Heartburn, nausea, reflux, stomachache, cramps, belching, and flatulence are all listed under the general rubric known as dyspepsia.
What is Dyspepsia?
From Modern Western Medicine
Dyspepsia is the medical term for indigestion and is usually caused by eating spicy food, fatty foods, eating too rapidly, or overeating. Eating when under stress, when angry, or when suffering from some other acute emotional condition can cause dyspepsia. Chronic indigestion can also be caused by peptic ulcer, gallstones, or esophagitis (inflammation of the esophagus).
The best remedy is to avoid overeating, eating too quickly, and to avoid foods that cause indigestion. Antacids and milk may help symptoms subside.
From Traditional Medicine
Indigestion is caused by numerous factors, among which are poor food combinations, failure to chew adequately, emotional upset, eating too rapidly, and from excessively cold foods or excessively spicy ones.
Food combining is an important element in establishing healthy digestion, although individuals may have to decide for themselves which combinations of foods work best. Different types of food require different digestive enzymes. Some foods may inhibit the production of enzymes needed to digest others. When many different types of foods are eaten in the same meal, or when food is eaten chaotically, the body is unable to manufacture all of the necessary enzymes simultaneously. Digestion still takes place, but partially through bacterial action, which always results in fermentation and the associated problem of digestion. The general recommendations below are useful guides to proper food combining.
Foods to Eat
The following are techniques for successful food combining:
- Eat simpler meals.
- Eat protein and starchy foods in separate meals.
- Proteins, fats, and starches combine best with green and non-starchy vegetables.
- Salty foods should be eaten first.
- Fruits and sweetened foods should be eaten alone.
- Melons are eaten alone since they digest very quickly.
- Celery and lettuce are the only two vegetables that can be eaten with fruit.
- Don’t drink fruit juice between meals unless 2 hours have passed since a starch meal or 4 hours after a meal containing concentrated proteins.
Specific foods to aid indigestion are:
- Apples inhibit growth of ferments and disease-producing bacteria in the intestines
- Barely treats indigestion from starchy food stagnation or poorly tolerated mother’s milk in infants
- Lemons and limes are especially helpful for those who eat a high-fat, high-protein diet. They alleviate flatulence and indigestion.
- Umeboshi plums (sometimes called Japanese Alka-Seltzer): Take 1 plum or ½ teaspoon of umeboshi paste. Will cure most dyspepsia in 10 minutes.
- Carrots treat indigestion, excess stomach acid, and heartburn.
Foods to Avoid
- Poor food combinations
- Dairy products
- Poor-quality oils
- Spicy foods
- Fried foods
Herbs to Treat Dyspepsia
- Make an infusion of the following:
2 parts angelica
¼ part fennel seed
¼ part anise seed
¼ part ginger
Make an infusion of a teaspoon of herb to 1 cup of boiling water. Drink ½-cup four times daily between meals.
- According to Michael Tierra, author of Planetary Herbology, make an extract in any white wine using:
1 part dandelion root
1 part calamus root
1 part gentian
1 part angelica
1 part valerian
½ part gingerroot
Use 2 oz. of herbs to 1 pint of wine and let sit for two weeks. Take 1 tsp before and after meals.
- Bryonia: if your stomach feels heavy after eating and is sensitive to touch; moving makes you feel worse; or if your have bitter rising and may vomit
- Carbo vegetabilis: if even the plainest food causes gas and belching about ½ hour after eating; if any indulgence causes a headache; or if there is a craving for fresh air
- Chamomilla: if indulgence follows a fit of anger and irritability; if stomach is distended with gas and cramping; if your mouth has a bitter taste; if your checks are flushed; or of you have an aversion to warm drinks
- Ignatia: if you are intense and nervous and crave food that doesn’t agree with you; for rumbling in the bowel and sour belching; or for a tendency to take deep breaths or sigh frequently
- Nux vomica: for the hard-driven type who overindulges; for heartburn, belching, and bloating of the abdomen a few hours after eating; and for possible constipation
Congee is a simple rice soup that harmonies digestion. It is eaten throughout China as a breakfast food and is made by cooking rice with plenty of water. Different foods are added, which make them more therapeutic and more easily assimilated because of being cooked with the rice. Try the following combinations:
- Rice with carrot as a digestive aid
- Rice with fennel harmonizes the stomach and expels gas
- Rice with ginger for deficient, cold digestive weakness, vomiting, and indigestion
- Sweet rice for vomiting and indigestion