As many as 20% of the Western world suffers from heartburn. It happens when stomach acid and sometimes food travels back up the throat. This in turn creates a burning pain often felt in the chest. Heartburn is predominantly linked to the food you eat. If you regularly experience heartburn, you may be able to identify certain foods that trigger your symptoms. And guess what? Relieving heartburn symptoms may be as simple as opening your kitchen cupboard! Here are some effective home remedies for heartburn with dosages.
Most commercially bought heartburn medication that you buy over the counter contains sodium bicarbonate as the dominant active ingredient. You can however use organic baking soda to relieve your heartburn as it neutralizes gastric acidity at a fraction of the cost of commercial products! The US National Library of Medicine recommends:
When to have: 1 to 3 hours after meals and again just before bed. Dosage: Adults 1 to 2.5 teaspoons as required but not exceeding 5 teaspoons per day.
What form: Stir recommended dosage with cold water
Precautions: Certain medications may interact adversely with baking soda and in particular if you suffer from other pre-existing medical conditions. It’s always good to double check with your doctor before use.
Aloe vera never ceases to amaze me when it comes to the many uses it has to treat a variety of ailments. It has been found that aloe vera is a safe and effective treatment in reducing GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease) and associated symptoms including heartburn. Just as aloe vera soothes sunburn, it also creates a soothing effect throughout the esophagus.
In a clinical trial, The US National Library of Medicine noted:
When to have: One 10ml dose on an empty stomach in the morning
Dosage: Aloe vera syrup (standardized to 5.0 mg polysaccharide per mL of syrup) at a dose of 10 mL/d
What form: Pure aloe vera juice as purchased at your local supermarket or pharmacy
Precautions: Can have a mild laxative effect
With tea being the second most popular beverage consumed globally only next to water, it’s probably anchored in your memory as being a soothing and relaxing tonic. It’s great to know that ginger root tea also carries medicinal properties and can assist with heartburn. In one particular study on 24 healthy individuals, ginger had positive impact on the rate in which the stomach emptied food. Reducing how long you have to suffer from heartburn symptoms is a primary concern and ginger root tea can ensure the food that caused your heartburn passes through your system quickly.
As published in Integrative Medicine by David Rakel:
When to have: One cup of ginger root tea before meals Dosage: 250 to 500mg three to four times daily
What form: Ground ginger root tea pre-packaged or slice fresh ginger root around the size of your small finger, place in 150m of boiling water before straining.
Precautions: It’s best to check with your GP if any of your current medication or conditions may interact with ginger.
I personally love using ACV daily to neutralize acidity in my gut. Maintaining an alkaline diet is the best approach in minimising the occurrence of disease. As the food you consumed was most likely acidic, you can use ACV to balance out that acidity and reduce heartburn.
Advice from World Laparoscopy Hospital:
When to have: Upon waking, at lunch and prior to bed
Dosage: Two tablespoons ACV diluted in water – 3x daily
What form: Liquid Apple cider vinegar available at most supermarkets
Precautions: Ensure ACV is diluted or it may cause wearing down of tooth enamel and harshness on your throat, increasing any heartburn symptoms.
Chamomile has long been used to treat many ailments throughout history. It is commonly used for gastrointestinal disorders, as it helps to relax the muscles responsible for transporting food to the intestines. Not too many clinical trials have been carried out, but in one study, chamomile was found to help acid reflux symptoms as effectively as a commercially sold antacid.
As published in Integrative Medicine by David Rakel:
When to have: As needed three to four times daily
Dosage: 1g to 3g (2g is 1tsp)
What form: Loose tea leaves or pre-packaged tea bags
Precautions: There is a low risk of allergic reactions, if you react to other plant-based teas. May interfere with other medications. Always double-check with your doctor.
It may seem too good to be true that simply by chewing gum you can alleviate heartburn symptoms and even I was a little sceptical at first! However, as you swallow more often when chewing gum, it helps to clear the esophagus of any excess stomach acid.
As per a trial study available on US National Library of Medicine:
When to have: Chew for up to half an hour following a meal which has caused your heartburn.
Dosage: 1 piece of sugar-free gum post-meal
What form: Pre-packaged sugar-free gum
Precautions: Indulging in too much chewing gum has a laxative effect.
Licorice helps to form gastric mucus which protects the stomach lining and esophagus from acidity. In one controlled trial using a commercial product GutGard which is the root extract of licorice, patients showed significant decreases in symptoms that are related to dyspepsia (indigestion) which included heartburn.
As recommended by University of Wisconsin Integrative Medicine:
When to have: Before meals
Dosage: Two to four 380mg lozenges
What form: Licorice root lozenges
Precautions: Surprisingly it is possible to overdose on licorice root therefore always stick to the recommend dose. May also interfere with other medications especially diuretics, so do double-check with your doctor. Avoid if pregnant.
