Have you ever felt a burning sensation in your chest or nauseous after a meal? Well, you’re not alone. Over 16% of the Indian urban population face the same. Acidity, also known as Acid Reflux, is the culprit behind. It is one of the most common health conditions worldwide and most of us experience it from time to time but do not have a clear understanding of it. Acidity can be easily treated with Ayurvedic medicines. This article gives a holistic picture of Ayurvedic treatment for acidity.
What is Acid Reflux?
In order to digest what we eat, the stomach produces an acid. At the entrance of the stomach, is a valve which closes as soon as the food passes through it. The problem occurs when the valve does not close or opens too often, causing the acid to move up the esophagus. This is why many people experience a ‘burning’ sensation.
On the other hand, GERD (Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease) is a severe version of acidity and requires serious medical treatment.
Symptoms and Causes
Some of the common symptoms include:-
- Abnormal saliva secretion (Excess)
- Burning sensation in the chest region (Classic symptom)
- Sour/bitter taste in the mouth
- Bloated feeling after eating
- Chest pain
- Problem in swallowing
- Stomach discomfort
Majority of these symptoms are caused due to:-
- High consumption of alcohol
- Spicy foods (Love your spices but don’t over-do them!)
- Irregular food habits
- Late night binging
- Fruits with high citrus content (Tomato/Lemons/oranges)
- Chocolate (Yes, that’s sad!)
- Fatty foods like Pizzas and burgers
Note: Sometimes certain medications like ibuprofen, aspirin may also cause Acidity.
As seen above, most of the causes are related to our lifestyle and diet. A few tweaks should do the trick to bring your body back on track. Let’s divide the remedies into four parts for a better understanding:-
Ayurvedic treatment, home remedies, and Eating Habits & Lifestyle changes.
Ayurvedic Medicine For Acidity/Acid Reflux
Ayurveda (an ancient system of medicine in India) is a boon to mankind. It focuses on the root cause of the disease rather than the symptoms. According to Ayurveda, there are three doshas (forces/energies) which make up the human body:-
- Vata (the air/space element)
Relates to anything related to motion. Eg- Heartbeat, blinking, BP.
Imbalance – leads to constipation, spasms, muscle cramps, bloating.
- Pitta (fire and water element)
Relates to the metabolic energy in the body Eg- Digestion, body temperature.
Imbalance –leads to heartburn, peptic ulcers, acidity, anemia.
- Kapha (water and earth element)
Relates to the immunity system and water levels in the body.
Imbalance – leads to cold/flu, an excess coating on the tongue, high body weight.
Each one of us possesses these doshas in different levels. When one of them is imbalanced, it can cause the respective symptoms. Hence, when the ‘pitta element’ is imbalanced it leads to heart burn and acidity. Managing Acid reflux naturally via Ayurveda is a very effective way to treat it.
With zero side effects, there are several Ayurvedic treatment for acid reflux. A few of them are stated below:-
Commonly known as Licorice, this wonder herb helps protect the stomach lining by producing a thick protective mucus. It also acts as an excellent brain tonic and rejuvenator. Due to its sweet taste, it is also said to enhance your vocal abilities!
Dosage – 1-2 tablets a day
Triphala is a combination or 3 herbs (tri – three, phala – fruits in Sanskrit) mainly, Amlakki (Indian Gooseberry), Bhibitaki (Beleric) and Haritaki (Ink nut/Myrobalan). It is a tri-dosha balancer, meaning it balances the three doshas in our body and is considered as one of the best ayurvedic medicine for acidity. They come in tablets and powdered form. One can safely say it is the holy grail of Ayurveda.
Dosage – 1-2 tablets a day
Avipattikar is a blend of various herbs including black pepper, haritaki, green cardamoms, cloves and others. It is an antacid, appetizer and antioxidant. It comes in a powdered form.
Dosage – 3-5 grams a day.
Amla/Indian gooseberry is an indispensable fruit in India. With its tart taste, one can wonder how it reduces acidity, but this berry is packed with antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds. It aids in balancing the pitta element, so it is one of the best and easily available ayurvedic medicine for acid reflux. Luckily, there are myriad ways to eat this fruit.
Way to make children eat Amla- Gooseberry can be cut into small pieces and soaked in honey to make Amla Murabba. This can be eaten on an empty stomach to aid digestion and cleanse the stomach.
If you are not a fan of sweets, then go ahead and salt these babies(Sea salt/Black salt) and dry them in the sun to make a tart and savory Dried Amla. PS– This is great for even car sickness.
Nowadays there is even paan flavored amla candy available (Health plus yumminess!).
It is a ‘medicated ghee' i.e clarified butter infused with medicinal herbs unique to Ayurveda to reduce the pitta in the body. It consists of various herbs like Neem, Sandalwood, Yashtimadhu(as seen above), Amalaki, ghee etc. It even controls bleeding disorders Eg. Piles and colon bleeding.
Dosage – This ‘ghritam' can be mixed with water. About half a teaspoon mixed with water before meals will do the trick!
- A powerful antacid
- Anti spasmodic
- Appetite and digestive stimulant
- Anti diarrhoeal and stool binding agent
- Anti emetic
- It is a natural supplement of Calcium and Vitamin C
Home Remedies For Acidity
A few easy to use home remedies for acidity.
- Aloe vera juice before a meal is one of the best tricks!
- Drink lots of buttermilk. It helps soothe the stomach.
- Mix a teaspoon of cumin seeds in warm water and let it rest overnight. Drinking this in the morning helps relieve acidity.
- Chew 2 to 3 cloves after a meal to aid digestion.
- Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV). Although the name sounds acidic, this vinegar has an alkalizing effect on the body. Mix 1 tablespoon of ACV in water and drink twice a day for best results.
- Eat smaller portions frequently throughout the day.
- Reduce carbonated beverages like Cola.
- Avoid oily foods like pickles/fries since they are difficult to digest.
- Eat more fibres like Oats/Ragi/Millets as it aids digestion.
- Red meats can be an occasional treat.
- Tea and coffee are major contributors to acidity. It is wise to reduce the quantity and switch to milkshakes and smoothies.
- No sour foods like tamarind/vinegar/curd etc.
- Peanuts are highly acidic. Avoid them.
- Do not wear tight clothes or tight belts.
- Exercise regularly (Being overweight can also cause Acidity).
- Quit smoking.
- Say no to Alcohol.
- Do not lie down after a meal.
- Do not eat right before you sleep (Ideal time for dinner is 7pm-8pm).
- Practice Yoga for both physical and mental well-being. (Bhastrika and Pranayama, Peacock pose, shoulder pose are good for Acidity).
- Elevate the head of your bed to reduce heart burns at night. ( 6-9 inches)
As the saying goes, ‘Prevention is better than cure'. Ayurvedic medicine for acidity plays a vital role not only in curing the root cause but also in preventing the ailment. So say goodbye to acidity forever with these wondrous medicines and tricks!
Here are some more easy tips to Help You Reduce Acidity and Stop Burping!