With rapid urbanization and a shift to highly processed diets, gut health has borne the brunt of these changes. The transformation of the Indian diet and changes in eating habits have given rise to a number of gastrointestinal disorders, some of which can turn chronic and give rise to complications if not addressed appropriately. By this, we mean taking steps to correct the underlying causes, rather than turning to quick fixes in the form of OTC medications that only provide temporary relief. Frequent gut health issues like constipation, gas buildup, bloating, heartburn, and acid reflux are all indicative of poor digestion. From the Ayurvedic perspective, treatments to protect gut health must follow a holistic approach, addressing dosha imbalances, as well as dietary and lifestyle habits that contribute to poor gut health.
Here are some of the top Ayurvedic remedies and Ayurvedic herbs for constipation, bloating, gas, acidity, and other common digestive problems.
The ancient Indian medical system recognizes the uniqueness of the individual and the centrality of digestion in human health. This function is governed by Agni or the digestive fire, as well as the balance of all three doshas. Pitta is of course most responsible for strong Agni, but the aggravation of pitta can also lead to common problems like acid reflux, heartburn, GERD, and so on. At the same time, individuals with dominant Vata or Kapha can have weaker Agni, resulting in sluggish digestion and problems like constipation, gas, bloating, and so on. In general, Vata aggravation, which increases dryness is most associated with problems like constipation, but Kapha can also play a role. Accordingly, the remedies for each gut health problem will vary.
Most Indians should be familiar with Alu Bukhara, but if you are confused, these are basically dried plums or prunes. Highly recommended as natural ayurvedic treatment for constipation Alu Bukhara is nutrition dense and high in fibre. Due to the presence of the natural sugar sorbitol, the herb or fruit also has a mild laxative effect, with research suggesting that this Ayurvedic cure for constipation could be more effective than some OTC fibre supplements (1).
Sunth or dried ginger is known for its heating properties and is helpful for strengthening agni. This can improve digestion, reducing the risk of indigestion and problems like gas, bloating, or constipation. Studies show that it can reduce the accumulation of gas in the gastrointestinal tract, relieving bloating and cramps (2). This is why it is frequently used as an ingredient in Ayurvedic medicine for constipation and gas.
Jaiphal is another ingredient that we commonly use in beverages and sweets, but it’s also valuable as an Ayurvedic medicine for bloating and constipation. Thought to have a carminative effect, it eases various gastrointestinal symptoms and also stimulates the secretion of enzymes that can support healthy digestion. This makes it a helpful ingredient to use in any ayurvedic treatment for stomach gas and bloating.
Although best known for its vitamin C content and immune-boosting effects, amla is also one of the best Ayurvedic herbs for digestion. This is because of its high content of both soluble and insoluble fibre, which helps lower acidity levels. The fibre content also reduces the risk of overeating and obesity, again protecting against acidity and heartburn. These benefits have been confirmed in studies that suggest that amla intake can relieve heartburn within a month of regular use, making it one of the best natural Ayurvedic remedies for acid reflux and heartburn (3).
Coconut water is another inexpensive and easily available ingredient that you can use to treat heartburn. This traditional ayurvedic remedy for heartburn is also known to work as a natural oral rehydration drink, which is why it is regarded as a safe acidity treatment for anyone. The electrolytes in coconut water, such as potassium have been shown to promote the optimal gut pH balance, reducing acidity and heartburn (4).
Yashtimadhu or Mulethi is used in folk medicine across the world, where it is better known as licorice. However, the earliest references to this herb as a therapeutic ingredient are to be found in ancient Ayurvedic texts. The herb is an important ingredient in Ayurvedic medicines for acidity and heartburn, often used alongside other herbs like Sunth and Jaiphal. The ingredient is extremely helpful for anyone dealing with severe acid reflux or GERD as studies have demonstrated that it can protect the gastrointestinal lining from stomach acids, reducing the risk of peptic ulcers and other complications (5).
Keep in mind that although Ayurvedic remedies for gut health can provide quick relief, they should be used consistently for best relief. To find a permanent cure for such problems it is also necessary for you to make changes to your diet and lifestyle.