Aharapaka-The Digestive Process in brief:
Jatharagni (A collection of Bio-Chemicals, Enzymes etc.), holds the food for certain time (Pittadhara) inside the stomach (Amashaya) for proper digestion to take place. The Duodenum is situated at the entrance of the small intestine (from stomach to small intestine). Its good functioning is essential for a healthy human body.
If it is weak, it allows uncooked food to pass on to the intestines, and as such, Rasas and other Dhatus do not get properly formed & get vitiated.
Aharapaka-The Digestive Process:
The food taken at the proper time (not at night 1100 PM!), is drawn into the Alimentary canal by the Prana Vayu. The hard/big mass of food is split into minute pieces/made soft firstly by Saliva itself & then by Gastric Juices-Liquid (Jatharagni). Samana Vayu (Present in the Naval Region) then does its job by assimilating, digesting & absorbing nutrients from the food.
Though the food may consists of any/all tastes, it first becomes Sweet (Madhura), which produces Kapha. Further cooking/digestive action makes the food Amla (Sour) (Thus producing Pitta). The food then gets expelled from the stomach to Duodenum and finally to Large Intestine to complete Digestion & Excretion. Vyana Vayu would then take The Ahara Rasa (Nutrient Fluid) around such as to nourish the 7 Body Tissues (Rasa, Raqta, Mamsa, Meda, Asthi, Majja & Shukra). Apana Vayu would expel the body wastes out of the body.
The salivary secretions and alkaline fluids of stomach, renders the food to become fluid and homogenous, on which the digestive fire may then act. Most Kapha problems (Nausea, Lack of Appetite, Vomiting Phlegm etc.), occur at this stage. This results from indiscriminately eating Kapha Increasing Diet (Heavy, Over-cooked, Sweet, Salty stuff), or having excess liquids-water with meals, especially cold.
These stages together (Avasthapaka) form the First Phase of Digestion.
Further Phases of Digestion:
The Bhutagnis (The 5 Bhutagnis), reside in the Liver, and turn the food that we take, to the 5 respective elements (The Panch Bhuta), which then form the respective tissues of our body. Each Bhutagni acts on its own kind of food, such as Parthivagni on Prithvi, Apyagni (Jalagni) on Apya (Water) and so on for Agneya (Fire), Vayavya (Vayu-Air) and Nibhasa (Akash-Ether). This is the second stage, Nisthapaka.
‘Pitta’ secretions from Liver, Small Intestines and Pancreas are involved here. Pitta problems, like Hyperacidity, Ulcers etc. occur at this stage. Usually caused by Over Drinking of Liquor, Hot & Pungent Foods.
After the end of the two stages of digestion, the digested food gets divided into the waste (Kitta) and the essence (Sara). Liquid portion of waste material forms urine and the solid material faeces.
The Final Phase of Digestion occurs in the Colon, where absorption of the elements take place, and waste materials are expelled.
The essence undergoes further transformation by the bio-chemical reactions by the Seven Agnis (Dhatvagni) present in each of the Dhatu.
The digestive Fire (Jatharagni) Types:
Jatharagni is normal, when Samana Vayu is at its normal seat (i.e. Stomach) (Samagni). It gets deranged/erratic when it is in the wrong path (Vishamagni). It gets very strong (Tikshna), when Samana Vayu is associated with Pitta (Tiqshagni) and is weak (Manda) when the Samana Vayu is associated with Kapha (Mandagni). Now, there are total 13 types of Jatharagnis (Jatharagni itself, 5 Bhutagnis, and 7 Dhatu Agnis), to digest anything that you may eat, obviously excluding, antagonistic foods, which are big deterrent for our body.
Such substances as Pure Desi Cow Ghee and Fresh Aloe Vera Juice/Gel help regulate The Elemental Digestive Fires.
The Digestive Process, further at Subtle Level, provide us with “Prana, Tejas & Ojas”, The Subtle aspects-components of Vata, Pitta & Kapha.