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Pitta Dosha: The 5 Sub-Doshas and Cooling Heated Digestion|GERD

Updated: 3 days ago

30% more people are experiencing GERD than a decade ago, according to the GI Society. If you're sounding hoarse and it's not a cold, it could be GERD. Learn about the 5 Pitta sub-doshas and how they might be showing up in you.

Pitta Dosha: The 5 Sub-Doshas and Cooling Heated Digestion|GERD image heartburn

Explore more on the Saumya Blog, selected top Ayurveda blogs and websites to watch.

Pitta Dosha: The 5 Sub-Doshas and Cooling Heated Digestion|GERD

"New survey finds forty percent of Americans’ daily lives are disrupted by digestive troubles" according to the American Gastroenterological Association.

In Ayurveda, each human being is made up of a unique mix of three universal energies – Vata, Pitta, and Kapha. These energetic building blocks, called doshas, influence everything from our body shapes, to our temperaments, sleep patterns, and metabolisms.

With warmer days approaching, it’s important to understand Pitta, which rules the summer months. Pitta dosha is associated with fire and water and governs how these elements manifest within us. Think of Pitta doshas as an unctuous oily-water quality.

There are five sub-doshas and these energetic sub-divisions each have a special job. While Pitta dosha is most commonly linked to agni, primarily we think of this as our digestive fire, it plays an important role in our other body and mind functions as well.

GERD treatment, acid reflux treatment, heartburn treatent--it all hurts and Pitta is screaming at us for healing. Let's take a closer look at the five sub-doshas of PItta and expand our understanding of what's going on.

Pitta Dosha: The 5 Sub-Doshas and Cooling Heated Digestion|GERD image eye

Alochaka Pitta: Vision and Discernment

Alochaka Pitta influences how we see the world, both physically and psychologically. It governs visual functions, like our eyes and retina – but also our inner vision and discernment.

Balanced Alochaka Pitta powers Pitta dosha’s keen awareness. When balanced, this aspect of Pitta dosha accurately perceives the external world, judges right from wrong, and make senses of our inner and outer realities. Out of balance, we may have trouble analyzing or interpreting people and situations. We may also experience physical issues like eye infections and degraded vision.

Pitta Dosha: The 5 Sub-Doshas and Cooling Heated Digestion|GERD image heart and hands

Sadhaka Pitta: Heart and Consciousness

Another important Pitta subdosha governs our brains and hearts. Sadhaka Pitta controls how we metabolize emotions and stress – and acts as a direct line to our inner consciousness. The saying, "She's all heart" means that person has a kind and generous disposition or nature--in other words, balanced Pitta dosha, specifically Sadhaka Pitta.

Balanced Sadhaka Pitta keeps our minds in tune, alert, and connected. It clears tamas, or darkness of the heart, so we can bloom into our most awakened and radiant selves. Out of balance, we may have trouble letting go, ruminate on negative thoughts, or experience mood swings.

Pitta Dosha: The 5 Sub-Doshas and Cooling Heated Digestion|GERD image skin

Bhrajaka Pitta: Skin & Touch

Bhrajaka Pitta subdosha rules our skin - our largest organ - and sense of touch. We don't think of our skin as a vehicle of ingesting and digesting, yet skin metabolizes such things as touch, sunlight and air. Our skin covers and protects our entire body, and everything within it. It is through this complex organ that we encounter and experience the physical world.

We may say an experience gave us goosebumps, or made the hair stand on end--responses which result from intense fear, anxiety, excitement or delight. Through Bhrajaka Pitta, we are taking in and assimilating experiences.

Like Pitta dosha, Bhrajaka Pitta is associated with how we absorb and disperse heat and moisture. In balance, our skin is supple, hydrated, and bright. Out of balance we may develop rashes, discoloration, and even cancers of the skin.


Veena is an awesome partner and she really helped me investigate my issues, including eczema, and developed an Ayurveda plan that was easy to integrate into my life and now I am thankfully, eczema free."

-Rachael R., Denver, Colorado

Pitta Dosha: The 5 Sub-Doshas and Cooling Heated Digestion|GERD image woman red skin tone

Ranjaka Pitta: Blood & Circulation

Ranjaka Pitta governs how blood forms and circulates through our body and organs. In Sanskrit, the word Ranjaka means “coloring agent.” Accordingly, Ranajaka Pitta colors our inner and outer physiology.

