Dyspepsia (Ajirna)
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Introduction

 

Ajirna is the Ayurvedic term for indigestion or dyspepsia and functional dyspepsia. This is a very common condition in all people of the world. In fact every single person in the world must have suffered from ajirna at one time or other in their lives. Some people suffer from chronic dyspepsia in which their digestive systems are totally unable to digest food. This situation may require urgent medication and even hospitalization. However, Ayurveda has some simple techniques which can prevent the condition of ajirna. In order to know the treatment of ajirna, it is essential to first know what the causes are.

Another term for ajirna is agnimandhya. This term is derived from two Sanskrit words – ‘agni’ which means ‘fire’ and ‘mandhya’ which means ‘reduction’. Hence, ajirna or agnimandhya is a reduction of the agni, especially jatharagni, which leads to a decrease in the digestive capacity of the individual. Ajirna is one of those few disorders that are caused by a vitiation of all three of the doshas, i.e. vata, pitta and kapha.

Definition of Dyspepsia (Ajirna)

 

Jirna in Sanskrit means ‘digestion’. The ‘a’ added before ‘jirna’ makes it negative, and hence the meaning of the word is ‘indigestion’. Ajirna is an umbrella term that is used to describe any of the following kinds of digestive problems:-

  • Belching
  • Bloating
  • Gas in the stomach (Flatulence)
  • Gripes
  • Nausea
  • Stomach ache
All these problems are diet related and affect the stomach.

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Causes of Dyspepsia (Ajirna) and Functional Dyspepsia

The main cause of ajirna is a faulty balance between the right and the wrong kinds of food. Right foods are almost all the natural foods which suit the climatic conditions and the physiological constitution of the person. Wrong foods are those which are unsuitable to the climate and made up of artificial ingredients. Junk foods with a lot of synthetic preservatives such as monosodium glutamate come under this category.

The following are some of the prominent causes of ajirna or functional dyspepsia in people:-

(i) Some people, especially office-goers, are quite erratic in their meal timetable. A difference of over an hour in the lunch and dinner times every day is a leading cause of ajirna.

(ii) People who travel a lot have to eat different types of cuisines. This makes the taste and digestive senses of the person quite confused, leading to ajirna.

(iii) Going to bed immediately after eating retards the digestive process of the body. This may cause ajirna the next morning. If the person routinely goes the bed immediately after a heavy meal, then it can cause severe permanent digestive problems with the persons.

(iv) Some people have gluttonous modes of eating. These people binge on several kinds of foods at once. They may overeat, i.e. continue eating even after their stomachs are full. This leads to severe ajirna problems such as constipation, flatulence, gastritis, nausea, etc.

(v) Some foods like potatoes, chickpeas and other legumes, lentils and many flesh foods do not get properly digested within the body. They can cause gastritis. Most of the cases of ajirna are caused due to the consumption of such sensitive foods. Similarly, foods with lots of spices and oils also cause ajirna.

(vi) There are also some psychological causes that Ayurveda describes for ajirna. People who do not eat food wholeheartedly, or those who eat with tensions and other worries on their minds, will suffer indigestion. People who are generally described as ‘hot-tempered’ are more prone to suffer from ajirna than people who maintain a peaceful state of mind.

(vii) Microorganisms that live within the stomach lining can cause irritation, which can interfere with the digestion process. Chief among these is the bacteria Helicobacter pylori, which lives within the inner mucus lining of the stomach.

(viii) Alcohol and smoking also are a major cause of ajirna.

According to Ayurvedic theories, all the three doshasvata, pitta and kapha – are responsible for ajirna. An increase in any of the vata, pitta and kapha can cause different kinds of ajirna complications.

  • If a person has vitiation of the vata dosha, then ajirna is in the form of painful spasms of the stomach.

  • If a person has vitiation of the pitta dosha, then ajirna is in the form of a burning sensation in the inner lining of the stomach.

  • If a person has vitiation of the kapha dosha, then ajirna is in the form of nausea and vomiting.

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Symptoms of Dyspepsia (Ajirna) and Functional Dyspepsia

Since ajirna is not a single disease but a generic name given to a host of stomach complications its symptoms are also many. It is very important to look into the correct symptoms and then to decide what medications to take. Hence ajirna is a problem that is solvable only with a proper study of its symptoms.

The following symptoms indicate the presence of an ajirna complication:-

(i) Heavy feeling in the stomach

(ii) Nausea and an excessive urge to vomit

(iii) Constipation

(iv) Passing wind

(v) Improper texture of stools

(vi) Stools with very offensive odors

(vii) A continuous uneasy sinking feeling in the stomach

(viii) Belching with a bitter taste

(ix) Aches in the stomach

(x) Loss of craving for food.

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How to Prevent Dyspepsia (Ajirna)

Preventing ajirna is a continuous activity. It requires the development of a healthy food regimen in the person. In order to keep ajirna at bay, the person must obey the following dietary dos and don’ts.

