Acid Indigestion

Acid Indigestion: Excessive secretion of HCL by the stomach cells is known as acid indigestion.  It is also commonly known as heartburn.


  • Abdominal pain
  • Heartburn
  • Feeling of fullness after eating
  • Loss of appetite
  • Bad taste in the mouth
  • Foul smell
  • Mild nausea


  • Generally caused by bad eating habits- Overeating, not chewing properly
  • Eating while under stress
  • Too much Caffeine, sodas or alcohol intake trigger heartburn
  • Improper food combining result in improper digestion

One of the effective treatments for acid indigestion is correcting your diet. Including proper amount of Primary, Secondary and Tertiary foods in diet can help get rid of this health problem.

Primary foods consist of: 20%-30% whole grains and 20%-30% protein.

Include whole grains like whole wheat, oats, millet in your diet, as they are rich in nutrient content and dietary fiber, both of which are equally important.

Secondary foods consist of: 30%-40% Vegetables.

Fresh, local, seasonal vegetables fall under this category. These are essential in a diet as they provide important vitamins and minerals.

Tertiary foods consist of: Dairy, eggs and fruits 5%-10% and fats and oils 2%

The foods in this category should be consumed in small portions. Choose fresh seasonal fruits and substitute oliveoil, seseme oil and ghee for butter and other saturated fats.

Role of Vitamins, Proteins and Fats in diet:

Vitamins are essential nutrients in our diet. They are important for growth, vitality and health. They are helpful for digestion, elimination as well as they provide resistance to the body to fight diseases. Vitamin deficiency can lead to specific nutritional disorders and general health problems.

Proteins have two important functions.  They are the building blocks of our body. They repair damaged tissue and cells and they stimulate and maintain body’s metabolism.

Fat are equally important in our diet. Certain amount of quality unsaturated fats are important to out health. Consuming unsaturated variety such as olive oil, sesame oil and ghee (clarified butter) in moderation actually assists in the burning of stored fat. Fat is also required for the absorption of fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E and K.

Role of kitchen spice while cooking food:

Different cultures use slightly different types of kitchen spices in their cooking. In India, Turmeric, coriander and cumin are widely used in curries. Culinary herbs have considerable medicinal value along with the flavor adding quality. Coriander is added to spicy stimulating foods to impart a balanced coolness. It also has carminative properties. Cumin is known as one of the best spices to prevent and relieve gas. Turmeric is a good digestive aid. It dissolves the undesirable fats in the body. It also has antibacterial and antioxidant properties.

Most of the kitchen spices are carminative (prevent and relieve gas), stimulants and aids to digestion. Many kitchen spices are also known to relieve nervousness, spasms and coldness during first acute stage of disease. Some of these herbs and spices provide essential vitamins and minerals ex. garlic, parsley and oregano. These spices can also be used to treat problems like headache, bleeding, diarrhea, heart attacks and acute infections. Thus, out kitchen spice rack can be considered a safe and natural alternative to the synthetic, side effect causing medicines.

Methods of herb application:

There are various ways in which these herbs are used.

Kitchen herbs, used regularly in cooking are known to be beneficial. Some herbs like cinnamon, ginger, camomile can be used in tea form. Herbs like thyme, mint, alfalfa, angelica, camomile and turmeric can also be used as infusion teas. An infusion is when the herbs are steeped in a tightly covered container with water that has just been brought to a boil. Calamus or elecampane can be steeped or can be taken as tinture. Tintures are highly concentrated herbal extracts that can be kept for a long time.

Beleric Myrobalan or bhibitaki can be used in a powdered or capsule form.

Turmeric root can also be used as decoction in which the herb/herbs are simmered for about an hour.

Powdered ginger root and calamus can be used in capsule form along with other herbs.

List of appropriate herbs to aid and support the digestive system

Ø      Basil: Sweet basil is considered good for indigestion when taken as tea.

Ø      Bay: Bay leaves when added to food, are known to help prevent gas and   indigestion


Ø      Caraway: It is considered excellent aid to digestion. It is useful for indigestion, gas and colic


Ø      Cardamom: It has carminative and stimulant properties.


Ø      Cayenne pepper: Stimulant, carminative and astringent properties.

Includes red and green chillies, cayenne, paprika and bell peppers.

Ø      Cinnamon: It acts as carminative.


Ø      Cloves: These are known to improve digestion and treat flatulence, vomiting and nausea.


Ø      Cumin seeds, ginger, turmeric and rosemary are also valuable for our digestive system.




Ø      Alfalfa: This herb is known for improving digestion and assimilation. In the form of herb tea, it is known to provide alkalizing benefit for hyper acidic stomach. It is also know to prevent gas formation (bakhru, 2000).


Ø      Angelica: Carminative used for digestive weakness and gas.


Ø      Asafotida: Also known as “Hing”(Bakhru, 2000) in India and is widely used in Indian cooking. It is ideal for many stomach disorders. According to Dr H.K. Bakhru, “it is one of the best remedies for expelling wind from stomach” (Bakhru, 2000, p.137).  


Ø      Calamus: Helpful during hyperacidity associated with stomach and intestine.


Ø      Camomile: Widely used in the form of tea for various digestive disorders.


Ø      Elecampane: Used for digestive weakness.


Ø      Beleric myrobalan or bhibitaki: Known to be useful in regulating bowel and digestion.


Acid Indigestion 4


Ø      Noni or Indian Mulberry: It is effective for digestive problems such as diarrhea, constipation, indigestion and gastric ulcers.


Ø      Papaya: This is a digestive fruit.


Ø      Citrus Peel: This is a Chinese herb useful in indigestion, diarrhea and abdominal swelling.

** The above information is for educational purposes only. Consult your doctor for specific medical advice, diagnosis and treatment. **

Sample 1 day diet using Primary, Secondary and Tertiary foods

BREAKFAST:  A bowl of whole grain cereal or oatmeal with raisins, apples, banana and some walnuts.

LUNCH: Brown rice and seasonal vegetable stir-fry with tofu added to it as warm lunch


Brown rice sushi rolls with fresh salad as cold lunch.

DINNER: Kicharee soup and some steamed vegetables.

Baked apple for dessert.





NOTE:  Kicharee soup is made by mixing cooked mung beans or lentils with steamed brown rice sautéed in sesame oil or clarified butter (ghee) for about five minutes (Tierra, 1998, p55).

** The above information is for educational purposes only. Consult your doctor for specific medical advice, diagnosis and treatment. **


Tierra, M. (1998). The way of herbs. New York: Simon & Schuster, Inc.

Haas, E., & Levin, B. (2006). Staying Healthy with Nutrition. Berkeley, California: Celestial Arts.

Sharma, H., Mishra, R.K., & Meade, J.G. (2002). The Answer To Cancer. New York: Select books, Inc.

Mabey, R., McIntyre, M., Michael, P., Duff, G., & Stevens, J. (1988). The New Age Herbalist. New York: Simon & Schuster, Inc

Bakhru, H.K. (2007). Healing through natural foods. Mumbai, India: Jaico publishing house.


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