Agni: The Metabolic Fire

Agni: The Metabolic Fire

By Vaidya Vishwanath July 13, 2022


Agni is the Ayurvedic word for digestive fire and is a powerful transformative factor responsible for digesting and metabolizing food. It is also known as the biological fire and is a very important component for metabolic physiology and pathology. Essentially, agni determines our longevity, vitality, life force, strength, energy and clarity of mind.

When agni or digestive fire is balanced we will have symptom-free digestion, circulation, strong immunity, healthy tissues and glowing skin. Agni is responsible for transforming all food, assimilating nutrients, and revitalizing the body.

Almost all diseases are caused by agni that is malfunctioning. Food that is not properly digested and metabolized is known as ama or undigested food particles that act like toxins. Ama that is caused by eating the wrong type of food over a long period of time is responsible for many types of diseases. If agni or the digestive fire is weak then it leads to poor digestion, circulation, immunity, less energy, and poor complexion. Addressing the root cause of disease means correcting the persons agni or digestive fire.

The ancient Ayurvedic text, Caraka Samhita, explains there are 13 different types of agni.

  • Jatharagni is 1 type and the place where all digestion begins.
  • Bhutagni is 5 types and metabolizes the 5 elements of earth, water, fire, air, and space.
  • Dhatuagni is 7 types and metabolizes each succeeding layer of body tissue, lymph, blood, muscle, fat, bone, nerve, and reproductive.

The Most Important Agni is Jatharagni

Jatharagni is the king of all the agni. It is located in the stomach and duodenum area. It plays a key role in digesting food by converting it into micro form which is assimilated by the body tissues and cells. Jatharagni separates the digestible material from the waste material.

Jatharagni is classified into four categories according to how well it digests and assimilates nutrients and is always influenced by tridosha (vata-pitta-kapha).

  1. Sama Agni (balanced metabolism): This agni is balanced and the transformative and life-giving fire of our body in a natural balanced state. This agni will produces good health, better metabolism, calm state of mind, clarity of thought, and positive effusive personality. This Agni is influenced by all three doshas.
  1. Vishama Agni (erratic metabolic state): This agni is imbalanced and irregular and is influenced by excess vata dosha. This is an unstable or variable agni which can be both too strong and too weak at the same time. Vishamaagni will produce erratic appetite and may cause indigestion, bloating, constipation, or diarrhea.
  1. Tikshana Agni (hyper metabolic state): This agni is overactive intense and has fiery qualities. It is influenced by excess pitta dosha and can become inflamed and triggers hyper metabolism resulting in fast digestion.
  1. Manda Agni (hypo metabolic state): This agni is underactive and is influenced by kapha dosha. It affects metabolism, digestion, and prana or life force in general and leads to the production of ama because everything is digested slowly.

Herbal Supplements to Strengthen Agni or Digestive fire

  1. Ashta Churnam
  2. Brihat Vaiswanara Churnam
  3. Hinguvachadi Churnam
  4. Chitraka Asavam
  5. Jiraka Arishtam
  6. Indukanta Ghritam
  7. Hingwadi Gulika

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Disclaimer: These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. Kottakkal Ayurveda products and information are not intended for use in the diagnosis, treatment, cure, or prevention of any disease. If you have serious, acute, or chronic health problems, please consult a trained health professional. If you are seeking the advice of a trained Ayurvedic professional, call (800) 215-9934 or email us at We will provide you with information to consult with Ayurvedic professionals. Always check with your doctor before taking herbs when pregnant or nursing.


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Vaidya Vishwanath grew up in Pune, India which is hub of traditional Ayurvedic gurukul teachings, following the principles of Ayurveda as part of his culture. He has dedicated his career over the past 1 ½ decades to the science of Ayurveda.

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