of agni, that may be too high or too low.
When we have good agni, we have optimal digestive powers. We have a good appetite, and when we eat the right foods for our dosha, ojas is created from the food. If agni is too high (as is the case of unbalanced Pittas), we have too much acid being produced which leads to over-acidity of the body and further complications from that, including stomach ulcers. If we have too little agni (as is the case Kaphas), food is only partially digested and ama ( toxins) is produced in the body, essentially gunking everything up. This can lead to some serious health concerns, such as cancer and diabetes. In a veritable agni ( in unbalanced Vata) you see it change from high to low and vice versa.
If we have weak digestion, it is important to increase agni so that we don't get sick. In general we can do this by adding digestive herbs and spices into our meals such as Ginger, cardamon, black pepper and cayenne pepper. Eating a thin slice of ginger with rock salt on it before every meal is meant to be very good for digestion.
Here are some tips to keep your agni balanced:
1. Eat only when you are hungry
2. Never over-eat, your stomach
should feel gently satisfied and never full (about 2/3 of capacity is ideal)
3.Sip drinks gradually, do not gulp down glasses
4.Drink room temperature or preferably warmer water
5. Cook with herbs and spices (they make your food easier to digest and absorb). Ginger is especially good for digestion, but others include black pepper, cumin, coriander, mint, basil, oregano, rosemary and thyme
6. Eat warm or room temperature food, never straight from the fridge
Agni Tea is a simple beverage that helps to regulate and stimulate your digestive capacity, improving all the functions of digestive agni.
Agni Tea Recipe
1 quart Water
1 pinch Cayenne
2 handfuls Minced ginger root
2 Tbs. Sucanat or other sweetener
1 to 2 tsp. Rock salt
Bring all of the above ingredients to a boil. Boil for 20 minutes.
Take the pot off the burner and cool for a few minutes
Add the juice of 1/2 lime. Do not boil the lime juice.
Pour into a thermos and enjoy throughout the day