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Ayurveda Treatment for Heartburn, Acid Reflux and GERD

Updated: Apr 26

30% more people are experiencing GERD than a decade ago, according to the GI Society. 🌶️ If you're sounding hoarse and it's not a cold, it could be heartburn, acid reflux, or GERD. Vata and Pitta are trying to tell you something important. Are you listening? 👂🏼

Ayurveda Treatment for Heartburn, Acid Reflux and GERD image woman with digestive pain

Explore more on the Saumya Blog, selected top Ayurveda blogs and websites to watch.

Ayurveda Treatment for Heartburn, Acid Reflux and GERD

The three terms are often used interchangeably, but there are significant differences. According to Healthline, “Acid reflux is a common medical condition that can range in severity from mild to serious. Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) is the chronic, more severe form of acid reflux. Heartburn is a symptom of acid reflux and GERD.”

According to Ayurveda, what’s behind heartburn, acid reflux, and GERD is Pitta dosha, but first we’ll peel apart all three. Next, we’ll look at ways Ayurveda may help cool Pitta and ground Vata.


This mild to severely painful sensation felt is felt in the esophagus. The esophageal tissue is more delicate than the stomach which is designed to tolerate stomach acids. When stomach acids flow the wrong direction (Vata dosha at work here), the acid causes pain.

Acid is the Pitta aspect, and the wrong directional flow of the acid is Vata. So this is a dual dosha imbalance. According to Ayurveda, the more doshas that are involved, the more serious the condition may be.

True to Pitta’s characteristics, the sensation of heartburn is sharp, pressured and burning. Learn more about the The 3 Ayurvedic Doshas and Their Impact on Your Life.

According to Healthline, “Heartburn usually occurs after eating. Bending over or lying down can make it feel worse. Heartburn is quite common. It is estimated that more than 60 million Americans experience heartburn at least once a month. ….Your heartburn may be a symptom of a more severe problem like acid reflux or GERD.”

Acid Reflux

There’s a sphincter muscle (circular, think something like a rubber band) between the stomach and esophagus. It tightens as food passes to the stomach. Sometimes that muscle doesn’t do its job and stomach acid (Pitta) flows the wrong direction (Vata) back up into the esophagus.

Acid reflux can cause heartburn and other Pitta symptoms that include:

  • cough

  • sore throat, hoarse voice

  • bitter taste in the back of the throat

  • sour taste in the mouth

  • burning and pressure that can extend up the breastbone


Put simple, GERD, gastroesophageal reflux disease….is chronic acid reflux. According to Healthline, “It’s diagnosed when acid reflux occurs more than twice a week or causes inflammation in the esophagus. Long-term damage of the esophagus can lead to cancer. Acid from the stomach can damage the lining of the esophagus if GERD is left untreated. This can cause bleeding, ulcer, and scarring.”

Symptoms of GERD include:

According to Harvard Health, "Pain that feels like heartburn also can be a symptom of a heart attack. In fact, the classic symptom of both heartburn and heart disease is discomfort in the center of the chest....If you think you may be having a heart attack, go to the emergency room."

Now, let’s look at this through the magnified Pitta lens of Pitta, specifically Pachaka Pitta that resides in and governs the stomach and digestion. From an Ayurvedic perspective, these digestive conditions involve both Pitta (acid, heat) and Vata (movement upward, the wrong direction).

GERD treatment, acid reflux treatment, heartburn treatment--it all hurts and Pitta is screaming at us for healing. Let's take a closer look at one of the sub-doshas of Pitta, Pachaka Pitta, to expand our understanding of what's going on.

man with heartburn pain

Pachaka Pitta: Stomach & Digestion

Pachaka Pitta governs digestion from within the small intestine. In Ayurveda, digestion is considered the bedrock of our health. Plus, Pitta dosha is deeply associated with agni, our digestive fire. Thus, Pachaka Pitta has a profound influence on all other forms of Pitta.

Pachaka Pitta enables proper digestion and absorption of the foods that nourish our entire being. As Pachaka Pitta is a foundational subdosha, Pitta imbalances are often first observed as digestive issues.

There comes a day if Pachaka Pitta begins to aggravate, that we may notice, or not, a general sense of heat in our belly, we may pass it off as something we ate or drank. Left unchecked, Pitta dosha continues to aggravate in the lower stomach and small intestine, it may manifest as hyperacidity, or looser stools. Check out our article on Poo Analysis with Ayurveda: What Your Poop Says About Your Health to learn more.

