So, you had a lovely feast at your friend’s wedding last night and today you feel nauseous, you feel restless, you feel uncomfortable and you feel like your stomach is on fire. It is likely that you are suffering from heartburn. Thankfully, there are a number of remedies that can tackle this with ease. But, before we let you in on our bag of remedies, let us first give you some trivia on this condition.
Let us begin with some heartburn statistics that will take you by surprise:
Statistics about Heartburn
If you suffer from recurrent heartburn, it is prudent for you to understand what triggers the pain so as to find relief from it. While lifestyle and dietary changes can help greatly, an understanding of the underlying cause is mandatory to establish the right treatment plan for you.
- Almost every human being is bound to experience heartburn at some point of time in their lives. Absolutely no one is immune from heartburn.
- Over 40% of the American population suffers from heartburn at least once every month, startling isn’t it?
- Close to 95% can testify that their symptoms can be linked to a particular food.
- Just 20% of heartburn episodes occur during the day- most people report experiencing symptoms at night.
- Over 50% pregnant women suffer from heartburn- most of them in their third trimester.
- Even infants can suffer from acid reflux, but tend to grow out of it.
Now, those were some amazing discoveries, weren’t they? Let us get to understanding what exactly heart burn is after all.
Experts estimate that 40% of adults experience heartburn monthly.
What Is Heartburn?
Though the name suggests that it could be something to do with the heart, heartburn has absolutely nothing to do with it. In fact, it has to do with the gastrointestinal tract. For those of you who do not know already, the stomach produces a number of strong acids such as hydrochloric acid, to digest the food we eat. When this acid begins to rise back into your esophagus, it tends to sting the lining of your throat, which is what causes the burning sensation in your neck and chest when you suffer from heartburn. If you are plagued with heartburn more than thrice a week, you may be suffering from a common condition that afflicts several hundreds and is known as GERD. You will need proper medical attention to treat GERD.
What Causes Heartburn?
Once you put food into the mouth, it first passes through the esophagus and then flows into the stomach through the lower esophageal sphincter. At times, this sphincter may not close tightly. This will cause the acid from the stomach to regurgitate, which in turn causes heartburn. Some of the food that can trigger heartburn are:
- Spicy or fried food
- Carbonated drinks
It is also noticed that some medication that is prescribed to treat anxiety, high blood pressure, heart diseases, depression and even birth control can trigger heart burns.
How to Get Rid Of Heartburn?
There are several OTC antacids that can help people suffering from heartburn. These drugs give instant relief from the burning sensation and put your stomach at ease. However, the world is now going natural and more and more people are wary of treading the chemical way to soothe heartburn. So, what are your alternatives? Yes, you guessed it right- Home Remedies!
Today, we have whipped up a list of six tried and tested remedies that will help treat acid reflux at home. Home remedies are all-natural and have little to no side effects and can be safely ingested to treat heartburn.
Natural Home Remedies for Heartburn
Apple Cider Vinegar: ACV is one of the best home remedies that you can ever find to treat heartburn. It is a tried and tested remedy that thousands of people across the globe resort to, in order to eliminate heartburn symptoms. Apple Cider Vinegar also helps prevent people from developing heartburn again. This helps bring the gastric juices in the stomach back to a normal level.(1)
You will need a teaspoon or two of ACV, preferably organic, and one teaspoon of honey. Add the honey and vinegar to a glass of water and mix well. Drink up the mixture. You may have to drink this concoction every day to get relief from heartburn.
Aloe Vera Juice: Juice of aloe vera can be used to treat bad cases of heartburn. This juice helps bring down the inflammation in the stomach and esophagus and also reduces the frequency of heartburn. Several studies have been conducted on the efficacy of this plant and it has been proven that aloe vera juice can indeed work on symptoms of heartburn, such as belching, food regurgitation, dysphagia, flatulence, nausea, acid regurgitation, and vomiting.(2)
All you need to do is drink half a glass of freshly extracted aloe vera juice, half an hour before your meals. If you are susceptible to heartburns, you may include aloe vera in your daily diet.
