Indigestion – An Ayurvedic Perspective
Indigestion, also known as dyspepsia, is defined as pain or discomfort in the stomach associated with difficulty in digesting food. Some of the symptoms associated with indigestion include belching, nausea and a bloated stomach.
Etiology ~ The Root Cause:
According to the ancient science of Ayurveda, indigestion is usually caused by:
- Consumption of incompatible foods, such as bananas with milk
- Excessive consumption of heavy, oily, dense and hot, spicy foods
- Overconsumption of caffeine, alcohol and smoking
- Eating in haste
- Emotional eating
- Side effects of certain antibiotics and/or medications
- Sometimes a symptom of certain cancers, peptic ulcers and GERD
Manifestation Of Acid Indigestion: … “Heart Burn”
People who are prone to indigestion are generally of the fiery constitutions. These people usually have excess heat in the body and therefore succumb to acidity and heartburn more so than others. Hence it is important to avoid hot, spicy and sour foods and to also take care in avoiding the above causes of indigestion. All of the above causes create an increase secretion of stomach acid which then leads to the symptoms of abdominal discomfort and heartburn.
Great Video ~ Ayurvedic Remedies To Help Manage Indigestion & Heartburn
- Increase the digestive fire by avoiding all the above causes.
- A proper diet according to one’s constitution should be followed
- Fasting – Giving the body a rest from digestion is sometimes recommended. Observing a hot water fast for a day can bring relief and can reset the body’s digestive fire. Add a pinch of black pepper and ginger for a more effective digestive aid.
Natural Remedies For Acute Indigestion:
- In 1 cup of warm water squeeze a few drops of fresh lime juice and a ½ tsp of baking soda, consume quickly
- Consume a concoction of ½ tsp of honey and ½ tsp of black pepper to ¼ cup of onion juice.
- Boil 1 tablespoon of cumin seeds in 2 cups of water until the water is reduced to 1 cup. Strain out the seeds and drink ¼ cup daily after each meal.
- Take ½ tsp of chopped garlic with a pinch of salt and a pinch of baking soda.
- Every morning consume 1 cup of hot water with 1 tsp of honey and 1 tsp of fresh lemon juice.
- An effective herbal formula for indigestion is made with Kutki, Trikatu and Chitrak. Taking a pinch of each of these herbal powders with ½ tsp honey before meals will help strengthen digestion.
- Ginger is an extremely effective digestive herb. Drinking ginger tea or even consuming ginger pickle before a meal is a beneficial way to help kindle digestion. Before a meal take ½ tsp of chopped ginger with a pinch of salt and a few drops of lime juice.
- Another effective digestive herb is Trikatu. This herb is equal parts of ginger, black pepper and pippali. Taking ½ tsp of this herb with a pinch of garlic powder and a pinch of rock salt before meals aids digestion.
~ Prevention is Key ~
The best way to avoid any disorder is prevention. Enjoying a balancing diet and lifestyle can help maintain optimum health. Some key points to remember in addition to the above causes include:
- Avoid ice drinks and cold foods. This will weaken the digestive fire and can lead to heartburn.
- Eat the largest meal between the hours of 11am and 1pm when digestive fire is strong.
- Eat a light meal for dinner to avoid overtaxing the stomach.
- Avoid overeating and emotional eating. This can make it hard for the stomach to properly digest the overloaded food.
- Get moving! Taking a walk after meals can aid in digestion and increase digestive fire. Certain yoga poses and pranayama (breathing exercises) are also particularly beneficial.
- Following a daily routine of meditation, oil massages and self-care will bring overall balance and contentment.
But most of all – Enjoy your food and love your body!