Everyone has suffered from acidity at least once in their life. Acidity is a condition in which hydrochloric acid, present in the stomach to digest food and protect the body from pathogens, is produced in excess by the gastric glands. The point where food enters the stomach is marked by a ring-like muscle called the Lower Oesophageal Sphincter or LOS. Its function is to close up after all the food has passed through. This prevents the acid from moving up into the oesophagus. If the LOS does not close properly or opens up too often, it causes acid reflux.
Causes of Acidity
Certain changes in the body increase the likelihood of having acidity. These include abnormalities in the structure of the stomach such as a hiatal hernia, diseases such as scleroderma, and pregnancy. Overeating, specifically foods that are highly acidic, fatty and spicy; also cause acidity. Apart from these, unhealthy habits such as smoking or drinking alcohol can also cause acidity.
Treating Symptoms of Acidity
Heartburn, or an intense burning sensation in the lower chest, is the single most common symptom of acidity. Other symptoms include a sour or bitter taste in the mouth called regurgitation, feeling of food being caught in the throat, unusual stool, vomiting, bloating, burping, hiccups, nausea and dry cough.
The simplest way to get over a bout of acidity is by making certain changes in diet and lifestyle. Some of them are avoiding foods and beverages that trigger symptoms, eating smaller meals and more frequently, quitting smoking, sleeping with the head at an elevation, avoiding tight clothes, and taking steps to lose weight if one is overweight.
Au Naturel Remedies for Acidity: Clove all the Way
Some natural ingredients such as basil leaves, cinnamon, buttermilk, apple cider vinegar, cumin seeds and cloves provide instant relief from acidity. Of these, clove is the most popular for its amazingly effective results.
The medicinal properties of cloves are highly valued in the traditions of the Romans, Chinese and Indians. It features prominently in Ayurvedic medicine. This precious spice is a storehouse of minerals such as iron, calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, manganese, dietary fibre as well as vitamins C, K and A. No wonder then that clove finds pride of place in most Asian cuisines.
It is particularly useful to relieve flatulence caused by acidity because of its carminative properties. These ease the movement of food into the stomach. They also improve saliva production, digestion and contain acid reflux. The capacity of clove to soothe inflammation makes it ideal for heartburn, the most persistent symptom of acidity. Moreover, it prevents the formation of gas that usually happens due to the excessive acid in the stomach.
Cloves are available in a variety of forms; as a whole spice, tonic in Ayurvedic medicine, powder and essential oil. The following are a few ways to consume cloves to get their maximum goodness for acidity:
• Clove Tea
One cup of boiled water poured over a tablespoon of ground cloves, set aside for 10 or 15 minutes (depending on how strong a brew is desired) offers great comfort to a tummy in distress due to acidity. All that is left for it is to be strained and drunk.
• Clove Essential Oil
An alternative to the former is mixing 15 to 30 drops of clove essential oil in a cup of warm water and drinking it up to 3 times a day in case of severe discomfort caused by acidity. However, it is advisable to consult a certified therapist before using any essential oil as they are quite potent and can interact with other drugs. Pregnant and lactating women should specifically seek advice before use.
• Clove as a Spice
Since cloves aid in digestion and assimilation of nutrients, it is a good idea to add it regularly to curries and soups as a preventive measure against acidity. It’s capacity to fight gas increases manifold when used with an equal measure of cardamom.
• Chewing Clove
Biting on two to three cloves and keeping them in one’s mouth for some time allows its juices to be released into the system, providing instant relief from acidity. Having some cardamom along with it not just minimises acid trouble, but also freshens the bad breath that often results from this condition. Making it a habit to chew on a piece of clove after meals will certainly keep acidity at bay at all times.
While a home remedy as simple as chewing on a clove can relieve acidity, it is understandable that one might not find such ingredients at hand in certain situations. In times like these, Gas-O-Fast can prove to be a life-saver. The best part is that it also combines the best of all natural ingredients with Ayurveda to neutralize acidity in no time.