(i) Eat meals at fixed times every day.

(ii) Keep at least three hours gaps between meals.

(iii) Do not eat incompatible foods together, such as fruits and cream or milk and fish.

(iv) Do not eat and drink at the same time. Water should be drunk only after the meal is finished.

(v) Do not eat excessive oily and spicy food, especially in the summer season. In the summer season, the diet should contain mainly fresh vegetables and fruits.

(vi) Avoid smoking and consuming alcohol if you have continuous digestive problems.

(vii) Keep healthy sleeping times. Insomnia can cause indigestion. Stick to the adage – Early to bed and early to rise makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise.

(viii) Women should take care of what they eat during pregnancy. This is the period when the digestive system is extremely sensitive.

(ix) Maintain a healthy exercise routine. This helps in the digestion of food.

(x) Continual tensions and worries in the mind also interferes with the proper digestion of food

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Ayurvedic Treatment for Dyspepsia (Ajirna)

There is a host of herbs and remedies that can help to resolve ajirna problems in people. A list of these herbs with their biological actions is given below.

Ayurvedic Name of Herb

Biological Name of Herb

Common English Name of Herb

Action

Adrak or Sunth

Zingiber officinalis

Ginger

Ginger is a known cure for nausea and vomiting. It reduces the sickness due to overeating. It is also prescribed for seasickness and for pregnant women. Flatulence and stomach pains can be treated with ginger.

Ajwain

Tachyspermum ammi

Bishop’s weed

Ajwain is used in the treatment of colic, flatulence, indigestion, stomach cramps and other dyspepsia problems.

Badaam

Amygdalus communis

Almond

The oil of almonds has laxative properties. It can dispel undigested food from the gastrointestinal tract.

Gulvel or Guduchi

Tinospora cordifolia

Gulvel is a common herb from South India which has a sweet post-digestive effect. It is a natural antacid and has anti-inflammatory properties.

Jamun

Eugenia jambolana

Indian blackberry

Jamun is a stomachic, i.e. it aids in the proper digestion of food in the stomach.

Jeera

Cuminum cyminum

Cumin seeds

Jeera is a known treatment for indigestion and related problems. It is also effective for treatment of biliousness, morning sickness and irritable bowel syndrome.

Juniper

Juniperus communis

Juniper

Juniper has all the properties necessary to treat dyspepsia or ajirna. It is a stomach, has anti-inflammatory properties, controls nausea and vomiting and curbs flatulence.

Khus

Andropogon muricatus

Vetiver

Khus has a cooling effect on the stomach. It helps in controlling indigestion, flatulence and gastritis.

Hing

Ferula asafetida

Asafetida

Hing has extremely strong powers in controlling gastritis. Hing discharges the excessive wind from the stomach and hence cures flatulence. It also aids in better digestion.

Papaya

Carica papaya

Papaya

Seeds of the papaya can treat problems such as indigestion and flatulence.

Pudina

Mentha arvesis

Mint

Pudina is considered to be the most excellent remedy in Ayurveda to treat stomach problems such as indigestion, constipation, gastritis, heartburn, etc. It is also a very quick-acting agent.

Sabja

Ocimum basilicum

St. Joseph’s Wort or Basil

Sabja seeds are taken in sherbets as they produce a cooling sensation within the stomach. Sabja reduces the nauseous feeling and controls vomiting.

Tulsi

Ocimum sanctum

Holy Basil

Tulsi is a remedy for nausea, vomiting, giddiness and gastric disorders.

The above ingredients are mixed in proper proportions to form effective medicines for treating ajirna. Some of these Ayurvedic formulations are given below:-

Name of Ayurvedic Formulation

Ingredients

Mode of Intake

Hingavashtaka Churna

Hing, adrak, pippali, maricha, ajamoda, jeera.

This formulation must be taken with buttermilk or with a tablespoonful of ghee for better effects. It can also be taken with the first morsel of food that is put in the mouth.

Adrak, papita, chitrak, pippali, mustak, ajwain, vidang, pudina.

This formulation is to be taken two or three times a day with a tablespoon.

There are some extremely simple remedies developed by Ayurveda to treat ajirna. Some of the better ones are mentioned below:-

(i) One part of tulsi is mixed with two parts of ginger and two parts of jaggery. This is broken down into small pellets. Consuming one of these pellets each every morning and evening helps in proper digestion and also creates a good appetite.

(ii) Warm water is the simplest remedy to help in the proper movement of the gastric digestive juices. Having a glass of warm water every morning helps in proper movement of bowels.

(iii) Yellow bananas or plantains improve digestion and help in the formation of proper stools.

(iv) Ajwain helps to digest foods with greater water content. Even if the indigestion is caused due to excessive amount of water, taking a few ajwain seeds over it will help in clearing the stomach congestion.

(v) Indigestion caused due to the intake of protein-rich food such as lentils and legumes can be solved by taking in a few seeds of datura.

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#1 - Norma Serrano - 10/11/2012 - 21:33
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