Heartburn is a common problem that causes a burning sensation in your chest (just behind your breastbone) and throat. It may also be accompanied by a bitter taste. Other related symptoms may include gas, nausea, bloating, and difficulty breathing. The symptoms usually get worse after eating a large meal or while lying down.
The burning sensation is caused by acidic stomach juices rising into the esophagus when the valve between the esophagus and stomach does not close properly. This is why heartburn often occurs after eating fatty, fried or acidic foods.
Heartburn can also be due to a hiatal hernia, which means part of the stomach is pushing through an opening in the diaphragm and into the chest. Heartburn is also a common condition during pregnancy.
Other health conditions or lifestyle choices that can cause heartburn include smoking, obesity, caffeine intake, alcohol consumption, eating spicy foods, lying down immediately after eating and taking certain medications, such as aspirin or ibuprofen.
Occasional heartburn is common and no cause for alarm. A variety of natural treatments can provide relief from heartburn symptoms.
However, if heartburn occurs frequently and interferes with your routine, then you may be suffering from gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). See your doctor immediately, as untreated GERD can seriously damage your esophagus.
Here are the top 10 home remedies for heartburn.
1. Baking Soda
Baking soda, also known as sodium bicarbonate, provides quick and easy relief from heartburn. Being a natural antacid, it neutralizes stomach acid and works within minutes, giving you relief from heartburn pain.
- Mix 1 teaspoon of baking soda into a glass of water.
- Optionally, you can also mix in a few drops of lemon juice.
- Drink it for instant relief.
- Repeat 2 or 3 times daily, if needed.
Caution: Any kind of antacid should not be given to children under 6 years of age.
2. Apple Cider Vinegar
If you suffer from heartburn, try apple cider vinegar. It triggers the sphincter below the esophagus to close, thus preventing acid from rising. It also helps lower the pH of the stomach contents, making it more acidic to improve digestion.
Plus, it contains probiotics and enzymes that help your body fight infections and prevent acid reflux.
- Mix 1 tablespoon of raw, unfiltered apple cider vinegar into a glass of lukewarm water.
- Add a little honey and mix thoroughly.
- Drink it before each meal.
3. Fennel Seeds
Another popular heartburn remedy is fennel seeds. There are several compounds in fennel seeds that aid in controlling the production of stomach acid. They also support proper digestion.
- Chew dry roasted fennel seeds, especially after eating your meal.
- You can also drink tea made from fennel seeds. To make this herbal tea, add 2 teaspoons of fennel seeds to a cup of boiling water. Allow it to sit for 10 minutes, then strain it and drink it.
Mustard is a highly beneficial food that helps treat heartburn. It helps neutralize the acid that may cause a bad taste in your throat or mouth.
Plus, mustard seeds will make your digestive organs strong to boost the flow of gastric juices, which help you digest food properly.
Also, the nutrients in mustard seeds like calcium, magnesium, zinc, iron and omega-3 fatty acids improve digestion.
- Just swallow 2 teaspoons of yellow mustard seeds with a glass of water. Remember not to chew the seeds. You should feel immediate relief from the heartburn.
- Alternatively, mix 2 teaspoons of mustard paste into a glass of buttermilk. Drink it once or twice daily.
Fresh ginger provides relief from heartburn in two ways – it absorbs acid in the stomach and helps calm the nerves that contribute to heartburn.
It reduces the likelihood of stomach acid flowing up into the esophagus. It also reduces inflammation, thus providing quick relief from heartburn symptoms.
You can use ginger as a spice in cooking, eat raw ginger pieces or drink ginger tea. This natural herb can be consumed regularly to prevent heartburn from recurring.
To make ginger tea:
- Add 1 teaspoon of freshly grated ginger to 1 cup of boiling water.
- Let it steep for a few minutes.
- Drink this herbal tea several times a day.
Caution: Take ginger in small doses, as too much can make your symptoms worse.
6. Aloe Vera Juice
The juice extracted from the aloe vera plant is a popular home remedy for heartburn. Aloe vera juice controls heartburn by reducing inflammation and healing the gastrointestinal tract.
It also boosts digestion as well as removes toxins from the body.
A 2015 study published in the Journal of Traditional Chinese Medicine reports that aloe vera juice can reduce the symptoms of acid reflux without any side effects. Researchers noted that aloe vera reduces acid production by acting as an anti-inflammatory agent.
7. Slippery Elm
Slippery elm has been used medicinally for centuries to treat different types of diseases including heartburn. It will thicken the mucous lining of your stomach, thereby creating an effective barrier against acid.
Slippery elm also stimulates the intestines to produce mucus.
- Mix 1 teaspoon of slippery elm powder into a cup of hot water.
- Drink it after meals and at bedtime.
8. Chewing Gum
Chewing a piece of sugar-free gum can provide quick relief from heartburn.
Chewing gum stimulates the production of saliva and causes your saliva to become more alkaline. This can neutralize the acid in your stomach.
A 2005 study published in the Journal of Dental Research reports that chewing sugar-free gum for half an hour after a meal can reduce acidic postprandial esophageal reflux.
After a meal, chew a piece of sugar-free gum for 30 minutes to help ward off acidity and a burning sensation in your chest and stomach.
However, avoid sugary as well as mint-flavored gum.
9. Pickle Juice
To soothe heartburn, pickle juice is also effective.
As pickle juice is rich in vinegar, it helps reduce the formation of acid in the stomach. Naturally, fermented sour pickle juice also contains probiotics that improve digestion.
When suffering from heartburn, have a few sips or teaspoons of pickle juice after eating your meal. You can also have the pickle along with the juice.
Almond lovers will be happy to hear that this tasty and highly beneficial nut is also effective in treating heartburn. Due to their oily nature, a handful of almonds help reduce heartburn in some people.
Almonds contain the enzyme emulsion, which acts on a glycoside amygdalin and breaks it down into glucose. This, in turn, speeds up digestion and provides immediate relief from heartburn.
Also, this alkaline food helps neutralize the acid in your stomach.
Immediately after a meal or snack, eat 3 or 4 almonds. You can choose raw, roasted or salted almonds to suit your taste buds. Chew them until they are reduced to a flour-like substance. This will release the oil from the almonds, which calms the production of acid in your stomach.
- Drinking a glass of chilled milk can be a simple solution for early or mild heartburn symptoms.
- Eating a chilled apple or banana can also help treat minor heartburn.
- You can take over-the-counter antacids to help neutralize stomach acid.
- Maintaining a healthy weight will help reduce the risk of heartburn.
- Wear loose clothing to reduce pressure on your abdomen and the lower esophageal sphincter.
- Avoid foods like carbonated drinks, citrus fruits, tomatoes, peppermint, and fried foods that trigger your heartburn.
- Avoid lying down after a meal, as it can cause acid to rise. Wait at least one hour after eating to go to bed.
- Keep the head of your bed elevated if you regularly experience heartburn at night or while trying to sleep.
- Rather than two or three large meals, eat smaller meals more frequently to ease the impact on your digestive system.
- Do not smoke. Smoking reduces the lower esophageal sphincter’s ability to function properly.
- If you have persistent or severe heartburn, consult your doctor immediately to be sure it is not a sign of a more serious condition.