As per Ayurveda, the world is made up of five elements of nature, namely space/ether (Akash), air (Vayu), fire (Agni), water (Jala) and earth (Prithivi). Popularly known as the 'Panchamahabhutas' in the ancient Sanskrit texts, these elements are also present in the human body and mind in the form of Dosha: Vata (ether, air), Pitta (fire, water) and Kapha (water, earth).
These three Doshas or humors are decided at conception and influence everything from your physical characteristics to your mental abilities, emotional regulation and more.
In this article, we will focus on the Pitta Dosha.
Wondering what's your Dosha type? Take our Dosha Quiz today.
What is Pitta Dosha?
The Pitta Dosha is an elemental combination of fire (Agni) and water (Jal). Generally attributed to its digestibility quality, this Dosha is responsible for our ability to mentally absorb information in our mind and digest and assimilate food in our body. Pitta Dosha is associated with chemical and metabolism transformation in the body.
As per the classic Ayurvedic text Charaka Samhita, the Pitta Dosha is in balance when the blood is healthy, and the acid secretions in the intestines and stomach are optimal for digestion as per their Prakruti or Body Constitution. Sound judgment and discernment are expressive of a balanced Pitta. Our ability to perceive bodily sensations like seeing, touching, smelling and hearing are governed by Pitta Dosha.
Also read: Suffering from stomach problems? Read more to know how you can solve them!
Pitta is also associated with the ability of the body to combust or digest the materials needed to bring warmth and colour to the body. Our ability to absorb sunlight is also ruled by Pitta.
Characteristics of Pitta Dosha
4. Color and complexion
7. Visual perception
8. All digestion
9. All heat in the body and mind
10. Softness and health of the skin
11. Regulation of the liver
12. Proper function of the small intestine
Physical features of Pitta Dosha-dominant personalities
1. Sharp, almond-shaped eyes (often green or hazel)
2. Little body hair or soft, light body hair
3. High hairline, with a medium amount of soft hair; in ageing process thinning hair to male pattern baldness
4. Early to grey
5. Sharp nose, teeth, and chin
6. Freckles (red hair is also pitta quality)
7. Medium to small frame
8. Flexible yet stable joints
9. Symmetry of hips to shoulders
10. Red coloured tongue
11. Rosy cheeks and lips
Mental features of Pitta Persons
1. You are generally intelligent and discerning—with good concentration and memory, articulate speech, and a mind that is as keen, insightful, and studious as it is focused and driven.
2. In fact, you almost certainly love a good intellectual challenge.
3. You are probably known for being ambitious, hard-working, disciplined, dependable, and wise, but you may sometimes feel like your iron will or your competitive nature win out over other aspects of who you are.
4. Pitta types often ignore the needs of their bodies in favor of satisfying their raw sense of ambition and their desire to be productive.
5. There is little doubt that you tend to love learning and that you have a natural capacity for problem solving, systems, and organizational tasks.
6. You also likely have a refined sense of taste—in food and elsewhere in your life—and while you probably make money easily, you may often spend it on luxuries.
7. You tend to be highly principled, charismatic, and you are equipped with natural leadership qualities.
8. On the other hand, you may have a bit of a temper, and when your perfectionist tendencies take over, you can become highly critical of both yourself and others.
Also read: Integrate Mindfulness Into Your Work
Gunas of Pitta Dosha1. Sasneha - little less unctuousness. Hot due to paka (digestion) in transformation process. Feels like the wick of a ghee lamp.
2. Tiksha - sharp.
3. Usna - hot. e.g. aggressive and angry voice and chilli on tongue is sharp and hot (Tiksnonam).
4. Laghu - light.
5. Visram - foul, fermented, strong. (not part of 20 gunas).
6. Sara - slippery, like banana peel.
7. Drava - liquid.
8. Amla - sour (Caraka)
9. Katu - pungent (Caraka)
What happens when Pitta Dosha is imbalanced?
The element of fire best describes Pitta. As such, Pitta types are passionate, hot-headed and fickle at times. An overabundance of Pitta, however, is not healthy as it may overheat the body, which could cause irritation, anger, rage and related physical problems.
