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Stomach pain, called udara shula in Ayurveda, is a clinical symptom that may occur due to various udara roga (stomach diseases). Diminished digestive power and indigestion for a long period of time can lead to the distention of abdomen and, thus, stomach pain.

Ayurvedic procedures used for the management of stomach pain are tapa (fomentation), vamana (medical emesis) and virechana (purgation). Herbs and medicines that are commonly prescribed by an Ayurvedic physician to manage udara shula are tila (sesame), madana (emetic nut), agni-prabhava rasa, mandura lauha, kshara vati, pralayanala rasa, agnimukha rasa and gaganasuryadi rasa.

  1. Ayurvedic view of stomach pain
  2. Ayurvedic treatment for stomach pain
  3. Ayurvedic herbs and medicines for stomach pain
  4. Dietary and lifestyle changes for stomach pain patient as per ayurveda
  5. How effective are ayurvedic medicines and treatments for stomach pain
  6. Side effects and risks of ayurvedic medicine and treatments for stomach pain
  7. Takeaway
Doctors for Ayurvedic medicine, treatment and remedies for Stomach Pain

Stomach pain is most commonly caused due to gastrointestinal diseases affecting the stomach liver, intestines or any abdominal organ. As per Ayurveda, there are eight different types of stomach pain, which are differentiated on the basis of the dosha involved. Stomach pain may be caused due to:

  • Vitiated vata
  • Vitiated pitta
  • Vitiated kapha
  • Vitiation of vata combined with pitta
  • Vitiation of vata combined with kapha
  • Vitiation of pitta combined with kapha
  • Vitiation of all three doshas
  • Ama (toxins) or undigested part of the chyle

Stomach pain that is experienced during the digestion of food is called parinama shula (pain caused due to duodenal ulcers). Stomach pain irrespective of the food consumed and regardless of the stomach being empty or full is called annadrava shula. Annadrava shula cannot be pacified or treated by controlling and managing the diet.

Various other diseases can also cause stomach pain, e.g., grahani roga (irritable bowel syndrome).

  • Virechana
    • Virechana involves the use of herbs and combination medicines to induce purgation. The cleansing effects of these herbs help in evacuation of the bowel. Herbs that are commonly used for purgation are aloe, senna and rhubarb.
    • It leads to the cleansing of ama from the body and balancing of the vitiated doshas that are responsible for causing diseases.
    • Virechana gives a feeling of lightness in the body and calms the mind. It reduces flatulence and improves digestion. Therefore, it can be used in the management of stomach diseases and stomach pain.
    • Rice and lentil soup are recommended as a restorative therapy after virechana.
  • Vamana
    • Vamana involves the use of herbs to induce vomiting. It is performed to cleanse the stomach and eliminate ama from the body. It also aids in removing mucus from naadis (channels) and chest.
    • Two types of herbs are used in vamana. Herbs like kutaja (kurchi) and vacha (calamus) that induce vomiting, and herbs like amalaki (Indian gooseberry), neem and pippali (long pepper) that enhance the effects of vomit-inducing herbs.
    • Vamana is useful in the management of indigestion, gastroenteritis, acute fever, nasal discharge, chronic cold, cough and asthma.
    • It is recommended to take adequate rest after vamana therapy and consume light food in liquid form to restore balance.
  • Tapa
    • Tapa is a type of swedana (sudation or sweat therapy) wherein a heated cloth, metal object or warm hands are placed on the affected areas to induce sweating.
    • This procedure is useful in liquefying and removing toxins from the body and improving digestion. The liquified toxin moves to the digestive tract, from where it is eliminated using purification procedures like vamana and virechana.
    • It is the best therapy for vata and kapha doshas as it helps in restoring and maintaining balance in these doshas.

Ayurvedic herbs for stomach pain

  • Tila (sesame)
    • It acts on the reproductive, excretory, respiratory and urinary systems and has emollient (soothes tissue), nourishing, demulcent  (relieves inflammation in body tissues) and rejuvenating properties.
    • It can be used both internally and externally and is effective in treating numerous diseases like cough, constipation, ulcers, burns and scalds. Externally, it can be used in the management of diseases that are caused due to the vitiation of vata dosha.
    • Sesame seeds are pestled with water and heated for some time until it forms a lump. This lump is then rolled on to the painful area on the abdomen to provide relief.
    • It can be used in the form of a decoction, paste, poultice, powder or medicated oil.
  • Madana
    • Various parts of the madana plant are used for their therapeutic properties. The bark induces sleep and calms the nervous system, and madana fruit and rind are used as an emetic (induce vomiting). diaphoretic (inducing sweating) and antispasmodic. The spasm-relieving effects of madana are used in treating stomach pain.
    • Madana fruit is pestled with kanji and used to treat udara shula by applying it on the navel area.

