The traditional storage of ethnobotanical knowledge in memory and practices has a long history and must go back to the beginning of human existence. Likewise, ethnobotany is of great age in India, where it has been described in several ancient literatures. One of the most important sources is the Rig Veda (1200-900 BC), which has been useful in the attempt to identify the source of the traditional medicine system, also known as ‘Ayurveda’. Application of such herbal remedies has also been mentioned in the Atharva Veda (around 3,000 to 2,000 BC). It was in the 19th century when scientists started focusing on the active components found in herbs that gave a way to the research on molecular level. Herbs like Caraway, Cardamom, Turmeric, Aniseed, Clove, Cumin seeds, Basil, Ginger etc. are a few among the gigantic range of culinary herbs (Acharya 2004, 2012; Acharya and Shrivastava, 2008).
Acidity is something that we have all suffered with. Acidity is basically the result of excess secretion of acids from the gastro-glands of stomach. Heartburn is a main symptom of this problem. Interestingly, major dominance of this problem is seen in fast-paced cities where human body has become like a machine. The imbalance of biological clock and routine has disturbed the internal equation of the body. Disorders like indigestion, acidity, gastric troubles and many others have become very common ailments we face everyday. The side effects of synthetic antacids are known to the world and this is high time to understand the role of herbs in the treatment of disorders like acidity.
Tribesmen in India have been using herbs for remedying their day to day health disorders from the ages (Acharya & Sancheti, 2005; Acharya & Acharya, 2007; Acharya and Shrivastava, 2011). Patalkot in Madhya Pradesh and Dangs in Gujarat are two remote pockets where I have been working for more than 15 years and documenting their indigenous knowledge about herbs. In this article, I am trying mention herbal formulations pertaining to 20 important medicinal plants for the cure of acidity.
Asparagus racemosus Willd. (Indian Asparagus)
Asparagus racemosus root powder boiled in Cow’s milk is excellent remedy in acidity. Root decoction of with milk and honey is also very effective.
Barleria prionitis L. (Barleria, Porcupine Flower)
Juice of leaves of Barleria prionitis and Eclipta prostrata (Eclipta) in equal proportion should be taken together with milk and sugar to cure acidity.
Bauhinia variegata L. (Buddhist Bauhinia, Mountain Ebony, Orchid Tree)
For controlling hyper-acidity, eat Bauhinia variegata dried flowers (2g) with sugar or honey in a frequent interval of 2 hours.
Borassus flabellifer L. (Bassine Fibre, Odiyal Flour, Palmyra Palm)
Borassus flabellifer fruit pulp is a good antacid and acts as a wonderful option for taking care of heartburn.
Bougainvillaea spectabilis WILLD. (Bougainvillea, Lesser Bougainvillea)
The leaves of Bougainvillaea spectabilis are crushed and paste is prepared. About 5ml paste should be consumed every 2 hours to stay away from acidity.
Cocculus hirsutus (L.) Diels (Broom-Creeper, Ink-Berry)
To cure acidity, Cocculus hirsutus leaf juice is prepared and to it, pinch of Zingiber officinale (Ginger) powder is added and given to the patient.
Cordia dichotoma Forst. f. (Indian Cherry, Clammy Cherry, Fragrant Manjack)
Ripe sweet Cordia dichotoma fruits should be consumed to reduce the inflammation that occurs due to acidity.
Coriandrum sativum L. (Coriander)
Cucumis sativus L. (Cucumber)
The seeds of Cucumis sativus have cooling properties thus given in acidity. According to tribesmen in Dangs of Gujarat state, it should be chewed in regular intervals. It has an ability to cure severe acidity too.
Cuminum cyminum L. (Cumin)
Chew raw Cuminum cyminum seeds without any salt, about 3g in a frequent interval of 1 or 2 hours (minimum 5 times in a day) for 2 consecutive days.
Cynodon dactylon Pers. (Dhub Grass, Bermuda Grass, Bahama Grass)
Cynodon dactylon is a wonder grass. It should be picked fresh and prepare juice. To 50ml of this juice, add, 10 ml milk and little sugar. Take this juice thrice a day. Acidity will be gone completely.
Eclipta prostrata (L.) L. (Eclipta)
Powder of Eclipta prostrata whole plant and Terminalia chebula (Chebulic Myrobalan) fruit is given orally with jaggery (unrefined sugar).
Juice of Eclipta prostrata and Barleria prionitis (Barleria) leaves in equal amount should be taken twice along with milk.
