Heartburn, also known as gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), is a painful condition that can also be dangerous to your health over time. We’ve all suffered through the stomach discomfort, chest pain, and even general malaise that comes with an attack of heartburn. One of the most frustrating aspects of GERD is the constancy of its symptoms—especially when they surface at their worst during dinnertime or bedtime hours.
It’s believed that up to 1/3 of adults suffer from this affliction at some point, and it’s most common among people who are over 40 years old. If you’re struggling with heartburn, there are a number of natural remedies that can help you get back on track.
Here are 12 of the best natural remedies you can try to help ease your symptoms.
1. Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple cider vinegar helps relieve heartburn by reducing the production of acid in the stomach. Additionally, apple cider vinegar is a natural antacid that can neutralize stomach acids. Because it is also a mild diuretic, apple cider vinegar can help remove excess fluid from the body, leading to relief from heartburn symptoms.
Ginger is a natural remedy for heartburn that works by reducing the amount of acid production in the stomach. It also helps relax the stomach muscles, which can help reduce the pain and discomfort associated with heartburn. Ginger contains compounds called gingerols which are responsible for the anti-inflammatory and antispasmodic effects of ginger.
3. Aloe Vera
Studies have shown that aloe vera can help relieve heartburn by reducing the production of stomach acid. Aloe vera’s ability to reduce the production of stomach acid is due to its prokinetic and motilin activities. Prokinetic activity increases the speed at which food moves through the digestive system, while motilin activity helps contract the gastrointestinal muscles to move food through the digestive system.
Honey is a natural remedy for heartburn and other stomach problems. Honey contains enzymes that help break down the food into small pieces, which helps reduce the amount of acid produced. Additionally, honey contains anti-inflammatory properties that can help reduce pain and inflammation in the stomach and chest.
5. Pineapple Juice
Pineapple juice can be used to soothe an upset stomach with heartburn. The acid in the pineapple acts as a natural antacid, making it easier for your stomach to digest food. Pineapple juice is also rich in antioxidants which help with digestion and prevent inflammation in your esophagus. If you need immediate relief from heartburn, drink some pineapple juice before eating the offending food.
Almonds are a fantastic superfood for those who suffer from heartburn. Almonds that are soaked in water overnight can help to alleviate some of the symptoms of heartburn. They contain magnesium, which is needed to maintain proper stomach acid levels and offers many other health benefits as well.
7. Slippery Elm Bark
Slippery elm bark is a natural remedy that can be used to help reduce heartburn, stomach acidity, and provide relief from the symptoms of ulcers. With its high levels of mucilage content, slippery elm bark acts as a thickening agent for the mucus membranes lining the digestive tract. It also contains tannins which are considered anti-inflammatory substances with many antibacterial properties.
8. Ripe Bananas
One natural way to reduce heartburn symptoms is by consuming a ripe banana. Bananas are high in dietary carbohydrate and sugar which can help to relieve the symptoms of heartburn. Ripe bananas also contain enzymes that help break down food in the stomach. These enzymes work to neutralize the acid in the stomach, which reduces the amount of pain that occurs.
9. Fennel Seeds
Fennel is a perennial herb with a sweet taste and aroma. In Ayurveda, it is considered a carminative herb which means it helps to improve digestion and relieve gas. It has been traditionally used as a remedy for heartburn because it reduces stomach acid production. Simply chewing on a fennel seed can provide relief from heartburn for up to two hours. In addition, adding ground fennel seeds to soups and sauces creates an element of flavor while simultaneously reducing the risk of heartburn.
10. Licorice Root
Licorice root has been used to treat heartburn for centuries. In fact, the ancient Egyptians were one of the first to use licorice for medicinal purposes. The medicinal properties in licorice root can be attributed to a substance known as glycyrrrhizin, a compound that inhibits the secretion of acid in the stomach and intestines. The best way to use licorice is to take one small piece of root for heartburn 30 minutes before eating, because it will neutralize the acid in the stomach.
Milk is a common remedy for relieving heartburn because it is able to work as an anti-inflammatory agent. When the stomach acids are neutralized by the milk, they don’t create as much of an irritation to the lining of the stomach. Additionally, dairy products contain high levels of calcium which can help soften and reduce inflammation.
12. Baking Soda
Baking soda is a naturally occurring mineral that can relieve your symptoms of acid reflux and prevent flare-ups and can also lower the risk of developing GERD over time. Studies show that baking soda has antacid properties that neutralize stomach acid and alleviate heartburn symptoms for many people. The most effective treatment for this is to take baking soda by mouth. You can mix 1 teaspoon of baking soda with 8 ounces of water and drink the mixture. Alternatively, you can mix 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda with 4 ounces of water and drink that mixture.
Although the pain from recurring heartburn can be debilitating, there are many ways you can prevent heartburn from occurring in the first place. Taking an inventory of your food choices, medications and lifestyle can go a long way in helping you determine the exact cause of your heartburn. A life without any pain might seem like a dream come true – but there are many natural remedies for heartburn that you can try at home to relieve heartburn.
Ahuja, Amisha, and Nitin K Ahuja. “Popular Remedies for Esophageal Symptoms: a Critical Appraisal.” Current gastroenterology reports vol. 21,8 39. 10 Jul. 2019, doi:10.1007/s11894-019-0707-4
Mehta, Raaj S et al. “Association Between Beverage Intake and Incidence of Gastroesophageal Reflux Symptoms.” Clinical gastroenterology and hepatology : the official clinical practice journal of the American Gastroenterological Association vol. 18,10 (2020): 2226-2233.e4. doi:10.1016/j.cgh.2019.11.040