Indigestion is called Agnimandya in Ayurveda. In fact, indigestion is not a disease in itself, but a manifestation of some problem with the gastrointestinal tract. Agni is responsible for the proper digestion of food in the body. When there is an imbalance of the agni, which means digestive fire, the digestion process is disrupted. This is when indigestion occurs. Agni can be flawed for various reasons. Eating the wrong foods, eating at the wrong times, having negative thoughts in the mind, excessive stress, and even physical problems with the gastrointestinal tract can all cause indigestion. Indigestion must be cured quickly or it will accumulate toxins in the body, which are called ama.
There are differences in indigestion caused in people due to the doshas vata, pitta, and kapha. In people with vata dosha, indigestion feels like a painful cramp in the abdomen. In people with pitta dosha, there is a type of burning or stabbing pain in the abdomen. Indigestion in people with kapha dosha is the most violent. In them, it is characterized by nausea and vomiting along with abdominal pain.
(1) Herbs useful in treating indigestion
1. Anise (Pimpinella anisum)
Anise is an excellent remedy for gurgling in the abdomen, which is an indication of the presence of excess gas. It can slow the fermentation of undigested food in the stomach and intestines.
2. Belleric Myrobalan (Terminalia belerica)
Belleric myrobalan is the extremely potent component of Triphala choorna, which is known as bahera. This is a wonderful carminative. Solves problems of diarrhea and indigestion. It can also be taken in case of intestinal worms, which could be the cause of indigestion.
3. Bishop’s wort (Trachyspermum ammi)
Bishop’s wort is used to treat a host of digestion-related problems, including indigestion, diarrhea, dysentery, atonic dyspepsia, colic, and flatulence. It is an important ingredient in most Indian dishes. It helps in the digestion of heavy, oily and spicy foods.
4. Bloodwort (Achillea millefolium)
Bloodwort is a very simple traditional remedy used to treat indigestion. Just one tablespoon of the fresh juice of this herb three times a day helps in the treatment of indigestion and other gastric disorders.
5. Cardamom (Elettaria cardamomum)
Cardamom is a cooling agent. It helps the stomach and intestines calm down after a heavy meal and better digestion. Helps to expel wind caused by undigested food material.
6. Chicory (Chicorium intybus)
Chicory is a natural laxative. The use of this herb helps in the treatment of chronic constipation and aids in proper digestion.
7. Cloves (Syzygium aromaticum)
The astringent action of cloves in the stomach stimulates the production of dietary enzymes. This facilitates faster digestion.
8. Dill (Anethum sowa)
Dill is used in the treatment of constipation. Due to its mild nature, it can be used effectively in children.
9. Fennel (Fenneliculum vulgare)
Fennel is the most effective herb for preventing indigestion. Traditionally, some sugar-sweetened fennel seeds are provided after every meal. This is known to aid digestion and also takes care of bad mouth odors and flatulence.
10. Garlic (Allium sativum)
Garlic helps in faster production of digestive enzymes and also removes waste from the digestive system. Due to its antiseptic properties, garlic can also help in the prevention of gastrointestinal diseases, which can lead to indigestion. Garlic expels any intestinal worms if present.
11. Ginger (Zingiber officinale)
Ginger is very effective in treating all kinds of gastrointestinal ailments. It can treat colic, flatulence, diarrhea, dysentery, abdominal pain and dyspepsia.
(2) Diet Treatments for Indigestion
Having a proper diet is the best way to keep indigestion at bay. Obey the following guidelines: –
1. Don’t eat a heavy diet when you have an indigestion problem. Follow a vegetarian diet and eat more fiber. Fasting for a day will help a lot. On this fast day, you can consume fluids such as fresh fruit juices. Do not consume any liquid that contains synthetic ingredients.
2. Indians believe in the properties of whey and curd to aid digestion. During indigestion, mix some curd into rice, sweeten with sugar and eat it. This is the most ideal food for indigestion.
(3) Ayurvedic treatments for indigestion
Indigestion can generally be cured and controlled with a proper diet as described above and no medication is needed. But in some severe cases, Hingavashtaka choorna (a preparation made with asafoetida as the main ingredient) can be given as a powder with ghee.
(4) Home remedies for indigestion
1. Prepare an infusion of anise, ginger, cumin seeds and pepper in boiling water. All of these are digestive. Consume this whenever there is an indigestion problem. There will be motions and relief will be immediate.
2. Prepare a paan (leaf wrapped over an edible substance) of betel leaf over Bishop’s grass seeds. You can add a little rock salt to the bread for flavor. Chew this paan whenever you have indigestion problems.
3. Soak the teaspoon of celery seeds in a glass of buttermilk. Hold this for five to six hours. Consuming this mixture helps relieve indigestion quickly.
4. After a heavy meal, put two or three pieces of clove in the mouth or a piece of garlic and leave them there until all the juice is extracted. This will help your digestion go faster. Alternatively, fennel seeds can also be put in your mouth.