How to Fight Heartburn with Herbal Supplements

Three Methods:Using Herbs to Treat HeartburnMaking Lifestyle ChangesUnderstanding Heartburn

Heartburn is caused when acid from the stomach is released into the esophagus, which causes irritation. This happens because of a dysfunction in a muscular valve in the lower esophageal sphincter (LES) Heartburn can take various forms, such as hyperacidity, acid reflux, heartburn, GERD (GastroEsophageal Reflux Disease), and acid reflux disease. These can range from occasional heartburn to chronic and long-term problems with stomach acid.[1] If you have this uncomfortable problem, you can use herbal remedies, along with lifestyle changes, to treat heartburn.

Method 1
Using Herbs to Treat Heartburn

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    Talk to your doctor. Before you start any herbal remedy plan, you should talk to your doctor. Most herbal treatments are not harmful in ordinary circumstances, but they can interact with certain medications or cause problems with conditions.[2]
    • If you are pregnant, do not take any herbal supplements before you talk to your doctor.
    • When you take herbal supplements, always follow your doctor's dosing instructions as well as the manufacturer's instructions about dosing.
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    Try ginger. Ginger supplements and tea can help with your heartburn. Ginger is an anti-inflammatory and a soothing agent for your stomach. Look for ginger supplements to take. You can also drink ginger tea. To make ginger tea, grate or cut 1 teaspoon of fresh ginger and add it to eight ounces of boiling water. Let the ginger steep for about five minutes, and then let it cool.
    • Drink ginger tea at any point during the day. You can also drink it about 20 to 30 minutes before meals to help prevent heartburn.
    • If you don't have fresh ginger, you can buy ginger tea bags.
    • Ginger can also help with nausea and vomiting, which are symptoms of severe heartburn.
    • Ginger tea is safe for pregnant women. [3]
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    Take fennel seed. Fennel helps settle your stomach and decreases its acid levels. You can take a fennel supplement each day to help your heartburn. You can also make fennel seed tea to help with the heartburn. Drink two to three cups a day about 20 minutes before your meals.
    • To make the tea, crush about a teaspoon of fennel seeds and add it to one cup of boiled water.
    • You can add honey to help with the taste.[4]
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    Use mustard seed. Mustard seed is an anti-inflammatory agent as well as an acid neutralizer. You can take it as a supplement, a powder, or as prepared mustard. Take the supplement to help reduce your heartburn. You can also drink mustard seed tea to help with it as well.
    • To make mustard tea, either dissolve a teaspoon of mustard powder or prepared mustard in boiled water to make a tea.
    • If you have the stomach for it, you can also eat one teaspoon of prepared mustard by mouth.[5]
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    Try chamomile. Chamomile is can help calm your stomach and acts as an anti-inflammatory agent. You can take this as a supplement daily to ease heartburn. You can also drink chamomile tea to help calm your stomach if you have heartburn.[6]
    • To make this tea, you can use loose leaf chamomile tea or buy premade bags of tea.
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    Take licorice root. Deglycyrrhizinated licorice root (DGL) helps heal your stomach and control your heartburn. DGL comes in chewable tablets that are safe to take every four to six hours. These chewable tablets have a strange, unappealing taste, but they are effective for heartburn.
    • You can take two to three tablets per dose.
    • If you can't take the taste of the tablets, try drinking licorice tea with honey and lemon.[7]
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    Take slippery elm. Slippery elm coats and soothes irritated tissues in your stomach. It is available as a supplement in tablet and liquid form that can help with your heartburn. Look on the label to see how much to take of each form of the supplement.
    • Slippery elm is typically considered safe during pregnancy.[8]
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    Drink aloe vera. Aloe vera acts to neutralize the stomach acid[9] and helps decreases inflammation. To help ease heartburn, drink ½ cup of organic aloe vera juice. You can drink this all at one time or sip this throughout the day.
    • Since aloe vera can act as a laxative, you may want to limit how much aloe vera juice you drink to one to two cups a day.[10]
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    Try apple cider vinegar. Although drinking an acidic substance may seem strange, it works with your stomach acid to treat heartburn. Mix one tablespoon of apple cider vinegar to eight ounces of water. Drink this when you have heartburn.
    • Don't use any other vinegar than apple cider. These do not work as well as to help the heartburn. The additional pectin from the apples act as a natural antacid.
    • You can also eat more apples to increase your pectin intake to reduce stomach acid.[11]
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    Try herbal tinctures. Herbal tinctures are herbal mixture suspended in alcohol or glycerite. These, sometimes called bitters, can be used to help reduce heartburn and improve digestion.[12] Try common brands of tinctures, including Nature Works Swedish Bitters, Flora’s Swedish Bitters and Herb Pharm Digestive Bitters.
    • Always read and follow manufacturer’s instructions for these tinctures.