You'll want to explore our popular article How to Cool Pitta and Reduce Body Heat with Ayurveda

Ayurveda Treatment for Heartburn, Acid Reflux and GERD image of stomach with acid

"If we still have not taken steps to care for aggravated Pitta dosha, it continues to burn. Clients often have one heated digestive issue and then another and if Pitta dosha overflows from it's home in the digestive tract, it travels into general circulation and may manifest as heat flashes, flushing, skin conditions. Depending on the individual, Pitta is not properly pacified, it will continue to spread to other parts of the body and mind and Pitta dosha will establish itself, here, there and in time, possibly everywhere.

Clients tell me, "I feel inflamed all over and the doctors can't find what's wrong. From Ayurveda's view, yes--clients know what they feel--they feel Pitta that has spread. They will start their consultation with a list of 6-12 chief concerns, all with one root-Pitta dosha. Seeing that so many health concerns come from one root, provides clients with immediate relief and hope. Read their stories and see how clients put out the wild fire of Pitta dosha" -Veena, Saumya Ayurveda

Thanks to modern dietary and lifestyle stressors, fiery Pitta dosha is prone to overheating – particularly in the summer months and during periods of stress. One of the most common symptoms of heated Pitta is Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), also known as heartburn or acid reflux.

If your sounding hoarse and it's not a cold, it might be GERD. According to Harvard Medical School,"...your lower esophageal sphincter. That's the muscle that controls the passage between the esophagus and stomach, and when it doesn't close completely, stomach acid and food flow back into the esophagus. The medical term for this process is gastroesophageal reflux; the backward flow of acid is called acid reflux.

Acid reflux can cause sore throats and hoarseness and may literally leave a bad taste in your mouth. When acid reflux produces chronic symptoms, it is known as gastroesophageal reflux disorder, or GERD. The most common symptom of GERD is heartburn—pain in the upper abdomen and chest."

Cooling Foods in Ayurveda to reduce Pitta, heat in your body and mind. 🪭 Learn how to eat and drink your way out of excess Pitta in this popular article.

digestive system diagram

Cooling Heated Pitta Dosha for Digestive Relief

Ayurveda Treatment for Heartburn, Acid Reflux and GERD may offer you relief.

If something you eat manifests with a fiery vengeance, you may be experiencing symptoms of GERD. Over 20% of Americans have heartburn at least once a week, and it’s not just uncomfortable – it can cause serious health issues if left untreated.

In Ayurveda, digestive issues like GERD are caused by an imbalance in Pitta dosha. To remedy these ailments, we must cool Pitta in the body.

Explore our personalized services and book your FREE discovery call today.

There’s Rarely Just One Symptom Of High Pitta

You may think heartburn, loose bowel movements, and migraines are unrelated ailments – but they stem from the same root cause, aggravated Pitta dosha. Ayurveda connects the dots, and allows us to see how digestive function manifests as a multitude of bothersome issues.

In general, GERD and other digestive symptoms of Pitta dosha - such as ulcerative colitis, Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), inflammation, migraines, eczema, liver concerns-- may be considered, in part, lifestyle ailments. Thus, our diet, herbal remedies, and lifestyle practices can provide relief.

How Do I Know If I Have a Dosha Imbalance?

Peruse these comprehensive and convenient lists of signs and symptoms of dosha imbalances:

As we are all comprised of Vata, Pitta, and Kapha, there can be an imbalance in any of the doshas, or a combination of dosha imbalances. Read all three lists and see if anything looks familiar.

woman drinking a coconut mango smootie

Food as Medicine for Pitta Dosha Digestion

Water helps soothe heated Pitta. Drinking plenty of warm or room temperature water. Water pacifies Pitta which can alleviate gastric issues such as heartburn, and loose bowel movements. Better yet is to drink herbalized tea specific to your constitution and needs. Avoid drinking coffee, soda, or alcohol – which can have the opposite effect. Learn more about food as medicine, click here.

Cooling foods to reduce Pitta, heat in your body and mind. Learn how to eat and drink your way out of excess Pitta. Food IS medicine. Enjoy this popular blog Cooling Foods in Ayurveda.

Ayurvedic Diet for Acid Reflux

Processed foods are harder to digest – and spicy or oily foods aggravate inflamed Pitta. Incorporate mild, cooling foods to decrease Pitta. Eat meals when you’re relaxed, at the same time every day, to help your digestive system find a healthy, relaxed rhythm.

