Home Remedies For Acid Reflux
How many times have you enjoyed a sumptuous meal, only to have it creep up to the back of your throat hours later, accompanied by a burning sensation in your chest? It’s an uncomfortable feeling that most of us have experienced at one time or another.
Heartburn is a symptom of acid reflux, which occurs when stomach acid backs up into your esophagus and irritates the tissue. The esophagus is just behind the heart, hence the name. While it often results from huge holiday dinners, greasy food, or overindulgence in alcohol, chronic and frequent heartburn may be a sign of gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD).
When acid reflux strikes, a lot of people reach for over-the-counter treatments or get a prescription from their doctor, but there are some more natural remedies available. This blog takes a closer look at the most effective ones.
Sodium bicarbonate (baking soda) is alkaline, making it a natural antacid. It’s also generally safe to consume, so it’s no surprise people reach for this common household item to treat acid reflux. By combining a teaspoon of baking soda with 8 ounces of water, you can soothe stomach acid and ease heartburn.
While baking soda works, it’s important to use it in moderation, as it’s high in sodium and can prevent certain medicines from being absorbed. Take baking soda only for occasional heartburn; anything chronic should be investigated by your doctor.
Related: Baking Soda – 112 Uses
Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple cider vinegar, which is made from crushed apples, is a popular acid reflux remedy. Many people also drink it daily for weight loss, blood sugar control, and more without experiencing any adverse effects.
If you have mild acid reflux, you can mix between a teaspoon and a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar with 8 ounces of water and sip it before or after meals to reduce the acidity level in your stomach. However, those with a highly irritated esophagus may experience further burning and irritation after consuming vinegar, so anyone with moderate to severe heartburn or GERD should use a different remedy.
Related: 50 Essential Uses of Apple Cider Vinegar
Ginger is used worldwide as a remedy for digestive problems. This is likely due to its phenolic compounds, which can soothe stomach irritation. Phenols are also thought to reduce contractions that might allow stomach acid to enter the esophagus.
To make ginger root tea, peel and mince a one-inch piece of ginger, add to a cup of water, and boil for five minutes. After removing the mixture from the heat, cover and let steep for 15 to 20 minutes. Strain and add honey to taste. Enjoy up to two times per day when acid reflux is making you uncomfortable.
Aloe Vera Juice
As we all know, aloe vera gel soothes sunburn, but can it soothe heartburn as well? Many people say yes- they drink aloe vera juice to reduce stomach acidity and to soothe irritation in the digestive system. Recommended starting dosage is two tablespoons once per day.
One 2015 study found that pureed and decolorized aloe vera juice reduced acid reflux symptoms without any apparent side effects. In some cases, the juice was more effective than traditional heartburn medication, suggesting that it may be a safe and effective treatment for reducing reflux symptoms. Just make sure you’re getting the decolorized version, to reduce the risk of diarrhea.
In addition to freshening your breath, chewing gum after a meal can help fight heartburn symptoms. Researchers have found that chewing gum stimulates saliva flow, and previous studies have also found that sugarless gum reduces the levels of acid and sugar in the mouth, thus preventing cavities.
According to one study, chewing sugar-free gum after a meal for 30 minutes could reduce acid levels in the esophagus. However, peppermint or spearmint gum may worsen symptoms for some people, so switch to another flavor if that’s the case with you.
According to Healthline, inhaling peppermint essential oil may help relieve heartburn, upset stomach, and nausea. If your digestive system is overactive, you can even massage the diluted oil onto your chest, belly, or back to relax it.
To use a diffuser, place two or three drops inside the machine’s steam pocket. The warm water will diffuse the concentrated oils once the machine is turned on. If you don’t have time to set up a diffuser, you can sprinkle a few drops of the oil onto a face cloth or towel and inhale deeply.
Some people report that sipping peppermint tea relaxes their stomachs and makes them feel better. However, peppermint can potentially increase your heartburn symptoms by loosening the muscle that keeps liquids from flowing back up into the esophagus. If this happens to you, switch to ginger tea instead.
Lack of healthy bacteria in the gut makes digestion more difficult. As a result, undigested food sits in your gut, fermenting and causing gas. This gas can cause acid reflux by pushing stomach acid into the esophagus. By restoring the balance of ‘good’ bacteria in your gut, probiotics allow you to keep the bad bacteria at bay and maintain normal digestion.
Top probiotic foods include yogurt, unpasteurized sauerkraut, kimchi, miso, and acidophilus milk. Incorporating them into your diet can lessen your heartburn symptoms significantly.
Related: What Happens if You Take the Wrong Probiotics (Video)
Certain Lifestyle Changes Can Help With Heartburn
In addition to using natural remedies, you can make certain behavior changes to minimize your risk of heartburn.
- Eat smaller meals.
- After eating, avoid lying down for at least two to three hours.
- If you are a smoker, try to quit.
- Avoid foods that can cause acid reflux, such as coffee, alcohol, tomatoes, and foods that are fatty, spicy, or acidic.
- Make sure your bed is at the right angle if you have an adjustable one. When your bed isn’t adjustable, you can use a wedge pillow to change the angle when you sleep.
