Ayurveda Q & A PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Dr. Parla Jayagopal   

Dr. Parla Jayagopal
Dr. Parla Jayagopal
Ayurveda has been practiced in the US for only about 30 years, yet it is one of the systems of medicine native to India and is thousands of years old. Readers are invited to submit questions for “Ayurveda Q & A” to This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

Q: I have suffered the past couple years with acid reflux. I have been in and out of doctors’ offices and have tried many natural and prescription remedies. Currently, my doctor has prescribed me Nexium, but since I am in my twenties, I would rather not be on prescription medicine and instead incorporate alternative Ayurvedic practices and holistic medicine to remedy my acid reflux. What would you recommend I do or use to alleviate my situation?

A: Ayurveda considers acid reflux as an outcome of abnormal function of pitta dosha (the fire element) in conjunction with vata dosha (the air and ether/space elements). The pitta and vata doshas get provoked or thrown out of balance by the following circumstances:

  • Diet with tastes that are predominantly sour, salty and pungent (hot and spicy).
  • Fried, oily and roasted foods.
  • Excessive consumption of hot, irritating foods and substances including tomato ketchup/sauce, mustrad, vinegar, coffee and other similar substances.
  • Irregular eating habits, especially missing lunch and overeating.
  • Stimulants such as tobacco and alcohol.
  • Spicy greens such as mustard greens
  • Excess consumption of dry foods like chips, crackers and aslo seeds and nuts that are raw and oily
  • Raw tomatoes, raw onions or raw garlic.
  • Sour cream, yogurt and smoothies with milk and fruits.

In addition, our state of mind plays an important role in our health and well-being, particularly the health of our digestion. The pitta and vata doshas also become aggravated when we are:

  • Angry and agitated.
  • Constantly thinking and worried.
  • Feeling jealousy and hatred.
  • Overly busy and experiencing unrelenting stress.

With these most common causative factors being identified, the first and the foremost thing Ayurveda recommends is to avoid the causative factors. This is known in Sanskrit as nidaana parivarjana.

In addition, drinking two cups of room temperature or hot water on an empty stomach

in the morning helps to regularize the function of vata dosha and normalize the peristaltic movements or muscular contractions
of the digestive track.

In order to cool fiery pitta dosha, one of the following liquids can be rotated on a daily basis:

  • Aloe Vera juice, 1/4 cup plus 1/2 tsp of cardamom powder any time after noon.
  • One tablespoon coriander powder soaked in 14 ounces of water for an hour or more before straining. Take this any time in the morning.
  • Coconut water, 1 cup plus 1/2 teaspoon of cardamom powder taken at noon time.
  • Herbal Tea. An herbal tea that can be sipped with food (lunch and dinner) that is greatly beneficial is the following.

One teaspoon each of:

  • shatapushpa (Anethum sowa)
  • yavani (Carum copticum)
  • coriander (Coriandrum sativum)
  • fennel (Foeniculum vulgare)
  • and 1/2 teaspoon of turmeric (Curcuma longa) with 14 ounces
    hot water.

Sheetali pranayama that calms the mind and helps to reduce agitation will be very beneficial if done for six minutes morning and evening before food. Breathing involves abdomen rather than chest. To practice sheetali pranayama, fold the tongue into a tube between the lips and breathe in through the tongue slowly and extend the breath to abdomen. Gently pause for five seconds while the tongue is relaxed in the mouth and touching the upper palate. Then breathe out slowly through the nose. If you are not able to fold your tongue then suck the air through the teeth with the mouth slightly open; you can also purse your lips and breathe in trough pursed lips.

Begin with five to eight rounds of moon salutations. A sequence of moon salutations involves: pranamasana, hasta uttanasana (also known as tadasana), padahastanasana, ashwa sanchalanasana, hanumanasana, shashankasana, ashwa sanchalanasana, hanumanasana, bhujangasana, shashankasana, vajrasana, utkatasana and pranamasana.

Then hold poses like: pavan muktasana (wind release pose), vajrasana (thunderbolt pose), bidalasana (cat pose), adho mukha shwanasana (downward-facing dog), and shavasana (corpse, or relaxation pose) and simhasana (lion pose).

Compound Herbal Combinations

  • Triphala capsules three at night with hot water just before bed.
  • Avipattikar powder one teaspoon with warm water just before bed.

Please continue with the prescription medication and when the symptoms become mild, talk to your primary healthcare provider and gradually taper the dose as recommended.

Q: I am a woman in my thirties who practices Yoga often. I am very flexible and I recently broke a bone in my wrist in side plank. I’m trying to go easy in my practice so that it will have time to heal. Are there any Ayurvedic suggestions to help support the healing process in my wrist?

A: Please keep your wrist immobilized for at least four weeks do not strain or bear any weight on it. Rest is essential for healing. Take additional calming precautions to prevent aggravation of vata dosha (air/ether elements).

Whole wheat, spelt, millet and barley can help promote bone healing.

Broth from chicken and turkey will be beneficial if you eat animal products.

Make a drink with 1/2 cup almonds soaked in water then peeled with 1/4 cup black sesame seeds blended with 3/4 cup cow milk or almond milk or water (if you are vegan or lactose intolerant), spiced with ginger powder and a little maple syrup. This is a good beverage to support healing and can be used once a day.

Mix 3/4 cup each of sesame oil and castor oil and heat to 100 C. When it cools, store the oil combination in a glass container. Soak a piece of cotton or wool gauze or a cotton pad in the oil and keep on the fracture area, do not massage or press. Just allow the area to soak in the compress for thirty minutes.

Herbs like punarnava (Boerhavia diffusa), guggulu (Commiphora mucul) and ashtinsaghar (Cissus quadrangularis) can be beneficial if taken under a supervision of an Ayurvedic practitioner.

Dr. Parla Jayagopal has an M.D. degree in Ayurveda from India and works as an Associate Professor at American University of Complementary Medicine; he teaches clinical doctorate courses and schedules consultations at the university clinic in Beverly Hills. Dr. Jay also serves on the Board of Directors of the California Association of Ayurvedic Medicine (CAAM). Reach him at (310) 550 - 7445. Visit: aucm.org or ayurveda-caam.org for more information.

The information provided here is for educational purposes only and should not be a substitute for medical care. These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Before using any Ayurvedic remedies, consult with a qualified Ayurvedic practitioner or healthcare provider. It is important to rule out serious conditions when appropriate. This article represents the opinion and recommendation of the author and does not necessarily reflect the views of LA YOGA Ayurveda and Health magazine.

Dr. Parla Jayagopal’s teacher, Dr. U.K. Krishna will be teaching a one-day seminar cosponsored by the California Association of Ayurvedic Medicine and the American University of Complementary Medicine on Sunday, April 11 on Metabolic Disorders and Ayurvedic Nutrition and Supplements. For more information call: (310) 550 - 7445 x 201.

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