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Hyperacidity: Douse the firestorm around your heart.

Updated: Apr 4, 2023

Type: Blog post

Author: Dr. Zeel Gandhi.

Date: 1-4-2023






Hyperacidity, acidity, gastric discomfort, or heartburn are terms, loosely used to describe discomfort around the heart, stomach, and esophagus. In Ayurveda, this can be equated to a disease described as Amla pitta (Acidic -Pitta dosha).

The reflux of the contents of the stomach may irritate the sensitive lining of the esophagus (food pipe). In severe cases, high acid in the stomach inflames the lining of the stomach causing gastritis.

The severity ranges from mild nagging discomfort to a full-blown attack. The reflux of anything from your stomach can be unnerving. Food, acid, water, and in severe cases: the dreaded bile.


All over our subcontinent, this discomfort is known by some variation of the word Pitta. eg.

Pith (Northern India)

Pittam (Tamil and Malayalam)



On suffering from Hyperacidity you may experience some of the following :

  1. Discomfort in the chest region

  2. Feeling gassy or bloated

  3. Bitter taste in the mouth

  4. Water / Acid brash

  5. Nausea

  6. Reflux of the consumed food

  7. Mental dullness/laziness

  8. Burning sensation in the chest

  9. Sweating

  10. Giddiness

  11. Headache

  12. Unusual amounts of burping/farting


Causes of hyperacidity


Anything that disbalances the Pitta dosha in the body. Pitta is like ‘liquid fire’, akin to acids. Pitta is fiery, yet in a liquid state of matter.

Food:
  1. Chillies, Capsicum, Alcohol, Tobacco, Caffeine, Garlic, Fresh Ginger, Onion, etc. are commonly used fiery foods that can lead to hyperacidity.

  2. Citrus fruits, Vinegar, and Soy sauce can also trigger acidity.

  3. Predominantly nonvegetarian diet.

  4. High protein diet that lacks fiber.

  5. Fermented and baked foods.

  6. High-calorie foods: Calor itself means heat in greek. Refined carbs, white sugar, salty and deep-fried can cause heartburn.


Oftentimes, you may be eating the right things, but incorrectly.

  1. Eating frequently

  2. Nighttime snacking.

  3. Not having enough gap between meals and workouts.

  4. Starting your day with tea, coffee, or juice (sour and acidic).

  5. Tea, coffee, or juice immediately after meals.

  6. Drinking a lot of water after food: maintain a 2-hour gap

  7. Drinking water immediately before a meal

  8. Erratic food schedule

  9. Starting your day with something salty viz. energy drinks, and oral rehydration salts (Electral).

  10. Not chewing your food well

  11. Drinking a lot of water / Hot water.

  12. Consuming hot water and honey (honey and hot water are a bad combination)

  13. Having milk with fruits and salty food items: Fruit milkshakes, chai (milk), and biscuits (salty)

  14. Day sleeping after meals

  15. Infections, allergies

  16. Pain medication

  17. Constipation

  18. Green chilies in buttermilk/yogurt


Non Dietary causes :

  1. Not resting enough after workouts

  2. Overexertion

  3. Having a bad posture and being overweight

  4. Tight restrictive clothing: especially pants and brassier.

  5. Not breathing deep (Strong Diaphragm = No reflux)

  6. Emotional: Stress, Heartbreak, Anger, Anxiety, Fear, etc.

  7. Sedentary Lifestyle


Evidence-based quick fixes :


  1. Probiotics: A glass of freshly churned Buttermilk can allay acidity caused by a meal. Probiotics available over the counter can also help relieve the symptoms. I always wonder how did coffee become so popular after meals. Coffee after meals is terrible for acid reflux. The deserving hero to wash down your food is buttermilk.

  2. Milk and Ghee: Luke warm milk with ghee help protect your gastric and oesophageal mucosa. This may lessen the symptoms of discomfort. People who have sensitivity towards dairy products should avoid milk. For them, Milk can worsen acid reflux.

  3. Gulkand (Rose jam): Gulkand can help relieve the acidity immediately. Gulkand is made with rose petals and mishri (Sugar candy). Both these ingredients are extremely cooling according to ‘Bhavaprakasha’. Gulkand can also be taken with betel leaf (Paan) and slaked lime (Choona) to relieve the symptoms.