- Avoid tight clothing that can put pressure on your stomach.
When acid reflux hits, many natural remedies and lifestyle changes may provide the relief you need. Once you discover a solution that works for you, you can enjoy that holiday dinner without worrying about your digestive system paying for it later.
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Your site is very helpful and informative,thank you so much.Is there any natural remedy for pitting edema in my lower extremities,I’ve had this for a number of years and was on a water pill but that made me sick,I’ve had my heart checked a number of times and tests come back normal doctors don’t know what is causing it.I do have very severe asthma and COPD. I am trying your bronchial blend tincture
I always found that expelling the foods causing the acid really helped clear the problem of acids backing up into my throat upon belching and sleeping. Puke that crap you ate out and stop eating such obnoxious poisons.
Thank you for this information. I’ve used peppermint and also ginger but have not tried baking soda. I have GERD and it’s worth a try. I don’t ingest toxic foods or poisons. Over eating without realizing can cause these issues of acid reflux and some healthy foods just don’t agree with everyone. Thanks again!! Love your posts!!
As a Master Herbalist and Holistic Nutritionist, I was taught to not use baking soda for acid reflux or indigestion because the soda is so alkaline, it will completely stop digestion like antacids do. The root of acid reflux is actually the lack of ACID in your digestive track. You would be better off with the other recommendations here like AC vinegar, probiotics, peppermint, ginger, or even digestive enzymes, all which will help to break down the food better.
I totally agree Carol! You are absolutely correct.
I am an RN and acupuncture physician and I completely agree with you. Antacids are the last thing you should take if you have reflux. But Americans want pills and instant gratification, not lifestyle change.
I totally agree too, Carol. Our stomachs need the acid for proper digestion in the first place. Too many seem to think that taking any antacid product forever is the answer when in truth it is just a way to continue the problem forever.
I ordered “The Home Doctors “ book on 11/12/2021 & have not received it. Can you help?
Thank you for reaching out to us.
Please check your personal email. I sent you an email regarding your order.
Many blessings and good health!
A most effective way to prevent heartburn is to not drink liquids with meal. This allows the stomach acid to effectively digest food, which will then more quickly pass on into the small intestine for further digestion. Be sure to hydrate well by sipping on water between meals.
Something else that promotes digestion is to relax while eating. Eating slowly, then sitting for 15-30 minutes after will aid in digestion.
And the liquids should always be warm or room temp. No ice.
What about drinking a cup of milk? I guess that won’t work if your lactose intolerant.
The number one food’s that cause acid problems are 1,sugar 2,breads, 3, milk, they feed all the parasites in your stomach that cause problems, if you give them up for 3 days you will notice how much better you’ll feel.
I was told that “acid reflux” actually is caused by a LACK of sufficient acid in the stomach to cause the “flap” at the bottom of the esophagus to not close completely. This is why there is the burning at that spot. Admittedly, using acid nulifiers does cause the burn to be eased, but the true remedy is to make sure there is enough acid in the stomach so the esophagus flap closes completely. Maybe it’s better to have more salt in your diet — to supply the Cl for the HCl.
Also using digestive enzymes helps so that your food will digest at more normal rate and not sit in your stomach and rot before it enters the small intestinal tract.
Thank you for this. This may be my friends problem. She started on a low salt diet and now has GERD. I was wondering about it.
I hadn’t thought of the salt idea; I stopped taking proton pump inhibitors about 5 months ago after being on them for several years. I eat a lot of home made sauerkraut and it never tastes over salty so maybe my body is craving this extra salt and the acidity of the kraut. Whatever the reason, I have had only a very few and very minor episodes of reflux since stopping taking them, as long as I keep up with the fermented foods.
I learned many years ago, luke warm water. Sounds awful, but works. Nothing hot or cold. That will stimulate making more. Tepid to not make it worse, and liquid to dilute the burn.
I’ve been eating a lot of probiotic and prebiotic foods, including homemade sauerkraut. I have now been able to stop taking the proton pump inhibitor for nearly a month (was having to take daily). If a small degree of heartburn or reflux happens, I just take a small glass of milk. I imagine lactose free would work as well.
If I stop eating any wheat, my acid reflux goes away. If I start eating wheat again, it comes back.
The best guy I ever heard about what causes heart burn is Dr Nuzum. I heard him on numerous health summit but sadly he does not talk about it on his website. Let’s say you bring devil eggs to a supper but you arrive at 3:00. You place them on a table in the sun. Would you eat them at 5:00, NO because they have started to rot or ferment. Now somebody arrives with fresh devil eggs and you eat some and later you have heart burn. Food must stay in your stomach long enough for the acid level to reach to a certain level so it will open the trap door and let the food fall in your bowel. If you do not have enough acid, that trap door stays shut and the food stays in your stomach at 98F just like those eggs on the table in the sun for 2 hours, they start to rot or we could call it fermenting just like those grapes when to make wine. When it starts fermenting, gas is form in the fermentation lock or your stomach, bubbles of gas start rising, right up your esophagus bringing some acid with it. I don’t believe the apple cider vinegar lowers your acid but I believe it raises your acid level causing that trap door to open. I have tried apple cider vinegar and I had to fight it so I would not throw up. I seldom get acid reflux but a couple apple cider vinegar capsules will open that trap door and solve the problem usually in 5 minutes or less. Stomach acid does part of digestion but it’s main job is to kill bacteria that might be on the food. If you suppress the acid those bacteria will not get killed. When you get older your stomach acid levels goes down.
