Pitta or fire energy has the following characteristics: sasneha (slightly oily), tiksna (penetrating), usna (warm and warming), laghu (light), visram (with an unpleasant smell), saram (fluid-like) and dravam (liquid-like).

The metabolic energy is oily as seen in lubricating oils that spread smoothly on the skin leaving a residue behind. Gastric fluids from the stomach, duodenum and pancreas display this characteristic.

The energy of fire penetrates the substances that are exposed to it. Because of this, the digestive process breaks down starches, proteins and lipids through the digestive enzymes that penetrate the nutrients and break them into molecules that are more easily absorbed.

Heat produced as a result of chemical reactions, is characteristic of the presence of fire(inner potential for reactivity) as a metabolic energy. This aids catabolism (breaking down of metabolic products) or anabolism (synthesising of metabolic products) which are the key elements of life.E.g. proteins from food break down to amino acids and are used to re synthesise new proteins in our bodies.

Lightness is characteristic of fire energy. A flame points upwards as it burns wood, excessive thyroid fire creates weight loss(lightness) and, as a substance burns, reacts with oxygen (burning) and then looses its heaviness.Heavy wood becomes light ash.

Mobility and a kind of liquidity are apparent in fire energy. Fire moves from one molecule of fuel to the next so it is characterised mobile and liquid like a fire in the forest seeming to flow from one tree to another. Fire produces unpleasant odours such as the vomit smell, or burnt food smell.This is like a warning sign of the destructive power of the fire’s energy when it is uncontrolled.

The presence of fire energy is seen in penetrating eyes, sharp intellect, a flexible, fast moving body and in the ability to solve problems. Enzymes, the thyroid, the hormonal system, the stomach, the liver, neurotransmitters and generally all chemical reactions and transformations within the body express the fire (Pitta) energy.

- Dr Nikolaos Kostopoulos