Herbs for Heartburn

Herbs for Heartburn

By Veena Deo


The following article talks about herbs for heartburn and how they also help with Irritable Bowl syndrome or IBS.

Stomach is a sac like expansion of the alimentary canal of a vertebrate communicating anteriorly with the esophagus and posteriorly the duodenum and being typically a simple often curved sac with an outer serious coat, a strong complex muscular wall that contracts rhythmically, and a mucous lining membrane that contains gastric glands.

Today’s hectic life style, excessive intake of instant and junk food, pollution etc. adversely affect the individual’s digestive system. As per Ayurveda, all these aforesaid problems produce Aam-Tatva or Toxins in the body and give rise to many digestive problems. Stomach plays an important role in digestion of food so, let us discuss about the problems of the stomach as related to IBS and hearburn.

Causes of stomach problems- excessive intake of alcohol, smoking, excessive intake of Non Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory drugs etc. Narcotic drugs can interfere with stomach emptying and cause bloating, nausea or vomiting.

Stomach pain – pain in abdomen can be a result of many medical disorders. It may be caused by appendicitis, chronic constipation, inflammation of the gall bladder, food allergy, indigestion, heartburn, ulcers, IBS or irritable bowel syndrome, urinary tract infection in females during menstruation etc.

The symptoms of stomach upset may include heartburn, IBS, heartburn, constipation, taste of bile in mouth etc.

Heartburn – a burning discomfort behind the lower part of the sternum.  It is related to spasm of the lower end of the esophagus or of the upper part of the stomach often in association with gastoesophageal reflux called also Cardlagla. In this condition, burning sensation occurs in the chest, upper abdomen and in the throat. Nausea, vomiting, headache, vertigo are the symptoms which may occur in heart burn.

Gas – Excessive intake of heavy, oily, spicy food produces Gas. Passing of intestinal gas is usually just a normal part of digestion. As per Ayurveda, if the function of Apan Vayu gets disturbed, then Gas occurs. If the symptoms of the Gas are excessive then one has to think about solutions.

Ulcer – Symptoms are sharp pain in the upper abdominal area, excessive flatulence etc. The symptoms of ulcer and reflux oesophagitis are similar and hence sometimes the symptoms of ulcer are mistaken for the symptoms of reflux oesophagitis. Most of the times, duodenal and stomach ulcers are caused by a Bacteria called Helicobacter Pylori. NSAID (Non steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) are also the cause of gastric and duodenal ulcers. Helicobacter Pylori can be treated with specific antibiotics along with antiulcer medicines.

IBS or Irritable Bowel Syndrome – symptoms include diarrhea, constipation and abdominal pain.

For IBS – antispasmodic drugs, such as dicyclomine, hyoscyamine and belladonna are a class of drugs which can be given.

These drugs can relax the muscles of the stomach and intestine and relieve the abdominal pain. But there are some side effects of these drugs like, constipation, dizziness, headache, nausea, blurred vision etc.

Generally for heartburn, indigestion and gas problems, antacids are given. But excess intake of antacid may produce diarrhea or constipation. However, peppermint oil is a natural antispasmodic.

Herbs for heartburn that are helpful-

Piper longum – Carminative, vermifuge and diuretic (Nadkarni KM, IMM) also used as cholagogue in obstruction of bile duct and gall bladder. Possesses analgesic properties (Asima Chatterjee, The treatise of Indian Medicinal plant. Vol I 1991, 28

Piper nigrum: Carminative and appetizer, Useful in dyspepsia and flatulence (IMM, 970, Asima Chatterjee) Zingiber officinale –The dried rhizome is used as carminative. It is useful in dyspepsia, flatulence, colic, spasm and other painful affectations... (IMM)

Cuminum Cyminum – Carminative, stomach stimulant. Useful in dyspepsia and bilious nausea.

Emblica Officinalis (Aamalki): Found to be effective in treatment of peptic ulcer (Singh BN and Sharma PV) 1971. Effect of Aamalki on amlapitta. Jour Res Ind Med. 5(2), 223-230, Banu Net al, 1982, Role of Aamalki Rasayana in experimental peptic ulcer, Jour Res Edn Ind Med (1) 29-34.

Controls dyspepsia. Ref: Chawla YK et al 1987 treatment of dyspepsia with Aamalki, Vagbhata, 5(3) 24-26. The extract showed antiulcer and anti secretory activity in a dose of 50mg/kg body weight. Ref. : Mathew et al, 1995 (Unripe Banana) : The effect of unripe banana pulp on phenylbutazone – induced gastric ulcers. Guinea – pigs against gastric ulcers. Unripe banana power was also found to afford significant protection against stress ulcers produced in rats. Ref : Sanyal AK et al, 1963, J Pharma, pharmacol, 15,283, ibid 775, Arch Int phamacodyn ther, 1964,149, 393, ibid, 155,244

The unripe banana dried in shade at room temp. Of 26-32c and powdered has shown to have anti-ulcer activity in a variety of chemically induced ulcers in the stomach.Ref.  Goel Pk et al, 1986, Anti-ulcerogenic effect of banana power, J Ethanophormac 18,33)

Also products that have Triphala and Turmeric Curcumin as active ingredients are very effective for many stomach problems including IBS, heartburn and more.

I hope the above listed herbs for heartburn help all that are trying to address this condition.

Dr. Veena Deo is an Ayurvedic Doctor in India. All the information provided above and opinions expressed above are her own and should not be construed as medical advice. This information and on supplements is provided for educational purposes only. For questions or to consult Dr. Veena Deo, please send an email to veenadeo@herbsbenefits.com


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