Acidity or Pitta Dosh:
Acidity (Pitta dosh) is a growing problem nowadays. Actually, acidity is a term used for a set of symptoms. These symptoms are caused by excess production of acid by the gastric glands of the stomach. In general, acid is the part of digestive process; the stomach normally secretes hydrochloric acid that is essential for the breakdown and digestion of food. But when the production of acid by the gastric glands of the stomach exceeds, it results in the condition known as acidity.
An excess and imbalance digestive acids can cause heartburn, stomach ache, gas, nausea, bad breath and other symptoms. Most commonly, people feel a burning sensation after eating a meal. Another noticeable symptom is sour belching (khatti Dakar). (2) Constipation, indigestion, nausea and burning in the throat are some other symptoms of acidity.
Causes & Treatment:
Most of the problem of acidity occurs due to eating spicy foods, lack of exercise, irregular eating habits, stress, or drinking alcohol frequently. Another important cause is taking Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs or some other drugs like- high blood pressure drug etc. Stomach ailments like peptic ulcers, gastro-esophageal reflux disease (GERD), stomach tumour, etc. also cause acidity.
In short, we can say that acidity (pitta dosh) is the result of damaged stomach lining. As a matter of fact, our stomach produces gastric acids to aid digestion. But, their corrosive effects are neutralized by the production of some chemicals, like- natural bicarbonate, secreted in the mucous lining. When the production of these chemicals is interrupted then it damages stomach lining that causes excess acid formation.
This acidity is generally, treated by antacids. But these antacids may be harmful in long run. In fact, you can control acidity mainly by making changes in eating habits and lifestyle habits. (1) Even then, if you don’t get relief, you can try some natural remedies which are simple to use and have no side effects.
Home Remedies for Acidity:
If you often suffer from acidity and are tired of taking antacids, need not to worry. There are many more simple ingredients around you which are quite helpful to get rid of acid. These natural remedies are –
1. Clove and Cardamom:
Clove (laung) is very effective to avoid acidity naturally. Do you know, simply by taking one clove and one cardamom (chhoti elaichi) daily after meal, you can get rid of acidity. Actually, it affects digestive system directly and prevents formation of gas and acid. Clove and green cardamom juice goes directly into the system with saliva; it eases the abdomen and controls the excess production of acid.
2. Jaggery (Gur) to cure Acidity:
Jaggery (Gur in Hindi) is high in magnesium; it helps to make your digestive system more alkaline in nature, therefore reduces acidity. Simply, eat a small piece of jaggery after meals daily. Or whenever you feel chest burning, keep a small piece of jaggery on the tongue and swallow it itself.
3. Banana or Kela:
Banana, a natural antacid, is an alkaline fruit that helps to neutralize the acid in the stomach. It is also good source of potassium which check acid level. An overripe banana is more effective to get relief from acidity; it actually works better than antacid drug. Therefore, eat one banana whenever you feel burning.
4. Amla or Indian Gooseberry:
To get relief from excessive acid formation, take one tsp of Amla powder twice a day. You can also use amla (Indian gooseberry) juice in place of powder. Crush few pieces of amla and extract the juice. Drink 1 tbsp juice daily on an empty stomach to control acidity.
Ready to use Amla juice remains available in market, you can purchase it from any medical shop or supermarket. But fresh amla is better than ready to use amla juice.
5. Cumin Seeds for Acidity:
Cumin seeds (jeera) work as a great acid neutralizer; its properties- thymol and other essential oils- stimulate the salivary glands and help to digest the food. If you are suffering from acidity, simply eat cumin seeds.
Take 1 tsp of cumin seeds and chew them thoroughly. Drink a glass of lukewarm water after 10 minutes.
You can also use cumin seeds by roasting slightly. Grind the roasted cumin seeds and stir 1 tsp of powder into a glass of water. Now, drink it after every meal.
6. Basil Leaves (Tulsi):
Basil leaves help to digest food by stimulating stomach for producing more mucus. It also controls gastric acids. Therefore, eat 7-9 leaves of basil (tulsi) daily on an empty stomach. For better results, you can use it twice a day- morning and evening.
Another method of taking tulsi leaves is by extracting juice. Simply, take 7-10 leaves and crush them properly. Then extract the juice with the help of sieve (by pressing with fingers) and ingest.
Likewise, you can also use basil leaves by way of boiling in water. If you are feeling gas and acidity, boil 10-15 leaves in a glass of water till it reduces half. And then add a pinch of rock salt in it and drink lukewarm. Basil leaves strengthens stomach too.
