Natural Home Remedies for Heartburn/Acid Reflux

Heartburn is defined as a burning sensation in the chest caused by acid regurgitation of acid into the esophagus.

Image of a cut papaya in a dish with papaya seeds

Some medical practitioners believe that it is caused from too little acid, and not an excess. If that is so, then taking antacids would be a poor choice. Included in the self-treatment portion are remedies from both camps. Experiment with them and see what works for you.

WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS?

  • Burning in the throat
  • Burning sensation in the chest
  • Chest pain on bending over or lying down
  • Sour-tasting fluid at the back of the throat
  • Swallowing difficulty

RISK FACTORS

  • Excessive weight
  • Hiatal hernia
  • Medications
  • Pregnancy
  • Smoking
  • Stress
  • Wearing tight belts

ALLOPATHIC TREATMENT

  • OTC antacids
  • Prescription medications like Tagamet or Pepcid
  • Surgery, rarely

SELF TREATMENT

DIET

A healthy immune system is always the first line of defense against disease and disorder. To promote a healthy immune system, it is important to eat a balanced diet, with as much variety as you can manage, with lots of whole, fresh vegetables and fruits, quality protein and healthy sources of monounsaturated fat. The Zone is an excellent starting point.

FOODS THAT MAY PROMOTE HEALING

  • Almonds
  • Bone broth
  • Low-fat dairy
  • Mustard greens
  • Papaya

FOODS AND OTHER SUBSTANCES TO AVOID

  • Alcohol
  • Caffeine
  • Carbonated beverages
  • Chocolate
  • Chocolate
  • Citrus juices
  • Fatty foods
  • Garlic
  • Onions
  • Peppermint/mint
  • Smoking
  • Spicy foods
  • Tomatoes

TEAS AND OTHER LIQUIDS

  • Aloe Vera juice before meals
  • Anise
  • Apple Cider Vinegar in warm water half an hour before meals
  • Caraway
  • Cardamom
  • Chamomile
  • Chew gum after a meal to neutralize acid with saliva
  • Coconut water
  • Dandelion
  • Fennel
  • Fenugreek
  • Ginger
  • Half a teaspoonful of baking soda in water—drink all at once. Not for long-term use
  • Lemon juice if acid levels are too low
  • Licorice
  • Licorice root powder in water before meals
  • Marshmallow root
  • Slippery elm

HERBS AND SPICES

  • Agrimony
  • Aloe Vera
  • Anise
  • Basil
  • Bay leaf
  • Caraway
  • Cardamom
  • Cayenne
  • Chamomile
  • Cilantro
  • Cinnamon
  • Cloves
  • Coriander
  • Dill
  • Fennel
  • Fenugreek
  • Ginger
  • Licorice root
  • Marjoram
  • Nutmeg
  • Oregano
  • Parsley
  • Rosemary
  • Saffron
  • Slippery elm
  • Thyme
  • Turmeric
  • Yellow Mustard

ESSENTIAL OILS

Essential oils can be administered via a diffuser for inhalation, administered topically in a carrier oil like coconut on the skin, or undiluted drops can be added to a hot bath or compress. Blend your own from the oils listed below.

  • Anise
  • Caraway
  • Coriander
  • Fennel
  • Ginger
  • Lavender
  • Lemon
  • Tarragon

OTHER SUBSTANCES AND SUPPLEMENTS

The cost of having a blood test to determine if you have nutritional deficiencies is likely to be negligible compared to over-consuming expensive supplements that you do not need.

  • Betaine HCL (check contraindications for medications)
  • Digestive Enzymes
  • Ginger
  • L-glutamine
  • Licorice root tablets before meals
  • Marshmallow
  • Probiotics

HYDRATION

If your heartburn is caused by too much stomach acid, drinking a glass of water will help to neutralize the acid. If it’s caused by too little acid, drink some lemon juice. Remember to stay hydrated all the time. Water is essential and a main nutrient for the human body. Without it, you cannot survive for many days. Staying hydrated is fundamental for a healthy body, so how much is enough? There are so many differences in people (i.e., how much we sweat), as well as the diets we consume (a lot of water comes from healthy, whole foods), but a general rule is to consume enough water that your urine is clear, but not so much that you dilute your nutrients. If you are taking certain supplements that make your urine yellow, then you can start out with the formula of drinking ½-1 ounce of water for each pound you weigh. If you weigh 130 pounds, drink 65 to 130 ounces of water a day. Definitely drink when you are thirsty.

EXERCISE

If you are overweight, that will make your heartburn worse. Coupled with a good diet, exercise will help you lose weight and ease some of the symptoms. That exercise is beneficial for overall health is undisputed. If you are ill, you will want to take it easy, of course, but there is always something you can do to support your body. Do what you can without making yourself feel worse. Exercise in fresh air whenever possible.

EMOTIONAL SUPPORT

Tension will make your heartburn worse. Stay calm. Anxiety undermines health. Practice relaxation exercises, talk to a friend. Do what works for you to keep mellow.

OTHER THINGS YOU CAN DO

  • Avoid bending over at the waist. Have your last meal a few hours before bedtime.
  • Chew gum to increase the flow of saliva.
  • Don’t eat too much at one time.
  • Don’t lie flat  If you sit up, the acid is more likely to remain in your stomach.
  • Eat a banana.
  • Edible clay in water–to drink
  • Have a test to determine if your stomach and esophagus are working properly.
  • Pickle juice
  • Zypan (Standard Process) for excess acid. (If you have too little acid, the Zypan will make you feel worse)

ALTERNATIVE THERAPIES

PREVENTION

  • A wholesome, balanced diet
  • Regular exercise
  • Low stress levels
  • Quality sleep
  • Don’t smoke
  • Lose weight if you are overweight

 

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