The Gerson Institute of Ayurvedic Medicine

Scott Gerson, M.D., Ph.D. (Ayurveda) Medical Director, Jupiter Medical Center Dept. of Integrative Medicine Division of Education and Research






Lake Mary Clinic, Gerson Ayurvedic Spa, and Panchakarma Facility: at 635 Primera Blvd. Lake Mary, Florida 32746

Jupiter Medical Center at The Calcagnini Center for Mindfulness
1210 S. Old Dixie Highway, Jupiter, Florida 33458, Suite M-117.2




 Telephone: (561) 263-MIND (6463); option 2 (407) 549-2800

Basic Principles Of Ayurveda

Pitta Dosha

The term pitta comes from the Sanskrit word pinj meaning “to shine” (according to Sir Monier-Williams its exact entomology is a mystery). It carries the meaning of “that which digests” and is associated with the idea of being yellow-tinged or bilious. In its widest sense, Paittika digestive function includes all chemical and metabolic transformations in the body as well as processes which promote heat production (i.e. conversion of iodine to triiodotyrosine in the thyroid gland). Pitta also governs our ability to digest ideas and impressions and to therefore perceive the true nature of reality. It stimulates the intellect and creates enthusiasm and determination.

Pitta is often regarded as the “fire” within the body. Think of it as the energy stored in the chemical bonds of all the organic substances which make us up: its encoded in our hormones, enzymes, organic acids, and neurotransmitters. Charaka Samhita, an ancient Ayurvedic text, teaches that pitta functions in digestion, heat production, providing color to the blood, vision, and skin luster.

Here is a table which summarizes the manifestations of a balanced or unbalanced (excessive) Pitta dosha:

Effects of Pitta Dosha

Effect of Balanced Pitta

Effect of Unbalanced (Excess)Pitta

Strong and complete digestion Incomplete digestion; poor differentiation between nutrients and wastes
Normal heat and thirst mechanisms Irregular body temperature, disturbed perspiration, unregulated fluid intake
Excellent vision Impaired vision
Good complexion; healthy facial tone and coloration Variable, blotchy skin color, inflamed; unhealthy appearance
Hair lustrous and usually slightly wavy Irritable, anxious, driven, obsessed
Courageous, cheerful, focused Loss of energy and joy for life
Stimulated, open intellect Dullness of reasoning faculty
Steadfast concentration on the truth; disciplined, responsible Spiritually impoverished
Efficient assimilation of foods Heartburn, peptic ulcer, irritable bowels, hemorrhoids, diarrhea, alcoholism