While few studies have been carried out to date, many people have reported on the positive effects of drinking fennel tea to reduce heartburn. Fennel soothes the digestive tract and helps move food through the intestines. In animal studies, fennel has been found to have protective qualities against gastric damage caused by high-acidity environments.
From The 5-Minute Herb and Dietary Supplement Consult by Adriane Fugh-Berman:
When to have: Morning and evening or up to four times daily as needed
Dosage: 2 to 5g two to four times daily
What form: Tea or infusion of freshly crushed fennel
Precautions: Dosages above 7g should not be used for more than 2 weeks. Consult your doctor to double-check fennel won’t interact with any current medications you may be on. Best avoided if pregnant.
It is known as the Queen of Herbs for its ability to relieve an abundance of ailments. Holy basil has been found to enhance the production of liver bile which helps to break down acidity once the food has passed through your intestines.
From Maimes Report on Holy Basil by Steven Maimes:
Dosage: 2g per cup of tea twice daily
What form: Holy basil tea
Precautions: Avoid if pregnant or breast feeding. Mild blood thinning qualities. Great to check with your doctor before use.
Cumin seeds are a common remedy prescribed by naturopaths to balance acidity in the body. Throughout history cumin seeds have had great therapeutic effects on gastrointestinal problems. In ancient cultures, cumin seeds are described as an integral part of their folk medicines.
As recommended by John Sekerka, Lecturer at Ayurveda College, California:
When to have: Before meal time
Dosage: 1/3 tsp of cumin powder with a pinch of rock salt and optional pinch of asafoetida as an additional digestive aid.
What form: Mix with warm water
Precautions: Best to avoid if pregnant or breast feeding, as not enough research is available to confirm its safety. If you have diabetes it is best to check with your doctor as cumin is known to interact with certain diabetic medications.
I personally rely on a cup of peppermint tea if I have any indigestion issues or stomach pains. Peppermint oil is a step up from peppermint tea as it is much more potent. In one particular study, 96 patients were given one capsule of peppermint oil & caraway oil twice daily over 28 days. Within that period 67% reported improvements in their symptoms of dyspepsia which included heartburn.
Recommended dose from that same study from US National Library of Medicine:
When to have: One capsule early in the morning and one before bed time.
Dosage: One peppermint oil capsule twice daily (optional to purchase peppermint oil/caraway oil combination for added effect).
What form: Capsules
Precautions: Excessive dosages can become toxic in the body so take care to stick to the recommended daily dose.
It’s great to have a sweet tasting remedy on hand for heartburn. There’s a particular enzyme called bromelain that’s found to be highly concentrated in pineapple. In studies, plant-based bromelain from pineapple has been found to be an effective digestive aid, as it helps to break down proteins.
From The Juice Lady’s Guide to Juicing for Health by Cherie Calbom:
When to have: Through the meal
Dosage: Sip on small quantities of pineapple juice with a meal
What form: Juice
Precautions: Best to avoid when pregnant as bromelain has been found to cause uterine contractions. Consult with your doctor if you are on any medications to ensure no interaction will occur. Follow the dosage to see firstly how your stomach reacts before consuming higher amounts.
Selecting vegetables that are alkaline for juicing is a great way to reduce heartburn. Choose highly alkaline vegetables such as spinach, kale, celery and cucumber. Add a small amount of fruit for taste when needed. A great juice recipe which includes some of these ingredients from
The Juice Lady’s Guide to Juicing for Health:
From the book The Great Physician’s Rx for Heartburn and Acid Reflux by Jordan Rubin and Joseph Brasco:
When to have: Once per day in the morning, working up to 2-3 glasses per day.
Dosage: One glass of freshly made veggie juice per day, working up to 2-3 glasses once your body has adapted.
What form: Freshly made juice
Precautions: It’s always good to ease into juicing as I’m sure you know, there can be too much of a good thing. In this case running into a juicing diet will have an unpleasant laxative effect.
Turmeric is one of my favorite medicinal spices and has powerful anti-inflammatory properties which can help in the treatment of heartburn. Turmeric also helps to increase bile acid in the stomach to help break down food. Studies show this increase to be as much as 62%.
A great recipe from RefluxMD:
Makes 2 servings
When to have: At breakfast time
Dosage: Once a day
What form: Fresh juice mixed with other gut-friendly fresh ingredients.
Precautions: Best to avoid if pregnant or breastfeeding as not enough research is available as to safety. Have a chat with your doctor if you suffer any other medical condition or are on blood thinning medication.
Remember that all of the above remedies are intended for the occasional experiences of heartburn. If you’re finding yourself suffering from heartburn more than twice a week, then it’s best to have a chat with your local doctor to get to the bottom of the problem. This will most likely involve an evaluation of your current diet. Also, if you understand what really causes GERD or acid reflux, you will be able to avoid these triggers. You owe it to yourself to lead a life free of irritating heartburn!