In balance, Ranjaka Pitta maintains healthy pigmentation - from our hair and skin tone to our bowel movements and urine - and optimal blood function. Out of balance, we may experience issues of the blood, such as liver malfunction or anemia. We may also experience discoloration of our hair, skin, and bowel movements.

Pitta Dosha: The 5 Sub-Doshas and Cooling Heated Digestion|GERD image woman with heartburn

Pachaka Pitta: Stomach & Digestion

Pachaka Pitta governs digestion from within the small intestine. In Ayurveda, digestion is considered the bedrock of our health. Plus, Pitta dosha is deeply associated with agni, our digestive fire. Thus, Pachaka Pitta has a profound influence on all other forms of Pitta.

Pachaka Pitta enables proper digestion and absorption of the foods that nourish our entire being. As Pachaka Pitta is a foundational subdosha, Pitta imbalances are often first observed as digestive issues.

There comes a day if Pachaka Pitta begins to aggravate, that we may notice, or not, a general sense of heat in our belly, we may pass it off as something we ate or drank. Left unchecked, Pitta dosha continues to aggravate in the lower stomach and small intestine, it may manifest as hyperacidity, or looser stools. Check out our article on Poo Analysis with Ayurveda: What Your Poop Says About Your Health to learn more.

"If we haven't taken steps to reduce aggravated Pitta, it continues to burn. Clients often have one heated digestive issue and then another and if Pitta dosha overflows from it's home in the digestive tract, it travels into general circulation and may manifest as heat flashes, flushing, skin conditions. Depending on the individual, Pitta is not reduced, it continues to spread to other parts of the body and mind and Pitta dosha will establish itself, here, there and in time, possibly everywhere.

Clients tell me, "I feel inflamed all over and the doctors can't find what's wrong. From Ayurveda's view, yes--clients know what they feel--they feel Pitta that has spread. They will start their consultation with a list of 6-12 chief concerns, all with one root-Pitta dosha. Seeing that so many health concerns come from one root, provides clients with immediate relief and hope. Read their stories and see how clients put out the wild fire of Pitta dosha" -Veena, Saumya Ayurveda

Thanks to modern dietary and lifestyle stressors, fiery Pitta dosha is prone to overheating – particularly in the summer months and during periods of stress. One of the most common symptoms of heated Pitta is Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), also known as heartburn or acid reflux.

If your sounding hoarse and it's not a cold, it might be GERD. According to Harvard Medical School,"...your lower esophageal sphincter. That's the muscle that controls the passage between the esophagus and stomach, and when it doesn't close completely, stomach acid and food flow back into the esophagus. The medical term for this process is gastroesophageal reflux; the backward flow of acid is called acid reflux.

Acid reflux can cause sore throats and hoarseness and may literally leave a bad taste in your mouth. When acid reflux produces chronic symptoms, it is known as gastroesophageal reflux disorder, or GERD. The most common symptom of GERD is heartburn—pain in the upper abdomen and chest."

Cooling Heated Pitta Dosha for Digestive Relief

If something you eat manifests with a fiery vengeance, you may be experiencing symptoms of GERD. Over 20% of Americans have heartburn at least once a week, and it’s not just uncomfortable – it can cause serious health issues if left untreated.

In Ayurveda, digestive issues like GERD are caused by an imbalance in Pitta dosha. To remedy these ailments, we must cool Pitta in the body.

Explore our personalized services and book your FREE discovery call today.

There’s rarely just one symptom of high Pitta

You may think heartburn, loose bowel movements, and migraines are unrelated ailments – but they stem from the same root cause, aggravated Pitta dosha. Ayurveda connects the dots, and allows us to see how digestive function manifests as a multitude of bothersome issues.

In general, GERD and other digestive symptoms of Pitta dosha - such as ulcerative colitis, Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), inflammation, migraines, eczema, liver concerns-- may be considered, in part, lifestyle ailments. Thus, our diet, herbal remedies, and lifestyle practices can provide relief.

