While the mere thought of food, as well as savouring favourite dishes, are a truly satisfying experience, the process of digestion that occurs after the consumption of meals is not always smooth. Myriad gut problems arise in people of all ages, with GERD i.e. Gastro-Esophageal Reflux Disease being one of the most common digestive disorders. GERD is a chronic ailment wherein excessive stomach acids flow backwards into the food pipe i.e. esophagus due to weakened or constricted stomach valve structures known as the lower esophageal sphincter, which triggers an uneasy sensation in the chest i.e. heartburn.
Ayurveda defines GERD as “Amlapitta”, meaning that the Pitta dosha component of the body which regulates digestion attains surplus acidic levels i.e. “Amlata”, leading to acid reflux and heartburn – Hrit Daha, accompanied by a bitter taste in the mouth – Tikta Udgara and indigestion - Avipaka. As the concentrations of acids in the gastrointestinal tract continues to remain high, even the Kapha and Vata dosha aspects are hampered, inducing further discomforting symptoms of nausea, vomiting, bad breath/halitosis, chest pain and difficulty in swallowing food i.e. dysphagia.
Thanks to the tomes of information documented in the ancient Ayurvedic manuscripts of Charaka Samhita, Sushruta Samhita and Ashtanga Hridaya, umpteen natural solutions are available to treat GERD and alleviate the uneasy symptoms in the gastric tract. These potent herbs pacify the Pitta dosha, reduce acid levels in the stomach, esophagus and promote digestion.
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Fabulous Herbal Remedies For GERD That Help Lower Acidity:
Pippali, commonly called as Long Pepper, is a time-tested herbal antidote for acidity and GERD. The spice is packed with powerful compounds that stimulate digestion and balance the Pitta doshas in the system, to ease heartburn.
Also known as Holy Basil, Tulsi is an excellent natural remedy for a host of stomach-related woes, including GERD. The leaves of this sacred plant are imbued with volatile oils that portray strong carminative traits, to relieve flatulence, gas and hyperacidity.
After a full meal at breakfast, lunch or dinner, sip on a cup of hot tulsi tea to enhance digestion and pacify burning sensations in the gut.
Cardamom or elaichi is rich in B vitamins, antioxidants, which boost metabolism in the system and facilitate smooth digestion processes. The aromatic pods also help reduce nausea, bloating and bitter taste in the mouth which often occur during instances of GERD.
Chew on some elaichi/cardamom pods after ingesting food, to activate the digestive juices and assist in proper assimilation of nutrients within the system.
Ash gourd is a wholesome green vegetable that not only has a high water content but is also laden with valuable phytonutrients – terpenes, flavonoids, which considerably decrease acid levels in the gut and help avert nausea, vomiting, constipation.
Drink a glass of ash gourd juice in the morning to augment digestive functions, ease acid reflux and heartburn, to effectively manage GERD.
Known as Ghrit Kumari as per the Ayurvedic terminology in Sanskrit, aloe vera is a marvellous panacea for umpteen health conditions, including GERD. The leaves of the aloe plant secrete a liquid gel which contains vast reserves of antioxidant and anti-inflammatory compounds, that neutralize stomach acids, heal peptic ulcers and ease heartburn.
Having a glass of aloe vera juice along with meals uplifts digestion and treats acid reflux and GERD, for better gut health.