Definition of Pitta
The term Pitta has a number of synonyms of which the more significant ones are agni and anala. It is derived from the Sanskrit root ‘tap’ and it has three meaning viz.
Tap dahe – meaning to burn the ingested food Tap santape- meaning to generate heat
Tap aiswarye- meaning to enable to attain the eightfold nature of animadi. (Siddhanta kaumudi). The word dahana does not indicate the actual burning as in the physical world. Since this action is occurring in the living body, it is to be understood as paka interpreted as parinama- conversion or transformation and paravrtti- transmutation of the respective fuels of the Agnis –Pittas – of the body. This definition explains the main functions of pitta.
Physical properties of the pitta-
Acharya Charaka, Sushruta and Vagbhata defined Physical properties of the pitta
Colour: – According to sushruta the colours of pitta are nila (blue) and peeta (yellow). Dalhana explained that the colour is nila when the pitta is in ama state and yellow in the nirama state.
Taste: – Katu (pungent) and amla (acid) taste. Sushruta stated that the taste of pitta is katu in Prakrita avastha, and in vidangdha state, which according to Dalhana is the ama or immature state, is amla (acid) taste.
Smell: – Visrata gandha.
Consistency: – Fluid (drava).
Other qualities:- Snigdha (unctuous), Ushna (hot), Tikshna (penetrative), Sara (mobile), laghu (light) and visada (clear).
Types of Pitta:-
Depending upon the specificity of functions and the site of action, Pitta has been classified into 5 types (Charaka.sarira.7/15). But Charaka has not mentioned the five subdivisions of the pitta, which are described by Sushruta, Vagbhata and other later authors, but indicated the different functions specifically attributable to these five pittas.
The five subdivisions of pitta which have some specialized functions to perform in the body are- Pachakapitta, Ranjakapitta, Sadhakapitta, Alochakapitta and Bhrajakapitta (Sushruta.sutra.15/4). These five names of pitta are given first of all by Sushruta