Signs of Pitta Imbalance:


“I was inflamed. I had trouble keeping weight on, I was diagnosed with incurable ulcerative proctitus, my energy was very low, and I was taking medications daily for a skin condition, and I had severe migraines.

Following Veena’s guidance, all these conditions have been nearly eliminated! The incurable ulcerative proctitus was given a Mayo Clinic Score of 0, normal or inactive disease.

I’m very grateful to Veena for the wonderful results and the healthier quality of life we have attained together. Without reservation, I highly recommend Veena at Saumya Ayurveda.”

---Chris Schirber, Yoga Teacher, USA


Food as Medicine for Pitta Dosha Digestion

Water helps soothe heated Pitta. Drinking plenty of warm or room temperature water. Water pacifies Pitta which can alleviate gastric issues such as heartburn, and loose bowel movements. Better yet is to drink herbalized tea specific to your constitution and needs. Avoid drinking coffee, soda, or alcohol – which can have the opposite effect.

woman drinking green smoothie

Ayurvedic Diet for Acid Reflux

Processed foods are harder to digest – and spicy or oily foods aggravate inflamed Pitta. Incorporate mild, cooling foods to decrease internal heat. Eat meals when you’re relaxed, at the same time every day, to help your digestive system find a healthy rhythm. Explore More on the Saumya Blog: Cooling Foods in Ayurveda

Selected top Ayurveda recipe blogs, please visit our online recipe box for Pitta dosha cooling recipes.

Pitta Dosha: The 5 Sub-Doshas and Cooling Heated Digestion|GERD image Pitta herbs for digestion

Herbs for Pitta Dosha Digestion

Herbal remedies that reduce inflammation and balance digestion can soothe GERD, loose stools, IBS, and other symptoms of heated Pitta dosha.

  • Licorice and Neem: These extremely valuable gastroprotective herbs help regulate

  • Shatavari and Vidari: Both mucilaginous herbs, these help balance pitta dosha, soothe GERD symptoms, and improve gastric functioning.

While herbal remedies can be truly life-changing, they must always be consumed properly–what herb is correct for each person varies. An Ayurvedic professional can develop a personalized plan for your unique body, composition, and life situation – book a consultation to get started.

Pitta Dosha: The 5 Pitta Sub-Doshas and Cooling Heated Digestion | GERD is key to understanding the root cause of these dosha imbalances.

Pitta Dosha: The 5 Sub-Doshas and Cooling Heated Digestion|GERD image woman at lake relaxing

Lifestyle for Pitta Dosha Digestion

Our lifestyle habits affect how we feel mentally and physically – and how they digest food. Release pressure by taking moments of meditation throughout the day. Listen to this 2-minute guided meditation, or this 11-minute systemic relaxation meditation, twice daily for a quick reset.

As Pitta dosha is ruled by fire and water, we can harness the latter to soothe the heat. Spend time by water (preferably flowing water) to tap into its cooling and nourishing properties. Even a few minutes will help.

"When it comes to our lifestyles, what we don’t do is just as important as what we do." -Veena

Give yourself a break, and don’t overdo it. Pitta can be intense and fiery – take time to breathe, rest, and cool down throughout your busy day. Also important, don’t take things too seriously. Humor and laughter can keep us from getting stressed or hot-headed, so queue up the funny cat videos.

Saumya Ayurveda's 3 steps for transforming your daily life with image of a woman meditating by a lake

There is a saying, "The mind is more in the body, than the body is in the mind." The Saumya 3 step meditation process shifts us from fight-flight-freeze mode, to rest-restore-relax mode. Give it a try for forty days and observe the changes. The more grounded and relaxed we are, the smoother life flows.

"The breath is the connection between the mind and body, so by training the breath, we become calm, focused, and grounded, we slow down the aging process by decreasing stress. These practices are so simple and easy to have as part of our daily life. We actually feel and look younger."

- Veena, Saumya Ayurveda

1. Learn Diaphragmatic Breathing and Change Your Life. When we re-learn to breath diaphragmatically, we move from the flight-fight-freeze mode, to rest, restore, relaxation mode from where we want and need to live.

