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by: Mahesh Kumar.K Published on24-03-14 09:22 PM

Concept Of Digestion – Modern & Ancient


            The human body is an organization
of cells, tissues, organs, and systems. 
As far the all systems are concerned, the digestive is most important
because it is the first system through which the others nourish and the other
systems are made up of the components which the digestive system
conceives.  As for the digestive system
is concerned, taste, the properties of the food materials and the digested
properties of the food particles are playing a major role in controlling the
all human body as a system.  Digestion
starts from the smell of a food or drug material us intake, up to its
elimination from the body. The digestion process as per Ayurvedic principles
include the conversion of the   Rasa Dhatu up the ultimate essence of all the Dhatus
that is Ojas.  The Pachaka Pitta and the
digestive fire(Agni), the converting forces of each Dhatus (The Dhatwagnis) and
the elemental fire (the Bhuthagnis ) are the vital elements which takes place
in this process.


The importance of digestion is that, the undigested food is causing
the physical disease.  We can maintain
proper agni by doing various daily activities according to the normal innate
digestive power.  From birth the
digestive fire of a person has been defined. 
It can be observed by the burping, or from the tongue examination proper
absorption and elimination of food and the general body built.  So it is very important to measure the
digestive fire from the first breast feeding to the last supper.




The Health & Its
Relation with Digestion:
- Since the human body
is made up of the cells manufactured by the food and drug we intake.  These food particles are digested  contribute for the entire body functions.  So digestion is very most important in making
up of the human body and the proper functioning of the other systems and the
bodily activities.  If the digestion
altered, the entire body functions get altered and thus people become diseased.


The Factors Which
Effects Digestion: -
The quantity of food, the
constitution of food, nature of the digestive tract, time of intake of food,
the way we eat food  etc. The digestive
fire and the enzymatic action of the stomach also play a vital role in digestion.  The activity of the body has a key role in
digestion rate of a person. 



Need For Measuring Digestive Fire (Agni): -


Dosage of food and medicine plays a major role in proper digestion
of that material and absorption of the active material in the body.  The digestive fire is the criterion for  assessment the quantity of food or medicine
which the person intake at the time of treatment or in the healthy


The Innate Constitution Of An Individual &
Alterations: -


The innate constitution or prakruti is another entity which is
considerable in the area of digestion.  The
rough digestive tract digests the food with a very difficulty.  Where as the medium type with a little
difficulty and mild type of digestive tract digest food easily.  Here we are concerned with the rate of
digestion and the measurement of digestive fire in order to assess one’s
digestive fire and make it useful in maintaining health and in treatment.  As we know the different constitutions, the
digestive fire in each person is different as per he prakruti.  We have to analyze the grade of digestion in
each person through a research method. 



The Difference Between Agni & Digestive
Enzymes: -

The Agni is considered to be situated in the all elements of the
body where as the digestive enzymes are only in the gastro intestinal
tract.  Agni has a vital role in
developing the living system as a whole since it is the digestive force of
converting the food into body tissues and converting it in different forms by
the tissue fluids (the dhatwagni) and the elementary fire (bhutagni) and is a
major force that spreads all over the system.


The Uses Of Measuring Agni: -


Each person has different kind of digestive fire which promotes his
health and it is depended on the natural constitution (prakruti).  It is like the height, weight or any other
body elements which we can measure and make as a discreet value for
assessment.  As we measure height using a
meter scale and weight using a weighing instrument for better assessment of
health, Digestive fire can be also measured using a measuring scale of the
digesting food during a period of time and the time to absorb it fully and
eliminate the waste products.  It is
useful for assessment of dosage of medicine and internal oileation therapy(snehapanam).  Now we only assess the agni as high, medium
and normal but if we can assess the digestive fire more clearly as we say a
persons weight is medium, high normal rather than it is 45 kg or 78kg like the
same way we can assess the digestive fire of 40 ml/I hr of milk/ghee/water etc
as per the medium which we take in order to assess the digestion of a
person.  It will be also useful for any
physician if we get the digestive power in terms of a criterion easy to give
the medicine and food as per the digestive fire. 


What Is Digestive Index? –


Digestive index of a person is said to be the quantity of medium
food (say ghee milk or water) which the person digests and absorbs with in a
particular time and eliminates it as waste. 
Each person is having a digestive index of any quantity as per his body


The Method For Measuring DI: -


We select some medium for digestion say milk. water, ghee as per the
digestive qualities of the food material according to the common constitution
(which we have to decide later)  and then
the time of digestion is calculated. 
They are given a fixed quantity of the medium and the time of digestion
is calculated.  That measurement like
certain gram/ml of food material per hour will be the digestive index of that person.


The Procedures & Research Results Table: -


We take the sample
subjects of control group of different body constitution and then give 50 of
water/ghee or milk to those persons and get the time of digestion and
elimination of

of the food as
waste material.


The Simple Method For Testing One’s DI: -


The patient is advised to come in empty stomach in the morning after
the defecation and given the inert medium in a particular amount.  Then allow it to digest properly and the time
and signs of digestion of that food and elimination as waste product is noted.  This will be his digestive index. Say 40 ml
of oil/hr. Or 50 mg of honey/hr 35 ml of ghee/hr. So we can analyze the
prakritik agni level by the three ultimate drugs for each vital forces like vata-pitta-and
kapha having the optimum medicines being the oil, ghee and honey.

The calucuation


After giving an
optimum amount of any medium-say- 60 ml/gm the patient is getting the proper
digestion at 6 hours means the digestive index will be 10ml/mg of that




So Digestive
Index  =            Amount of the inert medium                                      

                                      The Time in hrs taken to digest it properly  


How This Figure (DI) Helps in Keeping One Healthy?

Each one body
constitution is having a particular digestive index and alteration from this
indicates some disease process happening in his body.

We can also know
the favorable and unfavorable food for a common person and we can adjust the
food habit according to the digestive index.


The Preparation Of Food Chart According To DI: -

We can prepare a
food and activity chart according to the digestive index for each person as per
his body constitution and this can make a person live healthy according to his
innate habits and life style.


Application of DI in Ayurvedic Treatment: -

  1. In deciding the quantity of
    various food materials a person should intake as per his digestive fire.
    (even though it has been said that 1/3 solid 1/3 liquid and 1/3 vaccum, we
    have to analyze the exact quantity of each food ingredient as per the
    ayurvedic principles as like the modern approach like 200g of
    carbohydrate, 15g of fat etc)  we
    have to analyse the amount of the 
    shadrasa samyukta ahara. 
    Like the 2 palam of madhura, ¼ palam of  other tastes.  The madhura rasa dravyas having the
    properties like heavy, unctuous should be in this much quantity and the
    same madhura rasa dravyas having shthoola and stable property in that much
    quantity etc.)

  2. In deciding the dosage of medicine
    in various conditions.

  3. In calculating the time of
    digestion of each medicine and giving the medicine in a way that the
    medicine is digested properly and the patient is ready to absorb the
    active principles of that particular medicine and assess that it is
    working properly

  4. In assessing the amount of ghee or
    any other medicine in internal oleation therapy and controlling the
    digestive tract proper for the healthy digestion and there by attaining
    perfect digestion for the whole life.

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