Solving Stomach Woes: Top Natural Tips for Gas, Heartburn & Constipation
We’re about to get into some uncomfortable talk. But the kind that can prevent a lot of unpleasant discomfort down the line. Though not the sexiest thing to talk about, gut health is the very foundation of skin health and well being according to Ayurveda (and personal experience) – so let’s get into it!
Ayurveda Remedies For Heartburn: 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 two 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 one cup of water. Immediately drink to alleviate heartburn.
- Papaya Juice: Add 1 teaspoon sugar and 2 pinches of cardamom into 1 cup of papaya juice. This works to treat both acidity in the stomach and indigestion.
- Breathing exercise: The shitali pranayama is helpful in this case. For this breathing exercise, inhale while keeping the tongue curled for four seconds, then exhale through the nostrils for six seconds. Repeat this over the course of a few minutes.
Ayurveda Remedies For Indigestion: Ayurvedic tradition says that the body’s agni, or 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. So can overeating or eating the wrong foods together. So how do you keep this “gut fire” burning most efficiently to avoid that discomfort? By adopting preventative measures. Besides avoiding overeating, chewing your food properly (up to 30 chews per bite of food!) is key to good digestion. Garlic before eating, and a cup of lassi (about 4 teaspoons of yogurt with a couple pinches of ginger and a pinch of cumin) after eating can help digestion.
When you do experience indigestion, try these Ayurvedic remedies:
- Drink lime juice: This works well for severe indigestion. Using a fresh lime, squeeze out a quarter of it into a cup of warm water. Add ½ teaspoon baking soda and immediately chug it down.
- Onion Juice Mixture: Mix 1/4 cup of fresh onion juice with a little bit of honey and black pepper
- Eat a garlic clove: We recommend chopping it up first and adding a little salt and baking soda.
- Yoga: Simple seated poses like Hero (Virasana) or Lotus (Padmasana) are great for digestion. If you want to up the ante, try the Peacock Pose, where you balance your body on your elbows with your wrists pointed towards your face and fingers towards your toes.
Ayurveda Remedies For Bloating and Flatulence: Ayurveda dictates that vata influences on the colon cause gas to build up. Preventative measures include avoiding food that has been fermented, most types of beans, raw food and other vata aggravating foods.
Ayurvedic herbal remedies for bloating and flatulence include the following:
- Ginger and Lime Juice: Take one teaspoon of fresh ginger pulp and mix with 1 teaspoon lime juice and drink it right after eating.
- Charcoal Tablets: Take two tablets after your two biggest meals in the day to prevent gas. These can be found at many health food stores.
- Lemon Juice and Baking Soda: Stir 1 teaspoon lemon juice and ½ teaspoon baking soda in cool water. Drink this after a meal to help digestion.
- Yoga: Seated and spinal twists, as well as forward bends and the bridge pose are excellent for relieving bloat and flatulence.
Ayurveda Remedies For Diarrhea: According to Ayurveda, diarrhea occurs when the agni becomes weak. For diarrhea, Ayurveda recommends a pitta pacifying diet. Avoiding dehydration is also key to keeping diarrhea at bay! Make sure to see a doctor if diarrhea persists for more than a few days. When diarrhea occurs, try these food and herbal remedies.
- Mix equal parts yogurt and water together (about one half cup each) and add a little bit of freshly grated ginger. Drink the whole glass.
- Mix ½ teaspoon ginger powder and 1 teaspoon natural sugar. Chew the mixture with some warm water, and repeat 2-3 times a day.
- Drink a cup of black coffee with a little lime juice and a pinch of cardamom and nutmeg.
Ayurveda Remedies for Constipation: Ayurveda traditionally dictates that constipation is a vata condition, caused by low water and fiber intake, as well as poor exercise habits. New diets and preexisting conditions can cause constipation as well. Take preventative action against constipation by eating a vata balancing diet, which involves choosing warm foods and drinks over cold foods, as well as adding a little oil to the diet. A general recommendation is always to eat more fiber; whole grains, like bran or oatmeal, are excellent options. Fresh fruit also contains a lot of fiber: prunes, peaches, apples, pineapple juice and raisins can be very effective! Exercising regularly will help get your digestive system at its healthiest best. A good rule of thumb is to aim to do 30 minutes of aerobic activity 5 days of the week.
Here are some effective Ayurvedic home remedies for constipation:
- Try flaxseed: Make a flaxseed tea by boiling 1 tablespoon of flaxseed in 1 cup of water for a few minutes. Then drink the cup (including the seeds).
- Milk and ghee (clarified butter): 1-2 teaspoons of ghee in a cup of hot milk at bedtime can be a very effective (and gentle) means of relieving constipation. A spoon of castor oil in hot ginger tea at bedtime can be a stronger - though arguably fouler tasting - solution for more obstinate constipation. (Castor oil should be used sparingly as it can cause dependency)
- Figs or Black Raisins (soaked overnight and consumed first thing in the morning) can be a gentle and effective solution for forming good morning bathroom habits (and are also safe for children)
- Yoga: Yoga can be great for relieving constipation. Try practicing 12 cycles of Sun Salutations a day. Chest-Knee pose (forward bend with your folded knees pressed against your chest) and leg lifts are helpful as well.
While medical treatment does need to be sought at certain points, centuries of Ayurvedic wisdom have created these natural cures (and preventative measures) for many common ailments. In all cases, being conscious of your dosha as well as your lifestyle choices (and the environmental factors you are exposed to) can be even more impactful in getting the most from your Ayurvedic practices.