Ayurvedic medicines for stomach pain

  • Agni-prabhava rasa
    • Agni-prabhava rasa consists of mercury, sulphur, aconite, oyster shells, hansapadi (walking fern) and ginger. This rasa is available in the form of a powder, which is to be taken with honey.
    • It improves digestion and treats all types of fevers, anaemia with swelling, diseases due to aggravated kapha, enlargement of the spleen, gulma (gynaecological and gastrointestinal vata diseases), rakta-gulma (gulma affecting the rakta dhatu), abdominal diseases and pain affecting any part of the body.
    • It helps in the treatment and management of stomach diseases, which are the major underlying cause for stomach pain.
  • Mandura lauha
    • Mandura is classified under the metals category, and it is chemically known as iron oxide.
    • Mandura lauha consists of incinerated mandura, a decoction of barley, juice of shatavari (hundred roots), juice of amalaki, curd, milk, juice of bhumi-kushmanda, ghrita (clarified butter), juice of sugarcane, katuki (kutki), gajapippali (oriental cashew), yashtimadhu (mulethi), rasna (Indian camphorweed), ashwagandha (Indian ginseng), haritaki (chebulic myrobalan), iron, mica, trikatu (a combination of the three acrids – pippali [long pepper], shunthi [dried ginger] and maricha [black pepper]), sandalwood, musta (nutgrass), nirgundi (five-leaved chaste tree), triphala (a combination of amalaki [Indian gooseberry], vibhitaki [belleric myrobalan], and haritaki [chebulic myrobalan]), talisha (Himalayan siver) and nagakesara (Indian rose chestnut).
    • Every dose of mandura lauha is divided into three parts and taken in the beginning, middle and the end of the meal. Consumption of milk is recommended after taking this medicine.
    • It is used in the management of all types of pain including stomach pain.
  • Kshara vati
    • Kshara vati consists of aconite, mica, conch-shell, tamarind, copper, trikatu, tulsi (holy basil), bhringraj (bhangra), ginger and matulunga (wild lemon). It is generally taken with honey.
    • This medicine is used in the management of numerous diseases like piles, aversion to food and dullness of the digestive fire. It is effective in treating stomach pain, grahani and pain due to gulma.
  • Pralayanala rasa
    • Pralayanala rasa consists of several ingredients including pippali, maricha, shunthi, shuddha parad (purified mercury), rakta arka (rubber bush), nirgundi, jayanti, kakmachi (black nightshade), fennel and jamani (wild black plum).
    • It should be taken with hot water and is useful in the management of anaemia, piles, asthma, cough, fever, stomach diseases, grahani, gulma, all types of pain, irregular digestion (caused due to sudden rise or fall in the intensity of digestive fire) and diseases due to aggravated vata and kapha dosha.
  • Agnimukha rasa
    • Agnimukha rasa consists of various ingredients like aconite, triphala, kupeelu (nux vomica), bhanga (hemp), vasa (Malabar nut), haritaki, dhatura (devil’s snare) and betel leaves.
    • It is useful in curing pain at any site caused due to the vitiation of vata dosha.
  • Gaganasuryadi rasa
    • Gaganasuryadi rasa is prepared from vidanga (false black pepper), triphala, chitraka (leadwort), trikatu, and several other ingredients. It is generally taken with honey, clarified butter or liquor.
    • It is recommended to take milk after this medication.
    • It is useful in the treatment of pain in the heart and the sides of the chest. It is also effective in many other types of pain like rheumatism, headache, pain due to gulma, abdominal pain due to enlargement of the spleen and liver. It can also be used in the management of asthma, cough, leprosy, cholera and dullness of the digestive fire.
  • Kalingadi churna
    • Kalingadi churna consists of six ingredients – hingu (asafoetida), haritaki, vacha, kutaja, ativisha (Indian ateech) and sauvarchala lavana (black salt).
    • It is useful in the management of numerous conditions and their associated symptoms like irritable bowel syndrome with stomach pain, diarrhoea, constipation, etc.

As treatments vary according to multiple factors and an individual’s prakriti (constitution) consult a qualified Ayurvedic doctor for the appropriate medications and treatments for your specific complaints.

