Vilwadi Lehyam: Carminative, Digestant, Anti-emetic.
Reference Text: (Ashtangahridayam)
About Vilwadi Lehyam
Kerala Ayurveda's Vilwadi Lehyam is an ayurvedic medicine for gas and is also beneficial in the treatment of bowel and digestion related health issues. It is named after its main ingredient Vilwamula (Aegle Marmelos) also known as Bael Root which is a herb especially known for its antiemetic properties and benefits for stomach related issues like constipation, peptic ulcers, intestinal worms infestation and vomiting and nausea.
Due to the bitter ingredients of this formulation, a lehyam is prepared using the ingredients which result in a medicated jam.
This formulation has carminative properties and is also useful in aiding in the treatment of stomach related problems like:
- Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)
- Low digestive power
- Crohn's disease
- Passing of mucus with stool
- Abdominal tumour
Vilwadi Lehyam increases the digestion power by increasing the digestive fire and also eliminating ama (toxins) accumulation from the body. It is also effective in relieving constipation and piles and symptoms of indigestion such as bloating, flatulence, abdominal pain, loss of appetite, excessive salivation, nausea and vomiting. Due to its main ingredient Bael root / Vilwa, it has antiemetic properties so it helps in the elimination of intestinal worms and bacteria.
Vilwadi Lehyam Ingredients
- Vilwa/Bael (Aegle marmelos)
- Guda (Jaggery)
- Ginger (Zingiber Officinale)
- Shehad (Honey)
- Maricha (Piper Nigrum)
- Chavya (Piper Cebuba)
- Kesara (Crocus Sativa)
- Pippali (Piper Longum)
- Chitraka (Plumbago Zeylanica)
- Pippalimula (Piper Longum)
- Jeeraka (Cuminum Cyminum)
- Karpura (Cinnamomum Caphora)
- Cinnamomum Tamala (patra)
- Cinnamomum Zeylanicum (dalchini)
- Elettaria Cardamomum (chotti ilaichi)
Stomach and Digestion: An Overview
Most people experience stomach related issues at one time or another. Stomach issues and digestive complaints such as constipation, diarrhoea, heartburn, and bloating are very common and usually treatable with lifestyle measures. The discomfort one experiences with digestion or stomach related problems is sometimes associated with other symptoms like nausea, vomiting, and excessive gas.
The stomach is an organ between the esophagus and the small intestine. It is where the digestion of protein begins. The stomach is its own unique organ but often the pain may be related to the gastrointestinal tract.
- Perceived stomach pain that occurs in the part of the abdomen nearer to the ribs involves the upper gastrointestinal (GI) tract, which includes the esophagus, stomach, and small intestines.
- Pain occurring in the lower abdomen tends to be related to the lower GI tract, which is comprised of the large intestine (colon), rectum, and anus.
Common Digestive Conditions
Nausea and Vomiting
Vomiting is an uncontrollable reflex that expels the contents of the stomach through the mouth. Most adults rarely vomit and when it does occur, a bacterial or viral infection or a type of food poisoning is usually the cause. In some cases, vomiting can also be the result of other illnesses, especially if they lead to a headache or high fever.
Nausea is a term that describes the feeling that one might vomit but isn’t actually vomiting. Both nausea and vomiting are very common symptoms and can be caused by a wide range of factors. The most common causes of nausea are intense pain (usually from an injury or illness) and the first trimester of pregnancy.
There are also a number of other relatively common causes, including:
- Motion sickness
- Emotional stress
- Food poisoning
- Exposure to chemical toxins
Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD)
When stomach acid backs up into the esophagus — a condition called acid reflux — an individual may feel a burning pain in the middle of the chest, usually occurring after meals or at night.
Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)
Irritable bowel syndrome is a common disorder that affects the large intestine. Signs and symptoms include cramping, abdominal pain, bloating, gas, and diarrhea or constipation, or both. IBS is a chronic condition that will need long term management. Only a small number of people with IBS have severe signs and symptoms. Some people can control their symptoms by managing diet, lifestyle and stress whereas more-severe symptoms can be treated with medication.
Constipation is very common and often associated with uncomfortable or even painful abdominal bloating from excess gas. Some people with constipation also note very hard or small stools, increased straining, or a feeling that their bowels do not completely empty.
Gastritis is the inflammation of the lining of the stomach and has many causes.
Some common symptoms of gastritis include:
- Abdominal pain (intermittent or constant burning, or gripping or gnawing pain)
- Nausea and vomiting
- Loss of appetite
- Bloating, burping and belching
An Ayurvedic Perspective
The Sanskrit term Ayurveda translates to 'knowledge of life', and the principles of this ancient wisdom emphasise total wellness; the art and science of Ayurveda work to harmonize an individual's internal and external worlds. An individual's five senses serve as the portals between the internal and external realms. Ayurveda groups the five elements into three basic types of energy and functional principles that are present in everybody and everything - Vata, Pitta, and Kapha.
The foundation of Ayurvedic treatment relies upon recognizing when there is a doshic imbalance that has lead to disease. Ayurveda also teaches that the health of the digestive system is the single most important long term determinant of health and well being. Healthy digestion leads to a healthy life. If an individual’s digestion is healthy, the body can produce healthy tissues (dhatus). When digestion is weak, the tissues of the body, such as muscle, blood and nerve, become weak and susceptible to disease.
From the Ayurvedic perspective on digestion, there are two primary concepts:
agni and ama.
- Agni is the universal principle of transformation that manifests as the digestive fire. Ayurveda kindles the agni of the body to digest toxins that have manifested due to internal or external stresses, ensuring optimal functioning of the physical and mental being. When agni struggles to completely and fully digest and assimilate the food consumed, the undigested food particles begin to putrefy creating a morbid, mucoid plaque that is called ama.
- Ama coats and congests the channels of the body, from the main channel of the digestive tract to the more subtle channels of the circulatory system and lymphatic system. Ama can disrupt the flow, block nutrient absorption, and cause cellular immune system confusion. Results of internal coating and congestion are fatigue, heaviness, cloudiness, confusion, stiffness, or general body ache. The main cause for the formation of ‘ama‘ or undigested food material is impaired digestive function. The symptoms of poor digestion include excessive gas, constipation, diarrhoea, burping, burning, vomiting, indigestion, bloating and pain.