Importance of Indigestion or Agnimandya in Ayurveda
Indigestion is a common ailment of digestive system. This condition is known as agnimandya in ayurveda. This can lead to constipation, bloating of stomach, flatulence and loss of appetite.
Ayurveda Says Indigestion is the Root Cause for Diseases
According to Dr. Jhon Anne indigestion is not a disease in itself, but it is a manifestation of some problem with the gastrointestinal tract. The agni is responsible for the proper digestion of food in the body. When there is an imbalance of the agni – which means digestive fire – then the digestion process is disrupted. This is when indigestion occurs. Agni can be vitiated due to several reasons. Eating the wrong foods, eating at wrong times, having negative thoughts in the mind, excessive stress and even physical problems with the gastrointestinal tract can cause indigestion. Indigestion must be cured quickly, or it will build up toxins in the body, which are called as ama. Hence ayurveda gives at most importance for diet. Following an ayurvedic diet helps to keep diseases at bay.
He further quotes that ‘There are differences in the indigestion caused in people due to vata , pitta and kapha doshas. In people with vata dosha, indigestion is felt as a painful cramping of the abdomen. In people with pitta dosha, there is a burning or searing kind of pain in the abdomen. Indigestion in people with kapha dosha is the most violent. In them, it is characterized by nausea and vomiting along with the abdominal pains.
Which are the Ayurvedic Herbs for Indigestion ?
Texts of ayurveda recommend various herbs and herbal remedies for indigestion.
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 ?
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:-
Do 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.
Dr.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
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.
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.