Natural Remedies for Heartburn
- Saturday, 27 June 2009
Much like antibiotics, heartburn drugs of all kinds are grossly over-prescribed. According to most health care professionals, perhaps 1/100 people actually need these drugs while 99/100 really need to change their diets and/or use harmless alternatives.
There are probably as many natural remedies for hyperacidity as there are prescription drugs, so you have many choices. If you are not sure what to do, a natural health care practitioner will be able to help.
Since stress and poor lifestyle choices such as cigarette smoking and physical inactivity can cause hyperacidity in addition to just about any disorder, efforts should definitely be made to make major changes in these areas.
Helicobacter pylori bacterial infections are usually thought to be the cause of peptic ulcer disease, along with the symptoms that usually trigger doctors to prescribe either proton pump inhibitors or other drugs. There are a variety of tests your doctor can order for you to make the diagnosis. These include blood tests, breath tests, x-rays, ultrasounds, scopes, and even biopsies. Medical doctors treat the H. pylori infection with antibiotics and a variety of antacids and/or acid suppressing drugs.
- Eat frequent small meals throughout the day instead of the usual 3 large meals.
- Drink more spring or purified water to help dilute acid excess.
- Therapeutic vegetable juices include carrot, spinach, beet, cucumber, parsley, celery, cabbage, and potato. These should be used liberally throughout the day (2 quarts daily).
- Raw potato juice just before breakfast can help with acid regurgitation.
- Avoid red meat, alcohol, hot sauces, spicy and fried foods, added salt, caffeine products, sugar, and refined carbohydrate products.
Instead of Aspirin
If you use aspirin, replace it with white willow bark capsules. At least this will not further aggravate the discomfort.
A large number of people suffer from hyperacidity because of an allergy to milk protein (casein) or gluten found in most grains. Food allergy or sensitivity testing might be a good idea in the more stubborn cases that fail to respond to other diet and supplement changes.
Supplements that have a healing effect against H. pylori include:
- Wild mountain oregano oil
- Lactobacillus acidophilus and other probiotics
- Bovine colostrum
- Essential fatty acids—flax seed oil, cod liver oil, salmon oil, evening primrose oil, borage oil
- Licorice root tincture or herbal tea*
- Slippery elm
- Digestive enzymes
- Manuka honey
- Ginger root
- Mastic gum
- Aloe vera juice
* It should be noted here that the long-term use of licorice could elevate blood pressure in some sensitive individuals. The glycyrrhetinic acid component of licorice is what is responsible for this potential side effect. The best way of getting around this problem and still take advantage of licorice’s ability to protect the gastrointestinal lining from acid irritation is to use deglycyrrhizinated licorice (DGL). Many herbal brands manufacture DGL lozenges or chewable tablets. This supplement is widely available at most health food stores and pharmacies specializing in natural remedies.
- Hiatus hernia
- Duodenal ulcers
- Crohn’s disease
- Non-specific indigestion
- Irritable bowel syndrome
- Bowel infections
This herbal tea can be used alone or in combination with DGL, aloe vera juice, or prescription medications in more resistant cases. Check with your doctor or naturopath for a personalized treatment regime.
REFERENCE: Physicians' Desk Reference 2005. Montvale, NJ: Thomson Healthcare, 2004.