Your favourite foods can please your taste buds. But if you eat too fast or take too much of these foods, you may occasionally experience indigestion.
Symptoms of indigestion may include an uncomfortable feeling of fullness in your stomach after eating, or you may have pain or a burning sensation in your upper abdomen. Indigestion is not a disease but rather a symptom of other gastrointestinal problems, such as ulcers, gastritis, or acid reflux.
Many people experience indigestion at some point. Instead of turning to over-the-counter antacids to settle your stomach, you can try controlling symptoms with ingredients and natural remedies for acidity or heartburn.
As per the study conducted by the International Journal of Health and Clinical Research in March 2021, the consumption of non-vegetarian food was independently associated with GERD (Gastroesophageal reflux disease) symptoms. The prevalence of GERD was found to be 33.76%. Older age, less consumption of fruits, smoking, and NSAIDs had a significant association with GERD prevalence.
Causes of Acidity & Heartburn
Heartburn is a symptom of GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease) caused by acid refluxing into the food pipe (oesophagus). Risk factors include those that increase acid production in the stomach and structural problems that allow acid to reflux into the food pipe. The causes may differ from person to person, but they all are related to the diet and lifestyle habits of the person. Here are some of the primary reasons behind acidity and heartburn:
- Sedentary lifestyle and sleeping after food intake
- Incompatible food combinations such as milk and fruit, milk and fish, cold and hot drinks, etc. In Ayurveda, they are considered as Virudha Ahara.
- Consumption of contaminated, leftover, or stale food
- Eating fermented food
- Excessive consumption of alcoholic drinks and smoking
- Improper sleeping habits
- Eating sour, spicy hot, and salty food
- Excessive consumption of deep-fried food, spicy food
- Suppression of natural urges
- Continuous stress, anger (an increase of Rajas), and worry
- Excess intake of coffee and carbonated drinks
Symptoms of Acidity & Heartburn
Symptoms usually begin shortly after eating and may last for hours or subside within minutes. Along with that, you may have a sour taste in your mouth, coughing, or hoarseness. You may also feel like food is “stuck” in your throat. Let’s have a look over some primary symptoms of acidity and heartburn:
- Dyspepsia (pain in upper abdomen)
- Sour eruptions
- Pain in the cardiac (heart) region
- Loss of appetite, gurgling sound in the abdomen
- Burning sensation in throat and chest
- Heaviness in the abdomen
Acidity And Ayurveda
In Ayurveda, Amlapitta (Hyperacidity) is considered as Pitta Pradhana Vyadhi (pitta pre-dominant disease). Acidity possesses symptoms such as:
- Sour and bitter belching (Amlodgara),
- Heart and throat burn (Hritkantha Daha)
- Gaurav (heaviness), Avipaka (indigestion), Klama (fatigue), Aruchi (tastelessness), Utklesha (nausea), Antra Kujana (gurgling sounds in intestines), Hritshula (chest pain) and Vidbheda (diarrhoea).
Overindulgence of etiological (causing) factors such as faulty lifestyle causes vitiation of Vata-Pitta Dosha and Vata-Kapha, and slackens the Jatharagni factor responsible for digestion, i.e., Jatharagnimandya (diminution of digestive fire). Later on, it turns into Shukta (acidified), and it remains in the stomach for a long time. At this stage, Vidagdhajirna (indigestion caused due to acidified chyle) manifests, which is the premonitory symptom of the disease Amlapitta. Further, vitiated Pitta gets blended in with Shukla and causes Pitta Amavisha Sammurchhana (mixing of unmetabolized Rasa and undigested food with Rasa). This condition is called Amlapitta.
Prevention Methods for Acidity & Heartburn
As the saying goes, “Prevention is better than cure”. It is better to avoid all the causative factors of acid-peptic disorder (Amlapitta). So, here we are recommending some of the prevention tips for heartburn and acidity as per Ayurveda texts:
- Avoid excessive salty, oily, sour, and spicy foods
- Avoid heavy and untimely food
- Avoid smoking and alcohol intake
- Food should consist mainly of bitters like bitter gourd, matured ash gourd
- Include barley, wheat, old rice, and green gram in the diet
- Avoid overcooked, stale, and contaminated food
- The food must be properly cooked
- Follow mental relaxation techniques
Line of Treatment
In ayurvedic medicine, it is thought that an imbalance in any of the three doshas will result in an illness. Ayurvedic medicine treats illness in many ways, including dietary changes, herbal remedies, exercise including yoga, meditation, etc., or Panchakarma therapy. This sequence is called a line of treatment in Ayurveda. The line of treatment varies from one disease to another.
Here is the line of treatment for treating Acidity and Heartburn:
- Avoid causative factors (Nidan Parivarjan): You should avoid disease-causing diet & lifestyle and switch to a healthy lifestyle.
- Palliative treatment: As the disease is of Pitta origin, all measures should be undertaken to pacify pitta.
- Panchakarma treatment: When a patient cannot be well managed with oral medications, ‘Panchakarma procedures’ like Vamana (emesis) or Virechana (purgation), whichever is needed should be administered. In chronic cases, Asthapanavasti (medicated enema) is indicated.