7. Fennel Seeds for Acidity:
If you are suffering from acidity, simply chew some fennel seeds after every meal. Fennel seeds are good for stomach. It helps to cool the lining of stomach and controls burning sensation.
Another way of using fennel seeds is by making decoction (kadha). Firstly, soak one spoon fennel seeds in a cup of water overnight and drink it in the morning after sieving.
8. Cabbage for Acidity:
Cabbage is an alkaline veggie. Its juice is most effective in curing acidity.
Firstly, take 200 gm cabbage and cut it in small pieces. Then extract its juice with the help of juicer and drink it in the morning. You can add a piece of carrot in it. It is a safe home remedy; if you have not any thyroid issue, you can take it frequently.
9. Buttermilk for Acidity:
Buttermilk (Chhachh or mattha) is good for acidity. Whenever you feel acidity, take one glass of fresh buttermilk with a pinch of black pepper and rock salt powder.
10. Coconut Water:
Coconut water (nariyal Pani) is rich in fiber, thereby good for digestion. It also helps to produce mucus in the stomach to protect the stomach from harmful effects of acid reflux as well as excessive production of acid. Whenever you have acidity, drink coconut water; you will get rid of acidity. Though this home remedy is effective only for mild acidity, but continuous intake of coconut water for 2-3 months shows good results.
11. Mint Leaves to Cure Acid:
Mint leaves or pudina is good for digestive system; it also helps to ease the burning sensation due to acid reflux. Therefore, whenever you feel acidity or burning, take some mint leaves and chop them after washing thoroughly. After that, boil them into a glass of water for few minutes. Let it to be cool and drink; its cooling properties controls burning due to acid reflux.
12. Carom Seeds for Acidity:
Carom seeds with jaggery (gur) controls acidity without any medicine. Simply, mash 2 gm ajwain with some jaggery and chew it slowly.
Or you can combine ajwain with cumin seeds (jeera) and dry ginger (sonth) powder. It is very effective in acid reflux. Mix 1/2 tsp of ajwain and 1/2 tsp of cumin seeds with a pinch of dry ginger powder and consume it on a regular basis. You can add honey or jaggery for taste.
Moreover, ajwain is a good anti acidic agent if it is taken with buttermilk. Therefore consume 1/2 tsp of carom seeds powder and a pinch of black salt mixing with a glass of buttermilk.
13. Healthy Drinking Habits:
It is proved in some researches that the water may be more effective to control acidity. It is even better than antacid drugs. Therefore, drink 8-10 glass water daily but take a small quantity at a time like- half glass of water at regular intervals. You can add lemon in water; a small amount of lemon juice can be good for your stomach.
Do not drink water during or immediately after a meal because it can lead to improper digestion. Indigestion is one of the basic causes of acidity. Drink a glass of lukewarm water every day before going to sleep and immediately after waking up in the morning.
Smoking and drinking alcohol habits are not good for stomach. Therefore, stay away from smoking and drinking alcohol.
14. Healthy Eating Habits:
To avoid acidity, it is better to develop good eating habits. Instead of taking full diet at a time, take small meals after every two hours interval. Keeping long interval between meals is not good; it increases acid.
Take a healthy breakfast regularly. It is good to give up late night snacks, spicy and fried food. Also try to avoid pickles, spicy chutneys, vinegar, etc. Include that food in your diet which control excess acid formation, such as- banana, cucumber, watermelon, coconut water etc. Cold milk also controls acidity. Use lemon water before lunch to reduce acidity. Simply, prepare a glass of lemon water with sugar and sip it on an hour before lunch. Take dinner 2-3 hours before going to bed.
15. Herbal Tea:
Tea, coffee and other caffeine related drinks cause excessive acid formation, hence avoid them. Herbal tea is good instead of regular tea. Likewise, lemon tea is also good for controlling acid.
16. Sleeping Posture:
If you are suffering from GERD that is problem of acid reflux, you can control it by improving your sleeping posture. Don’t sleep on your right side and on your back because these postures aggravate acid reflux. Sleeping on your left side is good for acidity sufferers. It can also help in digestion and avoid acidity naturally.
17. Use of Gravity:
Use gravity to keep acid down, for example, place an extra pillow or two under your shoulders. Or you can use a wedge-shaped pillow to prop yourself up. Another way is boosting the head of your bed 6-8 inches with wood blocks secured under the bedposts.
The entire ingredients like- clove, green cardamom, jaggery, cumin seeds, fennel seeds and Indian gooseberry powder remain available in market; you can purchase them from grocery shop or spices section of any super market like- Big Bazar etc. Vegetables like cabbage, carrot and basil leaves are also easily available ingredients.