Stressful lifestyles and erratic diets i.e hurry, worry and curry have made people prone to ailments that compromises the quality of life. Hyperacidity is one such condition. Hyperacidity means an excessive release of hydrochloric acid in the stomach. It could lead to ulcers. According to studies, 90% of the Indian population is suffering with this problem. Conventional treatment with antacids causes side-effects and suppresses the symptoms temporarily, rather than curing the disease. This article addresses the causes & symptoms of hyperacidity, and the remedies offered by Ayurveda therapies.
Hyperacidity is known as “Amalpitta” in Ayurveda. It is a condition affecting annahavaha srotas i.e. (gastrointestinal tract) arising out of vitiation of pitta dosha, specifically “pachak pitta” which helps in the proper digestion of food. In this certain attributes of the pachak pitta like the Drava guna (fluidity) and Amla guna (sourness) gets vitiated thus causing Vidagdhajirna at initial stages and later on causes inflammation and corrosion of Sleshamadhara kala of Amashaya i.e. mucous membrane of the stomach and duodenum. In modern medical science it can be correlated with conditions like Hyperacidity, Gerd, and Gastritis.
What Causes Hyperacidity?
1. Consuming incompatible foods like milk and meat together.
2. Stale, sour and spicy food, fizzy drinks and fast food, heavy meals.
3. Untimely food habits.
4. Specific season-Varsha and Sharad ritu (rainy season and autumn).
5. Specific climate- Aanoop Desh (regions which are rich in water sources, forest and mountains).
6. Excessive intake of Kullatha (it’s a kind of pulse used in north India)
7. Vegavidharan (Supression of urges)
8. Visha ( poisoning)
Symptoms of Hyperacidity “Amlapitta”
1. Avipaka (Indigestion)
2. Klama (Feeling tired) 3. Utklesha (Nausea)
4. Tikta and Amla udgar (Acidic regurgitation )
5. Gaurav ( Feeling of heaviness in the body )
6. Hritkantha dah (Burning sensation in the throat and behind the sternum )
7. Aruchi ( Anorexia )
Types of Hyperacidity “Amlapitta”
Amlapitta has been classified in two types as following:
1. Urdhwag Amlapitta: the disease have the symptoms of upper gastro – intestinal tract including acidic regurgitation, bad taste, salivation, stomatitis, vomiting tendency and vomiting of acidic yellowish contents, pain after taking meal burning sensation in chest and in throat, along with temporal headache.
2. Adhoga Amlapitta: this type of disease have the symptoms in lower part of gastro intestinal tract including irregular loose motion with or without pain, thirst, burning sensation, fainting, giddiness, dilusion, skin rashes, urticarial (allergic patches), sweating and pale colouration of body.
Lifestyle Changes in Hyperacidity
Many factors are responsible for good and balanced digestion. Our sense of taste ignites the digestive fire. Here are some tips to improve your digestion:
1. Food must be fresh and prefer food grown locally, or at least seasonally.
2. Eat the food with attention and feeling its taste because the taste of food helps to increase the salivation and hence helps in the digestion.
3. Avoid sleeping just after taking the meal, whether it is a lunch or a dinner.
4. Walk for at least 15 minutes both in morning and evening.
5. Don’t allow anger to excite your neurons, control anxiety and also don’t mess up unnecessarily with your feelings.
6. Eat small but frequent meals.
7. Avoid taking painkillers frequently.
8. Keep your bowel clean.
Home Remedies for Hyperacidity
1. Drink 200 to 500 ml of coconut water to prevent acidity.
2. To get relief from the high reflux of the acid, mix gruel of rice corn, raw sugar and honey in equal quantity. A dose of 100 to 200g should be taken twice per day. This will act as a filler and also protect the mucous lining of the stomach.
3. Drink coriander (Coriandrum sativum) and cumin (Cuminum cyminum) tea.
4. Have Mulethi powder(Liquorice ) tea instead of normal tea.
5. Mint juice or mint capsules containing peppermint oil are also a good herbal remedy for treating acidity. It is recommended to be taken after meal, it reduces gas formation.
6. Fruits that will help you in getting relief from acidity are cucumber, watermelon, papaya. But too much intake of these can sometime aggravate the problem, so take them in moderate amount.
7. Chewing a few Tulsi (holy basil) leaves will also help in acidic reflux.
8. Chewing fennel seeds (Saunf ) after a meal will also help in some cases.
Treatment for Hyperacidity
Using ayurvedic medicines that can suppress acid formation is very effective in treating acidity. Herbs useful in Hyperacidity are:
1. Amla – One of the Ayurvedic herbs recommended for the treatment of acid reflux is amla. Amla can be taken with warm milk or eaten with vegetables to reduce acidity.
2. Coriander – The culinary herb and spice coriander is also an effective treatment for acidity. Ayrurvedic practitioners also recommend taking 1 tbsp. coriander juice with 4 oz. butter milk to reduce acidity in the stomach.
3. Mint – The mint family consists of peppermint, spearmint and basil, or tulsi; their natural oils can relieve heartburn and concomitant symptoms.
4. Liquorice- Ayurvedic medicine uses licorice root. Making an herbal tea provides relief from burning pain and other symptoms of acid reflux.
5. Haritaki & Bhringraja- Take powdere of Haritaki and Bhringraja (Eclipta alba) in equal quantity. A dose of 3 to 6 g should be taken with 12 g of jaggery and warm water twice/day- this will help you to get rid of the basic causes behind the Acid Reflux and Heartburn. Bhringraj is a herb of choice to get rid of the liver problems and all kind of digestive upsets.
6. Aloe vera – In mild cases aloe vera juice or gel is also helpful but patients having peptic ulcers should better avoid it.
Ayurvedic medicines for treating Hyperacidity
Some useful medicines are Laghusutshekhar Rasa, Kamdudha Rasa, Avipattikar Churna, Narikela lavana, Sankha Bhasma, Giloe Sattva etc.
Advise- Medicines should be taken after consultation with an ayurvedic physician so that you can get the exact medicines with the contents which suits to the nature of your disease and your prakriti.
Exercise for Hyperacidity
Exercise helps in controlling acidity. Morning walk are good for your health and keeps the acidity disease under control. Take a walk of about two kilometres early in the morning.
Yoga for Hyperacidity
Depression and anxiety worsens the acidity disease so try to live a stress-free life for healthy and happy living. Yoga and meditation helps the patient to overcome the daily stress. Some of the useful yoga postures are – Surya namaskar, Sarvangasan, Bhujangasan, Naukasan, Paschimottanasan, Vajrasan, Bhastrika Pranayam and Sitali Ptanayam.