Heartburn is more common every day – and more people suffer from it, due to stress, bad diet and anxiety. Must we suffer in silence because “everyone else does”? Here, we introduce you to a few home remedies for heart burn.
What you need to know about heartburn
Pyrosis is the medical term, but everyone knows it as “heartburn”. The burning sensation occurs in the oesophagus, which is located just below the sternum. You can also identify heartburn through other symptoms such as an acidic or bitter taste in the mouth that is similar to what you experience just before vomiting. It can also cause difficulty with swallowing or pain whilst eating or drinking.
This condition is caused by a regurgitation of stomach acid, causing pain in the chest area, which sometimes spreads to the throat, the jaw or the neck. A third of the population suffers from pyrosis as frequently as once a month. Common reasons for heartburn include:
- Overindulgence in food or alcohol
- Having a full stomach for long periods of time
- Skipping breakfast
- Eating too much greasy or spicy food
- Getting older. Pyrosis is more frequent in those over 60 years of age
If you’re looking to prevent this problem, you’d do best to avoid foods which typically irritate the digestive system. Some of the biggest culprits are coffee, alcohol, sauces, spicy foods and fried foods. It’s also a good idea to delay going to bed after a heavy meal if you are symptomatic. When you settle in too soon, the oesophageal acids “rise” toward the throat. Do remain vigilant. If you suffer from heartburn frequently, you should see your GP to rule out the possibility of ulcers. If you only experience symptoms occasionally, you could try natural remedies or buy antacids at a chemist.
Foods that reduce stomach acid
You may be able to treat the irritation using these foods:
- Chewing gum will increase the flow of saliva in your mouth which will help to neutralise gastric acids.
- Ginger can be made into an infusion in boiling water. This is an incredibly effective stomach tonic.
- Mustard alleviates symptoms. A mere teaspoon will do the job – eaten on its own or with a piece of toast.
- Almonds eaten after meals can stop symptoms in their tracks. You only need two or three.
- Sodium bicarbonate can be drunk slowly to neutralise acid. Place 1 tsp. in a glass of warm water.
- Porridge for breakfast is a winner. Just add a bit of plant milk or soya yoghurt to your jumbo oats in the morning.
- Potato juice? Yes! Just peel and grate a potato, then drink the strained juice with a spoon.
- Banana. Your mellow yellow friend can be eaten before or after meals to help calm the digestive system.
- Apple cider vinegar can be diluted in water. Add 1 tsp. to a glass of water and sip slowly.
- Cantaloupe is excellent at alleviating heartburn.
- Fennel is not only good for calming burning, but also aids the digestive process.
- Parsley is wonderful eaten on its own or chopped fresh into meals.
- Papaya not only aids digestion, but it also calms the discomfort that comes from the burning in the pit of your stomach.
- Apples are brilliant for helping you digest your food more effectively.
- Pineapple is light and refreshing – perfect for eating after heavy foods or overindulgence.
- Cinnamon as a tea will help soothe burning sensations.
Natural heartburn remedies
Of course, you want to counteract the burning sensation in your stomach after a meal. Try a few of these natural home remedies:
- Juice 2 lettuce leaves and 4 carrots (peeled). Place in a blender with one cup of water, then blend for 5 minutes. Strain. Be sure to drink on an empty stomach before breakfast.
- Place a stick of wormwood in one cup of water. Bring to the boil. Cover to steep for a few minutes and drink before breakfast.
- Allow 1 Tbsp. boldo leaves and 1 artichoke leaf for each cup of water. Boil for 5 minutes. Let steep. Strain and drink one cup a day for an entire month.
- Boil a litre of water and add 15 grams of dried basil. Steep and drink 3 cups a day following each meal.
- Mix 30 grams of sage with 30 grams of lemon verbena. Make an infusion by placing 1 tsp. in a glass of hot water, then drink after eating.
- Take 1 tsp. of extra virgin olive oil after each meal.
- Add a few dates to one cup of boiling water and drink the mixture.