Dyspepsia

When food is not digested properly, due to low jathragni, and most of the food is not converted into nutritious juice required for the sustenance of the body, it forms the mucus like substance which is ‚Äėapakv ahar‚Äô. Very little of this substance gets converted in nutritious juice while a large part of it is converted into waste products. This excess of waste causes aggravation of vata, which disrupts the normal functioning of the digestive canal thus producing (ama) in the body. Ama is the toxin caused by undigested food. When dhatus (tissues) are produced from this defective nutritious juice, there is an aggravation of kapha and pitta in them. This results in bad quality of tissues/organs and low immunity.

Signs of proper digestion

No acid eructation. Feeling of strength and energy to work again. No difficulty in passing urine or stool. Feeling of lightness in the body, despite eating. Feeling hungry again at the right time of the next meal.

Signs of improper digestion

Lethargy Heaviness in the body and stomach. Vertigo. Constipation or diarrhea. Reversed direction of vata. Distention.

Causes

Eating before the earlier meal is digested, eating too much, eating heavy foods, eating irregularly, eating very hot or very cold food, eating too much drying food, eating without giving a thought to quantity and the compatibility of the food, eating food which is not suited to the climate/season or body is often responsible for indigestion.

Holding irrepressible urges, drinking too much water, working late nights or not getting proper rest, mental factors like Anxiety/ fear/anger/sickness/sorrow etc also contribute in causing indigestion.

Symptoms

¬∑         Vertigo

¬∑         Excess yawning

¬∑         Fever

¬∑         Headache

¬∑         Stiffness in back and lumber region

¬∑         Pain in body

¬∑         Thirst

¬∑         Anorexia

¬∑         Vomiting

¬∑         Bloated or distended abdomen

¬∑         Nausea

Ayurvedic View

Pathogenesis:

Due to improper lifestyle/diet and mental causes (listed above), jathragni becomes low and the food is not digested properly because of aggravation of kapha and vata dosha. The water content increases and dilutes the digestive juices and they can not act properly on the food, which causes indigestion.

Types of Ajirna:

Amajirna: When there is excess kapha accumulation in the stomach. Digestive acids or pachak pitta is then diluted and its potency is reduced, resulting in inappropriate digestion.

Vidagdhajirna: Due to aggravation of pitta, the acids helpful in digestion are released in a larger quantity than required and acidify the food present in the stomach. The acidified food does not get digested properly.

Vishtabdhajirna: This situation is caused due to aggravation of vata. This results in either drying up or improper release of the digestive juices, causing only a part of the food be digested. The patient has symptoms like pricking pain, bloating, unnatural abdominal sounds and false urge to pass motions.

Rasseshajirna: Rasseshajirna is the situation when, after the digestion of the maximum food, some undigested matter remains in the nutritious juice. Patient feels heaviness in abdomen and does not feel hungry again at the right time of the meal again.

Diet & Lifestyle Advice

General guidelines for diet:

Strict attention to diet is essential for recovery.

¬∑         Starchy, protein and fatty foods should be restricted.

¬∑         Meats, sugar, tea, coffee, condiments, pickles, refined and processed foods should be avoided.

¬∑         White flour and white sugar products should be avoided.

¬∑         Heavy gravies, puddings, cakes, chocolates, pastries and alcohol should be avoided. Soft drinks, candies, ice creams and products made with sugar and white flour should also be avoided.

¬∑         Non-vegetarian foods should be avoided.

¬∑         Rice can be eaten with steamed vegetables, which should be garnished with spices. Khichari also should be used.

¬∑         Pomegranate fruit, buttermilk, soup of reddish are beneficial.

Tips for improving digestion:

¬∑         A very simple way to improve digestion is to give up the habit of eating too much. Try to regulate eating hours and always leave part of the stomach empty for movement of food during digestion.

¬∑         Eat fresh and natural foods. Avoid preserved, canned, or fast foods.

¬∑         Never suppress natural urges, such as passing urine, stool or flatus, sneezing, belching, yawning, and even crying. Suppression of such urges aggravates toxins in the body.

¬∑         Create regular meal times. Maintain at least 4 hours of interval between two meals.

¬∑         Eat dinner before 2 hours of sleeping. Take a walk after dinner.

Dietary guidelines:

¬∑         Consume food in proper quantity.

¬∑         Eat when you are hungry.

¬∑         Foods should complement, not contradict each other.

¬∑         Eating in a pleasant environment is preferable.

¬∑         Eating should be paced properly (not too fast or slow).

¬∑         Minimize distractions while eating.

¬∑         Food should be eaten according to constitution.

¬∑         Eat freshly prepared foods as much as possible. If you have to eat leftovers, make sure they are not more than a day old.

¬∑         Avoid poor food combinations, such as very hot and very cold foods; raw and cooked food; milk and fish; or milk and meat.

¬∑         Avoid microwave cooking. It disperses energy and is ultimately weakening over time. This has been scientifically and empirically proven.

¬∑         Food should look and smell appetizing. Pleasant garnishes and attractive table settings help to instill a sense of harmony at the dinner table.

¬∑         Drink spring or purified water. Avoid distilled water, which does not contain any minerals and has a tendency to accumulate them from your system. This weakens bones, teeth, hair, nails, and skin. However, various mineral formulations are nowadays available. These can be added to the distilled water to rectify this problem.

¬∑         Try to get up early in the morning and drink two to three glasses of water the first thing in the morning. It is preferable to store the water in a copper pot on the previous night. It helps to remove toxins from the body. In winters you may warm this water.

¬∑         Regular meditation, yoga and exercise are advisable. Exercise promotes circulation and helps to maintain the blood flow to every part of body. Exercise to half of your strength.

¬∑         Proper rest and sound sleep are advisable.

¬∑         Keep your mind relaxed.

¬∑         Avoid keeping awake late into nights and try to get up early in morning.

¬∑         Add morning and night walk to daily routine.

¬∑         Avoid too hot and too cold temperature.

 Specific guidelines:

Fasting is very effective treatment for dyspepsia as it helps to digest the ama and digestive system gets the required rest as it is not loaded with the food. After fasting, when patient is hungry, he should take light foods like mung dal soup, boiled vegetables like squash, bitter gourd, amla, radish and spices like cumin, ginger, black pepper, cilantro, fenugreek etc. Herbs used are hing (assafoetida), chitrak, vacha, Piper longum, Terminalia chebula, Emblica officinalis , Adhatoda vasica etc.

Home Remedies

¬∑         Mix curry leaves juice and lime juice in equal quantities. Add some honey. Take this mixture 2/3 times a day to relieve dyspepsia.

¬∑         Mix a teaspoon of coarse powder of aniseed in a cup of boiling water and leave it covered overnight. Strain the liquid in morning and drink with honey.