Certain herbs and foods can be very effective as an alternative heartburn cure. Heartburn is characterized by a burning sensation that is felt in the chest area. It can also cause a person to have a bitter or sour taste in the mouth. This most often occurs after a person has eaten a large meal.
Heartburn, also known as gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), occurs when acid from the stomach is pushed up into the esophagus. Usually, a soft muscle located at the base of the esophagus, known as the esophageal sphincter, will relax and open so that food and fluids can flow into the stomach. It will then close up again. If the esophageal sphincter becomes abnormally weakened, stomach acid can go up into the esophagus.
Herbs as a Heartburn Remedy
The herb ginger has been used for medicinal purposes for centuries. It is used for a wide variety of ailments involving the stomach and works well as a heartburn remedy. The ginger plant is beige in color and has a thick bulky underground stem that extends about one foot above ground. It is available as a fresh or dried root, oils, or capsules.
In the book Nature’s Medicine by Gale Maleskey and the editors of Prevention Health Books (Rodale Press, August 1999), ginger is recommended as a heartburn remedy and treatment for ulcers. According to the book, this herb aids in digestion, reducing the chances of stomach acid washing back up into the esophagus. Patients should take it about a half hour before each meal.
Marshmallow root is another herb that is used for healing digestive problems. According to 1,801 Home Remedies by the editors of Reader’s Digest (April 2004), marshmallow root eases heartburn because it contains a sticky substance known as mucilage, which provides a protective coating on the esophagus. Mix one teaspoon of the powdered version of this herb with one glass of water, and drink it four times each day.
Natural Heartburn Treatment Drinks
Baking soda is also effective as a heartburn treatment. It contains alkaline, which works very well in neutralizing stomach acid. To get the maximum benefits from this remedy, take a warm glass of water and add a half teaspoon of baking soda and stir it. Then put in a few drops of lemon juice.
According to 1,801 Home Remedies, vegetable juices are also good sources of alkaline and can have a neutralizing effect on stomach acid. Try drinking juice from carrots, radishes, cucumbers, or beets. It’s okay to add a little seasoning to the juices if extra flavoring is desired. Eating raw vegetables can offer the same benefits in treating heartburn and acid reflux.