Ayurveda for Heartburn
Though it's not the sexiest thing to talk about, gut health is the very foundation of skin health and general well-being according to Ayurveda (and personal experience). Talking about it may get uncomfortable, but trust that it'll prevent a lot of discomfort down the line!
Below are five all-too-common digestion issues and how to heal them using the ancient, time-tested practices of Ayurveda:
Heartburn is a Pitta-imbalance condition that can be avoided by practicing a Pitta-pacifying diet. Ayurveda recommends several natural cures for heartburn and general acidity in the stomach:
- Aloe vera: Try 2 tablespoons of aloe vera with a pinch of baking soda for an immediate soothing sensation. Aloe vera is available fresh at many grocery stores, or you can rely on a high-quality edible gel when not available fresh.
- Natural "Alka Seltzer": Mix 10 drops of lime juice, ½ teaspoon sugar and ¼ teaspoon baking soda (add this last) in 1 cup of water. Drink immediately to alleviate heartburn. (Lime is a cooling sour that also improves digestive function by stimulating microcirculation.)
- Papaya juice: Add 1 teaspoon sugar and 2 pinches of cardamom to 1 cup of papaya juice. This works to treat stomach acidity and indigestion because of the fruit's papain, a protein-dissolving enzyme that eases many stomach ailments and is an exceptional digestive aid.
- Breathing exercise: Inhale while keeping the tongue curled for 4 seconds, then exhale through the nostrils for 6 seconds. Repeat this over the course of a few minutes.
Ayurvedic tradition says that the body’s agni—gut fire—is responsible for good digestive health. An overly rich diet, filled with too many greasy and liquid foods can inhibit the agni and cause indigestion. Overeating or eating the wrong foods together can have the same effect.
So how do you keep this “gut fire” burning most efficiently to avoid discomfort? By adopting preventive measures. Besides avoiding overeating, chewing your food properly (up to 30 chews per bite of food!) is key to good digestion. Eating garlic before eating, and a cup of after can help digestion.
When you do experience indigestion, try these Ayurvedic remedies:
- Lime juice: Using a fresh lime, squeeze a quarter of its juice into a cup of warm water. Add ½ teaspoon baking soda and drink immediately. (This works well for severe indigestion.)
- Garlic: Try chopping up one clove and sprinkling it with a little salt and baking powder before consuming. The pungent heat of the garlic will stimulate your gastric juices for relief from gas and ingestion.
- Yoga: Simple seated poses like hero (Virasana) or lotus (Padmasana) are great for digestion. If you want to up the ante, try peacock pose (Mayurasana).