How to Get Rid of Heartburn Naturally

Updated on November 2, 2017
isvayah profile image

Isvaiyah has been a licensed pharmacist at Gadjah Mada University (Indonesia) for nine years. She earned her M.Sc. from the same university.

Easy Heartburn Relief Options

Many of us have experienced the pain of heartburn . . . a burning sensation that rises up your chest from your stomach. Fortunately, this annoying condition has nothing to do with heart disease. It is simply caused by acid reflux, when acid from the stomach rises up the gullet (esophagus).

There are a number of effective natural remedies for heartburn complaints. If you find you continually suffer from acid reflux or heartburn, consult a qualified doctor. You may have an underlying condition such as a hiatal hernia, for example (a weakness in the diaphragm through which part of the stomach protrudes).

If you still get acid reflux and heartburn, despite preventive measures, here are some useful home remedies for heartburn and acid reflux that can prove helpful.

Heartburn describes a burning feeling in the chest caused by excess stomach acid.
Heartburn describes a burning feeling in the chest caused by excess stomach acid.

7 Home Remedies for Heartburn Relief

Remedies
Instructions
Note
Antacids
Follow the package directions.
Avoid taking antacids containing sodium.
Milk
Sip a little skim milk.
Avoid full fat milk.
Ginger root
Drink a cup of ginger tea after a meal.
Avoid ginger cookies or crystallized ginger.
Turmeric
500 mg (3-4 times a day).
Avoid taking large amounts.
Licorice root (DGL)
Follow the package directions.
Avoid use if you are currently pregnant or breastfeeding.
Marshmallow
500 mg a day.
Avoid use if you are currently pregnant.
Slippery elm
Follow the package directions.
Avoid use if you are currently pregnant.

NOTE

If the symptoms still persist after treatment (both medical and natural), call your doctor immediately!

Home Remedies for Heartburn by Dr. Mercola

1. Antacids

Heartburn can be caused by excess stomach acid, so it is a good idea to use the antacid calcium carbonate (chalk) to neutralize some of the excess acid. Commercial brands are available (Alka-Mints, Tums, etc.) from a number of suppliers.

Other best antacids include magnesium carbonate, magnesium hydroxide, aluminum hydroxide, and baking soda (sodium bicarbonate). Baking soda contains sodium ions and has a similar effect on the body as ordinary salt (sodium chloride). It is best to use an antacid that does not contain sodium.

2. Milk

A small amount of milk is a useful, inexpensive home treatment for heartburn. It is a good idea to sip a little reduced-fat milk or skim milk, as full-fat milk contains too much fat, so it may make matters worse. It is worthwhile to try goat’s milk, which some people find to be more effective than cow’s milk.

3. Ginger Root

Ginger root is another natural treatment for heartburn relief. The herb is also good for indigestion. You can simply add finely grated ginger to your food, or take a ginger capsule after each meal. Alternatively, you can drink a cup of ginger tea after a meal.

A popular tasty combo is lemon and ginger; tea bags are commercially available from a number of suppliers. You can also use ginger to treat nausea during pregnancy.

Some people like to take ginger cookies or crystallized ginger for digestion. They can work, but all that extra sugar is not really good for your general health.

Ginger helps relieve heartburn by reducing acid reflux flowing up into the gullet.
Ginger helps relieve heartburn by reducing acid reflux flowing up into the gullet.

4. Turmeric

The spice turmeric, often used in Indian cooking, is a traditional home treatment for heartburn and other digestive complaints. If you don’t want to cook with the spice, you can buy capsules and tablets.

A dose of 500 mg three or four times a day is generally recommended.

NOTE: Turmeric can calm the stomach, reducing the risk of heartburn. Although normal food quantities are fine during pregnancy, you should avoid taking large amounts of turmeric if you are expecting.

5. Licorice Root

Licorice root soothes the stomach and the rest of the digestive system. It is important to buy Deglycyrrhizinated Licorice (or DGL). This type of licorice preparation has had the harmful compound glycyrrhizin largely removed, making it safe to eat.

Capsules and chewable tablets are available from a number of suppliers.

A Word of Warning: You shouldn’t take large quantities of licorice if you’re pregnant or breastfeeding. Don’t snack on licorice candy in an attempt to cure your heartburn. The extra sugar isn’t good for you.

6. Marshmallow

Here we are talking about marshmallow herb, or Althaea officinalis, not marshmallow candies such as peeps. The root of the plant is a good home remedy for heartburn.

You can buy capsules of the root extract. A typical dose would be 500 mg a day. The soothing extract helps line the gullet, reducing any damage caused by heartburn.

Although the root is the most standard form of marshmallow used for stomach problems, recent scientific research on laboratory animals suggested that the flowers may be beneficial for stomach ulcers. Studies on humans are needed to confirm this finding.

You can grow the herb marshmallow in most states. It is best to buy a young plant as seed germination can be tricky. Plant in light shade and in moist, fertile soil. The attractive flowers appear in summer. The plant normally dies down in winter, and grows up again in the spring. After a few years, the roots should be large enough to harvest.

NOTE: Don’t take other medicines at the same time as marshmallow, as it may retard their absorption in the body. Avoid the herb during pregnancy.

7. Slippery Elm

The bark of the slippery elm tree (Ulmus rubra) is another useful natural remedy for heartburn. You can buy capsules of bark extract. Follow the dosage instructions on the packaging, as the strength of the capsules can vary.

You can also drink slippery elm tea if you prefer. The tea is commercially available from a number of suppliers.

A Word of Warning: Avoid taking other medications at the same time as slippery elm. They may not be absorbed by the body as they should. Don’t use any slippery elm preparation at all when pregnant, since it has been linked to an increased risk of miscarriage.

The mucilage in slippery elm helps neutralize acids in your stomach.
The mucilage in slippery elm helps neutralize acids in your stomach.

Foods to Avoid to Prevent Heartburn

Likely triggers for heartburn include:

  • Fizzy drinks. The carbon dioxide in these beverages tends to force the stomach contents upwards. Avoid all fizzy drinks if you tend to get heartburn.
  • Alcoholic drinks. These can also be bad for the stomach. Alcoholic fizzy drinks, such as vodka and lemonade, rum and coke, fizzy beer, sparkling wines, etc., can give you heartburn.
  • Chocolate can trigger heartburn in some people.
  • Coffee is also a common trigger for heartburn.
  • Fatty foods often cause heartburn or other forms of indigestion.
  • Hot, spicy food can also cause heartburn.

Other Ways to Prevent Heartburn

First of all eat, your food slowly. There is no need to gulp it down like a starving wolf. Eat small meals, spread evenly through the day. Sit down after a meal and don’t stretch out on the sofa. Don’t eat late in the evening, since you won’t have finished digesting your food when you lie down to sleep. Wear loose clothing.

Stress is a contributing factor to heartburn. We can’t always avoid stress in our lives. However, by putting aside time to relax, and managing our daily tasks in an orderly fashion, we can make our lives less stressful than they would otherwise be.

Questions & Answers

    © 2017 Isvaiyah

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      • Aelbarsha profile image

        Abdelhakim Elbarsha 7 months ago from Benghazi/Libya

        Great review! Thanks.

        I think the last paragraph tells the secrets that many people with heartburn don't know, and if ignored, diet changes alone might not be sufficient.

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