Acid reflux is a miserable condition that affects more than 60 million Americans each month. While some have periodic episodes, others have a chronic problem that causes an interruption to their life. The medical community calls this condition GERD or gastroesophageal reflux disease. These people rely heavily on drugstore antacids to relieve the burn.
But what if you could alleviate your heartburn naturally? Today, we examine this sometimes underutilized treatment option.
Reflux is a common disorder in the ring of muscles that link the esophagus to the stomach. The ring is called the esophageal sphincter. The sphincter opens to allow the food you ingest to pass to your belly. In some instances, the lower sphincter malfunctions, and it doesn’t close properly, which allows the contents of the stomach to back up into the esophagus.
Though the technical term is GERD, it’s often called heartburn. The intense burning sensation that this condition causes in the chest and throat is miserable. Many describe it as a fireball shooting from their stomach to their mouth.
The burning sensation that they feel is stomach acid coming into the esophagus and throat, causing discomfort. If you have chronic heartburn and don’t take care of it, you can develop a condition called Barrett’s esophagus.
It’s essential to get the acid reflux under control as soon as possible. Your doctor will put you on antacid medications, called PPI or proton pump inhibitor drugs. Sadly, one of the most common of these drugs on the market now links to a massive amount of colon and stomach cancers.
Holistic Solutions to Cool Down Your Heartburn
Another standard option is to take antacids from the drugstore. Unfortunately, these do little to help the long term. They may calm the acids in the stomach temporarily, but it’s just a band-aid to the problem.
While medications and antacids seem to be the first choice in the Western world, we can learn a lot from Eastern culture. Many things in nature can cure heartburn that doesn’t have such devastating side effects. Here are ten things that you should try for your acid reflux.
1. Avoid Certain Foods
They always say you’re what you eat, but what you eat may be what’s troubling you. If you eat a diet that is high in fatty foods, then the problem with your gut may be your consumption. The following things have been reported to cause issues with heartburn:
•Sodas and Sugary Drinks
•Other Caffeinated Drinks
•Fatty or Deep-Fried Foods
If you are unsure what is aggravating your GERD, then keeping a food journal can help. Identify the foods that seem to flare up your stomach acids, and you should cut them from your diet. A few lifestyle changes can mean everything.
2. Chamomile Tea
If you suffer from GERD, then you know that nighttime can be the worst time for heartburn. When you lie down, your stomach acids can easily flow to your esophagus. Thankfully, a soothing cup of chamomile tea can help.
Drink a cup of this potent tea with calming properties about an hour before you go to sleep instead of reaching for antacids. This herb’s potent properties can help you rest, but it will also calm the stomach acids and keep your gut healthy.
3. Baking Soda
Did you know that baking soda is a cure for many ailments? It’s used in deodorants, toothpaste, cleaning products, and even baked goods. Since it has a PH of 9.0, it’s a neutral base that can help to absorb acid.
To cure your heartburn, simply take a glass of water and mix a teaspoon of baking soda with it. When you drink this elixir, it neutralizes the stomach acids, preventing it from coming up into the esophagus.
You must be careful if you use too much of this as bicarbonate soda has a high salt content that can affect blood pressure. Additionally, too much of it can be like taking a laxative. You should never have more than seven teaspoons within 24 hours.
4. Apple Cider Vinegar
Sipping natural, unfiltered apple cider vinegar relieves stomach acid. This method only works when the gut is not generating enough acid, which is a common problem.
The standard medicinal dosage is one tablespoon of vinegar with eight ounces of water. You can drink this 2-3 times each day to help with chronic heartburn. It’s also advisable to drink before a meal.
5. Aloe Vera Juice
Stomach acids eat away at the esophagus and stomach lining and can leave ulcers. The condition can be excruciating. So, you need something that can act as a balm to repair the irritation.
Aloe Vera has been used for burns to bring instant relief to the pain. However, taking it internally can have the same effect. It can ease the wounds caused by acid on your throat and calm the acid inside your stomach.
You must be careful with ingesting Aloe Vera if you take any prescription medications as it tends to interact negatively with some drugs. Also, follow the container’s instructions as it can cause some mild side effects, but it’s still a better option than antacids.
6. Ginger Root
Ginger root is another herb that has so many benefits to the body. Not only can it aid in digestion, but it can also help you balance the acids in your stomach. When GERD rears its ugly head, ginger can put it back into its place.
It’s always best to use fresh ginger root rather than the processed varieties. Simply peel it or grate a teaspoon to make into a tea or mix with cold water. You can take this mixture up to three times each day, and it will do better for you than any antacids you can buy.
7. Slippery Elm
Slippery elm has been used for hundreds of years to treat heartburn and ulcers. It has hundreds of uses. The native tree comes from North America, and the bark is the part that has medicinal properties. You can find this her in capsules or tablets.
It’s recommended that you take 500 milligrams each day, which is equivalent to one tablespoon of the bark powder. You can take it up to three times each day, but don’t take for more than six weeks without talking to your doctor first.
If you find that the taste is unbearable, mix a little bit of organic honey to soften the bitter punch it carries.
When you think of licorice, you probably think of the sweet red varieties you can find. Licorice, in its natural form, has many medicinal properties. Look for pure licorice root and not the tablets.
You must have the variety that doesn’t have glycyrrhizin acid in them as it can be harmful. You can find licorice in most health food stores as it’s commonly used for ulcers. It’s better than any antacid on the market, and it brings quick relief.
When you are chewing things in your mouth, your body has signals that let it know to make more acid. Saliva helps to clean your gut, which can rid acid.
By simply chewing a piece of gum after eating a meal, you can cut the amount of acid in your stomach. Plus, another advantage of chewing gum is that it can help to improve your dental health.
10. Sleep on Your Left Side
It’s crazy to think that your sleeping position can matter when it comes to heartburn. However, sleeping on your back is out of the question with GERD. Sleeping on your left side causes the esophageal sphincter to relax.
When you keep the sphincter above the gastric acid level, it’s more difficult for the fluid to pass. Many have found that adjusting the way they sleep improves their heartburn, and there are no harsh side effects with position adjustment either.
The first thing that you want to do is run to the drugstore to get antacids when your heartburn flares. However, you are only masking the real problem. You are either producing too much or not enough acid, or the little flap between the stomach and esophagus is not working correctly.
You need to take control of the situation, and nature is there to help. By using one of these ten listed methods, you can bring relief. You can also fix the problem by changing your sleeping position, diet, and adding exercise.
When you maintain a healthy weight, avoid fatty foods, and throw the soda to the curb, you can live a life without heartburn. If you continue to have issues even after exhausting all the items on the list, speak to your doctor.
Conditions like Barrett’s esophagus shouldn’t be messed around with as it can quickly turn to esophageal cancer. Stomach acid can do a significant bit of damage, and it’s more harm than antacids can manage.