Stomach Diseases & Treatments
The digestive system extends from mouth to
the anus. It receives food, breaks it down to nutrients, absorbs
nutrients into blood stream and eliminates undigested food from
the body. It consists of mouth, throat, esophagus, stomach,
small intestine, large intestine, rectum and anus. Organs that
help digestion but lie outside the digestive tract are pancreas,
liver and gall bladder
Digestion includes mechanical processes such
as chewing, churning and grinding food It also involves mixing
of the food, the movement through the digestive tract, chemical
breakdown of larger molecular to smaller molecules.
Digestion is defined as a process that
involves physical and chemical break down of insoluble complex
food materials into soluble simple food materials. During
digestion carbohydrate is converted into glucose. Proteins are
converted into Amino – acids. Lipids are converted into fatty
acids and glycerol. Juice secreted in the mouth (Saliva), in the
stomach (Gastric juice), pancreas (pancreatic juice) and succus
entericus (intestinal juice,) aid digestion.
There is a powerful connection between the
digestive system and brain. Hence psychological factors greatly
influence contractions of the Intestine, secretion of digestive
enzymes and other functions of digestive system. Even
susceptibility to infection leading to digestive disorders is
influenced by the brain.
The reverse, i.e. digestive system
influencing brain, also happens. Eg – chronic irritable bowel
syndrome and other painful diseases affect emotions, behavior
and daily functions.
This two way association is called the brain
– gut axis.
Ayurveda on diet
Ayurveda gives primary importance to food and
Charaka samhita says” Food is the life of all
living things, the world seeks food. Complexion, clarity,
excellent voice, long life, understanding, happiness,
satisfaction, Growth, intellect etc are all well established in
Ayurveda has extensive prescriptions on foods
to be eaten during different seasons. There is a specific,
definite Ayurvedic advice on foods that suit or do not suit a
particular individual (Prakrithi)
Ayurvedic concepts on Food, Nutrition and
Digestion are sophisticated and relevant to the present modern
Facts about Digestion
It takes 3 hours for food to move though
Food disintegration in the stomach can last 3
to 4 hours
Large intestine can hold dried out remains of
food for 18 hours to 2 days.
Also called “Dyspepsis”, Indigestion is pain
or bloating, discomfort in the upper abdomen, after eating;
sometimes accompanied by nausea & vomiting. Causes could be
stomach ulcer, gastritis, Bacteria called Helicobacter pylori,
stress, anxiety, certain drugs like aspirin, over eating, eating
wrong foods, flatulence or gas. Vomiting may really bring
relief. It can be induced with rock salt and water. Indigestion
may cause heart burn. Take Raisins (10), dry ginger (1/4 tsp),
sugar (1 tsp), Bottle gourd juice (1/4 cup) for immediate
Fasting for 4 – 6 hours may help. Lemon is
the best fruit to treat dyspepsia. Lemon juice (of one lemon)
diluted with water, can be taken twice daily before each meal.
Grapes, Pineapple, Pomegranate fruits (Juices) help
Raw carrot can be chewed or juice can be
taken. Fenugreek leaves, Mint juice, Butter milk, Aniseed etc
Avoid fatty, spicy, large meals. Also avoid –
tea, coffee, soft drinks, smoking, alcohol. Eat your meals
slowly in a calm atmosphere. Do not over eat. Do not eat when
you are not hungry.
Constipation is a condition in which the
bowels do not move regularly or not completely emptied when they
move. A constipated person may have hard stools that are
difficult to pass. Bowel movements are usually fewer than 3
times a week. Constipated person has to strain to pass stools
and may experience pain during bowel movement. Constipation can
cause nausea and curb appetite. Constipation can lead to anal
fissures, hemorrhoids (Piles) and bowel impactions. Causes are
faulty diet and life style, in adequate food intake, low fiber
diet, dehydration, inactivity, weakness, holding up / Ignoring
the natural urge to defecate, abuse of laxatives, Drugs; Besides
irregular, painful bowel movements, other symptoms are coated
tongue, foul breath, loss of appetite, headache, dizziness, dark
circles under the eye, nausea, pimples on the face, mouth
ulcers, constant fullness of stomach, alternating constipation
and diarrhea, varicose veins, acidity, pain in the lumbar
region, heart burn and insomnia. Best remedies for constipation
are dietary changes and life style changes
Avoid bakery products and sugar products,
white flour white sugar, cheese etc. Include more fruits in your
daily diet – Bael, pear, Guava Grapes, orange, papaya, figs,
help reduce constipation. Half a lime squeezed in half a glass
of hot water with ½ tsp of salt is a good remedy. Drink plenty
of water preferably kept in copper vessel overnight Chew the
food in the mouth properly for 30-40 times before swallowing Dry
figs soaked overnight and eaten in the morning helps. Drink 1-2
cups of saline hot water one hour before your usual wake up
time. Go back to sleep. This drink clears the bowel. Before
going to bed take one ripe banana and drink a cup of milk. When
you get up in the morning drink a cup of hot black coffee
Try drinking 2 glasses of water on empty
stomach in the morning.