Incorporate Our 2-Minute Meditation

"Healthy digestion begins in the mind. Before meals, is an ideal time to perform this meditation as it relaxes the mind, supports a healthy digestive process, and sets the stage for an eating meditation."

-Veena, Saumya Ayurveda

Weave awareness into your daily life at transition points throughout the day and night. In time, you'll develop the experience of meditation applied to daily life and increased energy, focus, and centeredness. Your life becomes meditation in action. 

Selected Best Ayurveda Recipe Blogs. Visit our online recipe box for more Pitta dosha cooling recipes. 

Ayurveda Treatment for Heartburn, Acid Reflux and GERD image of cooling herbs

Herbs for Pitta Dosha Digestion

Herbal remedies that reduce inflammation and balance digestion can soothe GERD, loose stools, IBS, and other symptoms of heated Pitta dosha.

  • Licorice and Neem: These extremely valuable gastroprotective herbs help regulate

  • Shatavari and Vidari: Both mucilaginous herbs, these help balance pitta dosha, soothe GERD symptoms, and improve gastric functioning.

As with all herbs, the tenet of Ayurveda is that what works well for one person may be incorrect for another. To know what herbs are correct for you, schedule a consultation with a seasoned Certified Ayurvedic Practitioner. (Herbs are listed for informational purposes only.)

Ayurveda Treatment for Heartburn, Acid Reflux and GERD image of woman doing yoga on a beach

Lifestyle for Pitta Dosha Digestion

"It's time we reclaim our calm." - Veena, Saumya Ayurveda

Our lifestyle habits affect how we feel mentally and physically – and how they digest food. Release pressure by taking moments of meditation throughout the day. Listen to this 2-minute guided meditation, or this 11-minute systemic relaxation meditation, twice a day as part of your morning and evening Ayurveda routine.

As Pitta dosha is ruled by fire and water, we can harness the latter to soothe the heat. Spend time by water (preferably flowing water) to tap into its cooling and nourishing properties. Even a few minutes will help.

"When it comes to our lifestyles, what we don’t do, is as important as what we do." -Veena

Give yourself a break, and don’t overdo it. Pitta can be intense and fiery – take time to breathe, rest, and cool down throughout your busy day. Also important, don’t take things too seriously. Humor and laughter can keep us from getting stressed or hot-headed, so queue up the funny cat videos.

Harvard Medical School suggests 9 ways to relieve acid reflux without medication that include several tips consistent with the ancient wisdom of Ayurveda such as: eating mindfully and only until 3/4 full, avoid incompatible foods, avoid exercise after eating instead favor a walk, and loose weight (Kapha) if indicated.

In another article by Harvard Medical School, Proton-pump inhibitors: Should I still be taking this medication? "New guidelines by the American Gastroenterological Association have highlighted the need to address appropriate PPI usage, and they recommend that PPIs should be taken at the lowest dose and shortest duration for the condition being treated."

1, 2, 3

There is a saying, "The mind is more in the body, than the body is in the mind." The Saumya 3 step meditation process shifts us from fight-flight-freeze mode, to rest-restore-relax mode. Give it a try for forty days and observe the changes. The more grounded and relaxed we are, the smoother life flows.

"The breath is the connection between the mind and body, so by training the breath, we become calm, focused, and grounded, we slow down the aging process by decreasing stress. These practices are so simple and easy to have as part of our daily life. We actually feel and look younger."

- Veena, Saumya Ayurveda

1. Learn Diaphragmatic Breathing and Change Your Life. When we re-learn to breath diaphragmatically, we move from the flight-fight-freeze mode, to rest, restore, relaxation mode from where we want and need to live.

2. Daily Guided Practices: 11 minutes in the morning and in the evening, as anchors of your daily Ayurveda routine.

"Choose a couple of practices from the routines that provide you with the greatest support. Perform them while applying our two minute meditation technique and your mundane tasks, just transformed into a mellifluous meditation. This is meditation applied to daily life." - Veena, Saumya Ayurveda


"Veena was able to help me regain my energy in just a few months and I’m feeling like my “young” self again! I love the food plan she designed for me, and all the supporting practices (am/pm routines, breathing techniques, herbs, and spice mixes) are so enjoyable to incorporate into my day. I highly recommend Saumya Ayurveda if you want to feel better and have more vitality.”

