Being an Ayurvedic practitioner, I am finding significant increase in the number of patients with the complaints of gastritis approaching towards Ayurveda these days. The simple and a true reason is that the success rate is very high with effective Ayurvedic medicines.
Common names used to explain gastritis – gastritis, gastric, paittic problem, chest burn, acid belching, acid peptic disorder. In Ayurvedic system of medicine it is called as Amlapitta.
Common features of the disease: Acid belching, regurgitation of food or sour substance, gaseous distention of abdomen, improper digestion, irregular appetite, tastelessness, tiredness, burning of the chest, pricking sensation in the chest, headache etc.
Associated complaints (in chronic condition): Irregular bowel habits, pricking in the shoulder or back, untimely hunger, severe burning sensation followed with thirst, mouth ulcer, fatigue (specially in legs), neuritis (ant moving sensation over the body)/numbness, backache etc.
Rarely- Constipation, severe back ache, loss of deep sleep (irregular sleep), loss of concentration (altered mood), loss of recent memory etc.
Reason for the disease:
- Incompatible food (viruddhaara)
- Polluted food (dushta ahara)
- Sour substances (atyamla ahara)
- Spicy food (vidahi ahara)
- Pitta provoking food, beverages and habits(pittala ahara)
Now–a-days most of the people do not follow classical food habits. Taking pizza, burger, noodles etc followed with any juice or milk-shake is a typical example of incompatible food. Other than this, we are not sure about the type of oil used, spices mixed, the way of processing of food etc. Incidentally, these also act as incompatible foods. Due to this, the food is not digested properly (mal-digestion) and it provokes excess of acidic secretion (pitta according to Ayurveda) and thus results in gastric irritation (irritation in the stomach).
In our busy schedule, we often take food in hotels, restaurants or in the roadside fast food- shops. In many part of the country, in these shops good hygienic measures are not undertaken or else there will be every chance of contamination. Due to this, there will be infection by bacteria, fungus or such other micro organism and indirectly they become the reason for irritation of the stomach and gut.
Unknowingly our daily food is full of sour substances. Ayurvedic classics emphasize those substances which are remaining as sour or transformed into pungent material(mass) after once digestion of food (classical term- vipaka). Whereas all sour substances (like gooseberry, lemon, pomegranate, orange etc) are not the agents of gastritis (This seeks much explanation and will be explained in forthcoming articles)
As we are dependent upon the packed food, these possess significant percentage of preservatives, coloring agents, stabilizers, emulsifiers, taste enhancers etc. All these are one or other way the sour substances that cause gastric irritation in long run.
Ayurvedic classics emphasize to follow satwik food. But, it will not be possible, all the time. Secondly, our tongue demands spicy food, every time. The spices and additives like chilly, cinnamon, clove, mustard, garam masala powder(spice mixture), garlic etc if used excessively, can cause irritation to the gastric mucosa and hence result in gastritis.
Pitta provocation food and beverages and habits:
Hurry, worry and curry are the reasons for any kind of irritation; it is applicable for the irritation of esophagus, stomach and intestines too.
Non- accustomed (unwholesome) food and beverages, soft drinks (added with preservatives, colorants etc), alcohol, finger chips (if spicy and pungent), hot soups, curried (fried) substances, non vegetarian diet (usually added with much spices) etc cause gastric irritation very easily.
Improper sleep, lesser intake of water, dry food, intake of food and beverages in its hot condition etc also cause mild to moderate degree of gastric irritation.
Untimely food, excess of food, repeated food intake (before the digestion of the previously taken food), excess intake of coffee and tea, habits like smoking, tobacco chewing etc too contribute in the causation as well as aggravation of the disease- sour belching due to excess acid secretion. According to modern science, prolonged intake of NSAIDS (pain killers) is also the main reason for the disease. Ayurveda emphasizes that stress, job dissatisfaction, jealousy, anger etc also as reasons for this disease- Amlapitta(acid peptic disorder).
Complications: If the condition is not treated timely or else if unwholesome food and habits continued,it may lead into the complications like -gastric ulcer, duodenitis, mal-absorption, perforation, esophageal regurgitation, headache, backache etc.
Ayurvedic remedy-line of treatment:
As the disease is of Pitta origin, all measures are undertaken to pacify pitta; otherwise, the medicament should subside the irritation. So, first of all, in worsened conditions, emesis is carried so as to take out the accumulated acidic substances from the stomach. There measures are taken for the pacification of pitta. After once complete remission of the complaints, elixirs (rasayanas) are prescribed so as to check the re-manifestation of the similar episode in coming days.
Common herbs used in gastritis remedies and treatment:
Patola (pointed gourd) – Trichosanthes dioica Roxb.
Nimba – Neem – Azadirachta indica A. Juss.
Amalaki – Emblica officinalis Gaertn.
Parpataka – Fumaria vaillantii Loise.
Guduchi (Giloy)- Tinospora cordifolia (Willd.) Miers.
Bhoonimba – Juncia kurroa Linn
Haritaki - Terminalia chebula Retz.
Bhringaraja – Eclipta alba (Linn) Hassk.
Ela – Cardamom – Eletharia cardamomum Matom.
Chandana – Sandalwood Santalum alba Linn.
Usheera – Vetiveria zizanioides (Linn.) Nash.
Draksha – Raisins – Vitis vinifera Linn.
Jiraka – Cumin seeds – Cuminum cyminum Linn.
Musta – Cyperus rotundus Linn.
Barley, wheat, green gram, old rice, warm water, sugar candy, inflorescence of the plantain, cucumber, matured ashgourd, pomegranate, gooseberry, dry grapes etc.
10 effective home remedies for gastritis
Diet for gastritis
All factors mentioned under the reasons for the disease, sesame, black gram, horsegram, oil cake, sheep’s milk, sour gruel, salty- sour and pungent food, heavy meals, fasting, curd, alcohol etc.
Things to avoid for gastritis cure
Dear Easy Ayurveda readers, please understand the disease, know the graveness of the condition, modify your food habits, educate the people of similar sufferings, have the benefits of Ayurvedic medicine and enjoy your life.
Prof. Dr. MS Krishnamurthy MD (Ayu), PhD (Ayu), is Professor and Head of Department of RS and BK, in Alva’s Ayurveda Medical College, Moodbidri, Mangalore. Want to ask something to him? Leave a comment below.