By Dr Mithun Baliga

DISCLAIMER_ All information in this blog is for knowledge purpose only sourced from ancient Ayurvedic texts. Ayurveda is NOT allowed to treat, cure or prevent any disease.

i Diarrhoea (Atisara): Increased or excessive bowel movement. Usually elimination is under the control of Apana vayu. So abnormalities in apana vayu can cause atisara. But vitiation of pitta as well as kapha can also cause pitta type or kapha type atisara. Accordingly the agni could be a tikshana agni (pitta) or mandagni(kapha)

ii Constipation (Vibandha): This is a condition where bowel movements occur less often with harder, drier more difficult to pass stools, often causing painful defecation. In the long term this can lead to cracking and fissures around the anus as well as bleeding while straining and development of hemorrhoids.

According to Ayurveda, the movement of food in the GI tract is controlled by samana vata as well as apana vata. When these are disturbed, the food stays longer in the GI tract causing more water to be reabsorbed, drying out the waste matter. 

Ayurvedic Support :

changing diet: avoid dry, rough, uncooked foods and include cooked warm, soft foods like soups, legumes, sweet cooked fruits and vegetables, herbal teas

proper exercise 

internal oleation by increasing foods like ghee in the diet

herbs like triphala, castor etc


iii Indigestion (Ajirna): This is caused by incomplete or improper digestion of food due to disturbed agni. Symptoms are abdominal pain, bloating, vomiting, anorexia headache and fatigue. Agni is variable agni or can also be mandagni. Common herbs used are cumin, fennel, coriander


iv Gas, Stomach Cramps Flatulence: This is cause by excessive gas production in the GI tract. The doshas usually affected is vata dosha. Air mahabhuta is in excess. Agni could also be manda. Reduction of air element in the cooking process by cooking the raw foods is one step. Also adding herbs like cumin 

vi GERD: This includes excessive acid secretion in the stomach and reflux of stomach contents into the lower part of the esophagus. It presents as burning sensation in the epigastric region with or without burning in the chest. A sour taste can also be felt in the back of the throat if the acid reaches that high up. This is usually a pitta disorder with tikshana agni. The mahabhuta involved is fire. The cikitsa includes a pitta pacifying diet along with cooling herbs like mint, coriander leaves, rose water, coconut etc

vii Ulcerative Colitis: This is an inflammatory condition involving mainly the colon with diarrhea with blood, abdominal pain, fever etc. The dosha aggravated here is pitta. It is also called pittaatisara. The fire mahabhuta is involved. Support includes a pitta pacifying protocol in terms of ahara and vihara. Cooling foods like rose, coconut water should be included and pungent, sour, salty and fermented foods should be avoided. Various herbs and herbal enemas are also used. 

vii Mild Lactose Intolerance: This is a condition where some individuals are unable to fully digest the lactose in dairy products. According to Ayurveda, the problem with food intolerances in more to do with our defective digestive process rather than with the food. Here with time the food (in this case milk) is not produced or handled the same way as it was in the past. So some of the irritation can also be coming from the extremely processed and unethical production practices. 

Poor agni is the general cause for improper digestion. Also consuming milk cold or with wrong food combinations like with fruit, vegetables can also contribute. Stimulating agni and consuming milk warm with spices such as ginger, turmeric, cinnamon, black pepper.

Also consuming plain yogurt or buttermilk/takra is an alternative to milk. Adding spices to the takra will help improve digestion of the lactose in it.

viii Mild Gluten Intolerance: Again, as in the case of lactose intolerance, gluten intolerance can be attributed to the body’s poor digestive capacity and wrongful processing and usage of wheat. Modified wheat and wheat with yeast and additive aggravate the mucosa and cause intolerance. Also poor jatharagni leads to poorly digested wheat resulting in sticky ama that clogs the channels. This also leads to derangement of “cellular intelligence” causing further dysregulation.

Consuming whole wheat that is unleavened, and eating it at noon time when the agni is strongest help improve the chances of digestion. Wheat by itself is hard to digest, so it is better to avoid eating it in combination with heavy items like cheese, meat etc which add to the “heaviness”. Also it is advisable to eat wheat seasonally whenever the agni is strongest, example in winter months. 

Both wheat and milk were considered to be wholesome, healthy and nourishing foods according to Ayurveda. But by consuming them in a less processed setting and with proper attention to how and when we are eating them, mild intolerances can be managed.

x The GI Tract (Annavaha Srotas) in Ayurveda: Stomach and channels carrying food in the body are called Annavaha Strotas in Ayurveda. They are responsible for carrying absorbed products of digestion to their respective locations mainly from intestines to liver. It corresponds to the GI tract in western medicine.