Heartburn, also known as acid reflux, is a very common and often very unpleasant ailment which is triggered when the lower oesophageal sphincter above the stomach opens up and stomach acid backs up into the oesophagus. The sensation resulting from this can feel as though someone has lit a small bonfire in your chest, and it’s burning its way up to your neck.
Heartburn is a minor ailment, however unpleasant, but if it continues for a long period it can lead to conditions that are much more worrying, including Barrett’s oesophagus. Thankfully, there are several home remedies for heartburn that are instantly effective in getting relief from this nasty and uncomfortable ailment.
The element that is most effective in relieving heartburn is calcium, which is also the main ingredient in some of the over the counter heartburn meds. Instead of spending several pounds buying over the counter meds you can get the same relief from an item you can probably find in your kitchen, baking soda. Take ½ to 1 teaspoonful of baking soda and dissolve it in 250ml/8 fluid ounces of tepid water. Give the mixture a good stir and drink all of it down in one go. You can take this as frequently as needed but don’t exceed 3½ teaspoons in a 24 hour period.
Be it in the shape of a naturally flavoured peppermint gum or peppermint tea, peppermint has been shown to have a cooling effect on our upper gastric parts to relieve heartburn. Please do not use peppermint essential oil for your heartburn; it can actually worsen the symptoms. Chewing peppermint gum creates extra saliva that can dilute the acid in your oesophagus and wash it away; it also helps constrict the lower oesophageal sphincter to keep stomach acid from backing up into the oesophagus.
Chamomile or Fenugreek Tea:
Both chamomile tea and fenugreek are effective for soothing stomachs and getting rid of stomach aches and cramps as well as curing heartburn. Fenugreek in particular is very effective for various digestive ailments, anything from heartburn to other digestive issues such as loss of appetite, upset stomach, constipation, inflammation of the stomach (gastritis). Also, fenugreek seeds include a substance called mucilage, which soothes an inflamed gastrointestinal tract when it comes into contact with the stomach and intestinal lining.
Like fenugreek, slippery elm also has mucilage, which turns into a thick gel when mixed with water and as a result helps thicken the layer of mucous lining your oesophagus and stomach forming a protective layer to create a strong barrier against acid, ulcers and oesophageal cancer. The way this works is that slippery elm stimulates the nerve endings throughout the gastrointestinal tract, and especially in the oesophagus, causing increased mucus secretion. The raised mucus production may protect the oesophageal surface from backed up stomach acid and symptomatic heartburn.
Fennel seeds are heavily used as an after meal remedy to ensure digestion and prevent acid reflux or heartburn from occurring. Fennel seeds contain a substance called anethole with a unique ability to suppress stomach spasms which are sometimes the cause of acid reflex. After a meal try chewing on toasted fennel seeds to ensure good digestion and to avoid heartburn.
If you suffer from acid reflux/heartburn for a long period, it’s important to consult your medical practitioner.