Method 2
Making Lifestyle Changes

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    Avoid food and beverage triggers. If you have problems with heartburn, food may be the cause. If this is the cause, you should figure out what your triggers are.[13] Start by keeping track of what you eat and writing down any heartburn you experience. After a week or two, cross list the foods you eat with a triggers list, look for common ingredients that caused you heartburn, and then pinpoint the trigger.
    • This can take a little guess work and testing of ingredients.[14] But the sooner you figure out the reasons for your heartburn, the sooner you will lessen your heartburn.
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    Change the way you eat. Differing food habits can cause you to experience heartburn. Overeating can cause heartburn, so avoid eating too much food at one time.[15] This will reduce the amount of pressure on your stomach, which will help your avoid getting heartburn.
    • Also avoid eating late at night. Leave at least three hours between the time you last eat and the time you go to bed. This will reduce the amount of food in your stomach when you go to bed, which will lessen the pressure on your stomach.
    • You should also not lay down too soon after you eat. This will also cause you too much pressure on your stomach, which can cause heartburn.[16]
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    Wear loose clothing. Tight clothing can cause unneeded pressure on your stomach. This means you should wear clothing that is less constrictive on your stomach or abdomen.[17]
    • For example, make sure your pants fit and you don't have a constricting belt on.
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    Stop smoking. One of the causes of heartburn is smoking. This increases the production of stomach acid, which causes heartburn. You can use medicines, over the counter aids, support groups, or personal strength to stop smoking.
    • If you need help to quit, ask your doctor.[18]

Method 3
Understanding Heartburn

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    Notice the symptoms of heartburn. There are many different symptoms of occasional heartburn or the more chronic conditions. These may vary depending on the severity of your heartburn or what the trigger of it is. These include:
    • A burning or irritating sensation in the middle of the chest
    • A sour taste in the mouth
    • Burping or hiccups that won’t stop
    • Dry coughs
    • Nausea
    • Stomach bloating
    • Dark or black stools, caused by internal bleeding
    • Dysphagia, which is a narrowed esophagus that feels as if there is food stuck in your throat
    • Pain that gets worse when you bend over or lie down[19]
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    Recognize heartburn triggers. There are a number of triggers for heartburn. These will vary in severity depending on the person and their medical history. However, there are many common triggers, such as:. These triggers include:
    • Smoking
    • Overeating
    • Eating certain foods you may be sensitive to, such as citrus fruit, caffeinated beverages, chocolate, tomatoes, garlic, onions, alcohol, and fatty and spicy foods
    • Obesity or being overweight
    • Pressure from hiatal hernias, pregnancy, or constipation
    • Various medications, such as aspirin, NSAIDs, muscle relaxants, blood pressure medications, antibiotics, bisphosphonates, some iron and potassium supplements
    • Stress
    • Lack of adequate sleep[20]
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    See your doctor. Heartburn isn’t serious until it becomes constant and chronic. If you experience heartburn symptoms more than twice a week, if the symptoms continue after trying over-the-counter remedies and herbal treatments for two to three weeks, if you have difficulty swallowing, or if you are nauseous or cannot eat, call your doctor for an appointment right away.
    • Chronic heartburn can turn into GastroEsophageal Reflux Disease (GERD), which can cause serious ulcers that may cause internal bleeding.
    • GERD has been associated with the slight increased risk of other conditions, such as esophageal and stomach cancer, so it's important to get it checked out.[21]

Sources and Citations

  3. Willetts, K. E., Ekangaki, A. and Eden, J. A. (2003), Effect of a ginger extract on pregnancy-induced nausea: A randomised controlled trial. Australian and New Zealand Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, 43: 139–144.
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Article Info

Categories: Alternative Health | Intestinal and Digestive Health