If there is burning sensation in the chest region for more than an hour or feeling of some acid coming up from the stomach into throat, then its a classical sign of acid reflux or GERD. Medically the condition is called gastro – esophageal reflex disease in which stomach throws the acid up into the food pipe and patient feels as if some hot sensations are coming and its very inconvenient as well. Its a chronic digestive disease and as the acid is being thrown up into the food pipe, so it also damages the internal lining of food pipe (oesophagus).
To understand the perspective of GERD we need to know the basic anatomical structure – the point where food pipe (oesophagus) meets the stomach, its regulated by a valve and in normal condition, this valve lets the food contents pass on to the stomach from the food pipe and not vice-versa as it does not allow the food contents or the stomach acid to come upwards back into the food pipe but when this valve gets vitiated due to causes listed below, it then starts allowing the contents of stomach to flow back into the food pipe. This backward movement is primarily due to weakening of the valve and this valve is called as “lower oesophageal sphincter”.
When GERD is corelated with ayurveda perspective, its called as AMALPITTA and as the name implies: pitta contains too much of amlata (acidic nature) which gets further aggravated through the causes listed below. The primary dosha involvement is the pitta dosha during early stages when patient feels symptoms with regards heartburn, belching, hiccups, pain in abdomen and contents coming back to mouth, while in later stages of the disease, vata and kapha too get involved and make the disease much more complicated in the healing process.
In Ayurveda, acidity is comprehensively understood through the lens of the dosha system, particularly the Pitta dosha, which embodies the fire and water elements. Ayurveda perceives health as a state of equilibrium among the three doshas—Vata, Pitta, and Kapha—while diseases, including acidity, manifest when this balance is disrupted. Here is a detailed explanation of the Ayurvedic understanding of acidity:
Role of Pitta Dosha: Pitta dosha governs digestion, metabolism, and the transformation of substances in the body. It is closely associated with the fire element and is responsible for the digestive fire, or agni, that breaks down ingested food. When Pitta becomes imbalanced, it can lead to an excess production of stomach acids, resulting in acidity.
Aggravation of Pitta: Various factors can provoke or aggravate Pitta dosha, leading to acidity. These include consuming Pitta-aggravating foods, experiencing emotional stress, exposure to excessive heat, and engaging in activities that generate internal heat.
Digestive Fire (Agni) Imbalance: Ayurveda views digestion as a pivotal aspect of overall health. An imbalance in the digestive fire, or agni, can disrupt the proper breakdown of food, leading to the accumulation of undigested substances (ama). In the context of acidity, impaired agni contributes to the inadequate digestion of food, resulting in increased acidity.
Qualities of Pitta Dosha: Pitta dosha is characterized by qualities such as hot, sharp, oily, and penetrating. When these qualities are in excess, they manifest as symptoms associated with acidity, including heartburn, burning sensations, and increased body heat.
Understanding Amlapitta: In Ayurveda, acidity is often referred to as “Amlapitta,” where “Amla” translates to sour and “Pitta” represents the dosha. Amlapitta signifies an increase in sourness or acidity in the digestive system, reflecting the qualitative changes associated with Pitta imbalance.
Dietary Factors: Ayurveda emphasizes the impact of dietary choices on doshic balance. Consuming foods that are excessively spicy, sour, salty, or pungent can aggravate Pitta and contribute to acidity. Sour foods, like citrus fruits and tomatoes, are particularly known to increase acidity.
Emotional Stress and Pitta: Ayurveda recognizes the intimate connection between the mind and the body. Emotional stress, anxiety, and anger are considered emotional factors that can elevate Pitta and lead to increased acidity. Managing emotional well-being is integral to addressing acidity in Ayurveda.
Seasonal Influence: Pitta dosha tends to be more prominent during the hot season, and individuals with a predominant Pitta constitution may experience an exacerbation of symptoms during this time. Seasonal adjustments in diet and lifestyle are often recommended to counteract these influences.
Individual Constitution (Prakriti): An individual’s inherent constitution, or Prakriti, plays a crucial role in determining susceptibility to imbalances. Those with a predominant Pitta constitution may be more prone to acidity, and Ayurvedic approaches are tailored to individual doshic profiles.
Holistic Approach to Treatment: Ayurveda adopts a holistic approach to address acidity, focusing not only on alleviating symptoms but also on addressing the root causes and promoting overall well-being. Treatment involves dietary modifications, lifestyle adjustments, herbal remedies, and practices to balance doshas.
Detoxification and Cleansing: To address acidity, Ayurveda often recommends detoxification procedures, known as Panchakarma, to eliminate accumulated toxins (ama) and restore balance to the doshas. Panchakarma treatments may include therapeutic purgation (Virechana) or detoxifying enemas (Basti).
Balancing Pitta through Lifestyle: Lifestyle recommendations in Ayurveda for managing acidity involve adopting a routine that mitigates excess Pitta. This includes practices such as meditation, maintaining a calm environment, and engaging in activities that promote relaxation.
Understanding acidity in Ayurveda goes beyond symptom management, delving into the intricacies of doshic balance, digestive fire, and the interconnectedness of mind and body. It emphasizes personalized approaches to address the unique constitution and imbalances of each individual, promoting lasting health and harmony. Consulting with an experienced Ayurvedic practitioner is crucial for a tailored and effective treatment plan.