Ayurvedic formulations to treat Acidity & Heartburn
- Kamdudha Rasa (Baidyanath): Kamdudha Ras relieves chronic acidity, heartburn, stomach ulcers, and colic pains. It soothes hyperacidity, provides cooling relief in ulcers, stimulates the production of digestive enzymes, and boosts your digestive system.
Dose- 2 tablets twice a day with honey water
2. Sutshekhar Rasa (Baidyanath): It is especially useful in hyperacidity or Amlapitta, a condition in which the acid level in the gastric juices is excessive and causes discomfort. Hyperacidity leads to acid reflux, burping, hiccups, nausea, pain, and burning in the abdomen, etc.
Dose – 1 tablet with honey water twice a day
Natural Remedies for Acidity & Heartburn
If you suffer from Acidity or Heartburn, you must have known some home remedies for instant relief. Ayurveda suggests some of the most common home remedies that you can easily use with the ease of the ingredients available at your house to get instant relief from the issue. Here are some of the remedies for heartburn and acidity that you can follow:
1. Coconut Water
Having two glasses of coconut water daily might help you with heartburn relief. It is rich in fibre that helps soothe your digestive system. Also, it may protect your stomach from the effects of excess acid production.
With its various digestive and anti-inflammatory properties, ginger can be considered one of the most effective home remedies for acid reflux. You can use ginger in your cooking, or you can just chew a slice of fresh ginger. Likewise, you can boil it in a glass of water, decrease it to a large portion of a glass and afterward drink the water. It might go about as a supportive acid reflux fix.
3. Mint Leaves
Commonly known as pudina, mint leaves are also known to have digestive properties and can act as a natural cooling agent. This helps you get proper relief from acidity and heartburn. Some mint tea acts as a powerful regular solution for indigestion. Additionally, you can boil the mint leaves and afterward drink the water. The leaves offer alleviation from acidity.
4. Tulsi leaves
Also known as Basil, these leaves help produce mucus in our stomach. This offers indigestion alleviation while the leaves might relieve the stomach lining too. You can simply ingest 2-3 basil leaves, bubble them in water, and drink it to get quick help from acidity.
Your normal buttermilk or “Chaach” is also one of the most helpful home remedies for acid reflux and heartburn. It contains lactic corrosive that standardizes the inflammation in your stomach. You can drink a glass of buttermilk after any weighty dinner to get help from heartburn.
6. Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple cider vinegar is one of the most effective home remedies for acidity. Simply blend 1-2 teaspoons of crude apple cider vinegar in some water and drink it on more than one occasion per day.
One more supportive home solution for indigestion and heartburn is Jaggery. It helps in the stomach-related interaction and offers alleviation from acridity. It has a cooling impact on your stomach also. Having a little piece of jaggery after your substantial dinner is quite possibly the most supportive home solution for indigestion.
Take powder of Shatapuspa (Saunf) with sugar mixed in a glass of water – 20 ml twice daily for 1 week or till the symptom subsides.
Raw garlic kills the pathogenic microorganism that is a significant offender in causing gastroenteritis. Including garlic in your everyday meals or chewing 1 clove early in the morning, an empty stomach can stimulate your stomach health and prevent indigestion and acidity.
10. Cumin Seeds
Cumin seeds go about as an incredible corrosive neutralizer, help absorption, and diminish stomach torment. Delicately pound some cooked cumin seeds, mix them into a glass of water or a teaspoon of cumin seeds in some bubbled water and drink it after each supper.
- Follow the meal times
- Have light food, coconut water, or food items having cooling properties
- Eat vegetables like white pumpkin, bitter gourd, matured ash gourd, and other leafy vegetables except for Methi.
- Include wheat, old rice, barley, green gram, sugar candy, and cucumber in your diet
- Have fruits like gooseberry, dry grapes, black grapes, sweet lime, pomegranate, fig, and Dry fig.
- Take sufficient liquid, e.g. pomegranate juice, lemon juice, Amla juice, sweet lime juice, medicinal water with Ushir (KhasKhas), coriander seeds or Laja (puffed rice).
- Have Dadimpak (sweet preparation made of pomegranate), Moramla (jam made from amla), or gulkand (jam made from rose petals) with milk
- Drink a cup of lukewarm milk after every two or three hours
- Have one teaspoonful of ghee with warm milk
- Avoid excessive spicy, sour, and salty substances
- Avoid fried and junk food items
- Do not remain hungry. Avoid fast.
- Do not overeat; take small frequent meals
- Avoid untimely and irregular food habits
- Avoid foods containing an excess amount of salt, oil, chillies, etc., very often.
- Avoid rice, curd and sour fruits.
- Avoid lying down immediately after food and in the supine position. The best-recommended position is left lateral (avoids acid reflux)
- Avoid smoking, alcohol, tea, coffee, and aspirin-type drugs.
- Avoid stress
One has to follow a healthy and balanced diet for better health. One should take food, considering one’s capacity for digestion. For the ailments of Amlapitta, following the given dietary and lifestyle changes and do’s & don’ts helps to produce a soothing effect on the stomach’s inner layer, reverse inflammatory changes, and control digestive secretions, thereby combating hyperacidity. Without a doubt, all the above-mentioned natural remedies for acidity and heartburn are effective and will never cause you inconvenience.
What remedies have you used to relieve acidity or heartburn that have worked out? Kindly share with us in the comments section!