Heartburn also known as acid reflux or GERD (Gastroesophageal reflux disease) is a medical condition suffered by millions of people around the globe; it is a sign that the body is suffering from indigestion.
A burning sensation in the chest caused by the regurgitation of stomach acid into the esophagus is the main characteristic or primary symptom of heartburn; it usually occurs after eating when the content of the stomach flows back into the esophagus.
Note that heartburn is different from heart disease and has nothing to do with it; when heartburn happens more than twice a week, it is called GERD.
Factors that cause heartburn are bad diet; physical inactivity, obesity, etc. Symptoms include a burning sensation in the chest or throat; foul and acrid taste in the mouth, burning, and indigestion and possibly jaw pain.
There are OTC medications used for this condition but we will be looking at effective natural remedies that can relieve heartburn in people. Below are some of them.
Aloe vera gel or juice: This acts as a powerful anti-inflammatory agent; it cools the skin, calms the stomach, relieve heartburn and other symptoms of indigestion. It has been used for centuries to relieve heartburn in Europe.
Potato juice: Potato juice effectively neutralizes stomach acids; it heals the lining of the esophagus and prevents further damages. Juice one raw potato; add an equal amount of water, stir the solution well and take it at least once daily till you get relief.
Pineapple juice: This sweet fruit contains bromelain; this enzyme reduces the symptoms of heartburn and it reduces hyperacidity, it also controls the levels of hydrochloric acid in the stomach.
Mustard: Add a teaspoon of yellow mustard to a glass of water and take the solution to help you get relief from acid reflux.
Apples: Apples can neutralize stomach acids in about five minutes; you can take a slice of fresh apple or homemade apple juice.
Buttermilk: Is effective in correcting the causes of acid reflux; take a cup of ice cold buttermilk when having heartburn, it works but it does not offer quick relief like apple juice.
Bananas: This sweet fruit acts as a natural antacid in the body.
Baking soda: This is an effective natural antacid; add a teaspoon of baking soda to a glass of water and drink. This will neutralize the concentration of the acid and give a temporary relief from heartburn.
If you have regular heartburn, this remedy is not for you; it is high in salt and can cause adverse side effects like swelling and nausea.
Grapes: Grapes prevent indigestion which leads to heartburn and acid reflux in the first place; it also eases an upset stomach and neutralizes stomach acid. Eat 10 to 20 grapes when experiencing heartburn.
Apple cider vinegar: Fights digestive problems, relief digestive disorders, and heartburn. Add two tablespoons of ACV to a glass of water and drink it after each meal. ACV is even available in tablet or capsule form.
Basil: These leaves relief heartburn; they also combat gas and nausea and minimize stomach acid.
Almonds: Almonds are effective in fighting indigestion; they neutralize stomach acid and keep heartburn at bay. When experiencing heartburn; take 15 to 20 almonds and in thirty minutes, you will be relieved.
Chamomile: Take chamomile tea when experiencing heartburn; it will neutralize stomach acid and also relieve stress.
Licorice: DGL (Deglycyrrhizinated), a form of licorice soothes heartburn and acid reflux by offering protection from acid; it does this by promoting the secretion of mucus in the stomach to reduce stomach acid. You can take the tea or the capsules.
Cinnamon: Take cinnamon tea to cool heartburn because this herb has a cooling effect.
Chewing gum: This helps to stimulate the flow of saliva; it washes away accumulated acid in the stomach and help to clear excess stomach acid. Pick a sugar-free gum; it should be made of natural products and fruit-flavored gums. Pick the fruit flavor that is not irritating to you.
Fennel: Fennel tea has been used by herbalists to ease heartburn for ages; take this when you are having heartburn or acid reflux.
Turmeric: This wonderful herb stimulates digestion and prevents the buildup of acid; you can take the tea or capsules.
Garlic: A clove of garlic can quickly erase heartburn; its antimicrobial properties kill the bacteria that cause gastritis and other digestive problems. You can chew or swallow the cloves; or crush them and add to a glass of warm milk and take.
Peppermint oil: This is a common ingredient in OTC heartburn medication; it is a great cure for acid reflux and heartburn, it treats indigestion and relieves stomach irritation. You can inhale the oil; add two drops to a cup of water and drink or you can take a peppermint candy.
Ginger: Ginger root is one of the oldest cures for heartburn; it also treats nausea, indigestion, stomach cramps and problems, and other digestive problems. Take ginger tea and you will be relieved.
Lemon juice: Is even more effective in relieving heartburn than ACV; it dilutes stomach acid and prevents digestive problems. Mix the juice with water and take and also use a straw when taking it regularly to prevent it from affecting your enamel.
Probiotics: This helps to balance the levels of good bacteria in the body; this, in turn, boosts digestion, prevents digestive problems including indigestion and acid reflux and heartburn. These healthy bacteria expel harmful bacteria from the body; they remove H. pylori, that bacterium that causes indigestion, acid reflux, heartburn, and ulcer.
Fermented foods are good sources of probiotics; they include unsweetened yogurt, sour cream, and fermented vegetables.
Slippery elm tea: Is effective in relieving indigestion and preventing GERD; it increases the secretion of mucus which coats and protects the digestive tract from acidity and ulcers. Take the tea three times daily; you can also take the capsules according to the dose.
- Don’t eat late at night; don’t eat and immediately go to bed, don’t also go to bed with a full stomach, you should go to bed at least three hours after your dinner.
This will give your body time to digest the meal and empty your stomach; it also decreases the levels of stomach acid before laying down because heartburn is prone to happen when one is in a sleeping position.
- Do not overeat at one sitting; divide your meals into smaller portion and spread them, like eat six to seven small meals instead of three large meals.
- Eat slowly and try to grind your foods properly before swallowing.
- Wear loose clothes; this relieves the pressure put on the abdomen and prevents stomach acid from flowing into the abdomen.
- Stay away from foods and drinks that give you heartburn. This differs in many people; so know what triggers your heartburn and avoid it.
- If you are obese then you should think of losing weight; obesity puts one at risk of heartburn.
- Quit smoking if you do; because nicotine weakens the lower esophageal speaker; this muscle controls the opening between the esophagus and stomach; it prevents the acidic content of the stomach from going into the esophagus.
- Quit drinking; it worsens the condition.
- When sleeping; make sure your head and chest are higher than the rest of your body; this will prevent stomach acid from flowing back into the esophagus.
- Drink lots of water; it will help the condition.
- It is also advised that those with heartburn should not sleep on their right side; it causes the stomach content to spill.
When you should seek medical attention?
So when you experience this on a regular basis; despite the natural remedies and diet and lifestyle changes, then you need to see a doctor ASAP.
See a doctor if you experience:
- Persistent, frequent and severe heartburn that triggers the feeling of vomiting
- Pain and difficulty when swallowing
- A chronic and severe cough
- Stomach pain
- Sudden and unexplained weight loss
- Medications are ineffective despite weeks of treatment
- Chest pains
- Pain in the arms, legs, and neck