Acidity: What is acidity, its causes, symptoms, Ayurvedic perspective, remedies, and more

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LA Acidity 1

What is acidity?

A major amount of the food we eat usually gets digested in the stomach and small intestine. As is known to many, the digestive action in the stomach relies majorly on the digestive juices it secretes. These juices are made up of acids and digestive enzymes help break down the food into simpler substances for easy absorption.

Acidity or acid reflux refers to an excessive production of these acids in the stomach and is considered one of the more common ailments in adults. This excess secretion may be caused by incorrect dietary habits, stress, or other underlying disorders.

You may associate the term acidity with terms like gas, gastritis, heartburn, hyperacidity, etc. These terms may also be used interchangeably sometimes. But if you want a clear understanding of its causes, symptoms, and home remedies, read on to discover more.

Causes of acidity

Before we proceed to cure acidity, let’s first understand what causes it. From dietary habits to irregular lifestyle modifications, the causes of acidity may seem small but can have significant consequences.

Some of the common causes of acidity are:

1. Lifestyle 1

Our everyday routine isn’t as simple as it used to be. Especially for those with professional and familial responsibilities, making appropriate lifestyle choices consistently becomes difficult. Common lifestyle choices like the following may result in acid reflux:

  • Frequent smoking
  • Frequent consumption of carbonated drinks or alcohol
  • Poor posture or lack of physical activity

2. Underlying disorders or certain medications 1

There may be some pre-existing ailments or medications that result in acidity too. Some of them are:

  • Health conditions like obesity, anxiety, depression, etc
  • Medications like calcium channel blockers, theophyllines, nitrates, and antihistamines

3. Imbalanced diet 1

A balanced diet is key to good health. However, excessive or irregular consumption of certain foods may result in acidity.

  • Oily, fatty foods
  • Excessive spice
  • Frequent consumption of junk food
  • Excessive intake of caffeine

4. Eating habits 1

While having a balanced diet is important, don’t skip on how you consume it. Improper eating habits may also be the key factor behind acid reflux.

  • Consuming large-portioned meals
  • Lying down right after meals
  • Overeating

Symptoms of acidity

Now that we know what causes acidity, let’s delve deeper into understanding the symptoms. A peculiar thing to note about the common symptoms of acidity is that some of the symptoms may occur as a result of others.

Let’s read more to understand.

1. Heartburn 2 3 

To understand heartburn, let’s go back to the basics of our digestive system. The food travels through a long tube called the esophagus into our stomach. A small ring-like muscle called the esophageal sphincter is present at the base of this tube. This sphincter prevents the contents of the stomach from going back into the esophagus.

An abnormal or abrupt opening of this sphincter sometimes causes excess acid to travel back into the esophagus. Ultimately resulting in a burning sensation in the chestal area, commonly called heartburn.

Heartburn, therefore, is the most common symptom of acidity and is one of its first indications.

This brings us to the next symptom – a sour taste.

2. Sour taste 2

A sour taste in the mouth often follows heartburn. The excess acid that travels back into the esophagus has the potential to rise to your throat, giving you a sour or bitter taste in your mouth.

3. Regurgitation 2

A symptom that may occur hand in hand with a sour taste, the feeling of regurgitation is an abrupt movement of stomach acid up and down your throat. It may make you feel nauseous without any further consequences.

4. Sore throat 2

Sore throat as a symptom is simply a consequence of regurgitation. The contents of the stomach that may have risen to your throat may just irritate your vocal cords enough to result in a sore throat.

5. Indigestion 2 4

A symptom that may appear simultaneously with heartburn is indigestion. Indigestion during acidity is quite common and may give you a burning sensation or a feeling of discomfort in your upper abdomen. It may also make you feel bloated possibly due to a disruption in the digestive process.

How does Ayurveda perceive acidity? 5

Before we delve further into the remedies for acidity, it is important to understand how Ayurveda perceives it.

Acidity, sometimes also known as GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease), shares common symptoms with Amlapitta, a condition described in Ayurveda. Amlapitta, documented in various Ayurvedic texts since the Samhita period, is extensively detailed in classical works like Kashyapa Samhita, Yoga Ratnakara, and Bhaishajya Ratnavali.

Essentially identified as a Pitta Pradhana Vyadhi or a predominant disease, Amlapitta manifests symptoms like:

  • Amlodgara (sour and bitter belching)
  • Hritkantha Daha (heartburn)
  • Gaurava (heaviness)
  • Avipaka (indigestion)
  • Antra Kujana (gurgling sounds in intestines)
  • Hritshula (chest pain)

The excessive influence of causative factors, particularly an unhealthy lifestyle, leads to the vitiation of Vata & Pitta Dosha.

