8 Natural Remedies for Heartburn and Acid Reflux
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Natural remedies could help heartburn and acid reflux sufferers.
Acid reflux occurs when stomach acid splashes upwards into the esophagus. This results in a burning sensation commonly located behind the heart. This symptom of acid reflux is called heartburn and can be quite uncomfortable and painful. Although there are many over-the-counter and prescription medications used to treat heartburn and acid reflux, there are also many natural remedies that can be employed for occasional heartburn.
Baking soda is an ingredient most households have on hand for cooking for deodorizing. Heartburn is caused by acid in the esophagus and can be helped by introducing a basic substance to the throat. Baking soda, or sodium bicarbonate, has a pH level of 7.0, making it a basic substance. Its high pH can neutralize the stomach acid in the esophagus that is causing heartburn.
- 1/2 to 1 tsp. Baking soda
- 8 ounces of fresh water
Mix the baking soda and water together until the baking soda dissolves. This mixture can be ingested up to seven times per day as needed. It should not be used longer than a week because it is high in salt and can cause swelling and nausea.
Most people are familiar with using the aloe plant to treat mild burns and sunburns. Aloe works to reduce inflammation and may be used to treat acid reflux symptoms. When the linings of the stomach and esophagus become irritated and inflamed, it causes heartburn.
Aloe juice can help calm the inflammation and reduce heartburn. Aloe juice can have a laxative effect, so it is important to purchase aloe juice that has had its laxative component removed. Aloe juice should be drunk cold or at room temperature prior to eating.
Although it may seem like a paradox, acid reflux is often caused by having too little acid in the stomach. This is because stomach acid signals the lower esophagus to close up tightly. When there is not enough stomach acid present, the esophagus does not close, and acid backs up into the throat. In this case, introducing more acid into the stomach may prevent reflux. Drinking raw, unfiltered apple cider vinegar can prevent this type of reflux because of its acidic makeup.
- 1 Tbs. apple cider vinegar
- 6 to 8 ounces of fresh water
Mix the apple cider vinegar with the water and drink before meals two or three times per day and before bedtime. If this does not reduce heartburn or makes it worse, discontinue this remedy as it may be contributing to the underlying issue instead of eliminating it.
Research shows that ginger root, in addition to alleviating nausea and settling the stomach, may act as an acid buffer and lessen symptoms of heartburn. A tea can be made from fresh ginger root, or ginger root tea can be purchased in traditional bags. The tea is most effective when consumed prior to eating meals.
- 3 quarter-sized slices of fresh ginger root
- 2 cups of water
Add the ginger root to a simmering pot of water. Allow the ginger root to simmer for 30 minutes. Drink the tea 20 minutes before eating to allow it to calm the stomach.
Mustard is a condiment commonly found in most homes. Although it usually accompanies heartburn-inducing foods like hot dogs, it is actually quite alkaline. Because mustard is alkaline by itself, it can be helpful in reducing heartburn symptoms. It is also known to prevent bouts of heartburn from occurring when taken before a full meal.
Simply consume 1 tsp. right out of the container. There is no mixing involved. Heartburn and acid reflux remedies don't get much simpler than this one.
Almonds are an alkaline nut that may help to reduce acid reflux. While there is not definitive research available to confirm whether almonds reduce the condition, there has been anecdotal evidence floating around for decades touting their antacid properties. At the very least, almonds are a part of a low-acid diet, which in and of itself can help prevent heartburn flare-ups.
Eating 3 to 4 almonds directly after consuming meals and snacks has been said to eliminate the symptoms of acid reflux in individuals. Almonds are also known to be a beneficial part of a healthy diet due to their protein content and healthy fats.
Chamomile tea is widely known for its calming effect. Stress reduction may be helpful in reducing acid reflux. Chamomile tea also may help to reduce inflammation in the stomach. It is possible that the tea helps to balance out acidity levels.
- 1 tsp. Chamomile Tea
- 1 cup of boiling water
- Honey or lemon to taste
Prepare the chamomile tea by bringing the water to a boil. Reduce the heat and stir in the chamomile flower petals. Allow the flower petals to simmer for 45 seconds, and then remove them from heat. Let the flower petals soak for an additional one to two minutes, and then strain the liquid into a cup. Add honey or lemon to taste.
Chewing sugar-free gum has also been shown to help stop heartburn and acid reflux. Chewing sugar-free gum after meals stimulates the glands in the mouth that produce saliva. This excess saliva dilutes and eliminates any acid that may back up into the esophagus. Research shows that this process reduces symptoms in chronic acid reflux patients and may also help patients who occasionally suffer from heartburn and reflux.
Other Things to Consider
When acid reflux symptoms arise, natural remedies like baking soda, apple cider vinegar, chamomile tea and ginger root can be effective in eliminating them. In addition to using natural remedies to fight symptoms of reflux, eliminating specific lifestyle choices and being mindful of what is eaten can combat heartburn symptoms.
Heartburn and acid reflux tend to happen at night when lying in bed. This is due to gravity allowing stomach acid to splash up into the esophagus. Elevating the head of the bed by using extra pillows or placing bricks under the head of the mattress can reduce symptoms of acid reflux at night. In addition to elevating the head at night, finishing meals and snacks three to four hours prior to bed may help reduce heartburn.
Being mindful when eating is also helpful in alleviating heartburn. Small bites are easier to digest than large bites, and spending more time sitting down to eat a meal can reduce stress. Avoiding certain foods like tomatoes or citrus fruits, which are high in acidity, can also reduce instances of acid reflux.
Tight-fitting clothes can trigger heartburn. Clothes that fit tightly around the waist put pressure on the stomach when sitting down. This can inadvertently push stomach acid up into the esophagus, causing heartburn. It is best to wear loose, comfortable clothing if acid reflux is a chronic problem.
Smoking and alcohol are habits that go hand-in-hand with acid reflux. The nicotine in cigarettes and alcohol can loosen the lower esophageal sphincter. This can allow stomach acid to back up into the throat and cause heartburn. Quitting smoking and alcohol will have a wide range of health benefits in addition to limiting heartburn.