The term Pitta has number of synonyms of which the more significant ones are agni and anala. It is derived from the root “तप संतापे”, i.e. tap to heat or to burn or to worm up. According to Sage ayurvedic scholar Sushrut: “Pitta in its fivefold aspects, imparts, colour; promotes digestion and metabolism; forms the ojas; promotes vision; contributes to intellect and is responsible for the generation of the body heat.” The combined bile and pancreatic juice, which is discharged into the duodenum, in general sense, exhibits the general characteristics ascribed to pitta.
The reference to pitta as the by-product of rakta is equally significant. This reference by sage scholar Vagbhata reads as follows:
पित्तं रक्तस्य विकृते संसर्गात दूषणादपि I अ. ह्रदय. निदान ३: ३-४
This explains that Pitta and Rakta (i.e. blood) are interconnected, hence abnormality in pitta can cause abnormality in blood and vice a versa.
NORMAL AND ABNORMAL FUNCTIONS OF PITTA:
- Pakti(the promotion of digestion, hunger, appetite and thirst)
- Darshanam(the promotion of visual perception)
- Matraushma(it is responsible for the production of the normal body heat, production of body temperature)
- Prakriti varna(the production of normal colour or complexion of the body)
- Haemopoiesis or the colouration of rasa in the process of formation of Rakta
- Psychic and emotional
- Prasadanam(lucidity of mind)
- Apakti(the impairment of digestion)
- Adarshanam(the impairment of visual perception)
- Amatratwamushmana(the impairment of production of body heat)
- Vikriti varna(the causation of abnormal colour or complexion of the body)
- Impairment of the formation of Rakta.
- Moham(confusion, clouding of the mind, thinking and reasoning)
Do’s and Don’ts to maintain Pitta(and in turn Rakta also) in its normal state are as follows:
- Have sweet but in little quantity before having meals not after or in between
- Dates, figs and amla fruits, coconut, ripened mango, papaya and pomegranate can be added
- Vegetables like sweet potatoes, carrot and beet root are considered good for acidity
- Spices like cumin seeds, coriander and cardamom are to be taken
- Take some mint leaves and chop these and then boil in a cup of water and sip slowly after meals.
- Eating bananas is also helpful in preventing the symptoms of acidity and heartburn
- Basil (tulsi) leaves helps to get relief from burning, nausea and gas. Chew some leaves of tulsi to decrease the acidity
- Drinking Luke warm water gives immediate relief to symptoms like wind, distended stomach and acidity
- Food like rice, ragi, jwari are easy to digest with no acid formation
- Spicy foods such as chili, sauces made with hot pepper, curry and recipes that contain red pepper
- Citrus fruits, such as oranges, lemons, etc. should be avoided as they are high in acid content
- Full fat dairy products such as cheese or ice cream
- Hamburger or cuts of meat (specially red meat) with excess fat, eggs
- Coffee, tea, chocolate and soft drinks
- Peas, beans, broccoli, cabbage, tomatoes, onions
- Curds, fermented items like pickles, dhosa, idli, dhokla etc., processed foods
- Raw salad vegetables like onion, radish, cabbage, and peppers should be avoided
- Do not consume prescribed drugs like aspirin, cortisone, NSAID’s(indomethacin), chemotherapeutic agents etc. on empty stomach. They all have gastritis as their main side effect.
- Avoid severe stress. This emotional factor may trigger gastritis.