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  • Acidity, Heartburn and Reflux from an Ayurvedic Perspective

    January 06, 2020 3 min read

    Acidity, Heartburn and Reflux from an Ayurvedic Perspective

    Do you suffer from Acidity, reflux or heartburn? 

    Or has your heartburn got aggravated after the holiday season eating more meat, drinking more alcohol or enjoying fruit after dinner .....

    If yes you are definitely not alone.

    Risk factors – Hurry – Curry and Worry

    GORD is one of the most common gastrointestinal conditions in Australia. It is estimated to occur in 10–15% of the population, with a rising prevalence, most likely due to obesity.

    Heartburn – the predominant symptom, affects approximately 1 out of 5 people in Australia and the incidence of GORD (gastro-oesophageal reflux disease – non-ulcer acid dyspepsia – NAD) has been noted to be rising worldwide.

    Many of the factors known to be involved in GORD and NAD are not fully understood and thus, the orthodox treatment is often symptomatic and unsatisfactory. risk factors include older age, male gender, caucasian ethnicity, diets high in fats, sugars and salt, and smoking.

    Pantoprazole a proton pump inhibitor (PPI, sold as protonix, 6,737,757 prescriptions) is a medication used to treat acidity, GERD, reflux and peptic ulcers and is one of the top ten prescribed medication in Australia.

    In Ayurveda Hyperacidity is called Amlapitta.?

    In the Bruhat trayi (3 main Ayurvedic text), Amlapitta has not been explained as a separate disease but mentioned as symptoms of other diseases in the chapter of Grahani (IBS).
    Acharya Kashyapa, Acharya Madhava and Bhavapraksha have descriped Amlapitta in more detail.

    Definition Ma Ni 51:1
    In amlapitta the quantity of pachaka pitta is increased. Its quality of a normal bitter taste (alkaline) is changed to more sour taste (acidic) as a result of fermentation. Because of this increased sour quality of pitta it is called amla(sour)- pitta. Amlapitta is a disease of the Annavahasrotas (Gastrointestinal tract)

    Ayurveda describes 2 types of amlapitta?

    1. Urdhwaga amlapitta- affects upper GI tract

    2. Adhoga amlapitta- affects lower GI tract

    In Amlapitta there is a deficiency of the Kledaka Kapha, Kledaka Kapha provides a protective lining helping to protect from the acidic nature of HCL along with other acidic gastric enzymes.
    This lack of kledaka Kapha with an increase in the acidic nature of pachaka pitta can lead to irritation and inflammation.

    Amlapitta is considered as Pitta Kaphapradhana Tridoshaja Vyadi.

    What causes Amlapitta?
    • sedentary life style, sleeping after food intake
    • incompatible combinations of food such as milk and fruit, milk and fish, cold and hot drinks etc. (Virudha ahara)
    • contaminated food (leftover food), stale food
    • fermented food
    • excessive consumption of alcoholic drinks, smoking
    • improper sleeping habits
    • sour, pungent hot and salty food
    • deep fried food, spicy food
    • day sleeping after having food intake
    • suppression of natural urges (Vegavarodha)
    • stress, anger (increase of Rajas), worry
    • coffee, carbonated drinks, smoking

    What are the symptoms of Amlapitta?
    • Indigestion
    • dyspepsia
    • sour eruptions
    • pain in cardiac region
    • loss of appetite, gurgling sound in the abdomen
    • thirst
    • burning sensation in throat and chest
    • headache
    • heaviness in the abdomen
    • diarrhea
    • fatigue

    How can Ayurveda help?

    Ayurveda is aiming to eliminate the root cause and not just suppressing the symptoms.

    1. Nidana parivarjana - eliminate the causative factors (diet, lifestyle and emotional)

    • Avoid coffee, alcohol, tea
    • Avoid smoking
    • Avoid meat
    • Avoid Spicy food, fatty food, fermented food, pickles
    • Avoid sour and salty foods especially Tomatoes
    • Avoid fruit after your main meals
    • Avoid carbonated drinks

    2. The first step towards the cure of Amlapitta will be correcting the digestive function with appetizing herbs (herbs that increase the digestive power).

    Stimulate the Agni and correct the Ama formation (Amapachana aushadhi)
    Tikta rasa/ bitter taste and madhura/ sweet taste is the best choice. Formulations such as Guduchyadi kashayam can be selected. After 2 weeks ghrta/ medicated ghee such as Dadimadi ghrtam or Mahatikta ghrita (before or between meals) is beneficial.

    2. Ahara/ Food + Vihara/ lifestyle – a special diet and lifestyle prescribed to the patient. This is very important and needs to be adhered for a successful treatment outcome.

    We advise to see an Ayurvedic practitioner for daily routine, lifestyle and healthy eating guidelines tailored to your needs.

    3. Shamana treatment/ palliative treatment – Pacifying treatment this is done when there is only a slight vitiation of the doshas. Pitta reducing diet, lifestyle should be followed alongside Ayurvedic herbs.

    4. Shodhana treatment – Panchakarma, mrdu virechana and sadyovamana with yasthimadhu kashayam.

    5. Yoga, Meditation, Pranayama

    Please note that the treatment approach is depending on the type of Amlapitta (Adhoga or Urdhwaga type).

    Useful herbs are Amalaki, Shatavari, Guduchi, Yasthimadhuka and classical preparations such as Panchanimbadi churna or Avipattikar churna.

    For more information or if you suffer from Amlapitta (Hperacidity) and you are interested in a holistic ayurvedic treatment plan email or call Ph: 0406810547

    We look forward to hearing from you. With love your Lakshmi Ayurveda team