The abrupt inspiration is the result of a sudden contraction of the diaphragm. Closure of the glottis then halts the incoming air. The column of air strikes the closed glottis to produce the characteristic sound i.e. a hiccup. Hiccups are often rhythmic. Prolonged hiccups can become a major medical problem.
The word 'hiccup' was in use by 1530. It is an instance of onomatopoeia, the imitation of natural sounds by words. Alternative terms for 'hiccough' and 'hiccups' include 'hickup' and 'singultus'.
Causes and Symptoms: hiccough generally occurs due to some irritation of the nerves of the diaphragm, which produces sudden contractions of the latter. Most cases are due to disorders of digestion, but the symptoms also occur in some serious diseases like the uraemia of Bright's disease. In such cases, it is a grave sign. According to Ayurveda, the aggravation and upward movement of vayu is the primary cause of hiccups. A dietary irregularity or indiscretion, as also psychic factors like anxiety, nervousness, and anger may also cause hiccups, depending upon the doshas involved.
Home Remedies: The ash of the peacock feather is a specific remedy for this condition; 150 to 400 mg should be administered with honey six times during the day. The dose depends upon the severity of the disease. Fomentation with a hot water bag is also recommended. Smoke from burning black gram and a piece of old rope should be inhaled at the beginning of an attack. A few mouthfuls of water swallowed suddenly may also relieve the condition.
Medicines & Prescriptions
1. Eladi Vati: Should be sucked six times daily or ground and mixed with honey and used as linctus.
2. Hingutriguna Taila: Should be used for massaging the abdomen. One teaspoonful should be taken thrice daily with milk.
3. Sukumara Ghrita: One teaspoonful should be taken thrice daily with milk.
Psychotherapy is recommended if the condition is the result of psychological reasons.
Diet and Other Regimen: Fatty and heavy foods are to be avoided. a light, liquid diet is recommended in all the cases.
If there is constipation present, it should be relieved by administration of laxatives.
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