The stomach normally secretes acid that is essential in the digestive process. This acid helps in breaking down the food during digestion. When there is excess production of acid in the stomach, it results in the condition known as acidity. Ayurveda defines this as “Amla Pitta.” Here Amla refers to super sour taste and Pitta is the Dosha (humor). This literally means an excessive secretion of super concentrated Pitta Dosha in the stomach.
Causes for acidity
A weakness of the valve between the stomach and esophagus.
A heavy meal or increase in intra-abdominal pressure.
Excess acid secretion.
Any kind of breakdown in the defense mechanisms.
Consumption of alcohol, highly spicy diet, irregular food habits and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs).
Emotional and nervous individuals.
Symptoms of acidity
Heartburn is characterized by a deep burning pain in the chest behind the sternum (breast bone). It occurs after meals and is precipitated by increase in intra-abdominal pressure like straining or lifting weights.
Dyspepsia is a burning or an aching pain in the upper abdomen, sometimes described as a stabbing sensation penetrating through the gut. In rare cases there may be no pain, but only a feeling of indigestion, fullness, bloating, flatulence or nausea.
Home remedies for acidity
Lemon: It has antacid, anti-neuralgic, anti-rheumatic, antiseptic, astringent, bactericide, carminative, diuretic, emollient, haemostatic, hepatic, insecticidal, laxative, stomachic and tonic properties. This essential oil, in the peel of lemon, is refreshing, helping to increase concentration and counteracting acidity in the body. Soak one-fourth of a lemon in a glass of water overnight. Do not squeeze. Drink this water in the morning and pour more water on the lemon piece. Drink this water throughout the day and change the piece of lemon once in 24 hours. Repeat for 7 days in case of hyperacidity.
Coconut Water: This has the five essential electrolytes: potassium, sodium, magnesium, calcium and phosphorous. Drink young coconut water to calm and soothe the digestive system.
Desi Ghee: Apply ghee (clarified butter) in the navel. Apply it by massaging in a clockwise direction until absorbed completely. To prepare, warm it with a pinch of asafetida (hing) and store it in a small bottle. Apply after every meal or before going to bed.
Soda Bicarbonate: A tablespoon of lime juice, water and a pinch of soda bicarbonate, twice a day helps to neutralize the excess acid secretion.
Watermelon: Eat watermelon, banana or cucumber every hour.
Holy Basil: Chew a few holy basil (tulsi) leaves to get relief from burning, nausea and gas.
Green Cardamom: Drink cardamom tea, one to two times daily. To prepare, boil four cardamoms in one and a half glasses of water and when the water is reduced to half a glass, then drink it.
Water: Fill your mouth with some fresh water and rotate (swirl) it in the mouth until the temperature of the water begins to feel warm. Then spit the water out and repeat it many times till you feel the mouth filled up with the sweet taste of saliva. The water takes away the excess heat of the body, activates the digestion and dilutes the acid.
Drink water between meals, not with meals. If you drink fluids with meals, you increase the volume of stomach contents, which makes it easier for heartburn to happen.
Mint: Drink fresh mint juice slowly after meals. It will give you instant relief.Take a mixture of 2 tsp of natural apple cider vinegar and 2 tsp of raw honey in a glass of water before meals to prevent acidity or heartburn.
Brown rice: Plain or a little sweetened, rice can help relieve discomfort. Rice is a complex carbohydrate and is a bland food, which is less likely to increase acidity or relax the sphincter muscle.
Jaggery: Keep a small piece of jaggery (gur) in your mouth and slowly suck it. Repeat it every hour till acidity subsides.
Cinnamon: This is a traditional remedy for acid relief. Brew a cup of cinnamon tea from a cinnamon stick. Or try a commercial brand, but check the label. Cinnamon tea often has black tea in it, which is a cause of heartburn, so make sure your commercial brand doesn’t contain black tea. For another acid-busting treat, make cinnamon toast.
Disclaimer: If you are experiencing any or several of the symptoms, you should talk to your doctor. You must verify with your physician before applying this article’s suggestions to your individual situation.
Indu Arora, Ayurveda and Yoga Therapist considers herself a student for lifetime. She has been sharing about Yoga philosophy, Yoga Therapy and Ayurveda since 1999. She is inspired by and taught under Kriya Yoga, Himalayan Yoga, Kashmir Shivaism and Sivananda Yoga lineages. She has studied both Yoga and Ayurveda in a traditional Guru paramapara setting. Her teaching style is rooted in empowering and inspiring students to awaken the inner Guru. Her core philosophy is, ‘Nothing has the greatest power to heal, but Self!” www.yogsadhna.com