Millions of Americans suffer from acid reflux or stomach acids in the esophagus. And, if you’ve ever had heartburn, you know how uncomfortable it can be. You may also know that if it happens enough, it sometimes result in permanent injury and can even lead to esophageal cancer. To reduce or eliminate symptoms of heartburn or to avoid gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) in the first place, here are some natural heartburn remedies.
- Aloe Vera Juice. Many people may be familiar with aloe vera and know that it is often used for a variety of health problems. Although no scientific evidence exists that aloe vera juice helps heartburn, it has long been used in Europe to alleviate heartburn with the typical adult doses of 1/4 cup, twenty to thirty minutes before a meal.
- Digestive Bitters. Herbalist and author, Rosemary Gladstar, recommends in her book Rosemary Gladstar’s Family Herbal: A Guide to Living Life with Energy, Health, and Vitality that digestive bitters, such as Swedish Bitters, be used at every meal to prevent heartburn.
- Gum. A study conducted by the Veterans Affairs Medical Center found that participants in a study who chewed gum for one hour after a meal reduced stomach acids and lessened heartburn. It seems chewing gum increases saliva and may neutralize stomach acids.
- Papaya. Eating fresh papaya when heartburn strikes, may relieve it because papaya contains the enzyme papain, which is a natural digestive aid that breaks down protein and cleanses the digestive tract.
- Peppermint Tea. Another suggestion by Gladstar is peppermint tea. She recommends “adding a drop or two of peppermint essential oil to water and drinking small sips during the meal.”
- Probiotic Acidophilus. One to three capsules before a meal may increase gut-friendly bacteria and that may aid digestion and decrease indigestion that leads to heartburn. If you’re interested in learning more about probiotics, read How to Select Probiotics.
- Reduce Fat. Fatty foods tend to stay in the stomach longer, and they also require more stomach acid to digest them. So, the suggestion is to eat low-fat meals.
- Small Meals. Eating five or six small meals lessens the chances of GERD or heartburn because overeating causes more stomach acid to be produce and more food exerts more pressure on the stomach. Additionally, another advantage of eating small meals is you may be less likely to be hungry and less likely to overeat.
- Water. Drinking water regularly throughout the day may dilute stomach acids and help keep them in the stomach. However, you also need to be sure you don’t drink too much water near bedtime as that may cause stomach acids to splash back up into the esophagus when you lie down to sleep.
There are a number of things you can do to help prevent heartburn. They range from drinking things such as aloe vera juice to peppermint tea to water. You can also take things such as digestive bitters or probiotic acidophilus. Eating papaya or chewing gum may also help. Heartburn may not even become an issue if you reduce the fat in your meals or if you eat several small meals instead of two or three large ones. So, ultimately the best heartburn remedies may not involve prescription drugs but rather include natural things and a dose of common sense.