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Dyspepsia is a word of Greek origin meaning indigestion or difficulty in digestion. It is a common ailment and results from dietetic errors.
Abdominal pain, a feeling of undue fullness after eating, heartburn, loss of appetite, nausea or vomiting, and flatulence or gas are the usual symptoms of dyspepsia. Vomiting usually provides relief. What is vomited is intensely sour to the taste. Other symptoms are a foul taste in the mouth, coated tongue, and foul breath. At times a sensation of strangling in the throat is experienced. In most cases of indigestion, the patient suffers from constipation.
The main causes of dyspepsia are overeating, eating wrong food combinations, eating too rapidly, and neglecting proper mastication and salivation of food. Overeating makes the work of the stomach, liver, kidneys, and bowels harder. When the food putrefies, its poisons are absorbed into the blood and, consequently, the whole system is poisoned. Certain foods, especially if they are not properly cooked, cause dyspepsia. Other causes are intake of fried food, rich. and spicy foods; excessive smoking; intake of alcohol; constipation; habit of eating and drinking together; insomnia; emotions such as jealousy, fear, and anger; and lack of exercise.
The use of fruits in general is beneficial in the treatment of dyspepsia. They flush out the undigested food residue and accumulated faeces, and re-establish health to perfect order. The best fruit for the treatment of dyspepsia is lemon. Its juice reaches the stomach and attacks the bacteria, inhibiting the formation of acids. Lemon juice removes indigestion by dislodging this acid and other harmful substances from the stomach, thereby strengthening and promoting a healthy appetite. The juice of one lemon, diluted with water, can be taken twice daily before each principal meal.
The use of grapes is another effective remedy for dyspepsia. This fruit is a light food and removes indigestion and irritation of the stomach in a short time. About 250 gm can be taken daily.
Another fruit useful in dyspepsia is pineapple. It acts as a tonic and relieves much of the digestive disorders of the dyspeptics. Half a glass of pineapple juice should be taken after one meal in treating this condition.
One tablespoon of pomegranate juice, mixed with a tablespoon of honey, is valuable in indigestion accompanied by giddiness. This dose may be taken twice daily. The seeds of this fruit act as a stomach tonic when mixed with a little rock salt and black pepper powder.
Carrots are valuable in dyspepsia. Chewing of this vegetable increases saliva and quickens digestion by supplying the necessary enzymes, minerals, and vitamins. Half a glass of carrot juice, diluted with an equal quantity of water, can be taken once daily to treat this disorder.
Fenugreek leaves are beneficial in dyspepsia. About fifty grams of leaves, boiled and fried in butter, are valuable in allaying biliousness. The seeds can also be used beneficially in the treatment of dyspepsia.
Mint is also very useful in correcting dyspepsia because of its digestive properties. Mint juice is a good appetiser. One teaspoon of mint juice, mixed with an equal amount of honey and lemon juice, forms a very effective remedy for indigestion and gaseous distension of the stomach.
A very simple remedy for indigestion is a glass of thin buttermilk mixed with a quarter teaspoon of pepper powder. For better results an equal quantity of cumin powder may be added to the buttermilk.
The use of aniseed is also beneficial in the treatment of indigestion. An infusion can be prepared by mixing a teaspoon of aniseed in a cup of boiling water and leaving it covered overnight The clear fluid can then be decanted and taken with honey.
The best way to commence treatment is to adopt an all-fruit diet for five days. The patient may, thereafter, gradually embark upon a well-balanced diet, consisting of fresh fruits, raw and steamed vegetables, seeds, nuts, and whole grains.
The patients suffering from indigestion must always follow certain rules regarding eating. These include not eating and drinking together; never to hurry through a meal; never to eat on a full stomach; never to sit down to a meal when worried, tired, excited, or in a bad temper; and not to eat if an appetite is lacking.