Soothe a troubled digestive system with these natural remedies.
According to Ayurveda, gas and constipation are signs of disturbed vata and low agni. Vata, meaning ‘wind’, governs our body’s internal and external motion. Agni, or ‘digestive fire’, transforms what we eat into the nutrients the body can assimilate and transform into energy. Certain foods, cold or dry weather, or disruptions to your schedule can upset both, resulting in slow digestion and stagnation in the digestive tract. For mild constipation or gas, follow these guidelines to calm your vata and stabilize your agni.
Eat right – Balance vata’s cool, rough dryness with moist, warm meals of freshly cooked whole foods. Avoid cold, dry, fried and processed foods. And eat moderate amounts at regular mealtimes even if you don’t feel hungry.
Butter up – Stoke your agni by adding a teaspoon of ghee (clarified butter) and some warming spices such as ginger, cumin, or cinnamon to your meals.
Go herbal – Traditional Ayuverdic herbal formulas such as hingwashtak, avipattikar and trikatu are effective agni boosters when taken in powder form added to warm water.
Make lemonade – Warm lemonade alleviates the tissue dryness associated with constipation and gas. Upon waking, stir the juice of one-quarter lemon into a large mug of warm water, along with a teaspoon of raw, unprocessed honey.
Try Triphala – Triphala is a traditional combination of three dried fruits, in powder form, that acts as a mild laxative for some. Mainly, though, it’s a tonic that detoxifies the colon and improves its ability to absorb the subtle life force, or prana, from digested food before waste is eliminated.
Smooth moves – Forward bends and twists compress the lower abdomen to release gas. They also relieve tension that can disrupt peristalsis, says Jillian Pransky, director of retorative yoga teacher training for YogaWorks, who suggests the following poses:
Pavanamuktasana (Wind-relieving pose)
Balasana (Child’s pose) supported
Paschimottanasana (Seated forward pose)
Supta Baddha Konasana (Reclining Bound Angle Pose), supported
Janu Sirsasana (Head of the knee pose), supported
Jathara Parivartanasa (Revolved abdomen pose)
By Niika Quistgard from Yoga Journal October 2008
Hingwashtak – provides relief from Vata type digestive problems such as bloating and flatulence. Contains:
Pippali (Piper longum), Ginger (Zingiber offinale), Marica (Piper nigrum), Ajamoda (Carum roxburghianum), Saindhava (Rock salt), Sveta jeeraka (Cuminum cyminum), Krsna jeeraka (Carum carvi), Hingu (Ferula foetida)
Avipattikar – relief digestive heat Contains: cane sugar, nishoth, cardamom, clove and ginger.
Trikatu – Trikatu is a renowned Ayurvedic digestive compound, which raises the metabolism to eliminate toxins and ensure efficient digestion of food. Contains: Pippali (long pepper), Marica (black pepper), Sunthi (dry ginger)