Gastritis refers to a set of diseases caused due to the inflammation of your protective stomach lining. Your stomach is a hollow bag-like organ composed of three parts or regions called fundus (upper region), corpus (body), and antrum (lower region). The wall of this bag is made up of three layers. The innermost stomach lining is known as mucosa. Mucosa has gastric glands, which produce gastric juices.
The gastric juice contains hydrochloric acid, pepsin, and mucus; which is primarily responsible for the digestion of your food, killing bacteria, and protecting the inner lining of your stomach.
Various factors like spicy food, medicines, tobacco, alcohol, etc., can cause an increase in gastric acid production and disturb, weaken or damage the normal stomach lining. Gastritis is very common and is seen in people across all age groups. While gastritis can be treated with over-the-counter (OTC) medicines, you can also opt for ayurvedic remedies to treat gastritis.
The Ayurvedic Perspective of Gastritis
Ayurveda is an age-old science of life and longevity. Ayurveda works by balancing the body, mind, and spirit. In Ayurveda, each individual is born with 5 elements of nature which are Earth, Air, Water, Fire, and Space. The balance of these elements is known as Dosha.
There are 3 main doshas- Vata (energy of movement, composed of space and air), Pitta (digestion and metabolism composed of fire and water), and Kapha (structure and lubrication, composed of water and earth).
According to ayurveda, gastritis is known as urdhvaga amlapitta. This simply means ‘an inflammatory condition of the mucous membrane and glands of the stomach’. Individuals whose pitta dosha is prominent are more prone to these conditions.
The hydrochloric acid and other digestive enzymes secreted by the stomach become inflamed and result in symptoms such as indigestion, loss of appetite, nausea, headaches, dizziness, bad breath, vomiting, stomach pain, increased salivation (excessive secretion of saliva), sour belching (burping), and irritable bowels.
Treatment and Management of Gastritis According to Ayurveda
Ayurveda recommends following simple and regular food habits and a healthy lifestyle to avoid gastritis. It is advised to stay away from the causative factors such as alcohol, spicy and sour foods, fried foods, yogurts, pickles, chutneys (a spicy condiment of Indian origin, made of fruits or vegetables with vinegar, spices, and sugar), chocolate, caffeine, smoking, stress, and certain medications.
Read on to understand how various ayurvedic herbs can be used to treat symptoms of gastritis. We will also look at special ayurvedic formulations and recommended lifestyle and dietary changes to treat gastritis.
Here is a list of ayurvedic herbs that are known to relieve your from gastritis:
1. Cardamom (Ilaayachee). Cardamom is known to stimulate your digestion, relieve stomach pain by soothing the inner lining of your stomach. It is especially beneficial if you have gastritis which causes heartburn (burning pain or discomfort in the upper-chest and mid-chest).
Crush a few pods of cardamom, boil it in water, let it cool, and drink it.
2. Fennel Seeds (Saunf). Fennel seeds give a soothing effect to your stomach, facilitate digestion, reduce flatulence (bloating), and relieve the stomach of excess acidity. The anti-inflammatory properties of fennel make it a great choice to fight acidity and relieve gastritis.
Steep fennel seeds in boiling water for nearly 5-10 minutes, let it cool, and drink.
3. Ginger (Adrakh). Ginger is effective in treating indigestion that is associated with gastritis. It is especially useful for people who consume more non-vegetarian food.
Ginger is an antibacterial and anti inflammatory ingredient and is thus good at treating gastritis. Add ginger while cooking, or boil ginger in your tea, or simply chew on a small piece of ginger to relieve gastritis.
4. Indian Gooseberry (Amla). Understand that an alkaline gut (stomach lining) is essential for your overall digestive health. Amla is an alkaline food and can balance your stomach acid levels to make the gut alkaline, and thus relieve gastritis.
The best time to consume amla is early morning to remove excess toxins and acids from your body.
5. Sandalwood (Chandan). Sandalwood helps in gastritis because of its cooling properties. It can soothe your stomach muscles inflamed by gastritis.
It also has various anti inflammatory, antimicrobial, and antiproliferative agents that are used to treat gastritis caused due to pitta imbalance. It is recommended to use sandalwood oil and not consume or apply it raw on your skin.