-Molly Rossini, Minnesota

smiling man

“I have seen Veena at Saumya Ayurveda for several years--in fact, my family sees her. She has helped me with blood pressure, cholesterol management as well as helping me reduce overall inflammation. I sleep better, my stress has reduced, and my energy has improved. During a period of high stress, I was waking with a racing heart and Veena's herbal and lifestyle recommendations reversed it.

I recommend Veena--she will stick by your side and be there when you need her. She is responsive, comprehensive and effective."

-Bryan Stenlund, Licensed Psychologist, Grand Rapids, Minnesota


“Veena has been great. I suffered with burning mouth syndrome for many years. Doctors and dentists had no idea what I was even talking about, much less solutions. Veena knew immediately. Within in a few weeks of using the herbs and protocols she recommended, I am not experiencing any of the symptoms I did previously. My thinking is clearer, I am nearly free from hot flashes, and I feel more like myself.

Everything has been easy to incorporate into my life, which is the best part. This feels sustainable. I highly recommend working with Veena.” – Liz Pfeffer, Albuquerque, New Mexico


“I was inflamed. I had trouble keeping weight on, I was diagnosed with incurable ulcerative proctitus, my energy was very low, and I was taking medications daily for a skin condition, and I had severe migraines.

Following Veena’s guidance, all these conditions have been nearly eliminated! The incurable ulcerative proctitus was given a Mayo Clinic Score of 0, normal or inactive disease.

I’m very grateful to Veena for the wonderful results and the healthier quality of life we have attained together. Without reservation, I highly recommend Veena at Saumya Ayurveda.”

---Christopher Schirber, Yoga Teacher, USA

Get To The Root Naturally with Saumya Ayurveda

If you’re suffering from gastric issues or other heated issues, Saumya Ayurveda can help you find relief. We’ll help develop a personalized approach to alleviate digestive symptoms of pitta dosha and restore balance and vitality to your life. Book a free consultation today.

Explore More Pitta Resources:

Ayurveda Treatment for Heartburn, Acid Reflux and GERD image antique map and compass

Discover the Saumya Ayurveda Way

When we gain clarity about what to eat, we can cook and eat with confidence knowing we are turning our food into medicine and with Saumya Ayurveda, you'll know what to do. As Julia Childs put it, "This is my invariable advice to people: Learn how to cook—try new recipes, learn from your mistakes, be fearless and above all have fun."

We all want to be heard, understood, and cared for as whole beings, not a set of isolated symptoms. True health is more than the absence of disease, which is why Western medicine so often leaves us feeling hopeless and unseen.

Deep down, you already know what you’re searching for: a new framework for living – one that brings your entire being back into balance. With Saumya Ayurveda, you’ll receive individualized guidance to create the physically, mentally, and spiritually vibrant life you crave.

Saumya Ayurveda provides concierge, top-notch, award-winning Ayurveda care. We strive to keep it simple, so you can focus on you! Opt for virtual consultations and we'll come to you.

Our practice model is client focused, we’re not in the retail herb business. We’ll guide you where to order herbs directly online. Our top-shelf Ayurveda oils and herbalized ghees are the best in the land and we’ll ship your care package right to your doorstep.

Our effective multi-appointment consultation packages provide you with experienced Ayurveda care, enthusiastic guidance, and inspiring support.

Explore our personalized services and book your FREE discovery call today. Psst! Our clients say it best – so read and watch our client's stories

Ayurveda Treatment for Heartburn, Acid Reflux and GERD image Veena at Saumya Ayurveda

Veena is a Certified Ayurvedic Practitioner and meditation teacher, and monk.

She is President Emeritus and teaching faculty of the Meditation Center.

Veena fell in love with the traditional medicine used in her family’s home, learning herbal remedies at her grandmother's knee.

These childhood experiences were the seeds of a lifelong passion. For over 30 years, Veena has dedicated her life to the world’s oldest healing system: Ayurveda.

She draws on this ancient wisdom to help others find their compass to a healthy life – and support those left wanting by Western medicine.

An experienced Certified Ayurvedic Practitioner, Veena’s deep, intuitive knowledge of Ayurveda empowers her clients to reclaim their fullest, most vibrant lives –mentally, physically, and spiritually. Veena individualizes treatment plans to each person, rather than offering a one-size-fits-all approach, so it fits your life and becomes woven in your lifestyle, naturally.

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