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Ayurvedic Management of Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD) and Hyperacidity | AVCRI | Since 1957

Ayurvedic Management of Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD) and Hyperacidity

Hyperacidity (Amlapitta)

Hyperacidity (Amlapitta) is one of the most common diseases seen in society. Hyperacidity is defined as  symptoms caused by an imbalance between the acid-secreting mechanism of the stomach and proximal intestine and the protective mechanisms that ensure their safety. So, during digestion, our stomach secretes gastric juices such as hydrochloric acid, and pepsin to break down the food that should have mechanically broken down earlier in the mouth. Food generally stays in the stomach for about 1-2 hours for this process.Now, simultaneously, the stomach lining also secretes mucosa to protect the lining and to neutralize excess acidity. Still, our stomach needs to maintain an acidic environment for this process to happen efficiently. But when the stomach starts to secrete juices in excess, we can experience hyperacidity resulting  in heartburn, dyspepsia, gastric inflammation, and even stomach ulcers. When this happens, we refer to this as ‘amla-pitta’ in Ayurveda When the symptoms of heartburn become more regular and intense such as twice a week or more, it can be diagnosed as gastro-oesophageal reflux disease (GERD or GORD), and this refers to when stomach acids frequently flow back into the tube connecting your mouth and stomach (your esophagus).

Symptoms include 

  • Heart &chest burn (retrosternal burning)

  • Sour or bitter belching.

  • Nausea

  • Throat burn

  • Regurgitation of food or sour substance

  • Vomiting

  • Gaseous distention of the abdomen

  • Heaviness in abdomen

  • Indigestion.

  • Aversion towards food.

  • Pain in the abdomen.

  • Chest pain.

  • Headache.

  • Bad breathe.

  • Foul-smelling loose motions.

  • Severe burning sensation over feet, hands

  • Thirst

  • Mouth ulcer

  • Fatigue (especially in the legs)

  • Tiredness

  • Fainting.

  • Giddiness.

  • Itching all over the body

  • Loss of proper taste of food

Ayurveda has explained 2 main types of amla pitta:

·         Urdhvag Amlapitta: Mainly characterized by vomiting due to upward movement of pitta 

·         Adhoga Amlapitta: Mainly characterized by loose motions due to downward movement of pitta.

Causes of Hyperacidity:

‘Hurry’, ‘Worry’, and ‘Curry’ are the three main reasons for the disease.

Diet (Ahara) that cause Hyperacidity:

  • Spicy food habits like eating samosa, burger, pizza, etc.

  • Excessive use of chilly, Cinnamon, clove, mustard, garam masala powder (spice mixture), garlic etc.

  • Salty and sour foods like chips

  • Eating of stale, fermented foods (dosa, uttappa, idli etc. bakery food items).

  • Excessive intake of fast food

  • Excessive intake of Oily foods, pickles

  • Intake of food and beverages in hot conditions like soups

  • Excessive intake of tea/coffee.

  • Lesser intake of water, dry food

  • Irregular meal times

  • Repeated food intake (before the digestion of the previously taken food)

  • Skipping meals.

  • Incompatible food like taking non-veg with milk, sour fruits with milk, pizza followed by a milkshake

  • Eating too late at night

Regimens (Vihara)

  • Lack of rest, fast-moving lifestyle.

  • Insufficient sleep at night.

  • Sleeping immediately after meals.

  • Suppression of natural urges.

  • Excessive exposure to sun and fire

  • Sleeping in daytime

Mental factors that constitute for Hyperacidity

  • Stressful lifestyle

  • Excessive anxiety, worry, jealousy, anger, fear

  • Job dissatisfaction

Other causes of acidity include:

·         Medications: Some anti-inflammatory drugs, Numerous medications including those for asthma, high blood pressure, birth control and depression can also have unintended effects on the LES when taken for a long period of time

·         Smoking

·         Pregnancy

·         Obesity

·         Fasting

·         Hyperthyroidism

All the above factors result in an excessive increase of ‘Pitta dosha’ in the body and exhibits symptoms of amlapitta.


If there is chronic hyperacidity, following investigations are useful:

·         Endoscopy

·         Barium Meal x-ray

·         Gastrin levels in blood can indicate underlying gastrointestinal problems and help guide appropriate GERD treatment in Ayurveda.

·         Serology + histology for H. Pylori

·         Stool routine examination

Complications in Hyperacidity

If not treated at the proper time or if faulty diet, regimen and habits continued, it can complicate as

·         Gastric Ulcer

·         Chronic Gastritis

·         Duodenitis

·         IBS

Prevention can be done through the following life style  and diet

  • Avoid excessive salty, oily, sour and spicy foods

  • Avoid heavy and untimely food/ fried and junk food items/ Overcooked, stale and contaminated food can exacerbate gastrointestinal disorders, necessitating the use of antacid or specialized ayurveda treatments.

  • Avoid smoking, teacoffee and aspirin type drugs and alcohol intake

  • Food should consist mainly of bitters like bitter gourd, matured ash gourd, Take vegetables like white pumpkin, cucumber, leafy vegetables

  • Include barley, wheat, old rice and green gram in diet.

  • The food must be properly cooked

  • Follow mental relaxation techniques

  • Do not skip meals

  • Avoid fast food to prevent the need for frequent antacid use and to support gastrointestinal health.