Anti inflammatory agents block certain substances in your body that cause inflammation. An antimicrobial is any natural or synthetic substance that kills or inhibits the growth of microorganisms but causes little or no damage to the host. Antiproliferative are substances used to prevent or retard the spread of cancer cells.
6. Asparagus roots or garden asparagus. Vitamin A is also essential for repairing stomach membrane damage caused by gastritis. Asparagus contains a lot of vitamin A and is an effective remedy to reduce the hyperacidity of your digestive system. Try adding shredded, raw asparagus to pasta dishes and salads, as a part of your regular diet.
7. Licorice root powder. The licorice root extract is often used to relieve symptoms of gastritis, such as indigestion, upset stomach, and heartburn. The root of the licorice soothes the injury of your stomach and also reduces the production of hydrochloric acid. You can consume licorice root as a tea, powder, or supplement.
Besides herbs, tons of ayurvedic formulations (herbal recipes that are carefully designed to balance the healing properties of the various ingredients and to mitigate side effects) and preparations are recommended for treating gastritis. It is advisable to consult a practicing ayurvedic doctor for diagnosis and prescription for taking the following formulations:
Leela Vilas Rasa
Ayurveda also suggests making small changes to your daily lifestyle and diet to keep away from gastritis. Some of these include:
Eat small meals. Eating five or six smaller meals throughout the day — rather than three large meals — can help reduce the production of stomach acid.
Avoid painkillers. Painkillers are over-the-counter drugs to relieve pain. They produce ulcers in your stomach and cause bleeding. The risk of stomach and bowel problems can be reduced by taking the lowest possible dose of painkillers and only taking them for as long as necessary.
Practice yoga and do physical exercise daily. A sedentary lifestyle and a lack of exercise can increase your risk of gastritis. Yoga asanas that are recommended for gastritis are Kapalabhati, Bhastrika, and Anulom Vilom. Consult a certified yoga practitioner to understand how to perform these techniques.
Regular physical exercise will help expel excess gas that causes pain and help move digestion along.
When it comes to your diet, it is best to include some foods and avoid certain foods that can trigger gastritis.
Foods to include are:
Fruits. Fruits contain vitamins, minerals, fibers, and antioxidants and should be a part of your diet plan.
Rice gruel. Rice gruel helps in the formation of watery gastric juice and reduces the acidity level within your stomach. Only rice that has been aged for one year must be used. Wheat and barley are also beneficial.
Vegetables. Vegetables like garlic and onion limit the growth of bacteria in your stomach, thus avoiding acidity. Carrot juice, spinach juice, pumpkin, bitter gourd, and cucumber are effective in reducing the symptoms of gastritis.
Dairy products. The calcium and vitamin D in milk and dairy products reduces stomach acids and gives relief to your stomach. Eat dairy products on a daily basis that are low in fat content.
Grains. Whole wheat chapatis, pasta, and noodles made from whole grains should be included in your diet. Refined flour products should be strictly avoided. Limit the consumption of whole-grain chapatis to about 2 chapatis per day.
Green coconut water. Coconut water can help bring back the stomach to its normal condition because it relaxes it. The vitamins, minerals, and electrolytes (minerals such as potassium, calcium, and sodium that carry an electric charge) in coconut water make it an effective way to rehydrate and reenergize your body when you have excessive heat build-up or gastritis.
Foods to be avoided are:
Salty and spicy foods
Vinegar and vinegar-based food items
Aerated drinks, citrus juices, and caffeine
High fat/cholesterol contained food items
Beef, fried fish, and pork
Baked products like cookies, cakes, and chocolates
The above foods are to be avoided since most of them contain high fats and foods that are high in fat may worsen inflammation in the lining of your stomach and cause further discomfort.
Gastritis is normal and mild in most cases. It is best to avoid foods and alcohol that are the main triggers of gastritis. Consult your physician if you have recurrent episodes of indigestion, abdominal pain, hyperacidity, bloating, nausea or vomiting. Remember to stay active and stress-free to avoid gastritis.
Disclaimer: This article is written by the Practitioner for informational and educational purposes only. The content presented on this page should not be considered as a substitute for medical expertise. Please "DO NOT SELF-MEDICATE" and seek professional help regarding any health conditions or concerns. Practo will not be responsible for any act or omission arising from the interpretation of the content present on this page.