Do’s

  • Include barley and hot milk in your diet.
  • Include boiled old shali rice in your diet that is no more than three years old.
  • Add soup prepared from wild animals in your diet.
  • Consume fruits and vegetables like patola (pointed gourd), brinjals, sweet and ripe mangoes, peala fruits, citrus fruits, grapes, and kapittha (wood apple).
  • Include lime juice, dried ginger, garlic, clove, vira salt and asafoetida in your diet.

Don’ts

  • Do not take meals at irregular intervals and in irregular quantities.
  • Do not suppress natural urges like urination, defecation, etc.
  • Do not consume cold, bitter and astringent food items.
  • Avoid eating heavy meals.
  • Avoid drinking wine and eating an excess amount of salt.
  • Avoid excessive physical exercise and sexual intercourse.

In a clinical study, 66 individuals with grahani roga were divided into three groups. Group A was treated with kalingadi vati, which was prepared using kalingadi churna, group B was treated using tryushanadi ghrita, and group C was treated using a combination of both kalingadi vati and tryushanadi ghrita. These participants were in the age group of 16 to 60 years and were battling symptoms like diarrhoea, loss of taste, aversion to food and stomach pain. All three groups were found to have a significant improvement in the symptoms within 14 days. This indicates the effectiveness of tryushanadi ghrita, kalingadi vati and their combination in the treatment of grahani roga, which has stomach pain as one of its major symptoms.

Although Ayurveda is an ancient practice that is considered very safe, some herbs and medicines may cause side effects if not used in the right manner. Ayurvedic treatment procedures should be conducted under the guidance of experienced Ayurvedic personnel. All herbs and medicines should be used with caution, considering individuals traits and doshas. The following precautions should be taken when undergoing Ayurvedic treatment for stomach pain. ​​

  • Virechana should not be done in individuals with rectal ulcers and diarrhoea and should also be avoided in very young and elderly individuals, during pregnancy and weakness.
  • Vamana is not recommended in pregnant women, children, elderly, and in individuals with high blood pressure and heart problems.
  • Tila is not recommended in obese individuals and individuals with high pitta.
  •  Kalingadi churna should not be used in individuals with acute diarrhoea, intestinal tuberculosis, ulcerative colitis, gastric and peptic ulcers, hypertension and uncontrolled diabetes.

Stomach pain is the most prevalent symptom experienced in a wide range of mild-to-severe diseases. Although it is most commonly treated using pain-relieving drugs, Ayurveda identifies and treats the underlying condition. The herbs, medicines and treatments used in Ayurveda help in eliminating ama and balancing doshas, which are responsible for most diseases. Since Ayurveda focuses on uprooting the cause, the relapse of the diseases is very rare.

Dr. Gurpreet Virmani

Dr. Gurpreet Virmani

Ayurveda
1 Years of Experience

Dr. Shradha Chaubey

Dr. Shradha Chaubey

Ayurveda
4 Years of Experience

Dr. Sunil Kilaniya

Dr. Sunil Kilaniya

Ayurveda
3 Years of Experience

Dr. Tanushri Yeole

Dr. Tanushri Yeole

Ayurveda

References

  1. National Institute of Indian Medical Heritage (NIIMH). Udara-Roga. Central Council for Research in Ayurvedic Sciences (CCRAS); Ministry of AYUSH, Government of India.
  2. Bhudeb Mookerjee. Chapter 10 - Symptoms and treatment of Shula (pain in the belly). Rasa Jala Nidhi, vol 5: Treatment of various afflictions, Wisdom Library [Internet].
  3. Dr.Mallikarjun, Dr Channabasavanna B M, Dr M Srinivasulu. A Clinical Study On Takra Basti In The Management Of Grahani W.S.R To I.B.S. Paryeshana International Journal of Ayurvedic Research, Volume-II Issue –II/Nov-Dec-2017.
  4. M. M. Pandey, Subha Rastogi, A. K. S. Rawat. Indian Traditional Ayurvedic System of Medicine and Nutritional Supplementation. Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine Volume 2013, Article ID 376327, 12 pages.
  5. Rasashastra, Bhaishajya Kalpana. A Systematic Review on Mandura (Iron oxide). International Journal of Ayurveda and Pharmaceutical Chemistry, 2018 Vol. 9 Issue 2.
  6. Alpesh P Sorathiya, SN Vyas, P.S.N Bhat. A clinical study on the role of ama in relation to Grahani Roga and its management by Kalingadi Ghanavati and Tryushnadi Ghrita. An International Quarterly Journal of Research in Ayurveda, Year : 2010. Volume : 31. Issue :4 Page : 451-455.
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