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18. 02. 2018
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Indigestion is not a disease by itself. It is a symptom of many other diseases. It might be caused because of some disturbances in the intestine or stomach. It might also be caused by some diseases in other parts of the body, Even without a disease one may suffer from indigestion by overeating or eating wrong food in a wrong manner. It may result in a feeling of heaviness in the stomach, pain, vomiting, diarrhoea, nausea, acid eructation and burning sensation in the chest.

In Ayurveda this condition is called agnimandya. It is caused by the aggravation of doshas, viz., vata, pitta and kapha. Characteristic symptoms of agnimandya caused by the vitiation of these doshas are elaborately described in Ayurvedic texts. In brief, when vata is vitiated there is more pain, when pitta is vitiated there is more of burning sensation, and when kapha is vitiated there is more of nausea and vomiting.

Psychic factors like anger, anxiety and worry play an important role in the digestion of food. According to Ayurveda the food taken in time and in proper quantity does not get digested if the individual is suffering from these mental afflictions.

About the manner of intake of food, various rules have been prescribed in Ayurvedic classics. For example, one should take food when it is fresh after preparation and when it is hot. One should take food articles which are unctuous. One should take food articles in proper quantity. Food should be taken after the digestion of the previous meal. Mutually contradictory food articles should not be taken. Food should be taken in pleasant surroundings; it should not be taken in a hurry nor very slowly. While taking food one should not talk a lot, nor laugh. One should carefully examine the food for its suitability and take it without any diversion of mind.

How to know if the previous meal is already digested? In that case the individual gets eructations which are free from any smell. There is proper excretion of stool and urine, one feels lightness in the body and there is proper excretion of stool and urine, one feels lightness in the body and there is normal hunger and thirst.

The quantity and quality of food to be taken varies from season to season and individual to individual. In winter season one should take food articles which are unctuous, sour and saline in taste. Meat of aquatic animals and animals inhabiting marshy land may be used in food. Milk preparations, oil and freshly harvested rice, can be safely consumed. On the other hand in summer season the individual should be given cooling drinks, ghee, milk rice and meat of animals dwelling in forests. He should not be given wine. If there is a necessity for taking wine it should be diluted with sufficient quantity of water.

If the above mentioned rules of taking food are not observed, then the patient may suffer from indigestion.

Ayurvedic Treatment for Indigestion: The patient suffering from chronic indigestion can be successfully treated with some home remedies. Five minutes before taking food he should take a piece of raw ginger (of about one gm. of weight) and a piece of rock- salt. Both these should be chewed thoroughly. This promotes appetite and corrects chronic indigestion. For both chronic and acute types of indigestion Hingvashtaka churna is popularly used by the Ayurvedic physicians. An important ingredient of this recipes is hing. Besides, shunthi, pippali, maricha, ajmoda, jiraka and krishna jiraka are used in the preparation of this medicine.

This medicine is used in the form of powder. To get the best effect of this medicine, it is given to the patient mixed with the first morsel of food. One teaspoonful of this is given to the patient twice daily mixed with one teaspoonful of ghee. This powder can also be given to the patient after the intake of food in the same dose. Mixing it with butter-milk produces very good results. When indigestion is associated with pain, then mahashankha vati is given in a dose of two tablets three or four times a day, followed by a cup of warm water each time.

Diet to taken by indigestion patients: The patient should be given a light diet. It is better to observe fast. Instead of taking any solid food the patient may be given a glass of lemon juice to which salt has been added. Garlic serves a very useful purpose for correcting chronic indigestion. Butter-milk is the diet of choice. For the treatment of all types of indigestion, it should be thin and free from fat. Asafoetida in powder form is also useful in this condition.

Other regimens: Sleep after lunch during daytime produces indigestion; and sleep before lunch during daytime helps indigestion. This principle should be kept in view while treating the patient. In acute phases of indigestion the patient should be given physical and mental rest, but in chronic indigestion, the patient should be asked to take physical exercise. He should not be kept awake at night. The patient should be kept free from worries and anxieties.

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