Pitta in Balance
Pitta Out of Balance
• perfectionist (type A personality)
• controlling, fiery personality
• strong intellect
• workaholic tendencies
• strong digestion
• overheated, excess stomach acid
• radiant, glowing skin
• skin rashes & acne
• sleeps through the night
• interrupted sleep
• inner peace & happiness
• loose bowel movements
Looking for a personalized treatment for an imbalanced Pitta Dosha? Book a consultation with our Ayurvedic Experts today at Amrutam.Global.
Five Subdoshas of Pitta
Each of the Ayurvedic Dosha contain sub-doshas that govern specific parts of the body and their functioning. The five sub-dosha of Pitta are:
1. Sadhaka Pitta
This sub-dosha rules the brain and heart. Associated with the digestion of emotions, life experiences and stress, it helps us achieve things we desire by energising the mind, intellect and ego. This type of Pitta Dosha is crucial in enriching the qualities of one's inner consciousness. It is responsible for keeping the mind alert and awake and clears Tamas (darkness) around the heart.
When Sadhaka Pitta is off balance, it prevents one from experiencing happiness or joy from within. This leads to a tendency to experience emotions in waves causing emotional turmoil and toxins. Stress-reducing practices like transcendental meditation, yoga and pranayama are beneficial in restoring balance. Additionally. taking walks in nature, journaling, art therapy, and music are also effective stress-management tools.
Find your dominant Dosha with Amrutam Dosha Quiz today!
2. Alochaka Pitta
This sub-dosha governs the eyes, including the functioning of rod cells and cone cells within the retina. The Sanskrit word Alochaka, derived from 'Lochana' meaning 'Eyes' translated to 'that which sees of analyses'. It influences the organ of sight and vision and subtly influences other body parts. Alochaka Pitta also renders the ability to decide what is right and what is wrong, giving clarity, understanding and light.
Primarily governed by the Alochaka Pitta, the eyes are very fiery. When out of balance, problems like poor vision and recurrent eye infections can crop up.
Consuming herbs beneficial to eye health, like Malkangani, Triphala and Shilajit, can help pacify the symptoms of Alochaka Pitta.
3. Bhrajaka Pitta
This sub-dosha is responsible for Sparsh (touch) and rules the body's largest organ - the skin. It provides protection, helps with circulation, regulates temperature, and faces all external stimuli like hot temperatures, cool winds, dry weather, etc.
When thrown off balance, this sub-dosha can lead to various skin issues ranging from dryness to hypersensitivity, non-cystic acne and others.
Also read: Soothe Your Anxiety to Soothe Your Skin
Maintaining a balanced lifestyle and a healthy skincare routine is of utmost importance when working on restoring the Bhrajaka Pitta. Incorporating healing herbs like Kesar, Chandan and Chironji are also beneficial.
4. Ranjaka Pitta
Ranjaka Pitta is located in the internal organs responsible for forming plasma and blood cells and their circulation via the liver, spleen, stomach, and heart.
In Sanskrit, ranjaka means 'colouring/dyeing agent.' This sub-dosha transforms rasa dhatu (plasma) into rakta dhatu, or blood. Although this sub-dosha is primarily understood to be the haem component of blood, which is responsible for its colour, Ranjaka Pitta is also responsible for all the different pigments of the physiology—be it the colouration of bowel movements, urine, and eyes or the colour of one’s hair, or the complexion of the skin.
As with Bhrajaka Pitta, when Ranjaka Pitta goes out of balance, skin problems can arise, along with early greying of the hair. Consuming iron-rich foods and herbs is beneficial in balancing Ranjaka Pitta.
5. Pachaka Pitta
Pachaka Pitta governs the stomach but is also located in all those parts of the alimentary canal where digestion occurs. Since Ayurveda considers digestion the root cause of good health and imbalance, Pachaka Pitta is the most important sub-doshas.
People tend to associate Pitta dosha primarily with digestion, and that is because of Pachaka Pitta. Pachaka means ‘that which digests,’ and it rules that aspect of digestive fire—jatar agni or pachaka agni—primarily responsible for the significant part of the digestion of the food we eat.
It also rules the processing of nutrients—from the ptyalin enzymes in our saliva to the final assimilation and excretion of nutrients in the small intestines. Due to the over- or under-performance of this sub-dosha, nutrients from our food can sometimes be processed improperly, taking the form of ama.
