Unfortunately most adults will experience heartburn in their lifetime, and far too many will have a chronic problem with it.
Maybe you’ve already experienced it: That creeping, uncomfortable burning sensation up and down your throat or manifesting behind your breastbone (making it feel like you’re having a heart attack!). This is caused by acid reflux, which happens when the “ring of muscle that allows food into your stomach…relaxes when it shouldn’t,” says Everyday Roots, a natural living blog.
The painful result is that stomach acid goes back up the esophagus which then causes all of the symptoms – throat on fire, heart attack simulation, etc. It’s possible to have acid reflux without the heartburn, but not the other way around.
Over-the-counter medicines and prescriptions can help deal with the problem, but there are legitimate natural solutions that work very well also, and of course, they are much better for you overall.
Here are five treatments in which a lot of people have had a great deal of success. Try one and if it doesn’t work, try one of the other methods or a combination of them:
1. Ginger: More than just a pretty name, this spicy root works wonders against acid reflux. Just peel some and pop it in your mouth to chew. You can also drink ginger tea or use ginger lozenges as well. Ginger works by stimulating your digestive system to produce more enzymes and secret more bile, which helps break down food more completely.
2. Enzymes: And speaking of enzymes, eating lots of enzyme-rich foods will both help reduce reflux and aid in digestion. An added benefit is weight loss.
“Enzymes are compounds that help with the breakdown of food. This is important so that nutrients can be absorbed and used. Humans manufacture enzymes, but organ deficiencies and certain health issues can lead to a deficit of enzyme production,” reports NaturalNews. “Eating enzyme-rich foods can help acid reflux. Enzyme-rich foods include ginger, papaya, pineapple, raw nuts, raw vegetables and other raw fruits.”
3. Aloe vera: Most people know that they can use aloe to sooth burns (especially sunburns) but it can also serve as a natural remedy for acid reflux, thanks to its inflammation-reducing powers.
“Drink a ½ cup of aloe juice, cool or room temperature, before meals,” says Everyday Roots. “Keep in mind that aloe can act as a laxative, so unless you’re looking to fit in a few extra bathroom Sudoku puzzles, look for a brand that has the laxative component removed.”
4. Lemon juice: This is a great natural remedy for acid reflux, despite its sour taste. Swallow a tablespoon of freshly-squeezed lemon juice about 10 minutes before meals. Also, regular ingestion of fresh lemon juice can help reduce your reflux long-term as well.
“Lemon juice is highly acidic, and when consumed in large amounts, it can actually cause acid reflux,” notes Home Remedies for Life. “But when mixed with water, it becomes alkaline, neutralizing the acid that causes acid reflux.”
5. Baking soda: This is actually sodium bicarbonate, which is a base substance, and is naturally designed to reduce acidic conditions. “It has a pH higher than 7.0, and therefore neutralizes stomach acid,” Everyday Roots notes.
Mix a teaspoon of baking soda in no more than 8 oz. of water; repeat as needed but don’t exceed seven doses in a 24-hour period. Also, “avoid using this as a remedy for more than a week straight, as it is high in salt and can have side effects such as swelling or nausea,” Everyday Roots notes.