Heartburn is a common symptom of indigestion. Heartburn is uncomfortable, and it can sometimes persist for days. There are many reasons individuals experience heartburn, including reduced pressure from the lower esophageal sphincter (the valve between the stomach and the esophagus), some irritant in the gut lining, decreased gastric motility, decreased salivary secretions, and either an excess or insufficiency of hydrochloric acid in the stomach¹.
Fortunately, there are many natural remedies to help decrease heart burn. Some of these remedies include herbs that have been used for centuries. Others are just everyday house hold products or cooking ingredients.
While the only research that exists for the use of baking soda and heartburn is anecdotal, it is nonetheless an effective remedy. Baking soda may be effective because it neutralizes stomach acid. Just ½ to 1 teaspoon of baking soda mixed well in 8 ounces of water should provide some relief from occasional heartburn.
Apple Cider Vinegar
It seems a bit counterintuitive to use vinegar, an acidic solution, for acid, but oftentimes heartburn can be due to an insufficiency of hydrochloric acid. Apple cider vinegar can stimulate the production of hydrochloric acid and balance the pH. Initially, try just a little bit of this remedy to see if it is right for your condition. If the heartburn increases, then heartburn may be due to an excess of hydrochloric acid in the stomach rather than an insufficiency. If this remedy helps, then you may have insufficient hydrochloric acid which could be contributing to heartburn. Make sure you are using a raw, unfiltered apple cider vinegar. Enzymedica apple cider vinegar capsules are a great option. It's made from REAL apples, not synthetic acid, and won't damage your tooth enamel.
Bitter Herb Tincture
A bitter herb tincture is only helpful if the heartburn is due to an inadequate amount of hydrochloric acid in the stomach, which is a frequent cause of heartburn. Bitter herbs stimulate the production of hydrochloric acid in the stomach. Dandelion, chamomile and gentian are all examples of bitter herbs. Bitter herbal tinctures can be found as a blend of different herbs or as single herbs at your local health food store or food coop. Squirt a dropperful of a bitter herb tincture directly on the tongue or mix it into a small glass of water; take before each meal.
Marshmallow Root & Slippery Elm Bark
Marshmallow root and slippery elm bark are herbs that have moistening and soothing properties. These herbs can be ordered online or found at your local health food store or food coop in powdered form. A tablespoon of either slippery elm bark or marshmallow root can be mixed in 8 ounces of water. Set this mixture aside for 10 minutes to an hour before drinking. Once mixed with water, both marshmallow root and slippery elm bark should make a gelatinous liquid. The properties of these herbs sooth the digestive tract, for more holistic heartburn relief.
That’s right! Common cooking ingredients like ginger can be useful in soothing heartburn. Ginger is not only a wonderful remedy for heartburn, it can also aid in almost any digestive complaint, including nausea. It is best to used whole ginger root. Chop up an inch or two of ginger root and place in a pot with 8-16 ounces of water. Once the water is boiling, turn to low heat and let simmer for another 5-10 minutes. Drink warm or cool.
Aloe Vera Juice
Like the herbs mentioned above, marshmallow root and slippery elm bark, aloe vera is very slippery and moistening. These qualities help to sooth the esophagus and gut lining, to relieve the burning sensations associated with indigestion. Aloe vera juice is refreshing and hydrating as well!
Enzymedica’s Acid Soothe contains a blend of digestive enzymes and papaya leaf that support optimal digestion. Acid Soothe’s herbal ingredients – such as prickly ash bark, gotu kola and marshmallow root – ease symptoms that are associated with occasional heart burn and promote overall digestive health.* Acid Soothe can be taken after meals or anytime digestive discomfort occurs.
There is an incredibly wide range of natural heartburn remedies, all of which you can use.
¹ Mahan, J.K., Escott-Stump, A., and Raymond, J.L. (2012). Krause’s Food and the Nutrition Care Process 13th Ed. Elsevier Saunders: St. Louis, MI.
*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.