When Pachaka Pitta is out of balance, different digestive issues can arise, ranging from sluggish digestion and occasional hyperacidity and acid stomach to gas, bloating, and a lack of appetite, depending on one’s mind-body type and current state of balance.
With digestive issues, herbs are of the utmost importance, and correct food choices are also. Mere herbs won’t be that effective if one is not making dietary and lifestyle choices about their digestive needs.
Dietary tips for Pitta Dosha
Foods that are great to balance pitta are, in general, sweet, bitter, and astringent in taste. Ayurveda considers these tastes as medicines for cooling, drying, and calming excess pitta. Generally, all six tastes (sweet, sour, salty, pungent, bitter, and astringent) are recommended for healthy digestion.
Diet chart for Pitta-types
Reduce or Avoid
Cooling, hearty fare that’s not too hot, oily, or spicy. Favor sweet, bitter, and astringent tastes.
Avoid pungent, sour, and salty tastes
Wheat, rice, barley, millet, corn, oats
Avoid buckwheat, rye
Mung beans (soup, split whole mung beans, yellow mung dhal), green pea, common kidney beans, adzuki beans, and soybean products
Ghee butter, milk, butter, sweet buttermilk, lassi (yoghurt and water drink -- not sour), cream, cream cheese
Avoid sour milk products, yoghurt, sour lassi, cheese (especially old and salty), salty butter, quark, sour cream
Sugar cane products (unprocessed white rock sugar/natural candy sugar is best; raw cane sugar, unrefined brown sugar), maple syrup, honey (but not during fever or hot weather)
Avoid molasses, 'brown' sugar (made from refined white sugar)
Ghee, coconut, olive
Avoid almond, corn, safflower, sesame, sunflower
Avoid all except mature coconut
Sunflower and pumpkin
Avoid all except sunflower or pumpkin
Coriander, cumin, ginger (small amounts), turmeric, saffron, fennel, cinnamon, cloves, cardamom, lemon juice (not on empty stomach); Pitta Churna and Pitta Key Herbs Tea
Avoid chili pepper, cayenne, black pepper, mustard seeds, celery seeds, fenugreek, sea salt
Asparagus, broccoli, brussel sprouts, cabbage, carrots (cooked), cauliflower, celery, cucumber, green beans, kale, leafy greens, leeks (cooked), lettuce, okra, olives (black), onions (cooked), parsley, parsnips, peans, peppers (sweet), potatoes (sweet & white)
Avoid beets (raw), daikon radish, garlic, green chilies, horseradish, leeks (raw), mustard greens, olives (green), onion (raw), peppers (hot), radishes (raw), tomatoes, turnips
Apples (sweet), apricots (sweet), avocado, berries (sweet), cherries (sweet), coconut, dates, fig, grapes (red & purple), mangoes, melons, oranges (sweet), pears, pineapple (sweet), pomegranates, prunes, raisins, watermelon
Avoid apples (sour), apricots (sour), bananas, berries (sour), cherries (sour), cranberries, grapefruit, grapes (green), lemons, mangoes (green), oranges (sour), peaches, persimmons, pineapple (sour), plums (sour), rhubarb, strawberries
Curious to learn about your Dosha type? Take Amrutam Dosha Quiz to learn about your dominant Dosha!
Foods that help Pitta Dosha
1. The food that we eat directly affects our well-being and energy. The same holds when Pitta is in consideration. Here are some Pitta pacifying food options and healthy eating habits that can help balance Pitta and keep it from aggravating.
2. Bitter, astringent, and sweet foods can help manage Pitta.
Apples (sweet), ripe grapes, milk, ghee, melon, plum, asparagus, leafy greens, cabbage, papaya, cucumber, cauliflower, and bell pepper should be a part of the diet.
3. Add grains such as oats, quinoa, rice, wheat, and pasta to your diet.
4. Legumes can be helpful, including lentils, split peas, soybeans, black beans, and wheat.
5. Almonds, pumpkin seeds, coconut, and sunflower seeds can also help manage Pitta levels.
Foods to avoid for Pitta Dosha
2. White sugar
3. Sesame oil
9. Salted butter
10. Urad dal
11. Brown rice
Lifestyle tips for Pitta Dosha
1. Follow a Pitta dosha-balancing diet, favouring cooling, heavy, dry foods and sweet, bitter, and astringent tastes. Avoid or reduce hot, sour, salty, and spicy foods.
