Digestive disorders are the generic term given for any health problem that arises in the digestive tract. It can vary in intensity from mild to severe. It is caused due to the derangement of digestion and metabolism and is attributed as the prime cause of various lifestyle disorders. The factors responsible for imbalanced digestion include improper medication, poor bowel habits, irregular food timings, consumption of junk food, low fibre diets, alcohol and tobacco etc. Digestive disorders can be a reason for other health concerns and certain health issues may also trigger digestive issues. Ayurveda takes a holistic approach towards the disease and considers indigestion or digestive disorders to be the root cause of many other diseases. Hence consider treating the condition first-hand.
According to Ayurveda, digestion happens in the body when the digestive fire/Agni acts on the food materials entering the system and converts them into nutritive energy and excretory materials. The nutritive material generated is called ‘Sara’ which assimilates in the body and provides nutrition. Whereas the excretory materials are the by-products of the process and are called ‘Kitta”. While Sara gets used up by the body, the Kitta is excreted at appropriate times. There are a few herbs that are found to have healing properties when it comes to digestive disorders, like Amla, Haritaki, Kalmegh, Fennel (Sounf), Pippali, Jeera, Turmeric, Ginger, Asafoetida etc.
For an individual, weakened Agni can be a result of a lot of reasons which include lack of physical activity, inappropriate eating, unhealthy routines, negative emotional state of mind etc leading to troubled digestion which means toxins getting stored in the body. In Ayurveda, the toxic residue is called ‘Ama’ and is believed to be the root cause of any disorders.
Healthy digestion is an assurance from the body that all required nutrients from the ingested food are getting assimilated in the body and the waste by-products are getting eliminated leaving the ‘ama’ present in the body to nil, making the person healthy. With healthy digestion, the tissues or dhatus produced by the body will also be healthy contributing to the formation of Ojas. Whereas an unhealthy body ends up producing vulnerable dhatus making the body susceptible to diseases.
For example, Piles is a condition where there is a presence of swollen haemorrhoids inside and around the anus. In Ayurveda, piles are known as ‘Arsh’ and the cause of which is described as low digestive fire and vitiated doshas. For piles treatment, Ayurveda focuses on shrinking the mass of the swollen pile and if the pile is ruptured, the focus is on restoring the blood count as well.
Piles treatment in Ayurveda includes:
Kshara – An alkaline herbal paste that is to be applied to the rectal area.
Sastra Chikitsa – A special medicated thread is used to tie the piles at the base to let it shrink and detach itself after a few days.
Agnikarma – Infrared heat is used to burn the superficial piles off.
Commonly seen digestive disorders include
- Haemorrhoids (piles)
- Irritable bowel Syndrome
A chronic case of gastrointestinal disease affecting the large intestine resulting in abdominal pain, bloating diarrhoea, cramps etc is known as IBS or Irritable bowel syndrome. In Ayurveda, it can be correlated with Grahani Roga. Triphala, Amla, Aloe vera juice, Chamomile etc which are known for their anti-inflammatory properties are helpful to ease the symptoms of IBS. Parighasana, Setu Bandhasana, Ananda Balasana etc are the most efficient Yoga Asanas to cure the disorder.
Yet another commonly found digestive disorder is constipation. Excretion is one of the vital functions of the body. It ensures that the waste products inside the body are not affecting any other body functions. Constipation is a condition where the body’s excretory function doesn’t happen according to the biological clock.
According to Ayurveda, constipation is known as Vibandh and is a result of vitiated Vata. And any factors that exacerbate Vata will worsen the condition. It includes tension, stress, dehydration, cold, foods etc. Those who suffer from chronic constipation need to learn to relax the muscles to ease the condition. For constipation treatment, Ayurveda recommends herbs like Triphala, Amalaki, Haritaki, Kalmegh etc that can help manage the condition. Yoga Asanas of restorative nature can help relieve the symptoms which can be made a part of the lifestyle are Agni Sara, Shavasana or twists and bends to help unwind the pelvic muscles.
Ayurveda lifestyle is all about leading an active life while giving prominence to a dosha specific diet. It lets the body manage the biological clock efficiently and help prevent and handle numerous digestive disorders.
Liver cleansing methods like fasting-cleansing with herbal mixtures help to wash out the metabolic toxins and bring a balance in digestion and metabolism. For digestive disorder treatment to be effective, we try to identify the root cause of the disease and prepare a customized plan as well as medicine, diet and lifestyle plans according to individual requirements.
Duration: 2-3 weeks as per the condition of the patient and duration of diseases.