Many of us know the woes of heartburn and indigestion. You’re sitting around, minding your own business, only to feel an intense burn in your upper body. It’s like the wake-up call you never asked for! What’s worse is that indigestion and heartburn are two different conditions, but they can show up together. Talk about double trouble.
Heartburn, or pyrosis, is a painful burn in the chest or throat. You can blame stomach acid for backing up into your esophagus.1 Indigestion, or dyspepsia, is a painful burning feeling in the upper abdomen. Other symptoms include feeling uncomfortably full after eating, bloating, and burping.2
Your first instinct might be to grab an antacid, but what if there was a more natural option? Many holistic remedies are just as effective. It’s just a matter of knowing what to use, and how.
Instead of taking tablets of chemicals, keep these acid-fighting treatments on hand. There’s a good chance you have one or two at home. The next time your body fires up, you’ll be ready to put out the flame.
Calcium carbonate is the active ingredient in most antacids. It is also available by itself, so why not take the pure form? This is the best way to skip all the unnecessary extras. Just be sure to closely follow the directions. If it is in pill form, you’ll need to chew thoroughly and drink a full glass of water.3
Thanks to an enzyme called papain, papaya is one of the best natural remedies for digestive problems. This juicy fruit is great for heartburn, so eat up! You’ll also get benefits for constipation and bloating.4 If you’re on the go or can’t find the fresh fruit, take a papaya enzyme tablet.
Indigestion won’t stand a chance against ginger. This zesty herb can calm your digestive muscles, making it just as useful for nausea, diarrhea, vomiting, and constipation.5 No wonder this Ayurvedic remedy has been used for centuries.
To take advantage of ginger, boil a 1-inch segment in 1 cup water for an easy tea. You can also take ginger lozenges or chew on a raw piece.
4. Licorice Root
Licorice is another herbal remedy. It soothes gastric inflammation, making it useful for indigestion. Research shows that it works by suppressing prostaglandin, a hormone-like synthesis that controls contractions.6 Like ginger, licorice root can be taken as a tea. Health food stores sell licorice tinctures and tablets, too.
Dandelion isn’t just a pesky weed. As a supplement, this plant treats digestive problems like indigestion gas. It also regulates inflammation and prostaglandin, much like licorice root.7 Enjoy dandelion as a tea, supplement, or tincture.
If you’re struggling with indigestion, use peppermint. Its major compounds will relax and control digestive muscle, especially if you have nausea and vomiting. Don’t take if you also have heartburn, though. Peppermint will just make things worse!8 For indigestion, peppermint tea, supplements, and tincture are the way to go.
According to a 2015 data analysis in the Journal of the National Medical Association, baking soda is a common home remedy for both indigestion and heartburn. Many people take a quarter teaspoon of baking soda, then drink lots of water. Others mix the same amount of baking soda in a glass of water before drinking it.9
If you decide to try this remedy, don’t overdo it. Too much baking soda can alkalinize the body and cause serious side effects.
Did you know that chewing gum can calm acid reflux and heartburn? This remedy is especially useful if you’re on the road or at work. After 1 hour of chewing, acidity will significantly drop.10
If heartburn or indigestion persists, visit the doctor. It might be a sign of a more serious problem. Take note of any other symptoms, and pay attention to foods that make it worse.
|↑1||Heartburn. MedlinePlus, U.S. National Library of Medicine.|
|↑2||Symptoms & Causes of Indigestion. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases.|
|↑3||Calcium Carbonate. MedlinePlus, U.S. National Library of Medicine.|
|↑4||Muss, Claus, Wilhelm Mosgoeller, and Thomas Endler. “Papaya preparation (Caricol®) in digestive disorders.” Neuro endocrinology letters 34, no. 1 (2013): 38-46.|
|↑5||Leoni, Alberto, Roberta Budriesi, Ferruccio Poli, Mariacaterina Lianza, Alessandra Graziadio, Alice Venturini, Massimiliano Broccoli, and Matteo Micucci. “Ayurvedic preparation of Zingiber officinale Roscoe: effects on cardiac and on smooth muscle parameters.” Natural product research (2017): 1-8.|
|↑6, ↑7||Yeh, Ann Ming, and Brenda Golianu. “Integrative treatment of reflux and functional dyspepsia in children.” Children 1, no. 2 (2014): 119-133.|
|↑8||Rodriguez-Fragoso, Lourdes, Jorge Reyes-Esparza, Scott W. Burchiel, Dea Herrera-Ruiz, and Eliseo Torres. “Risks and benefits of commonly used herbal medicines in Mexico.” Toxicology and applied pharmacology 227, no. 1 (2008): 125-135.|
|↑9||Quandt, Sara A., Joanne C. Sandberg, Joseph G. Grzywacz, Kathryn P. Altizer, and Thomas A. Arcury. “Home remedy use among African American and white older adults.” Journal of the National Medical Association 107, no. 2 (2015): 121.|
|↑10||Brown, Rachel, Cecilia HY Sam, Tim Green, and Simon Wood. “Effect of GutsyGumtm, A Novel Gum, on Subjective Ratings of Gastro Esophageal Reflux Following A Refluxogenic Meal.” Journal of dietary supplements 12, no. 2 (2015): 138-145.|