  • Do not overeat

  • Avoid toor dal, horse gram,

  • Avoid lying down immediately after food

  • Take Light food, Coconut water, articles having cooling properties

  • Fruits like gooseberry, dry grapes (black resins), black grapes, pomegranate,musk melon ,sugar candy , fig, dry fig, custard apple.

  • Take adequate amount of fluids like pomegranate juice, amla juice

  • Medicated water with ushir ,sariba or coriander-cumin seeds

  • Take Warm water.

  • Take One teaspoonful of ghee with warm milk

  • Take adequate sleep

  • Exercise regularly

  • Avoid stress

  • Follow mental relaxation techniques like meditation, Yoga and Pranayama


Ayurveda management of Hyperacidity (amlapittham)

  • Avoid causative factors

  • Palliative treatment - As the disease is of Pitta origin, all measures are undertaken to pacify pitta.

  •  Panchakarma procedures like Vamana (emesis) or virechana (purgation) whichever is needed should be administered.

Some important Ayurvedic single drugs useful in Hyperacidity (Amlapitta)

  • Shatavari (Asparagus racemosus), Yastimadhu (Licorice), Indian gooseberry (Amalaki), Indian sarsaparilla (Sariba), Giloy (Guduchi), Pomegranate (Dadima), Coriander (Dhanyaka), Vetiver (Ushira), Sandalwood (Chandana), Coral (Pravala), Neem (Nimba), (Bhunimba) Andrographis paniculata, Coconut water, Fennel (Saunf). etc.

Some important Ayurvedic Medicinal Preparations are helpful when taken under proper guidance

·         Shankh bhasmam

·         Avipatti Churna

·         Shatavarigulam

·         Dadimadi ghritham

·         Guduchyadi kashayam

·         Drakshadi kashayam

·         Trivril lehyam

·         Triphala choornam   etc

Virechana for Hyperacidity

It is one of the panchakarma therapies wherein purgation is induced by medicinal drugs and helps in the elimination of toxins from the body. Due to its broad spectrum result, it is one of the most popular among the panchakarma procedures, hence it is considered as the sadhana karma and detoxification procedure.

The procedure Virechana is performed in 3 steps:

1.Poorva KarmaThis is the preparatory procedure. This is performed before the main therapy. it includes deepana and pachana (use of different appetites and digestion medicinal herbs)followed by snehapana (oral administration of medicinal ghee) for 3 to 7 days. That is usually followed by abhyangam and swedanam(external application of oil and sudation).


2. Pradana Karma

Here the doctor administers the virechana drug as per the disease strength of the patient and digestive capacity of the patient.


3. Paschat Karma

They are known as samsarjana karma, in which the patient is advised for specific dietary regimens for a specific period of time after the main procedure.

Purpose Of Virechana in GERD

This procedure is targeted to expel the increased pitta dosha (alone) and pitta along with Vata and Kapha.

Q: What is GERD and Hyperacidity?

A: GERD stands for Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease, which is a digestive disorder that affects the lower esophageal sphincter causing the stomach acid to flow back into the esophagus. Hyperacidity refers to an excessive production of stomach acid that causes discomfort and other symptoms.

Q: How can Ayurveda help in managing GERD and Hyperacidity?

A: Ayurveda offers holistic approaches such as dietary modifications, lifestyle changes, herbal remedies, and panchakarma treatments to manage and treat GERD and hyperacidity by balancing the doshas.

Q: What are the common symptoms of GERD?

A: Common symptoms of GERD include heartburn, chest pain, acid regurgitation, difficulty swallowing, and a sour taste in the mouth.

Q: What are the ayurvedic treatments for GERD?

A: Ayurvedic treatments for GERD may include herbal formulations, dietary guidelines, lifestyle modifications, and panchakarma therapies like vamana and virechana to eliminate toxins and restore balance.

Q: How can Ayurveda help in addressing acid reflux?

A: Ayurveda addresses acid reflux by pacifying the aggravated pitta dosha with cooling and soothing herbs, promoting healthy digestion, and reducing acidity in the stomach.

Q: Are there any herbal remedies recommended for managing hyperacidity?

A: Yes, Ayurveda suggests herbal remedies such as amla, ash gourd, and other cooling herbs to reduce hyperacidity and soothe the digestive system.

Q: What role does diet play in managing GERD and hyperacidity in Ayurveda?

A: In Ayurveda, a diet that balances the doshas and includes easily digestible foods, cooling herbs, and avoiding spicy, acidic, and fried foods can help manage GERD and hyperacidity.

Q: Can Ayurvedic treatment of GERD be personalized based on individual dosha imbalances?

A: Yes, Ayurvedic treatment of GERD can be personalized based on the individual's dosha imbalances by identifying the root cause of the condition and tailoring the treatment plan accordingly. 

Is Amlapitta curable?

Yes it is on regular diet and medications

How to use Amla for acid reflux?

You can use it as a  nutrient supplement of powder, juice forms 

How do you control Amlapitta?

You have to stick to a strict diet and lifestyle 

What are the reasons for Amlapitta?

Unfollowing a healthy diet and erratic lifestyle, and excess stress are the main reasons

for amlapittha 

How to reduce pitta immediately?

You can have a therapeutic purgation

What foods should people with Amlapitta avoid?

Excess hot, oily, and spicy foods 

Can Ayurvedic medicines cure GERD?

Yes you have plenty of good results  for GERD

What cures GERD permanently?

Proper medications and lifestyle management and diet can cure GERD



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