Indigestion is known as agnimandya in ayurveda. Ayurveda recommends various medicines like hingvashtaka, vibhitaki, clove, cinnamon etc as remedies and treatment.
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Importance of Indigestion or Agnimandya in Ayurveda
Ayurveda Says Indigestion is the Root Cause for Diseases
Indigestion indicates imbalance of agni or body fire. Indigestion is the root cause of many diseases. The “ama” or toxins produced during indigestion blocks “srotas” or body channels. These blockages lead to many malfunctions which eventually lead to diseases.
Indigestion occurs when three doshas (vata dosha, pitta dosha and kapha dosha) of body get imbalanced. Eating unhealthy foods and living unhealthy lifestyles imbalance doshas. Hence to keep 3 doshas and agni in balance, it is very essential to follow ayurvedic daily routine (dinacharya) and Ayurvedic seasonal routine (rutucharya)
Which are the Ayurvedic Herbs for Indigestion ?
Texts of ayurveda recommend various herbs and herbal remedies for indigestion.
Ayurvedic herbs for indigestion are
- Vibhitaki (bibhitaki) -Bibhitaki- Terminalia bellirica
- Fennel or Saunf
Vibhitaki – Bibhitaki – Terminalia bellirica
Belleric myrobalan is the extremely potent component of Triphala choorna, which is known as vibhitaki or bhibitaki or baheda. This is a wonderful carminative. It solves problems of diarrhoea and indigestion. It can also be taken in case of intestinal worms, which could be a reason for indigestion.
Dosage of Bibhitaki Powder for Indigestion
For indigestion 1/2 to 1 tea spoon of powder has to be taken twice daily after food. Stir this powder in a glass of plain water and consume after meals. Here is the list of Bibhitaki or Baheda powder for Indigestion
Cardamom (Elettaria cardamomum)Cardamom is a cooling agent. It helps the stomach and the intestines to soothe down after a heavy meal and perform the digestion better. It helps in expelling the wind that is caused due to undigested food material.Clove (Syzygium aromaticum)The astringent action of the clove on the stomach stimulates the production of the dietary enzymes. This facilitates faster digestion.Fennel (Fenneliculum vulgare)Fennel or saunf is the most effective herb in the prevention of indigestion. Traditionally, some seeds of fennel sweetened with sugar are provided after every meal. This is known to help digestion and also take care of bad odors from the mouth and flatulence.Garlic (Allium sativum)Garlic helps in the faster production of the digestive enzymes and also eliminates the waste matters from the digestive system. Due to its antiseptic properties, garlic can also help in the prevention of gastrointestinal diseases, which may cause indigestion. Garlic expels any intestinal worms if present. Garlic can be used with milk (garlic milk)Ginger (Zingiber officinale)
Ginger is very effective in the treatment of all kinds of gastrointestinal ailments. It can treat colic, flatulence, diarrhea, dysentery, abdominal pains and dyspepsia.
What to do During Indigestion ?
- Eat light
- Use curd /yogurt/butter milk
- Drink warm water
Having a proper dietary regimen is the best way to keep indigestion at bay. Obey the following guidelines:-Eat LightDo not consume a heavy diet when having an indigestion problem. Stick to a vegetarian diet, and consume more fibers. Fasting for a day will help a lot. On this day of fasting, you may consume liquids like fresh fruit juices. Do not consume any liquids that contain synthetic ingredients.Use Curd or Yogurt and ButtermilkIndians believe in the properties of butter milk and curd (dahi) or yogurt in aiding digestion. During indigestion, consume some rice in curd , or eat curd and sugar . This is the most ideal meal for indigestion. But don’t use this remedy at night.Drink Warm WaterDr.Shishir Bhate opines that drinking 6-7 glasses of warm water helps in indigestion. It not only clears the clogs in digestive system. But also helps to eliminate ama or body toxin.
Ayurvedic Herbs and Home Remedies for Indigestion
- Clove Tea
- Coriander and Ginger Tea
Generally indigestion can be cured and controlled by the proper diet as described above and medications are not needed. But in some severe cases, Hingavashtaka choorna (a preparation made with asafetida , rock salt or sendha namaka as the main ingredient) can be given in powder form with ghee.
Home Remedies for Indigestion
1. Prepare an infusion of aniseed, ginger, cumin seeds and long pepper in water by boiling it. These are all digestives. Consume this whenever there is an indigestion problem. There will be motions and relief will be immediate.
2. Prepare a paan or betel leaf (leaf enveloped over an edible substance) of betel leaf over seeds of Bishop’s weed. You can add a little rock salt or sendha namak to the paan for flavoring. Chew on this paan whenever you have indigestion problems.
3. Soak one teaspoonful quantity of the seeds of celery in a glassful of buttermilk. Keep this for five to six hours. Consuming this mixture helps in relieving the indigestion quickly.
4. After a heavy meal, put two to three pieces of clove in the mouth or a piece of garlic and let them remain there till all the juices are extracted. This will help the digestion take place faster. Alternatively, fennel seeds can also be put in the mouth.Here are two very effective ayurvedic home remedies for indigestion. These can be prepared using ingredients available on kitchen shelf.
