According to Ayurveda, digestion is at the core of our well-being.
Nevertheless, digestive issues are often overlooked or even considered “normal”.
It is not until we start eating right and in alignment with our body type that we realize feelings of indigestion do not have to be part of our life.
However, while we learn through self-observation the foods, and combinations that don’t serve us, there are home remedies we can use to alleviate the annoying symptoms of indigestion.
Symptoms of indigestion
Indigestion is basically internal discomfort in the upper abdomen.
The spectrum of symptoms can go from abdominal pain to feelings of fullness, sleepiness, and heaviness after eating.
Although indigestion is common, each person may experience it in a slightly different way. In addition, depending on your eating habits, you can feel the discomfort sometimes or all the time.
In our current culture, indigestion is typically treated with over the counter medications. Quick fixes and a mentality that does not understand the relationship between how we feel and what we eat can be responsible for the lack of preventive measures.
These are some indigestion symptoms:
- Acid reflux (burning feeling)
- Feelings of fullness and sleepiness after eating a meal
- Loud growling or gurgling in your stomach
Ayurvedic approach to indigestion
We might notice the serious, negative effects of bad digestion only after years of not paying attention to our stomachs.
Many diseases start with simple stomach upset, and that’s why taking care of the digestive system is essential.
According to Ayurveda, there is a God or power within us that determines how healthy we are. This God is our digestive fire. Not only does it help us assimilate the foods we consume, but it also provides us with discernment and clarity.
Having a strong Agni or digestive fire should be one of our health priorities. It extracts the nourishment from our meals and destroys the pathogens and waste that is not usable.
Ayurveda also explains how each constitution (Vata, Pitta, and Kapha) experience different indigestion symptoms. For example, Vata types are more prone to bloating, Pitta dosha tends to suffer from acidity, and Kapha constitution often feels mental fog and heaviness after eating.
Home remedies for indigestion
Cumin and fennel seeds
The first ingredient of this remedy is cumin seeds. Cumin is an aromatic seed that is considered to be tridoshic — good for all doshas — by Ayurveda. It has a unique taste but most importantly, it has fantastic medicinal qualities. Specially, when it comes to digestive issues, cumin ignites the digestive fire and facilitates the absorption of minerals in the intestines.
The second ingredient we’ll use is fennel. Fennel is sweet, astringent, and cooling, with a sweet Vipaka (post-digestive taste). With the addition of fennel, we are enhancing the digestive properties of this remedy and preventing bad breath.
This is how to do it: roast the fennel and cumin seeds in an ungreased iron pan until they become aromatic. Then, chew the seeds slowly after eating to avoid any indigestion.
Sometimes, letting the stomach rest and relax is the best we can do when there is acute indigestion.
Fasting also reignites the digestive fire, which is ultimately our goal.
It can take many forms:
- Intermittent fasting. This is a way to do time-restricted eating; for instance, by eating in a 12-hour window and fasting during the other 12 hours. With this method, you can still fit your main 2 or 3 meals while not overtaxing the body.
- The 6:1 rule. It involves eating as you normally do 6 days of the week and restricting your calorie intake to the minimum on the remaining day.
Fasting doesn’t have to be even a periodic occurrence. You can just practice it for a few hours or a day if you experience chronic signs of indigestion.
It is important to note that Vata types don’t do well with fasting and that Kaphas are the bodies that benefit the most from it.
Fresh lime juice is a good home remedy for indigestion. These are two effective variations:
- In a pan, add 1/2 cup of water and a celery stalk. Let it boil lightly. Serve in a cup and squeeze the lime. Mix well and drink warm.
- In a cup of warm water, squeeze the lime and add 1/4 tsp baking soda. Mix well and drink immediately.