Our stomach produces acid to digest the food
that we eat. This is a regular and natural process. Whenever we
eat, cells within the lining of the stomach pump acid to liquefy
your sumptuous dinner, from mash potatoes to a slab of steak.
Problem occurs when these cells produce large
amount of acid, more than your stomach needs. When this happens,
you will suffer from stomach acidity. You would know if you were
suffering from stomach acidity if you feel a burning sensation
just above the stomach, or right below (the hollow part) your
breastbone. This is the most classic sign of acidity.
Root Causes :
A weakness of the valve between the stomach and oesophagus (food
pipe) can cause a reflux of the acid from the stomach to the
lower part of the oesophagus. This gastro-oesophageal reflux can
Sometimes, a heavy meal or increase in intra-abdominal pressure
such as while straining or lifting weights, can bring about this
Excess acid secretion can also cause acidity and ulcers, when
the normal protective lining of the stomach and duodenum (the
part of the intestine that joins the stomach), is damaged. The
resulting ulcer is called gastric ulcer if it is in the stomach
and duodenal ulcer if it is in the duodenum.
In a condition known as Zollinger-Ellison Syndrome, a large
amount of acid is secreted because of stimulation by tumours
located in the pancreas or duodenum.
Any kind of break down in the defense mechanisms that protect
the stomach and intestine from damage by acid can cause acidity.
The body secretes bicarbonate into the mucous layer, which
neutralises the acid. Hormone-like substances known as
prostaglandins, help to keep the blood vessels in the stomach
dilated, ensuring adequate blood flow.
Lack of adequate blood flow to the stomach may contribute to
Prostaglandins are also believed to stimulate bicarbonate and
mucous production, which help protect the stomach.
Consumption of alcohol, highly spicy foodstuffs, irregular food
habits, and Non Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs) also
predispose to gastric acidity.
There is a higher incidence of acidity in highly emotional and
nervous individuals. It is also more common in the developed and
industrialized nations, though a recent increase in incidence
has also occurred in the developing countries.
Diseases that May Cause Hyperacidity:
Heartburn is characterized by a deeply placed, burning pain in
the chest behind the sternum (breast-bone). It occurs after
meals and is precipitated by increase in intra-abdominal
pressure like straining or lifting weights. It is more common at
night when a person is lying down. Heartburn is usually relieved
when the person sits up. Regurgitation of the gastric contents
may also occur. The symptoms of ulcers are mainly pain that can
be either localized or diffuse. Sometimes it radiates to the
back or to the chest.
GERD (Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease) is a chronic disease that
inflicts people with stomach acidity. It is called a ‘reflux’
because gastric acid goes from the stomach up to the esophagus
whenever a person with stomach acidity lies down to bed. At
times, even mere change in position causes the gastric acid to
reflux. This disease is more known to many as heartburn. A
person with GERD feels a stabbing like pain near his heart area.
Dyspepsia is a burning or an aching pain in
the upper abdomen, sometimes described as a stabbing sensation
penetrating through the gut. In rare cases there may be no pain,
but only a feeling of indigestion, fullness, bloating,
flatulence or nausea. When the cause is a duodenal ulcer, having
a meal usually relieves the pain. But in the case of a gastric
ulcer there may be no change, or the pain may become worse after
eating. Peptic ulcer disease can sometimes occur without
symptoms. Symptoms may also arise when there is no ulcer
present, which is known as non-ulcer dyspepsia.
Gallstones are pebble-like deposits in the gallbladder.
Gallbladder contains bile which is responsible for stabilizing
gastric acid in the body. However, with gallstones, the
gallbladder cannot function well. Bile cannot flow to some
important organs in the body, including the duodenum. With this,
excess gastric acid stay in the stomach.
Herbs which is useful :
Hyperacidity is a pittaja, i.e. it is caused
by vitiation in the pitta dosha. Hence, Ayurveda tries to
control the disorder by using herbs that are known to be
Yastimadhu (Glycyzrrhiza glabra) :
Most effective anti-ulcer herb, gives miraculous results in acid
peptic disorders. It is very effective in treating pain due to
stomach ulcers, as it soothes the irritation caused by acids.
Amla (Phyllanthus emblica) :
Amla is a natural and effective herb that helps in curing many
diseases like indigestion, heartburn. It promotes ojas and the
reproductive fluids, and is useful in the treatment of ulcers
(Zingiber officinale) :
Lavanga (Syzygium aromaticum - Clove) :
The juice of ginger mixed with lime and honey is a traditionally
used cure for treating dyspepsia. It is exceptional for treating
the hyperacidity caused by consuming more of flesh foods.
A few pieces of cloves taken directly are excellent in treating
acidity and irritability in the stomach.
vulgare - Fennel ) :
Fennel seeds have been found to be effective in the treatment of
atonic dyspepsia. It is a mild purgative; hence it is also used
to treat digestive and acidity complaints in infants and young
Black pepper (Piper nigrum)
Pepper has a stimulating effect on acidity, digestive organs and
produces an increase flow of saliva and gastric juices. It is an
appetizer and a home remedy for any digestive disorder or
heartburn or acidity. Powdered black pepper, thoroughly mixed
with malted jaggery, may be taken in the treatment of such
conditions. Alternatively, a quarter teaspoon of pepper powder
mixed in thin buttermilk can be taken during indigestion,
acidity or heaviness in the stomach. For better results, an
equal part of cumin powder may also be added to the buttermilk.
Diet & Life sytle:
Avoid foods that are rich in oils and
fats. These foods are difficult to digest, so they may make
the stomach release more acids.
The diet should contain a proper blend of
all the tastes. Spicy food must be just one dish rather than
the whole meal.
Fibers are necessary in the diet as they
help in the digestion.
Red meats must be eaten only
occasionally, if at all.
After a meal, the body must be given some
sort of exercise. This could be as simple as going for a
Too much addiction to strong foods such
as tea and coffee may cause hyperacidity. This is also true
for other addictions such as smoking and alcohol.
Do not consume sour foods as they already
have acidic contents. Acidic foods to avoid are pickles,
curds, tamarinds, vinegar, etc.
Avoid or limit alcohol.
Maintain upright position during and at
least 45 mins after eating.
Try elevating the head of bed 6 - 8
inches when lying down.