JULY – 15: COVER STORY
17 home remedies for acidity tested: Choose the best
Acidity is a common ailment that causes stomach discomfort. Chronic acidity may affect your daily life and, if uncontrolled, may cause stomach ulcers, gallstones and even cancer.
Most of us take an antacid tablet or suspension to get instant relief. These over-the counter (OTC) inexpensive drugs are easy to consume and tolerate. But they are quick-fix solutions that give relief only for a short period and long-term use may have side effects. Why not try home remedies instead?
Over the years, herbs, spices and food items commonly used in kitchens have been used to treat and cure common ailments like stomach upsets and pain, nausea, gas and heartburn. These home remedies are natural, without side effects and less expensive than medicines. Moreover, tests we conducted in our in-house laboratory revealed that many of them can give you instant relief and some even longer relief than the commonly sold antacids.
CERCâ€™s laboratory tested 17 home remedies for relief from acidity problems. They were: roasted chana (gram), variyali (fennel), mixture of variyali and sugar, milk, mixture of raw egg and milk, vanilla ice cream, buttermilk, ripe banana, ripe papaya, dill (herb) water, cucumber, coconut water, pudina leaves and water mixture, isabgol, plain chilled water, jaggery, and plain soda water.
â€¢ 15 out of 17 home remedies tested provided relief from acidity.
â€¢ The relief period of two OTC antacids – Eno Fruit Salt and Gelusil MPS liquid – were close to 1 hour (58 and 57 minutes, respectively). These OTC antacids were tested to be used as a standard for comparison.
â€¢ In terms of relief period, four home remedies – roasted chana, mixture of variyali and sugar, variyali, and a mixture of raw egg and milk – were better than antacids. They provided relief for 104, 89, 87 and 71 minutes, respectively.
â€¢ Consuming a glass (200ml) of milk at room temperature provided relief for 56 minutes, nearly equal to relief periods of antacids.
â€¢ The relief periods of cucumber, dill water, ripe papaya, banana, buttermilk and vanilla ice cream, were in the range of 23 to 35 minutes.
â€¢ Isabgol, pudina leaves and coconut water provided short-term relief. Their relief periods were 5, 10 and 14 minutes, respectively.
â€¢ Chilled drinking water can provide some relief for 2 minutes only.
â€¢ Jaggery and soda water did not provide any relief.
Fruit-based remedies better
Though milk and milk-based remedies like the mixture of milk and raw egg and ice cream fared very well in our tests, doctors say that one should take fruit-based home remedies like ripe banana, papaya and variyali as excessive use of milk-based remedies is not advisable over a long period. These products may provide immediate relief but due to the calcium content in milk they may provoke a rebound acid secretion.
Variyali can be taken without mixing it with sugar as sugar provides empty calories and is bad for diabetics. Our tests also revealed that mixing sugar does not make much difference; it increases the relief period by 2 minutes only, as against variyali alone.
When to use
On the basis of the test findings and the opinion of medical experts, we conclude that if you are suffering from mild acidity problem, i.e. if you occasionally feel stomach discomfort and burning sensation lasting not more than 15-30 minutes, try these home remedies. They will provide relief from increased acidity level and also nutrition.
Patients with severe acidity should not depend on home remedies; they should seek a doctorâ€™s advice. Also, patients who are on regular medication should not stop their medication and depend on home remedies.
Tips to avoid acidity
Make these important changes in our lifestyle and food habits and keep acidity at bay:
â€¢ Cut back on spices, ghee and oil in your food; avoid junk/fast food
â€¢ Take small meals 4-6 times a day; avoid fasting and large meals
â€¢ Donâ€™t lie down at least for 2 hours after meals
â€¢ Avoid excessive use of painkillers, tobacco and alcohol
â€¢ Reduce excess weight
â€¢ Avoid anxiety and tension; ensure you get enough sleep
â€¢ Take medicines after food unless you are advised to take them on empty stomach
â€¢ Regularly do exercise, yoga and pranayam