Go for morning walk. Have physical
activities, exercises, yoga. Give your body frequent oil massage
Piles or Haemorrhoids denotes inflamed
conditions of the veins around the anal canal. Technically Piles
/ Haemorrhoids are dilated twisted varicose veins located in the
wall of rectum and anus. The dilated veins may eventually bleed.
Haemorrhoids that form above the boundary between the rectum and
anus (anorectal junction) are called INTERNAL PILES. Those that
form below the ano –rectal junction are called EXTERNAL PILES.
Both types may remain in the anus or protrude out side anus.
Constipation. Wrong food habits. Controlling
the natural urge to defaecate or urinate. Not drinking enough
water. Sedentary life style. Diet deficient in fibre foods. Lack
of physical exercise, activities. Obesity. Drugs / Medicines.
Poor hygiene. Pregnancy.
The Risk factors: Untreated piles may lead to
Rectum prolapse, impotence, inflammation of the rectum,
haemorrhage, anal fissures
Feeling of swelling or heaviness in the
Pain or tightness during bowel movements
Feeling of incomplete bowel movements
Itching around Anus
Pain in the anus while sitting, driving
Bleeding after bowel movements
Increased pain, bleeding when piles get
to severe stage.
While sushruta recommended surgery, charaka,
the physician advised drug therapy
Ayurvedic drugs enhance digestive power,
relive constipation and flatulence and alleviates the pain
Warm sitz baths, local anesthetic ointments
or witch – hazel compreses
Besides medicines, if the patient does not
adopt diet regimen, Piles can not be cured.
Diet must consist of grains and cereal.
Unpolished rice is recommended. Include 40 gm of fibre rich food
Reduce salt intake by half. Avoid salty
Drink plenty of water
Avoid fast foods specially containing Ajina –
moto, meat fish, coffee, tea, alcohol.
For at least 2 months do not take milk, Dairy
products, butter cheese, khova. After 2 months these may be
Life style changes
Avoid sitting or standing for a too long
Take steps to avoid constipation – Take
Bananas in the night.
Do physical exercises
ACIDITY IN STOMACH
Hyperacidity or acidity in stomach is used
rather loosely to describe sour belching, acidity and
Stomach produces Hydrochloric acid to help in
digestion process. When this acid production is excessive, it
causes a burning sensation.
Ayurveda describes this as excessive pilta
dosha. Excessive secretion of Hydro chloric acid in the stomach
is described as Amalpitta.
Causes are sedentary life, skipping meals,
untimely meals, faulty eating habits, alcohol, smoking,
excessive coffee, tea, stress, drugs, antibiotic medicines,
steroids, junk food, excessive drinking of water during meals
Symptoms:- Constipation, Burning sensation,
sour belching, vomiting, Diarrhea, indigestion etc.
A peptic ulcer is a round or oval sore where
the living of stomach or duodenum has been eaten away by stomach
acid and digestive juices. The term peptic ulcer is a general
term applied to all ulcers in the stomach. There are two types.
Gastric ulcer – denotes ulcers of the stomach. Duodenal Ulcer –
the ulcer that occur in the duodenum. Ulcer is a painful
disease. The ulcer may bleed, the blood mixing with stools
weight loss may occur
Excessive secretion of stomach acid and the
enzyme pepsin. – Hyper acidity Infection with bacteria
“HELICOBACTER PYLORI”. Spicy, hot food. Anxiety, stress.
Smoking, drinking. Medicines like aspirin, anti – biotic. Coffee
Gnawing, burning, aching, soreness, empty
feeling and hunger. The pain is usually located just below the
breast – bone.
Night pain typically wakes up the person at
Pain that is relieved by food, milk and
Heart burn, loss of appetite, vomiting.
For immediate relief milk, food and antacid
may be given
Rice gruel (prepared with 1 part of rice with
14 parts of water) is very beneficial. Also is rice – ‘pongal!
Eating Pomegranate fruit alleviates burning &
Ayurveda has a well documented study of
Ulcers. It divides Ulcers into 3 types – Vataja Parinama shoola
– Dominance of vata dosha – constipation, distension of abdomen.
