5 Ayurvedic Tips to Ease Acid Reflux
According to Ayurveda, acid reflux, heartburn and related inflammatory conditions of the gut result from a Pitta dosha disorder.
Pitta is one of the three basic doshas or humors classified by Ayurveda. This dosha is characterized by the two natural elements fire and water. Together, they produce heat. When pitta is balanced, your digestive fire, called “agni” in Sanskrit, burns a healthy bright. Which means hunger is regular and in rhythm with the natural cycles that every other living being follows—you feel the most hungry at noon when the sun’s heat peaks. And your “agni” dims down when the sun begins to set. A healthy pitta also ensures good digestion.
But certain factors can cause pitta to go out of whack. And when that happens, the consequences on the digestive system can range from mild to severe. Anand Srivastava, Chairman of Maharishi Ayurveda, has long followed the time-tested advice of India’s ancient healers. “I believe that the simple, everyday guidelines handed down by our grandmothers play a valuable role in protecting us from disease,” he says.
Here are his suggestions to keep pitta in balance and thus prevent yourself from common gut problems:
1. Include sweet fruits in your diet. Get more of cherries, pomegranate, coconut, mango and avocado on your plate. Go easy on the intake of sour fruits such as oranges and plums. Sweet fruits stabilize pitta and ease your digestive system.
2. Use roses. This queen of flowers is revered in Ayurveda for its cooling, sweet properties. Add a little organic rosewater or rose petals to a cool glass of lassi, and feel your stomach welcome the soothing goodness of the flower. Just like its emotional symbolism of being a loving, caring blossom, the rose actually calms down your senses, settling down an aggravated pitta dosha.
3. Cook your food with cooling spices: In the ayurvedic tradition, some spices are classified as “cooling” while others are said to have a “warming” effect. Chief among the cooling spices are coriander and fennel. Use these in your soups, stir-fries and salads to soothe the system.
4. Don’t skip or delay meals: People with strong pitta dosha tend to produce more acid in their system. When there is too long a gap between meals, the body tends to produce more of acidic juices, leading to discomfort, heartburn and dyspepsia. To remedy this, start your day with a moderate breakfast, enjoy a healthy lunch and have a light but satisfying dinner.
5. Keep the company of “cool” people: That is, people who are relaxed, calm and have a soothing effect on you. Pitta not only increases inflammation in your body, but can also lead to “inflammatory” conditions of the mind—ambition, aggression, stress, anger. If you have been on a short fuse lately, chances are that your pitta dosha is asking to be appeased. An easy and effective way to do this is by connecting with a friend whose presence is like a balm to your senses. You will be surprised by how positively this affects your digestive system as well.
Writer, editor and journalist Shubhra Krishan is the author of Essential Ayurveda: What it is and what it can do for you (New World Library, 2003), Radiant Body, Restful Mind: A Woman's book of comfort (New World Library, 2004), and The 9 to 5 Yogi: How to feel like a sage while working like a dog (Hay House India, 2011).