  4. Fennel seeds (Saunf): 2-4 tsp of fennel seeds can be chewed, especially after a meal. Fennel tea can be made with boiling powdered fennel seeds and water. Sipping this tea may relieve the symptoms.

  5. Psyllium husk (Isabgol): 2 tsp of psyllium husk can be taken with cool water. This can also relieve constipation and allay the symptoms of heartburn.

  6. Sabja (Basil) seeds: 1 tsp: They can be taken powdered or soaked in water. The mucilage of the Sabja seeds relieves the symptoms of acidity. The linked study states that basil seeds are exceptionally helpful in stress-linked hyperacidity.

  7. Khus (Vetiver) Sherbet: Khus, also known as vala (Gujrati), ushir (Sanskrit), and vetiver (languages of the southern states). The roots of this herb are excellent to balance Pitta dosha. one can soak the roots and make fresh sherbet, or consume high-quality store-bought ones with cool water.

  8. Sheetli (or Sheetkari) Pranayam: 3-5 rounds of this pranayam can help relieve heartburn. The name of the pranayam itself is self-explanatory it causes sheet-coolness to the body. This may be effective when the cause of heartburn is stress linked. Procedure: Sit in a comfortable position and take a couple of deep breaths. Roll your tongue length-wise or breadth-wise. Let your tongue jut out of your mouth and breathe in slowly. Hold your breath and exhale slowly from both nostrils. Repeat 3-5 times.

  9. Breathe deeply and encourage left nostril breathing. Loosen the clothing, if tight


Reaching out to antacids indiscriminately may give temporary relief. Long-term use may have side effects and shortcomings.


Ayurveda abhors symptom suppression without treating the cause at its origin.

It advises undergoing Panchakarma therapies like Vamana and Virechana, to permanently fix the problem if it is severe.

For milder cases, internal medicines work exceptionally well for hyperacidity.

Bilvavaleha, Kamdudha ras, Sutshekhar ras, Avipattkar churnam, Shankavati, Kapardika bhasma, Mukta pishti, Kumari, Haridrakhanda paak, Kushmanda avaleha, Narikela lavana, etc. are just a few of the effective medicines that the rich Ayurvedic texts boast.

Regular practice of Asanas with proper breath control and Pranayam can help prevent Hyperacidity.


 

Chronic Acidity :


Acidification of the body affects the rasa Dhatu (Lymph - Plasma) and asthi Dhatu (Bone tissue).

Weakening of bone tissue: Frequent bouts of acid reflux can lead to tooth problems, especially cavities in the molars. Joint pains, back pain, fatigue, hair fall, and brittle nails can be caused by chronic acidity.

The affliction of the (Lymph - Plasma) rasa tissue: Chronic acidity can lead to lowered immunity and fertility. Menstrual disorders, Metabolic disorders (viz. Hypercholesteraemia, Type 2 Diabetes, Heart diseases) generally follow long-term untreated acidity.


Tip: Next time you feel stressed, anxious, or heartbroken, have a big cup of warm milk with ghee and a little sugar. Ayurveda deems this mix an excellent Rasayana (Adaptogenic). It can help you cope with the grind of life. Do not reach out to caffeine, tobacco, or alcohol, as your favorite actor did. (Conspiracy theory: They get money to smoke and drink on the screen.)

A cup of warm milk may be less instagrammable. But hey! It's time to define and trend your own ‘cool’, literally and metaphorically.


Chronic hyperacidity may be a symptom of bigger problems viz.: Dyslipidemia (Cholesterol), Type 2 Diabetes, Heart Diseases, H-pylori infection, Hypertension, Metabolic disorders, Food allergies like gluten or lactose intolerance, Irritable bowel syndrome, Pancreatitis, GERD, Cholecystitis, etc.

Proper investigations to diagnose the underlying causes should not be ignored. If you suffer from chronic acidity, it's time to reach out to a specialist.



How often do you suffer from hyperacidity in a month?

  • Less than 5 episodes

  • More than 5 episodes

  • Almost everyday

  • 0 episodes









Hi I am Dr. Zeel Gandhi

My calling in life is to democratize Ayurveda because all of us are entitled to be the best versions of ourselves. Tip-top metabolism, super strength, lush hair, shiny skin, and blissful mental health – Ayurveda is so simple to employ but deeply transforming.

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