Have you ever experienced heartburn or a burning sensation around the lower chest area? This happens when stomach acid that slowly makes its way up your esophagus (long tube connecting the throat and the stomach). That condition is called acid reflux and the pain is only multiplied ten times when you try to lie down or bend over.
Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) or severe/chronic acid reflux has additional symptoms such as nausea, a sour taste in mouth, sore throat, dry cough and chest pain. If this condition remains untreated, it can lead to serious complications such as Barrett’s esophagus or worse, esophageal cancer.
While the cause of acid reflux disease is still unknown, it’s clear that factors such smoking, obesity, pregnancy, certain foods, genetics, malfunctioning of the lower esophageal sphincter muscles, stomach abnormalitieslike hiatal hernia and certain medications may cause this condition.
Frequent attacks of acid reflux need immediate medical treatment. Mild symptoms can still be treated via natural home remedies for that instant relief. However, if the problem occurs two to three times a week (or more), it’s best to consult your doctor.
We’ve listed some natural home remedies to help treat acid reflux.
1. Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple cider vinegar has a growing fan base because of its numerous health benefits. It aids in digestion and helps balance the production of acid in the stomach that’s why it’s an effective remedy for acid reflux. Here’s how:
- Get a warm cup of water and mix in one to two teaspoons of apple cider vinegar.
- Drink it twenty to thirty minutes before eating.
- Do this remedy regularly, or at least for a couple of months.
You can also drink apple cider vinegar to treat heartburn.
2. Baking Soda
Sodium bicarbonate, or commonly known as baking soda, is a natural antacid that gives an instant relief from heartburn which is the most common symptom of acid reflux. Here’s how:
- Get a cup of water and mix in one-half to one teaspoon of baking soda.
- Drink it quickly. Avoid prolonged ingestion of baking soda. People with high blood pressure should also avoid taking baking soda because of its sodium content.
3. Aloe Vera
Juice Aloe vera has anti-inflammatory properties that can help soothe the inflammation in the stomach and esophagus caused by acid reflux. Here’s how:
- The process is simple. All you have to do is drink one-quarter cup of aloe vera juice about 20 minutes prior to eating a meal. Do this moderately and don’t take aloe vera juice in excessive amounts because it has a laxative effect.
4. Chewing Gum
According to a study published in the Journal of Dental Research, chewing sugar-free gum for thirty minutes after each meal can relieve the symptoms of gastroesophageal reflux disease. Chewing gum stimulates the production of saliva which then washes away all of the acid that’s accumulated in the gut. Saliva can also neutralize stomach acids because it is alkaline.
You can also try chewing cinnamon gum after meals to prevent acid reflux. Avoid mint-flavored gum because mint has a relaxing effect on the lower esophageal .
5. Licorice Root
Licorice root has stomach-healing properties that can help treat acid reflux. It reduces gastric inflammation, decreases gastric spasms, soothes the mucus membranes and protects the lining of the gut.
- Get one-half teaspoon of licorice root powder and boil it in a cup of water. Strain the powder before drinking fifteen to twenty minutes prior to eating a meal. Do this two to three times a day for a week.
- If you find the process very time consuming, you can take one or two 400 mg chewable DGL (Deglycyrrhizinated licorice) tablets before eating meals, two or three times a day for a few weeks. This herbal supplement is available in most natural food stores.It’s best to ask your doctor before taking this herb.
6. Yellow Mustard
Another popular home remedy for acid reflux is yellow mustard. The vinegar content in yellow mustard is a weak acid that helps neutralize the pH of stomach acid.
- Eat one teaspoon of plain yellow mustard for instant relief whenever acid reflux strikes. If you find that the taste is too strong, drink a glass of water immediately.
Note: Although it is highly effective, it might worsen cases of heartburn for some people.
Fennel is highly recommended because it improves stomach digestion and it suppresses stomach spasms. It contains a compound called “anethole” that calms the spasms in the gastrointestinal tract and has anti-inflammatory effects.
- After eating, chew one-half teaspoon of fennel seeds.
- Another option is boiling one teaspoon of fennel seeds in a cup of water. You can let it steep for about ten minutes, strain, and then drink. It’s advisable that you do this two to three times a day for a few days.
8. Slippery Elm
The demulcent properties contained in slippery elm help coat the esophagus and the lining of the stomach. It also has soothing and anti-inflammatory effects. Here’s how:
- Mix two cups of hot water and two tablespoons of powdered slippery elm bark.
- Let the mixture steep for about five minutes. Strain and drink after.
- Do this three times a day until you notice improvements.
Just like slippery elm, marshmallow also contains soothing and demulcent properties. Because of its high levels of mucilage, it protects the mucosal lining of the stomach and esophagus. Here’s how:
- Mix four cups of water and two tablespoons of dried marshmallow root. Let the mixture sit overnight.
- The next morning, strain out the herb and drink.
- Do this a few times a day until you notice improvements in your condition.
Cumin seeds are also effective in treating acid reflux. They do an excellent job in stimulating digestion and reducing digestive issues like acidity and gas. Here’s how:
- Get one cup of water, pour in a teaspoon of cumin seeds, and boil. Let this mixture steep for five minutes, strain, and drink. It’s best to drink this tea in the morning after meals. Do this for a few weeks until you notice some improvements. You can also add cumin seeds as an ingredient when cooking.
Some Helpful Tips:
- You can help prevent the onset of acid reflux by eating an apple or a few almonds after meals. It also helps if you add probiotic foods such as yogurt in your diet.
- Avoid eating heavy meals before bedtime.
- Try to lose excess weight. Exercise and proper diet is the key.
- As much as possible, try to figure out what’s been causing your acid reflux. Some common triggers are cigarette smoking, drinking alcohol, carbonated drinks or coffee, eating chocolate, citrus fruits, onions, garlic, and spicy, fried or fatty foods. Once you find out what’s been causing your acid reflux, try to avoid it as much as possible.
- Before you sleep, try to elevate the head of your bed by four to six inches to inhibit reflux. Make a conscious effort to sleep on your left side. Studies show that sleeping on the right side can aggravate acid reflux problems.