5. Consume nut grass or nagarmotha (musta) tea . It helps to relieve indigestion flatulence and increase appetite.
Clove tea is a liquid remedy recommended in “Yogaratnakara”.Ingredients:
- Clove – 5 in number
- Haritaki (harad ) powder – 1 tea spoon
- Water – 200 ml
- Sendha namak (rock Salt) – ¼ tea spoon
Method – Coarsely powder the cloves. Mix clove, Haritaki powder and water. Boil this till ¼ of water remains. Add sendha namak or Rock salt to this. Filter this to get a clear decoction of herbs. This tea helps in indigestion and also relieves constipation by loosening the stools.
Coriander and ginger tea:
- Coriander seeds – coarsely powdered – 1 tea spoon
- Dry ginger powder – 1 tea spoon
- Water – 200 ml
- Lemon juice– ¼ tea spoon
- Sendha namak (rock salt) – ¼ tea spoon
Method: Mix all ingredients. Boil this till ¼ th of water remains. Add lemon juice and Rock salt after filtering the decoction. This helps in indigestion which has occurred after the consumption of heavy foods. It also relieves stomach pain and increases appetite
Ayurvedic Home Remedies for Other Digestive Disorders
There are numerous simple recipes illustrated in Ayurveda to correct many disorders. Here are few gruel recipes (yavagu) which are strongly recommended in digestive disorders. These are simple and effective remedies which can be prepared easily at home to correct the disorder and also to replenish the lost nutrients.
Gruel recipes (Yavagu)
- Rice-1/2 cup,
- Water -4 cups,
- Long pepper- 2or 3 ,
- Ginger -1’’
Method of preparation:
Cook rice with recommended quantity of water with crushed ginger and salt. Powder long pepper and fry it in a spoon of cow’s ghee and add it to gruel. Consume this when it hot. This is very light to digest and relieves colic pain.
In Diarrhea-ayurvedic home remedies
- Rice -1/2 cup,
- Water – 4 cups,
- Ginger paste – 1/2 spoon,
- Salt to taste,
- Pomegranate juice: ½ cup
Method of preparation
Cook rice with recommended quantity of water with ginger paste and salt. Add pomegranate juice when the gruel is warm. This gruel rehydrates body and supply energy . This soothes inflamed walls of intestine and controls bowel movements.
In flatulence – ayurvedic home remedies
- ½ cup of rice,
- 4 cups of water,
- Haritaki (Terminalia chebula) – powder-1/2 spoon,
- Roots of pippali or long pepper,
- Ginger paste -1/2 spoon
- salt to taste
Method of preparation
Cook Rice, haritaki powder , roots of pippali and water together. Add salt to it. Consume this when it is warm. This relieves flatulence and regularizes the bowel movement
In indigestion due to over consumption of oily food
- ½ cup rice,
- 4 cups of water,
- Butter milk – 1 cup,
- Salt to taste
Method of preparation:
Cook rice water and salt together. Add a cup of butter milk when it is little warm and consume it . This relieves indigestion, nausea and corrects digestion.
Tips to Keep Your Digestion Healthy
A good digestion helps in proper absorption of nutrients and efficient supply of them to our body. Indigestion is opposite of this. The indigested food fails to supply the required nourishment to our body. Reduced nourishment reduces the work efficiency of body organs. Hence to keep the body and all organ system healthy proper digestion of food is very essential. Ayurveda acharyas recommend few guidelines to keep our digestion healthy.
- Never consume food when you do not have appetite. Watch for symptoms like coated tongue, nausea, heaviness of stomach, bad breath and unwillingness to have food. If you experience such symptoms fast for a day or skip your meals till the good appetite returns.
- Avoid consumption of food when you have mood swings. Do not eat when you are angry, depressed, grieved or raged.
- Eat only after evacuating bowel and urine, brushing teeth, cleaning tongue and bathing. Wash your hands and finger nails before touching food.
- Avoid eating junk foods. Eat freshly prepared home foods. Home foods are clean and rich in nutrients.
- Take care not to eat opposite foods. Opposite foods are combination of foods which contradict in their properties.
- Eat your food in good mood along with the company of nearest and dearest ones. This helps to strengthen the family bond and also helps in easy digestion of food due to normal flow of gastric juices.
- Drink warm water in between. This helps to normalize tridoshas and aids digestion.
- Eat a piece of ginger before starting the meal. This increases appetite and soothes stomach.
- Try to include all six tastes (shadrasa) in your meal. (Six tastes – Madhura (sweet), tikta (bitter), kashaya (astringent), Katu (spicy), lavana (salty), amla (sour) )
- Eat seasonal and local foods which are fresh.
- Eat slowly and chew the food well. Give a gap of 4 hours between two meals.
- Never indulge in heavy work, sexual activities or sleep immediately after eating.
- Watching TV while eating food causes improper digestion.
Properly digested food nourishes seven vital tissues or sapta dhatus. (dhatus – Rasa (lymph), Rakta (blood), mamsa (muscle),medha (adipose tissue), asthi(bone), majja (bone marrow) and Shukra (semen))
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