Ayurveda - Herbal Medicine - Nutrition - Self Care - Yogic Healing - Meditation

An Ayurvedic Perspective on GERD (Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease) 

GERD occurs when digestive juices moves upward from the stomach into the esophagus causing acid reflux,An Ayurvedic Perspective on GERD (Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease) Ayurveda Medicine which over time can damage the lower esophageal lining and an increase the risk of precancerous Barrett’s esophagus. The causes of GERD can vary from diet and lifestyle factors to obesity, pregnancy, hiatal hernia and the relaxing of the lower esophageal sphincter. Factors such as smoking tobacco, eating too late at night and certain common trigger foods such as coffee, tea, alcohol, chocolate, spicy foods and tomatoes can also play a role in the worsening of symptoms.

 

Common Symptoms of GERD

  • Acid reflux
  • Heart burn
  • Esophageal spasms
  • Chest pain (retrosternal)
  • Regurgitation of food
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Asthma
  • Chronic cough

An Ayurvedic Perspective on Digestion

To understand GERD and other related digestive disorders, lets first explore the Ayurvedic concept of Agni, the power of digestion. Agni is present within saliva, stomach acids, bile, and enzymes of the pancreatic and small intestine. When Agni is strong it supports robust appetite, optimal digestion, energy, satisfaction and overall vitality. Below is a list of various classifications of digestion according the classical Ayurvedic text on pathology and etiology- Madhava Nidana.

4 Clinical Varieties of the Digestive Fire

  1. Manda Agni occurs when the slow and sluggish nature of kapha dosha impair the digestive fire. This results in symptoms such as low appetite, slow digestion, heaviness in the stomach, food stagnation, acid reflux, sluggish bowels (not dry) and phlegmatic disorders.
  2. Tikshna Agni

Ayurveda - Herbal Medicine - Nutrition - Self Care - Yogic Healing - Meditation

Medhya Rasayana – Mental Rejuvenation

In Ayurveda, herbs that rejuvenate the mind and nervous system are known as medhya rasayanas. In Western herbalism, many of these herbs are classified as nervines. Medhya rasayana herbs help to calm the mind, relax the body, and even replenish and regenerate the nervous system. These herbs are great allies against the oxidizing effects of stress and the depletion of our vital energy and immunity. Some are heavy, grounding and sedating like valerian, hops, poppy or kava kava. Others are still calming, yet have lighter energy such as passion flower, gotu kola or skullcap. Nourishing tonic herbs, most notably ashwagandha, also have calming qualities, but can also provide strength and energy where and when needed.

Herbs are Broad Spectrum

It can often be hard to make a clear distinction between one category of herbs and another, since a single herb can possess several actions. For instance, I have frequently given laxative herbs to promote intestinal cleansing, and the person will report back that they are sleeping better and thinking clearer. This shows the connection between our digestive function, the mind, immune system and so on, because all our bodily systems work as a whole.

For example, herbs that clear excess heat and toxins from the liver like bhringraj (eclipta alba), brahmi (gotu kola and bacopa monnieri) also have properties that are seen to improve mental function. Others like dandelion leaf of punarnava help to clear heat from the liver as well as through

Ayurveda - Herbal Medicine - Nutrition - Self Care - Yogic Healing - Meditation

There is no doubt that low libido is a serious concern nowadays, as it is made obvious by the increasing amount of erectile dysfunction drugs surfacing on the market. Yet the conventional approach of these drugs tends to focus on providing a quick fix without looking at the bigger picture and finding the root cause of the problem. Another concern related to male reproductive health is sterility. Ayurveda can certainly help us get a deeper understanding of these complex issues and deal with them in a holistic manner with the use of herbs along with diet and lifestyle guidelines. A unique aspect of this approach is that it aims to resolve the underlying factors that caused the imbalance in the first place.

Low libido can manifest as a lack of sexual energy or desire, as sexual debility or as the inability to perform properly. Symptoms of sexual debility may include lack of interest, erectile weakness, premature ejaculation, nocturnal emission and spermatorrhea, or the involuntary discharge of semen. Male sterility is a condition where the quality or quantity of the semen is low or altogether absent. This problem can easily go undetected, as it doesn’t necessarily affect the sexual desire.

All these symptoms are clearly expressing that one of the most powerful energies in the body is depleted, and this can be basically related to factors including lifestyle and dietary choices, habits, level of daily stress, family history, parents’ habits, and genetics. To understand how Ayurveda and Ayurvedic herbs can help

Ayurveda - Herbal Medicine - Nutrition - Self Care - Yogic Healing - Meditation

Elderberry Sambucus nigra

Part used: berries, flowers
Effect on Dosha: VPK=
Taste: berry-sweet, sour, bitter/flower-slightly bitter, pungent
Energy: berry-neutral to cooling/ flower-cooling
Post Digestive Effect: berries-sweet/flowers-pungent

Tissues: plasma, blood, muscle, fat
Systems: respiratory, immune, digestive, circulatory, urinary
Properties: antioxidant, immune tonic, astringent, expectorant, diaphoretic, digestive, carminative, relaxant.
Indications: coughs, colds, sore throat, tonsillitis, congestion, respiratory infections, asthma, fever, flu, gas, allergies, abdominal discomfort, inflammation, high cholesterol, poor eyesight.
Preparations: infusion, tincture, syrup, winter cordials, medicated wine, food preparation.
Precautions: None for flowers. According to the Botanical Safety Handbook* the unripe and raw fruit contains sambunigrin, which may cause nausea, vomiting or severe diarrhea. Avoid elderberries that are red in color. The fruit is commonly cooked to avoid digestive upset and possible toxicity or the fresh fruit. Sambucus nigra is the variety most commonly used in herbal medicine and is considered to be relatively safe, especially when cooked.

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The most common variety of Elderberry used is the purplish-black berries of Sumbucus nigra. They are sweet, sour and slightly bitter to the taste. The ripened fruit is purple/black in color and the sweetest berries are the best to harvest for medicine making.

Elderberries have long been used in in folk herbal traditions of North America and Europe. In recent years, Elderberry has regained popularity and this increased interest has spurn research that seems to confirm much of its common folk uses. They have antiviral and antibacterial properties and are used to bolster the immune system in the treatment of common colds,