2. Keep cool. Avoid hot temperatures and food and spicy meals.
Remember everything in moderation. Try to avoid overworking and bring balance to your daily routine.
3. Allow for uplifting leisure time every day.
4. Don’t skip meals (which inevitably leads to “hanger” for Pitta types). Eat three satisfying meals daily, at about the same time each day.
It’s okay to snack a bit between meals, so long as it doesn’t dampen the feeling of hunger by your next meal.
5. Try to eat in a quiet, relaxing environment to avoid over-stimulation.
6. Ensure your largest meal of the day takes place at noon when your digestive fire is most vital.
7. Give yourself an abhyanga (self-massage with warm oil) each day before bathing, using a cooling oil such as coconut.
8. Reduce mental stress with meditation.
Also read: Five Food Habits to Incorporate In Your Life
Ayurvedic Herbs to Manage Pitta Dosha
Shatavari, native to India, belongs to the same family as the common asparagus and has nourishing, soothing, and cooling properties help with many conditions in which the body and mind become overheated, depleted, or out of balance. These conditions may include heartburn, indigestion, diarrhoea, inflammation of the urinary tract, and irritable bowel syndrome. Since Shatavari is sweet and bitter, it is balanced for Pitta.
Triphala is a herbal blend made from the fruits of three trees that grow in India and the Middle East (the Sanskrit term triphala means “three fruits”). The fruits are dried, ground into powder, and blended in a precise manner developed by ancient herbalists. It balances the Pitta dosha as well as Vata and Kapha. It also contains five of the six tastes, lacking only the salty taste. The herbs that comprise triphala have potent healing and purifying properties.
Brahmi and Bhringraj are the two star herbs of this blend of Pitta Key Herbs that help to control excessive Pitta. The mix also contains herbs like Neem, Jatamansi and Haritaki, all of which are suggested in various Ayurvedic texts as ways to moderate and control Pitta imbalances.
How to Use the Pitta Key Herb Mix: Consume one or two teaspoons of the Pitta Key Herb Mix daily with one glass of water. You may use warm milk instead of water while taking the herbal mix. A great way to consume this potent herbal blend is to mix 1 tsp. of it, along with 1 tsp. of Gulkand in a glass of warm milk. One should drink this milkshake on an empty stomach.
Pitta Pacifying Recipes
If you are suffering from Pitta imbalances, try out the recipes mentioned below to control the problem.
Recipe 1: Ginger-Basil Limeade
While Vata imbalances cool your body, an imbalance in Pitta has the opposite effect and heats the body. Try the refreshingly cool limeade garnished with Basil and Ginger to counter this.
To prepare this drink, you will need a few fresh Sweet Basil leaves (not to be confused with Holy Basil/Tulsi), fresh Ginger, 1 Lime and 2 tbsp. Sugar.
Method:1. In a blender, add about 1 cup of water, the lime juice and zest from 1 Lime, Sugar, diced Ginger and some Basil leaves.
2. Blend until the mix is smooth.
3. Dilute the mix with 2 or 3 cups of chilled water and garnish with Basil Leaves before serving.
Recipe 2: Pumpkin Soup
This savoury dish is full of mouth-tingling tastes and goodness to satisfy your hunger and placate excessive Pitta.
The dish calls for 1 cup of Pumpkin, 1 cup of Beans, ¼ cup Moong Dal, fresh Ginger, ¼ tsp. ground Cumin, ¼ tsp. Turmeric, ¼ tsp. ground Black Pepper and ¼ tsp. ground Coriander.
Method:1. Add the pumpkin and beans to a pot and cook them. In a separate pot, cook the Dal.
2. Add the veggies, grated Ginger and Spices to the pot and mash well after the Dal has cooked.
3. Cover the pot with a lid and cook for 5 minutes.
4. You may add water in this step to increase the quantity or make a watery soup.
5. Your Pumpkin soup is ready! Serve hot, and enjoy.
Consult an Ayurveda Doctor
Imbalances are unique to each person and require customised treatment plans to curb the issue from the root cause fully. We recommend consulting our Ayurveda Doctors at Amrutam.Global who take a collaborative approach to work on your health and wellness with specialised treatment options. Book your consultation here today.