Indigestion is one of the most common problems that we face. The trigger could be anything from a spicy meal to a compromised digestive system to a food allergy to even tight clothing that can make you feel super uncomfortable. Almost all of us are familiar with the symptoms—the cramping, the boating, the acid reflux, excessive gas formation in the stomach, the nausea…no, it ain’t pretty. And while it may not be as serious as it feels, unless you have an underlying condition that requires urgent medical attention, it can ruin your day and make for some embarrassing moments as well. However, help is at hand in the form of tried and tested home remedies and certain lifestyle changes that will go a long way in soothing your symptoms. But before we tell you about these wonder home remedies, let us take you through what indigestion is all about.
Ginger Dried ginger slivers have always been used in Indian homes to munch on after a meal to aid digestion. Ginger also quells nausea. Ginger works on indigestion by reducing the stomach acid—too much stomach acid causes indigestion. Make a decoction by boiling ginger root in water and drink it when necessary. It has antioxidants like gingerols and phenolic compounds that reduce gastric spasms and intestinal irritation. It is also known to reduce inflammation. You could also chew on ginger slivers. Do not have more than 3 to 4 grams per day as too much can cause gas and heartburn—the very symptoms you want to avoid.
Fennel seed No heavy Indian meal is complete without a mouthful of fennel or saunf at the end. These tiny aromatic seeds not just help in breaking down the food in your intestines; it also eases stomach cramps, nausea and bloating. Fennel seeds have oil compounds called fenchone and estragole that help you expel intestinal gas, increase the production of digestive juices and also have antispasmodic properties. Besides chewing on them, you can also boil the seeds in water for 10 minutes and drink the reduction
Baking soda (sodium bicarbonate) Like apple cider vinegar, baking soda too has many varied uses. It is a quick-acting stomach acid neutraliser and is safe and non-toxic. Mix half a teaspoon in about 100 ml warm water and drink for relief from indigestion bloating and gas. Do note that adults should not have more than seven 1/2 teaspoons in a 24-hour period.
Lemon water Interestingly, lemon water has an alkaline effect that neutralises the stomach acid. Drink a solution of 1 tablespoon lemon juice in warm water and drink before you have a meal. The alkaline effect of lemon water also neutralizes stomach acid and improves digestion. Mix a tablespoon of lemon juice in hot or warm water and drink a few minutes before eating.
Licorice root Licorice root can ease stomach cramps and spasms and also reduce inflammation in the gastrointestinal tract. You could chew on some licorice root or boil some in water and drink the solution half an hour before or after eating for better digestion. Do not, however, have more than 2.5 grams of dried licorice root per day.
Carom Seeds (Ajwain) Carom seed or ajwain has long been used in Ayurveda and Indian cuisine to cure indigestion, acidity, and flatulence. Carom is also added to various dishes to aid in their digestion. The enzymes in carom increase the production of gastric juices, Boil carom seeds in water for 10 minutes and drink the reduced water or dissolve a little carom powder in water and drink it. Or simply chew a little carom after your meal if you can take the heat. Carom seeds that have been salted and flavoured with are also available to make them more palatable. Carom seeds are also useful in curbing loose motions.
Peppermint tea Peppermint has a wonderfully soothing effect. It’s an antispasmodic so it will help reduce stomach pain and cramps. Its minty flavours quell nausea. Drink peppermint tea to aid your digestion. Do not take peppermint if you have acid reflux because peppermint relaxes the muscle between the stomach and the oesophagus and that may cause the acid to flow back.
Chamomile tea Chamomile tea works on different levels. While it calms anxiety and stress— both causes of indigestion—it also soothes your digestive system by reducing stomach acid in the gastrointestinal tract. Its anti-inflammatory properties lessen the pain. Chamomile tea is easily available in the form of tea bags, so drink a cup as and when necessary. If you are on blood thinning medication, you need to ask your doctor before you drink chamomile tea because it contains an anticoagulant that interferes with the body’s ability to form blood clots.
Apple cider vinegar This wonder home remedy for a myriad conditions has something for indigestion too. Apple cider vinegar increases acid production in those who produce too little stomach acid and hence suffer from indigestion. Just dilute two teaspoons of apple cider vinegar in a cup of water 30 minutes before eating. Do ensure that you always drink it diluted to avoid and side effects.
Coriander seeds Coriander seeds are a staple spice in Indian foods and with a reason. These tiny aromatic seeds have unique antispasmodic and anti-inflammatory properties that will ease your indigestion by stimulating the production of gastric juices. Coriander seeds have an oil called urandrol that helps detoxify the liver. It also increases appetite. So if you have been suffering from improper digestion, all you need to do is boil coriander seeds in water. Cool the reduction and drink it for a week for relief. Some people even chew the seeds.
Indian gooseberry (Amla) The Indian gooseberry or amla is a wonder fruit that is packed with nutrients and has a host of medicinal properties. It has been used in Ayurveda for centuries as an aphrodisiac, diuretic, laxative, carminative, antibacterial, anti-inflammatory and antiviral. It works wonders for your digestion as well and is known to cure indigestion, nausea, heartburn and acidity. You can eat it as dried slivers or as a murabba.