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Hyperacidity

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Definition

Hyperacidity simply means an increased level of acid in the stomach. The stomach secretes Hydrochloric Acid, a digestive juice that breaks down food particles into their smallest form to aid digestion. When there is an excessive amount of hydrochloric acid in the stomach, the condition is known as Hyperacidity.

Causes

The main cause of hyperacidity is the aggravation of Pitta Dosha in the body. Pitta is an Ayurvedic humor that symbolizes heat or fire. There are many causes for the aggravation of Pitta, main among them being the following:

  • Eating foods that do not suit the constitution or foods that should not be taken together (milk and fish, milk and salt)
  • Excessively sour or spicy foods and liquids, white flour products and white sugar products
  • Smoking and excessive consumption of tea, coffee and alcohol
  • Eating in a state of indigestion
  • Suppressing urges of urination and stool
  • Sleeping in the daytime after meals
  • Staying awake late into the night
  • Excessive stress, anger and hunger
  • Excessive exposure to sun and heat
  • Gastro duodenal ulcer

Symptoms

The typical symptoms of Hyperacidity are:

  • A feeling of restlessness
  • Feeling of nausea (wanting to throw up) and actual vomiting
  • Sour belching with an aftertaste of the already-eaten food
  • Stiffness in the stomach
  • Lack of appetite
  • Indigestion
  • Constipation

Ayurvedic View

Hyperacidity is known as Amal Pitta in Ayurveda (Amal means sour and Pitta means heat). Hyperacidity therefore is a condition characterized by an increase of sourness and heat in the body. The aggravated Pitta impairs the digestive fire, leading to improper digestion of food and production of ama (toxins). This ama gets accumulated in the digestive channels and causes Hyperacidity.

The Ayurvedic treatment of Hyperacidity is focused on pacifying the aggravated Pitta Dosha. Cleansing herbs are also administered to eliminate toxins from the body and cleanse the channels. This automatically enhances the digestive fire, leading to better digestion.

Diet and Lifestyle Advice

  • Avoid tea, coffee, and carbonated or alcoholic beverages
  • Avoid processed and fermented foods
  • Avoid using garlic, ginger, onions, tomatoes, and vinegar in cooking
  • Also avoid rich gravies, sour, salty, and spicy foods
  • Curd should be strictly avoided at night
  • Take meals in a relaxed atmosphere at regular intervals
  • Practice Yoga and Pranayama such as Vajrasana, Bhujangasana, Salabhasana, Bhastrika Pranayama, Shitali Pranayama and Shitkari Pranayama

Some Home Remedies

  • Mix together equal parts of powdered fennel, licorice root, basil leaves, and coriander seeds. Have ½ teaspoon of this mixture with ½ teaspoon of powdered rock candy (or unrefined sugar) 15 minutes before lunch and dinner.
  • Make a powdered mixture of equal parts of rock candy (or unrefined sugar), fennel, and green cardamom. Whenever you feel heartburn, mix 1 teaspoon of the mixture in a glass of cold milk and drink.
  • Chew a small piece of jaggery after lunch and dinner. Repeat until acidity subsides.
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