Ayurveda for digestive and intestinal problems

The Ayurvedic way of life promises a beneficial effect on the body and well-being, from which the intestine also benefits. Whether you suffer from constipation, diarrhea or flatulence: Ayurvedic medicine offers a solution for every digestive problem. In this article, you will learn how to apply Ayurveda to your bowel problems. These tips and suggestions can be easily integrated into everyday life – let’s go!

In this article you will learn:

  • How Ayurveda should support your digestion
  • How Ayurveda should help you with constipation
  • How Ayurveda is supposed to help against diarrhea
  • How Ayurveda should help you with gas
  • How Ayurveda is supposed to prevent irritable bowel syndrome

What is Ayurveda?

The Ayurveda healing treatment, which is over 5,000 years old , originally came from India, but has been making its way into western countries for quite a while now. The Ayurvedic way of life is based on the five elements : fire, air, earth, water and space. It is said that if these elements are in balance, so are body and mind.

The goal of an Ayurvedic way of life is to always keep the opposing elements in balance . If they get out of step, people are said to be more susceptible to diseases. In order to prevent this, Ayurvedic healing treatments are based on so-called “doshas” . These are divided into three types: Vata, Kaphaand Pitta as well as various mixed forms. According to Ayurvedic teaching, every person can be assigned to one of these types. In order to approach Ayurvedic healing doctrine, you must first know which Dosha type you are. Then you can adjust your Ayurvedic diet accordingly.

Before we continue, here is an important note: Ayurveda is an alternative medicine that cannot be reconciled with current scientific findings. In contrast to evidence-based medicine, there is little or no evidence of the effectiveness of the individual forms of treatment. Even if the belief in Ayurveda can lead to an alleviation of the symptoms due to the placebo effect, the effectiveness of the traditional Indian healing practices is more than controversial .

Healthy digestion with Ayurveda

In conventional medicine, the generic term “digestion” means the chopping of food and the absorption of nutrients in the digestive tract. It begins with the chewing of the food in the mouth and ends with the elimination of unusable food components.

A smooth digestion requires a healthy gastrointestinal tract . This is why problems often arise during this highly complex process: A survey by the polling company forsa on behalf of the Federal Association of German Pharmacists’ Associations showed that 70 percent of the 3,200 adult respondents regularly suffer from digestive problems . So this is not a special case, but a common disease.

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The Ayurvedic teaching, however, does not only refer to the processing of food with the term “digestion”, but also covers other transformation processes. Because in Ayurveda, digestion is not yet complete with food processing. Every single cell in the body, the brain and all sensory stimuli should benefit from the digestive process. Here, too, it is about the harmony of body, mind and soul .

Two terms are particularly important in Ayurvedic understanding of digestion:

PACHAN

The term Pachan describes not only the classic digestion of food in the digestive tract ( Aahar Pachan ) but also the rough transformation in the stomach ( Shtoola Pachan ) as well as the metabolism and processes beyond this ( Sookshma Pachan ).

AGNI

The term Agni ( digestive fire), also called Pachataha, is the energy that the body has to use to carry out all digestive, transformation and metabolic processes. According to Ayurvedic teachings, Agni maintains the immune system and destroys microorganisms, bacteria and toxins in the stomach, small intestine and large intestine.

Put simply, this means: For a functioning digestion (or a functioning Pachan) the body needs enough Agni. With the help of various applications and remedies ( such as ginger and fennel ) the Agni should be supported and promoted, which should ensure regular and efficient digestion.

The aim of Ayurvedic teaching is to keep the opposing elements and thus body and mind in balance.

Constipation – The Ayurvedic Approach

In conventional medicine, one looks for the cause of constipation mostly in insufficient intestinal motility, often favored by poor nutrition, insufficient fluid intake, lack of exercise or too much stress.

In Ayurvedic healing treatment, it is said that all these factors weaken the “ digestive fire ” Agni, which can then no longer digest food adequately. The result: the stomach is constantly full, the digestive tract can no longer keep up with its tasks .

To combat sluggish digestion, the Agni should therefore be rekindled. In Ayurveda, this is done with the help of suitable substances such as ginger or fennel. In addition, the so-called ama (“slag”) should be combated with herbs. This is used to describe metabolic waste products that are not removed from the body. Ayurvedic treatment considers them to be the cause of illness.

Recommended Ayurvedic digestive aids for constipation are:

  • Aloe Vera
  • ginger
  • Deepana (Agni-stimulating spices such as cumin, mustard seeds or hung)
  • Ayurvedic herbs (Trikatu, Triphala)
  • Bitter and hot spices

By the way: The digestive habits are an important indicator for classifying your Dosha type! The Kapha type is said to tend towards a weak Agni, the Vata type to a fluctuating Agni and the Pitta type to a strong Agni. In our detailed Ayurveda guide you will learn more about the basics of Ayurvedic nutrition .

Diarrhea – the Ayurvedic approach

In the case of diarrhea, the contents of the intestine are excreted faster than usual. In addition, the stool is very thin and the body not only loses a lot of water, but also important salts, nutrients and digestive juices. The risk of dehydration (dehydration of the body due to extracellular lack of fluid) is high and should be combated with increased fluid intake.