Licorice: You will be surprised to know the potency of the root of licorice. This herb helps in promoting mucus secretion that acts as protective coating on the esophagus as well as the intestine. This will help alleviate the burning sensation caused by stomach acid. Studies also suggest that it has anti-inflammatory properties and can soothe the esophagus naturally. (3)
If you cannot get your hands on licorice root, buy yourself a bottle of deglycyrrhizinated licorice root tablets that are easily available at most pharmacies. Chew two pills half an hour before each meal.
Fennel: Fennel is used in cooking in most continents and adds a great aroma and flavor to any dish it is added to. This common kitchen ingredient helps improve digestion and also suppresses stomach spasms. It contains a compound known as anethole, which naturally calms spasms in the GI tract and also possesses anti-inflammatory properties.
If you have decided to try fennel for your heartburn, simply chew about half a teaspoon of it after each meal. You may also boil a teaspoon of the seeds in a cup of water and allow it to steep, for about 10 minutes before you strain it. Drink this at least thrice a day for best results.
Marshmallow: No, we aren’t talking about marshmallow candies, we are referring to the marshmallow root. If you suffer from recurrent bouts of heartburn, acid reflux, or even general stomach pains, you will find nothing better than marshmallow. It is in fact one of the best alternatives for antacid that man has discovered. This root is demulcent and emollient, and also has anti-inflammatory properties. Since it is made up of nearly 30% mucilage, it coats the esophagus and stomach when ingested. It also soothes the irritated and inflamed stomach muscles and puts you at ease almost instantly.
You will need one tablespoon of this herb. Throw in the herb into a suspended strainer and pour room temperature water onto it, till it is submerged. Allow it to sit overnight. Drink up one cup of this concoction as soon as you rise from bed, the second through the day, and a third before you hit the sack. Trust us when we say the results will be wondrous.
Cumin Seeds: A handful of cumin seeds is all you need to deal with symptoms of heartburn and acid reflux. These seeds stimulate and improve better digestion, while also reducing digestive issues such as gas and acidity.
Boil about a teaspoon of cumin seeds in a cup of water and allow it to steep, for five to ten minutes before straining. Drink this concoction not just in the morning, but also after meals for a few days and you will experience remarkable improvement. You can also season your food with some cumin to reap the benefits of it.
Treatment of heartburn & Acid reflux during Pregnancy
Heartburn plagues several hundred moms to be during pregnancy and leaves them feeling uneasy and restless. This is because progesterone that helps in relaxing the muscles during pregnancy, also tends to relax the stomach valve that keeps stomach acids out of the esophagus. The result? Heartburn! Apart from this, the growing uterus also puts pressure and tends to crowd the stomach and this forces acid to flow into the esophagus.(4)
However, there are plenty effective as well as safe ways to stop this. Listed below are a few tips that are sure to help you alleviate the many symptoms of heartburn during pregnancy.
Heartburn is associated with increased severity of nausea and vomiting. Managing heartburn may improve severity
- If you are suffering from recurrent episodes of heartburn and you are pregnant, you will benefit from eating five to six smaller meals instead of three large meals a day.
- Do not bolt down your food. Chew slowly and relish your meals. Eating too fast is bound to cause indigestion and heartburn.
- Take a leisurely walk after your meals. Do not stay confined to your bed all day. Get yourself to do small household chores, read a book, or watch your favorite soap on the tele.
- Do not treat yourself to a hearty meal before you hit the sack. Also avoid liquids just before bedtime.
- Try and keep your chest and head elevated when you sleep as this will not allow acid reflux to occur.
- It is also important to make a note of what triggers your symptoms and stay away from such food during pregnancy.
- You may chew on ginger candies or drink up some ginger ale, when you feel at unease. Ginger helps alleviate heartburn and also reduces the urge to throw up.
- If nothing else works, you can resort to antacids. These are safe when consumed in moderation and quell the many symptoms of heartburn without any side effects.
And, there we come to the end of our guide on heartburn. If you have any questions, suggestions, or pointers to add on, kindly drop your suggestions in the comment box below.