Foeniculum vulgare Mill. (Fennel, Pastis, Sweet Fennel, Wild Fennel)
To control acidity, boil Foeniculum vulgare (Saunf) seeds in milk and take it twice a day. According to Patalkot herbal healers, steep ½ teaspoon of crushed Fennel seeds (5g) in boiling water for 10 minutes and give it thrice a day to the patient suffering from indigestion and acidity.
Fennel seeds (10g), Katuka (Picrorhiza kurroa) seeds (15g) and Ginger (Zingiber officinale) rhizome (5g) is ground and the mixture is boiled in 100ml water for 5 minutes. This water should be consumed at an interval of 3 hours.
Glycyrrhiza glabra L. (Licorice)
For controlling acidity, prepare a mixture of Glycyrrhiza glabra root powder, Foeniculum vulgare (Fennel) seed powder and Rosa indica (Rose) dry leaves in equal amount. Take it orally twice a day.
Mangifera indica L. (Mango)
Fresh leaves from Mangifera indica tree is picked and made in to juice and sugar is added to it in appropriate amount. This juice should be given once everyday before going to bed in the night.
Murraya koenigii (L.) Spreng. (Curry Leaf Tree)
Decoction of Murraya koenigii leaf is wonderful natural option for reducing acidity and controlling it. Curry Leaf juice (2-4 teaspoon) should be given every day for better digestion and to control acidity.
Picrorhiza kurroa Royle ex Benth. (Kutki)
To get relieve in vomiting due to acidity, Picrorhiza kurroa seed powder is roasted and 5g is given 3-4 times a day for 4 days.
Syzygium cumini (L.) Skeels (Jambolan, Black Plum, Java Plum)
In acidity, Syzygium cumini bark juice is added in milk and taken. It causes vomiting thus acidity is cured.
Thespesia lampas (CAV.) DALZ. EX DALZ. (Portia Tree)
Fresh stem of Thespesia lampas is chewed in the cases of severe acidity. In Patalkot, this has been a traditional remedy for hyperacidity.
Trapa natans L. var. bispinosa (Roxb.) Makino (Water Chestnut)
Trapa natans fruit powder is taken orally along with cold milk before going to bed.
The wild plants have been providing an important source of food and medicine since time immemorial. It is a major need of our time to find natural remedies for day to day health disorders. Tribals are the repository of accumulated experience and knowledge of indigenous vegetation that has not been properly utilized for the economic development. They are not only familiar with the thousands of plant species in their ecosystems but they also understand the ecological interrelations of the various components of their resource base and utilize their expertise in treating a number of disorders like acidity. We should come back to our root to chose better herbal options and parallel to this, standard diet, a regular systematic daily routine and good hygiene can help you in getting rid of any such disorders.
Acknowledgement: I wish to acknowledge herbal healers of Patalkot and Dangs for their invaluable contribution in scouting and documentation of their herbal expertise.
Additional Research on GreenMedInfo.com on Acid Reflux.
- Acharya, D. 2004. Medicinal plants for curing common ailments in India. Positive Health 102: 28-30.
- Acharya, D. 2012. Adivasiyon ki Aushadhiy Virasat, Aavishkar Publishers Distributors, Jaipur. ISBN: 978-81-7132-706-5.
- Acharya, D, Acharya, GS. 2007. Kitchen Garden: A clinic in your backyard. Positive Health, 140 (Oct): 30-32.
- Acharya, D, Sancheti, G. 2005. Indian culinary herbs and their traditional uses. The Essential Herbal, Nov/ Dec: 9-13.
- Acharya, D. Shrivastava, A. 2008. Indigenous Herbal Medicines (Tribal Formulations and Traditional Herbal Practices). Aavishkar Publishers Distributors, Jaipur. ISBN: 978-81-7910-252-7.
- Acharya, D. Shrivastava, A. 2011. Ethnomedicinal Plants of Gujarat State. Forest Department, Gujarat State, Gandhinagar. ISBN: 8190311484. pp 1 – 414.
About the Author
He is Director (R & D) at Abhumka Herbal Pvt Ltd in Ahmedabad, India. He has been documenting ethnobotanical knowledge of tribals of Central and Western India for more than 15 years. His company validates herbal practices of indigenous herbal healers and converts it into finished products and also rewards the knowledge holders by sharing part of the profit. Dr Acharya’s work and dedication for the tribal welfare has been well appreciated by The Wall Street Journal. He is a Feature Writer/ Member- Editorial Board for many magazines. He has written 4 books and more than 1000 popular and scientific articles on tribal’s traditional herbal knowledge.