Most people suffer an occasional bout of indigestion that is marked by an uncomfortable heaviness or burning sensation in the stomach, heartburn or a feeling of being bloated. However, if this begins to occur very frequently, and causes a lot of discomfort, it is important to pay attention because may be the sign and symptoms of acid reflux.
What is Acid Reflux or Hyperacidity ?
The stomach contains a certain amount of hydrochloric acid that, along with the enzyme called pepsin, plays a vital role in the digestion of food. When there is an excess secretion of this gastric acid, the condition is called hyperchlorhydria or what we commonly call acid reflux; this excess acid leads to the symptoms of this condition.
Symptoms of Acid Reflux or Hyperacidity
A person who suffers from acid reflux may experience a few symptoms such as:
Some persons also suffer from anaemia and weight loss when acid reflux is a chronic problem.
According to Ayurveda, acid reflux is called Amlapitta – a disease due to excessive acid production in the stomach.
As a result, there is an increased amount of heat and sourness generated in the body, impairing the Pitta Dosha. As a result, the digestive capacity is affected, resulting in the formation of ama or toxins which accumulate in the digestive channels. Treating such acid reflux therefore requires the removal of these toxins and pacifying the impairment in the Pitta Dosha.
The Ayurvedic concept of acid reflux says that the condition is generally caused due to faulty eating habits such as:
In some persons, there may be an excessive secretion of the digestive enzymes due to the stimulating effect of the Vata Dosha – this condition is called as pachaka pitta. Excess of enzymes causes a drying out of the mucous membranes that line the stomach and this leads to it getting irritated and subsequently, the development of ulcers.
Ayurveda makes use of certain traditional herbal formulations and therapies to help treat acid reflux. Before recommending these, the physician takes a complete diet history to understand the client’s present eating habits and lifestyle. After the identification of what is causing the problem, he or she is recommended particular therapy, dietary changes and lifestyle to overcome the acid reflux.
Ayurveda recommends the use of specific herbs that have the ability to reduce Pitta Dosha and help reduce the toxins generated in the gastrointestinal tract. Some of the common ones used traditionally include:
Amla (Indian Goosberry):
The Indian gooseberry fruit obtained from Emblica officinalis plant is a strong pacifier of the Pitta Dosha and therefore, very effective in acid reflux treatment. Besides, it also contains vitamin C which helps in rapid healing of the injured tissues of the stomach.
Obtained from the Glycyrrhiza glabra plant, the stem of licorice has powerful action against excess acid production in the stomach. It helps give relief from the burning pain of acid reflux.
Yashtimadhu (Indian Licorice) is beneficial in treating acid peptic disease. Scientific studies have shown that its extract reduces gastric acid secretion and inhibits the formation of peptic ulcers. Yashtimadhu treats ulcers by accelerating mucin excretion by increasing the synthesis of glycoprotein at the gastric mucosa, prolonging the life of the epithelial cells and antipepsin activity.
Shatavari (Asparagus Racemosus):
The juice obtained from the root of the Asparagus racemosus plant is very effective against acid reflux; it may be administered as such or in the form of a formulation made with ghee (clarified butter).
In a study conducted by Poonam Sharma it has been found that the methanolic extract from the fresh roots of Shatavari (Asparagus racemosus) has ulcer protective effect. It increases the mucous secretion and keeps the acid and pepsin levels stable. Also roots of Asparagus racemosus showed considerable in-vitro antibacterial properties.
Bhringaraj (Eclipta alba):
Obtained from the Eclipta alba plant, bhringaraj is a very useful antiulcer herb. It helps to reduce the amount of acid produced in the stomach.
Both the kernel as well as the liquid found in the coconut have a protective action against damage to the gastric mucosa by excess acid.
Some of the common Ayurveda herbal formulations mentioned in the ayurvedic texts to treat acidity and reflux:
Ayurveda Panchkarma Detox Remedy for Acid Reflux or Hyperacidity
This detox therapy should be performed under supervision of a qualified ayurvedic practitioner and never be experimented without supervision.
This is therapeutic emesis or induced vomiting to get rid of the waste products and mucous in the upper gastrointestinal tract.
This is therapeutic purging where purgative substances that increase the Pitta dosha are given to the patient. Some of the commonly used purgatives include senna leaves, flaxseeds, castor oil or Triphala. After several hours of consuming this, there is a natural bowel movement, which may be repeated several times. By this method, most of the toxins in the gastrointestinal tract are eliminated and it helps to reduce the suffering from acid reflux.
Some yoga postures help to stimulate the digestive system to secrete appropriate levels of the digestive enzymes and also reduce the acid reflux.
The most effective ones are Virasana (Hero Pose), Vajrasana (Thunderbolt Pose), Baddha Konasana (Cobbler Pose), Makarasana (Crocodile Pose), Mayurasana (Peacock Pose), Padahastasana (Foot-Hand Pose) and Shavasana (Corpse Posture).
In many persons, improper eating habits are mainly responsible for problems with digestion that lead to chronic acid reflux. Here are a few tips that are recommended as lifestyle changes for persons with such problems.
Along with all these measures, it is vital to remember that because the brain controls the secretion of gastric acid, stress plays an important role in deciding one’s state of digestive health.
In general, anxiety, nervousness, anger and being on edge tend to worsen the symptoms of acid reflux and therefore, one must strive to stay calm. Along with the recommended yoga postures, the regular practice of breathing techniques and meditation to keep the mind calm can therefore help greatly in combating chronic acid reflux.
If you wish to consult Ayurveda, you may choose to contact one of our Ayurveda Practitioners Gurnam Saini or Pooja Saini in Melbourne. Both of our Practitioners are Qualified Ayurveda Doctors from India. You may contact us at "Pure Herbal Ayurved Clinic". People who can't reach us personally, may choose for online Ayurveda consultation.
PH- 0061 430 799 515
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Ayurveda stads for extensive and elaborate clinical examination to understand thenature of the disease