Ayurveda recommends various remedies to cure Amalapitta – some preventive while some curative. Let’s have a look at them below.

Remedies to cure acidity

A. Preventive 2

The first approach to resolving acidity issues is to avoid it. Follow the below-listed recommendations to prevent acid reflux:

DietLifestyleEating habits
Avoid excessive salty, oily, sour, and spicy foodsAvoid smoking and alcohol intakeAvoid heavy and untimely food
Food should consist mainly of bitters like bitter gourd, matured ash gourdFollow mental relaxation techniquesAvoid overcooked, stale, and contaminated food
Include barley, wheat, old rice, and green gram in the dietAvoid lying down right after your mealsEnsure your food is properly cooked

B. Curative 2

The curative approach to resolving acidity is through medical management. This can be achieved through Ayurvedic herbs or formulations and easily available ingredients in your kitchen.

Shatavari3g with milk, twice a day
Yashtimadhu3g with milk, twice a day
Amalaki3g with water, twice a day
Sunthi1-3g with water, twice a day
Coriander seedsInfusion with sugar, twice a day
Coconut water100-500ml, twice a day
Fennel seeds½ teaspoon, chewed after food

What’s more?

There are never too many precautions one can take while trying to prevent or cure an ailment. Acidity, if prolonged, can result in chronic gastritis, gastric ulcers, anemia, peptic stenosis, etc.1 6
It is typically advised to reduce the intake of caffeine, and carbonated beverages, avoid incompatible food combinations, and avoid irregular habits like sleeping during the day. Further, to relieve certain symptoms like indigestion, antacids are also administered. 5


1. What is acidity? Is it the same as GERD?

Acidity refers to the excessive production of acids in the stomach, leading to symptoms like heartburn, regurgitation, and indigestion. It is a common digestive ailment. GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease) is a condition where the stomach acid frequently flows back into the esophagus, causing persistent symptoms. The two terms are often used interchangeably.

2. Is heartburn the same as acidity?

Heartburn is one of the most common symptoms of acidity. It is characterized by a burning sensation in the chest area, often caused by the abnormal opening of the esophageal sphincter, allowing stomach acid to travel back into the esophagus. Note that heartburn is only one of the many symptoms of acidity.

3. What are some of the food items to include in my diet to avoid acidity?

To avoid acidity, it is recommended to include foods that are not excessively salty, oily, sour, or spicy. Bitter foods like bitter gourd and matured ash gourd can be beneficial. Additionally, incorporating barley, wheat, old rice, and green gram is advised.

4. Do antacids work to cure acidity?

Antacids are commonly used to alleviate symptoms of acidity by neutralizing stomach acid. However, in Ayurveda, a holistic approach is advocated. While antacids may provide temporary relief, long-term solutions involve preventive measures such as lifestyle changes, dietary modifications, and the use of Ayurvedic remedies like Shatavari, Yashtimadhu, Amalaki, Sunthi, coriander seeds, coconut water, and fennel seeds.


We’ve successfully navigated through the intricacies of acidity and how it impacts our body. Caused due to modern lifestyle choices and irregular schedules, acidity can be caused due to various factors like incorrect eating habits and wrong diet. However, with the ancient wisdom of Ayurveda, it is possible to prevent and/or cure acidity and its symptoms like heartburn, sore throat, regurgitation, and more.

It is more important to note that this common ailment, if not treated timely, may result in complications like gastric ulcers, chronic gastritis, anemia, etc. However, it is advised to consider a medical professional before making any dietary or lifestyle modifications to cure this ailment.


This article is written from a health and wellness perspective and is not medical advice. Kindly seek the help of a certified medical practitioner before initiating any treatment or dietary modification.


  1. Acid indigestion: Causes, symptoms and treatment options
  3. Indigestion and Heartburn
  4. Symptoms & Causes of Indigestion
  5. Ayurvedic management of amlapitta with special reference to hyperacidity: A case study

Dr. Jyoti Lakhani

Dr. Jyoti has 15 years of experience in Clinical Practice, Research & Education in the field of Ayurveda with competency in acute & chronic conditions like Arthritis, Spondylitis, Osteoporosis, Sciatica etc. She has also expertise in treating Female Infertility disorders, other Gynecological Problems & General disorders.


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