Soon after eating, you start to feel an uncomfortable burning sensation in your middle. Burping doesn’t alleviate the agony. Matters only get worse when you lie down.
Congratulations — it sounds like you have a nasty case of heartburn. Whether your discomfort occurs every time you eat or only occasionally, you still need rapid relief. Here are eight natural remedies for heartburn that should cool the fire.
If you never thought of using baking soda internally — outside of cakes, that is — you might find this first natural heartburn remedy odd-sounding. However, this substance is one of the top ways to neutralize acid, including the stuff in your stomach.
To make a baking soda antacid, dissolve ½ teaspoon of the stuff in a 4-ounce glass of water. Use caution — guzzling this down can cause gas or diarrhea. Experiment with this remedy to find the dosage and speed that works for you.
At first, you might think, “why on earth would I use acidic vinegar to counteract excess acid.” It does seem like pouring more fuel on the fire.
However, the theory behind this practice is that your lower esophageal sphincter (LES) relaxes too much when there isn’t sufficient acid in your stomach. Adding more of the stuff your belly needs can help this valve remain shut and prevent spillage of gastric juices into your esophagus, where it burns.
Bear in mind that there is, to date, no scientific evidence to confirm this theory — so you’ll have to try this trick yourself to see if it works. However, that doesn’t necessarily mean it isn’t effective. After all, who knew the magic hidden in mold before penicillin’s invention?
If you ever got a minor burn and had an aloe plant handy, you might have broken off a leaf and applied the gel inside directly to your wound to speed healing. This succulent plant has a longstanding reputation for disinfecting minor injuries and cooling fiery burns.
Guess what? The magic of aloe doesn’t stop at external use. This plant’s gel is alkaline, meaning that you can use it to mitigate the effects of too much acid. In one trial published by the National Institutes of Health, 79 patients who took aloe vera syrup at night reduced the frequency of all eight GERD symptoms with no adverse effects.
You can find aloe vera juice at nearly any natural health food store. Give it a try and see if your symptoms subside.
Some people swear by the practice of chewing gum after meals to aid digestion. While some folks pop in a stick to freshen their breath, they may reap other benefits.
According to the folks at WebMD, when British researchers gave 21 GERD patients gum after a meal, they had lower stomach acid levels than when they did not.
Scientists believe that the process works by stimulating saliva flow. You might reap a perk besides less acid indigestion — more saliva means fewer particles left stuck on your teeth to lead to decay.
What’s for dessert? If you want to lower your chances of heartburn, why not order up a slice of banana cream pie?
Banana is unique among fruits for its low acid content. What’s more, the creaminess coats your esophagus, acting as a shield against burning acid. Plus, their light, natural sweetness makes them a tasty meal-finisher even without adding sugar and cream.
Another food that increases the mucous lining of your esophagus to shield against acid is licorice. You’ll need to consume the black variety, so if you can’t stomach the stuff — pun loosely intended — you might be better choosing a different suggestion.
You should also know to exercise caution not to eat too much. According to the National Health Service, adults over 40 and those with heart trouble should lay off the stuff. It contains a substance called glycyrrhizinate, which can aggravate hypertension and cause irregular heartbeats. You can, however, find deglycyrrhizinated licorice at health food stores.
If you drink carbonated beverages, you might increase your heartburn. That’s because these products increase belching, which relaxes the LES and potentially allows acid to flow into your esophagus.
Likewise, if you indulge in adult drinks, you should know that darker-colored ones like whiskey contain substances called congeners. These substances can increase acid production and heartburn in some, so if you must imbibe, do so with clear beverages like tequila and vodka.
When you don’t feel well, your instinct is to lie down. However, doing so with heartburn could make your problem worse.
Think about the laws of physics. Stomach fluids need to work harder to wash back into your esophagus when you are upright. When you lie down, they can spill into it like an overturned glass. Eating your last meal at least three hours before bedtime is a wise natural heartburn remedy.
It’s no fun to feel like your belly and chest are on fire. Use these eight natural remedies for heartburn to feel relief quickly.