2. Free Daily Guided Practices: 11 minutes in the morning and in the evening, as anchors of your daily Ayurveda routine.

"Choose a couple of practices from the Ayurveda routines that provide you with the greatest support. Perform them while applying our two minute meditation technique and your mundane tasks, just transformed into a mellifluous meditation. This is meditation applied to daily life." - Veena, Saumya Ayurveda


"Veena was able to help me regain my energy in just a few months and I’m feeling like my “young” self again! I love the food plan she designed for me, and all the supporting practices (am/pm routines, breathing techniques, herbs, and spice mixes) are so enjoyable to incorporate into my day. I highly recommend Saumya Ayurveda if you want to feel better and have more vitality.”

-Molly Rossini, Minnesota

Pitta Dosha: The 5 Sub-Doshas and Cooling Heated Digestion|GERD image desk with notepad saying client testimonials

“I have suffered from chronic headaches and migraines for as long as I can remember. I had talked to multiple PCPs and specialists about these issues, had been prescribed a variety of medications that never really fixed the issue.

Veena promptly put together a plan of action. Right away I noticed a significant decrease in the number of headaches I was getting, and when I did get them, they were much less severe than they had been in the past.

This is certainly the headache treatment plan that I have seen the biggest benefit from, and I plan to continue my Ayurveda plan nmoving forward."

I am very thankful for Veena's knowledge and advice and would not hesitate to recommend her services to friends and family alike.”

-Adrienne Sobering, Albuquerque, New Mexico


“Veena has been great. I suffered with burning mouth syndrome for many years. Doctors and dentists had no idea what I was even talking about, much less solutions. Veena knew immediately. Within in a few weeks of using the herbs and protocols she recommended, I am not experiencing any of the symptoms I did previously. And, my thinking is clearer, I am nearly free from hot flashes, and I feel more like myself.

Everything has been easy to incorporate into my life, which is the best part. This feels sustainable. I highly recommend working with Veena.”

--Liz Pfeffer, New Mexico

Pitta Dosha: The 5 Sub-Doshas and Cooling Heated Digestion | GERD provides insights in the many roles Pitta plays in our minds and bodies.

Pitta Dosha: The 5 Sub-Doshas and Cooling Heated Digestion|GERD image antique compass and map

Discover the Saumya Ayurveda Way

We all want to be heard, understood, and cared for as whole beings, not a set of isolated symptoms. True health is more than the absence of disease, which is why Western medicine so often leaves us feeling hopeless and unseen.

Deep down, you already know what you’re searching for: a new framework for living – one that brings your entire being back into balance. With Saumya Ayurveda, you’ll receive individualized guidance to create the physically, mentally, and spiritually vibrant life you crave.

Saumya Ayurveda provides concierge, top-notch, award-winning Ayurveda care. We strive to keep it simple, so you can focus on you! Opt for virtual consultations and we'll come to you.

Our practice model is client focused, we’re not in the retail herb business. We’ll guide you where to order herbs directly online. Our top-shelf Ayurveda oils and herbalized ghees are the best in the land and we’ll ship your care package right to your doorstep.

Our effective multi-appointment consultation packages provide you with experienced Ayurveda care, enthusiastic guidance, and inspiring support.

Explore our personalized services and book your FREE discovery call today. Psst! Our clients say it best – so read and watch our client's stories.

Pitta Dosha: The 5 Sub-Doshas and Cooling Heated Digestion image Veena

Veena is a Certified Ayurvedic Practitioner and meditation teacher, and monk.

She is President Emeritus and teaching faculty of the Meditation Center.

Veena fell in love with the traditional medicine used in her family’s home, learning herbal remedies at her grandmother's knee.

These childhood experiences were the seeds of a lifelong passion. For over 30 years, Veena has dedicated her life to the world’s oldest healing system: Ayurveda.

She draws on this ancient wisdom to help others find their compass to a healthy life – and support those left wanting by Western medicine.

An experienced Certified Ayurvedic Practitioner, Veena’s deep, intuitive knowledge of Ayurveda empowers her clients to reclaim their fullest, most vibrant lives –mentally, physically, and spiritually. Veena individualizes treatment plans to each person, rather than offering a one-size-fits-all approach, so it fits your life and becomes woven in your lifestyle, naturally.

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