Pitaja Parinama shoola – vitiation of pitta dosha – thirst,
burning sensations. Kaphaja Parinama shoola – kapha vitiation –
nausa, excess saliva.
Ayurveda has a large number of drugs.
Sour belching is caused by
sudden release of stomach acids through the mouth. Ayurveda
calls it “Udgar”. Swallowing hastily large quantities of food
may cause it.
For sour belching, take 12 to 16 raisins with
½ a cup of milk twice a day.
For hyperacidity, try these home remedies /
On an empty stomach, take 2 tablespoons of
cabbage with 1 tablespoon of honey, early morning
Do not skip break fast
Take small quantities of food at short
Drink cow’s milk 2-3 times a day
Take buttermilk, 1-2 glasses daily
Avoid eating pulses especially horse gram
Stick to vegetarian food
Do physical exercises, Yoga.
General Tips on improving digestion
Take your meals in a well ventilated
room, in a calm and relaxed atmosphere.
Relax while eating. Avoid anger, stress,
arguments while eating.
Chew well the food in the mouth.
Eat with a moderate speed – not too fast
– not too slow.
As far as possible eat warm, fresh food.
Warm water facilitates digestion process.
Avoid cold water.
Have food at regular intervals.
Dinner should be taken before 8 p.m. and
should be lighter than lunch.
Drink fresh buttermilk either after or
Drinking liquid with meals may affect
The liver is largest glandular organ of the
body. Iit weighs 1200 to 1600 gms. It is a complex chemical and
detoxifying factory of the body. It has an unique character – it
is capable of regenerating its lost tissues. Just 25% of
remaining liver can regenerate into a whole liver again.
Functions of the liver:-
Manufactures about half of the body’s
cholesterol. About 80% of liver made cholesterol is used to make
bile that aids in digestion. Cholesterol is also needed to make
hormones – estrogen, testosterone etc. Liver also makes proteins
for body function. It is an important site of metabolism of
carbohydrates, proteins and fats. It regulates the amount of
blood sugar converting excess glucose to glycogen. It also
synthesizes essential blood clotting substances. It synthesizes
& stores vitamin ‘A’, iron reserves and minerals. Importantly,
it breaks down toxic substances of the body and then to excrete
them as harmless by – products. Liver is the site for drug
metabolism. It contains many immunological active cells that
keep up body’s immune ability.
Jaundice: Yellowish colouration of the
skin and whites of the eye caused by high levels of
bilirubin in the blood stream. Common in new born babies.
Cholestasis:- It is a reduction or
stopping of bile flow.
Enlargement of liver:- May be due to
several causes. It indicates liver disease.
Ascites:- Accumulation of protein
containing fluid in the abdominal cavity.
Liver Encephalopathy:- is a disorder in
which brain function deteriorates because toxic substances
normally removed by the liver, build up in the blood.
Liver failure:- severe deterioration in
Fatty liver:- Excessive accumulation of
triglycerides (fat) inside the liver cells.
Cirrhosis:- is destruction of normal
liver tissue, that leaves non functioning scar tissue
surrounding areas of functioning liver tissue. This is a
serious disease main cause being drinking alcohol. This may
be also caused by blood transfusions frequently needed by
Hepatitis is inflammation of the liver
from any cause. It is caused by viruses. There are five
hepatitis viruses. It is common through out the world.
Phyllanthus Niruri, Eclipta prostate,
Phyllanthus emblica, Tribulus terrestris, Androgrophis
Chichorium Intylu, Solanum nigum, Trikatu,
Glycyrihza glabra, Aloevera, Emblia ribes, Elettaria cardam,
Myrstica fragrans, Caryophyllus aromatic,
Ferula Foetida, Coriandrum Sativum, Musa paradisica heamoptysis
Cinnamomum Zeylanica, Zingiber officinale,
Piper nigrum, Acorus calamus, Foeniculam
Valgare, Cuminum cyminum, Vitis Vinifera, Cedrus deodara, Aloe
Some Ayurvedic Preparations
For Anorexia (loss of appetite)
Aravindasavam, Draksharishtam, Kumarayasavam,
Ashtachuranam, Jambirathi Panakam (syrup) and Dasamoola
For Acidity / Ulcers
Chadurmukha Rasa, Kamadugha Rasa and Leelavilasa Rasa
For constipation & piles
Abayarishtam, Drakshnishlam, Thribala churanam, Kutaja Paniham
and Chandraprabha vati
For Stomach ache Manipathra
lehiyam, Chulakutaram and Harithaki kandam
For Liver Rohishakarishtam,
Lavangasavum, Arka lavanam, kanjanura Guggulu and Jasatha Bhasma