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In Ayurveda, diarrhea means that the digestive fire is too strong , which should indicate poor food utilization in the digestive tract . It is necessary to throttle the agni. Ayurvedic teaching recommends the following measures for this :

  • Avoiding solid foods
  • A fast of 24 to 36 hours
  • Regular enemas
  • Drinking buttermilk, coconut water, and rice bran
  • Eating cooked rice, yogurt and nutmeg

In addition, the following foods against diarrhea have established themselves in Ayurveda :

  • Ajwain water
  • Barley water
  • whey
  • Pomegranate peel powder
  • Mangosteen

At this point, you should consult a doctor and coordinate your Ayurvedic diet to avoid health risks.

According to Ayurvedic teachings, an aloe vera drink helps against constipation.

Flatulence – the Ayurvedic approach

Flatulence occurs when an unusually large amount of air collects or is released in the intestine. Often they are the result of gasping foods or they are caused by eating too hastily because you have swallowed too much air, which then spreads in the intestines.

But the majority of intestinal gases are produced during digestion itself . There, the stomach acid forms carbon dioxide, which can lead to a feeling of fullness / belching. Further gases are produced when microorganisms utilize the carbohydrates that we do not use and “ferment” them into gaseous compounds. This creates gases such as carbon dioxide, methane and even hydrogen in the lower sections of the intestine. The same applies if sugar compounds reach the large intestine undigested and ferment there. Onea common cause of this is lactose intolerance . Most of the intestinal gases are carried away by the blood and exhaled through the lungs. The rest (oxygen, hydrogen, nitrogen, methane, ammonia, sulfur compounds and other fermentation products) are removed through the intestine.

Ayurvedic healing treatment avoids many gas-inducing causes by adhering to nutritional principles . It is recommended to take enough time to eat and to avoid stress in everyday life. These two factors are among the most common causes of gas.

But also foods like

  • Onions
  • Kohl
  • Beans
  • lenses
  • Raw food
  • Unripe fruit
  • Coarse whole grain bread
  • Baked in fat

favor flatulence . Not only does Ayurvedic cuisine generally do without raw vegetables. Depending on the Dosha type, it is important to avoid foods such as beans or lentils and to resort to alternatives instead. ( You can find more about this here )

For acute flatulence, Ayurvedic medicine recommends treatments with ginger , fennel and piper longum (long pepper).

Irritable Bowel Syndrome – The Ayurvedic Approach

One speaks of irritable bowel syndrome if within twelve months gastrointestinal problems such as abdominal pain, irregular bowel movements (constipation, diarrhea …) or flatulence occur several times and for which there are no organic causes.

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Irritable bowel syndrome is not dangerous, but it significantly reduces our wellbeing. Irritable bowel syndrome is not yet fully understood, but research suggests in some cases that dietary changes (FODMAP) can have positive effects. The Ayurvedic  teachings are some dietary recommendations.

In Ayurveda, irritable bowel syndrome is understood as a disorder of the Vata, in which the two elements air and space would unite. Vata should be responsible for our life energy, movement and nerve impulses and influence physical processes such as breathing, language, circulation and digestion. Since, according to Ayurveda, the main seat of Vata is in the large intestine, people of the Vata type would tend to have a very sensitive large intestine, often associated with irritable bowel syndrome and a weak agni.

Ayurvedic medicine tries to combat irritable bowel symptoms by strengthening both the Vata Dosha and the digestive fire. This is done with the help of a comprehensive therapy that primarily takes nutrition into account, followed by lifestyle, and finally medicinal and physical measures.

Ayurvedic diet for irritable bowel syndrome

In Ayurveda, nutrition is based on certain principles. This includes, for example, special foods , a correct time, a carefully selected environment and the omission of certain foods . In the case of irritable bowel syndrome, the diet should primarily have a Vata-regulating effect.

Recommended Ayurvedic digestive aids for irritable bowel syndrome are:

  • Ginger water
  • Anis
  • fennel
  • cumin
  • coriander
  • cardamom
The ginger is widely used in Ayurvedic teaching and can, for example, (re) kindle the “digestive fire” called Agni.

Ayurvedic therapies

In order to actively counteract irritable bowel syndrome, Ayurvedic treatment uses various physical measures to alleviate, drain and ultimately strengthen. Acute abdominal pain is alleviated with the

help of massages with sesame oil or ginger pastes . In the case of slight constipation, on the other hand, traditional healing recommends a treatment with a mixture of black pepper, rock salt and hung. Ginger, fennel, and piper longum (long pepper) are believed to relieve bloating associated with abdominal pain.

Ayurveda for intestinal problems: gentle healing according to the Ayurvedic method

Ayurvedic healing treatment aims to keep body, mind and soul in harmony . This should make the body less susceptible to disease.

Since a functioning digestion also depends on the balance in the gastrointestinal tract, Ayuvedic medicine is designed to positively influence intestinal health through lifestyle and diet . It offers an approach to nutrition for constipation, diarrhea, gas and irritable bowel syndrome – unless the cause of the problem is related to a serious illness.

At this point it should be pointed out again that some Ayurvedic methods are in contradiction to recognized nutritional science. Ayurveda is therefore used at your own risk . If you have severe or prolonged problems, you should definitely consult a doctor

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