Belching. Heaviness in the abdomen. A burning sensation in the throat and chest- these are symptoms we are all familiar with, the symptoms of acidity. Acidity is a medical condition in which the stomach secretes excess of the acids that are necessary for digestion to take place. This can be triggered by too much of spicy or oily food, tea, coffee or alcohol as well as by certain drugs, especially those that are given for pain relief. In Ayurveda, acidity is referred to as Amalpitta. Like all diseases, it is caused by an imbalance of the doshas, or the three vital life forces, vata, pitta and kapha. These doshas are balanced in a unique proportion in every individual, and when this balance is upset, health problems occur.
Aggravation of the pitta dosha is the main cause for acidity. This aggravation can be triggered by many factors including anger, fear, too much exposure to the sun, stress and eating and sleeping at irregular hours. Excessive intake of pungent and sour food items, alcoholic preparations, salt, hot, oily and spicy foods are also triggers.
Ayurvedic Home Remedies
Ayurveda has several home remedies for acidity that are based on ingredients available in your home, and which are easy to follow. For example, you can chew a few tulsi leaves every morning to relieve the discomfort caused by gas. Chewing coriander seeds, aniseed or fennel seeds also give the same effect. In fact, many people chew half a teaspoonful of fennel seeds after food and have found it very useful in aiding digestion.
Another option is to keep a small piece of jiggery in your mouth and slowly suck it till it dissolves. This will not only satisfy your sweet tooth, but also combat acidity. Chew your food well- but not too much, for over mastication also stimulates the gastric juices, and with it, the digestive acids. Don’t over eat – go for four small meals a day, rather than three big ones. Avoid drinking water immediately after eating. During the day, drink lemon juice with equal amounts of salt and sugar. Tender coconut water is also an excellent natural remedy for acidity as are almonds and cold milk. Amla or Indian Gooseberry,in a powdered form is also helpful. The standard dose is two teaspoonfuls thrice a day.
At bedtime, drink half glass of buttermilk, with a pinch of asafoetida, turmeric and half tea-spoon of fenugreek added to it. This is an effective treatment for gastritis. An elevated sleeping posture is really beneficial. This means that your head and shoulders should be supported by a high pillow. Another standard recommendation is to take two teaspoonfuls of ghee in a glass of warm milk. This also acts as a laxative. However, this treatment is not suitable for those who have a problem with high cholesterol.
However, if acidity cannot be controlled with home remedies, it is important to consult a good Ayurvedic physician or vaidya. There are many famous vaidyas in Kerala, the South Indian State that is often called the home of Ayurveda, who are experts in treating this condition through an evaluation of each patient’s unique constitution and formulation of personalized course of treatment. If acidity is your problem, they will be able to help you.