Excellent analogy! Thank you! And if you take baking soda for the heartburn, you completely neutralize your gut, so the trap door can’t open, causing the undigested food to putrefy in your gut, which causes more dis-ease.
I have a type of acid reflux that occasionally happens while eating. It feels like the food and liquid can’t go down because I need to burp but the burp can’t come up because of the food and drink! A smart Dr. told me “at the first feeling that this may happen to take a drink of a carbonated beverage that will make the burp happen.” If I do this very early it works like a charm! If I wait too long, the carbonated beverage will not go down and it adds to the problem. I usually only drink water with a meal but have learned that a carbonated drink can prevent a very bad episode from happening!
Digestive enzymes can really help. Frequently as we age the amount of digestive enzymes produced by various organs cause food to remain in the stomach too long causing heartburn. You can get digestive enzymes in many forms at health food stores and some pharmacies.
I’ve had to deal with heartburn for quite a few years and took lots of different antacides. Omeprazole seemed to help for a while but I learned that all those antacides, and even omeprazole inhibit the absorption of nutrients. I looked for more natural ways to stop my heartburn. I found out about bay leaves. In a quart saucepan, I boil 7 or 8 bay leaves in water for about 5 minutes. I also include about 7 or 8 cloves to the bay leaves. After it cools down a bit, I pour it into a quart jar and drink it. Drinking it daily, the quart mixture usually lasts me for several days. The taste is something you have to get used to because it is somewhat bitter, but it works. I haven’t had to take any antacids or omeprazole for over a year and a half now. Peppermint tea mixed in might help with the taste.
I’m willing to try! Is it a quart of water to the 7 bay leaves & 2 cloves and how long do you boil for? 20 mins?
“In a quart saucepan, I boil 7 or 8 bay leaves in water for about 5 minutes. ” I guess you missed that…
Interesting. I might have to try this. I have been taking omeprazole for a long time, too. I want to get away from some of the pills doctors are wanting us to take for things that can be managed on our own.
I presume the ‘cloves’ are cloves of garlic?
Peppermint CAUSES acid reflux. Minty toothpaste is enough to set it off.
WHAT IF ONE HAS A HIATAL HERNIA?
I had a hiatal hernia about 20 years ago. My chiro would put it back into place and it would keep popping out. It was no fun. I learned that the root of hiatal hernias is usually emotions based. I had gone through a period intense trauma and grief. This is when I learned that these emotions had a lot to do with the hiatal hernia. Does this make sense to you? Emotions are frequencies, and they love to imbed in weak areas of the body causing dis-ease. My chiro recommended a book to me to begin my journey on healing my emotions. Then I found another book that helped me even more. FEELINGS BURIED ALIVE NEVER DIE by Karol Kuhn Truman, and THE EMOTION CODE by Dr. Bradley Nelson. Dr. Nelson’s book gave me much insight and practical tools to learn how to neutralize these emotions. Both books would be a good place to begin if you think this may be the case with you. Blessings~
I’ve had acid reflux on and off for decades, but these days I’m more careful of my diet, and include probiotics in my health regimen. When I get an attack of acid reflux I generally take Brioschi, which tastes deliciously lemon and sweet. It’s like Baking Soda with frills, active ingredient is sodium bicarbonate.
But some commenters are alerting me to the idea that Alkalinization neutralizes the gases in the gut. What I understand is we westerners eat too much acidy foods, which is root cause of most diseases. Even cancer cannot survive in an alkaline diet, so while I do not practice all that I believe, it seems to me Baking soda or other alkaline natural product twice a day must be good for you, and little sweetener won’t hurt either. Brioschi stops acid reflux attack in its tracks. Lol.
I have also used bentonite clay (1 tsp powder per 1/4 cup filtered water). Seems to do a good job of coating the area and easing the burn. Also seems to last a longer time than the antacids.
I have a hiatal hernia along with gastroparesis. My stomah dr recommended twice prevacid (sorry my cure isn’t herbal) daily and I have not had a single episode of acid reflux. It works so much better than my old antacid. I also have started taking a probiotic morning and night( I split one dose ). I definitely feel better, no stomach problems and trips to the er since I began taking them.
My husband was having terrible acid reflux…it was the toothpaste. Not the mint but the “Total Care” in the Colgate. Regular Colgate was fine but the ingredients in the “Total Care” really effected him. Now we use fluoride-free natural toothpastes and no issues at all.
3-4 Basil leaves chewed up and swallowed, instant Gerd cured!!! Works super fast. Eat basil with the food that normally bothers you and you can tolerate your food. My go to for upset stomach.