She sinks onto the sofa, forlorn.
Inside, a fire burns – an ache so deep, no man can touch it. No music can heal it.
Clutching her stomach, she turns this way and that, her raven hair tossing like leaves in the wild wind.
She has so many regrets. So many things she’d do over if the universe would just offer her another chance. A rewind button. A thousand backspaces.
She coats the room with a sweeping, curious glance, looking for the culprit and the cure. One long delicate finger points to the guilty, the devil … the sole perpetrator of her pain.
“You!” she cries out in astonishment. “You did this to me!”
The pizza box beams a wide cardboard smile. Admission isn’t its style. It’s just content with the heartburn it’s wrought.
She’s beaten. She knows it. The pain the pizza caused will only heal with time.
… or …
Home Remedies for Heartburn
There’s a great reason we’re talking about this today. We did a bad, bad thing tonight and ordered Dominoes.
The woman in the story above? Yeah. That’s me. (Especially with the long raven hair and delicate fingers. Did I mention the Badgley Mishka gown? It’s sapphire. And made of sparkling silk strands woven by elves.)
Anyway, heartburn and Dominoes goes hand in hand. As does heartburn and beer. Or, if you’re me, heartburn and anything with lactose. (And, yes, I’d rather suffer heartburn than give up cheese. Life without cheese is dire, indeed.)
I’ve done a LOT of homework on heartburn remedies.
By that, I mean I’ve tried everything under the sun. Three times. Even if it killed me.
If you ever suffer from occasional heartburn (remember, recurrent or severe heartburn could indicate a big bad health problem, so don’t forget to clue your physician in on it), here are some of my very favorite remedies for it.
Apple Cider Vinegar for Heartburn Relief
Yep. Vinegar. In fact, this is my absolute number 1, no-fail remedy for my own personal brand of hell heartburn. Seems counterintuitive, doesn’t it? After all, heartburn-or acid reflux-is caused by acid. And vinegar IS acidic.
But the theory is that heartburn is actually triggered by too LITTLE acid in the stomach, so the esophageal sphincter doesn’t close properly, as it doesn’t sense enough digestive acids to do so. By adding ACV, you’re telling your body to go ahead and close that puppy off, so it’ll stop sending things back up the pipe that’s supposed to be closed (until you eat dessert).
Here’s How You Do It: To quell a particularly nasty case of heartburn, put 2 Tbsp apple cider vinegar in a glass of water. It’s not the tastiest thing in the world, so either drink it as quickly as you can, or add a teaspoon or two of honey to help calm the taste. I just chug, to get it over with.
Here’s the caveat: It will probably burn like holy heck for about a minute. (Sometimes I’ll have a quick seat on the floor, it hurts so much.) As soon as the inintial burning is over, though, so is my heartburn.
Bam. Gone. Just like that.
Maintenance dose: I’ve heard several tales of people taking apple cider vinegar on a regular basis to keep recurrent heartburn at bay. Alternatively, you could take it every day for a week, and then stop for a while. Depends on what your issues are like. But the “recommended” dose (by earthclinic.com) is 2 tsp in 16 oz of water daily. There’s a slight bit of concern that drinking too much ACV too often could wear down tooth enamel, so if that concerns you, sip it through a straw.
Baking Soda and Acid Reflux
Second on my list of favorite heartburn remedies is baking soda, which makes a heckuva lot more sense. Baking soda neutralizes the acids, calming the stomach lining. The only issue I have with it is …
Remember your junior high science fair? Remember what half the experiments were? Volcanoes, right? With baking soda and vinegar.
Putting baking soda on top of the acid in your stomach can often cause … eruptions. (Or just mild belching, whatever.) But it may completely calm the burning in your stomach. Just remember: If the issue is that your stomach is actually not making enough acid (thereby not signaling the esophagus to close back up), baking soda will not help in the long run. Just like Tums (which we’ll talk about in a bit), it will mask the symptoms enough to make you feel okay. But it’s not a long-term solution.
Here’s How You Do It: Put 1/2 tsp into a cup of water and stir until dissolved. Drink slowly. For more recommendations on how to use baking soda for heartburn relief, Arm & Hammer site, take it away.
Chew on Gum for a Sour Stomach
Chewing a piece of gum gets your salivary glands a-workin’, which helps churn up your digestive system. This is what you want (see above regarding closing that esophageal sphincter).
However, skip the gum made with artificial sweeteners and other icky chemical stuff. My new favorite gum is Spry (which you can find at most any natural foods store these days). Ingredients in cinnamon Spry? You’re going to love this. They are: xylitol, gum base, cinnamon oil, vegetable glycerin, gum arabic, soy lecithin, and beeswax.
And what is xylitol? It’s an extract from birch tree bark. It tastes an awful lot like sugar, but it appears to be exceptionally good for your teeth (studies show rapid reduction in tooth decay after chewing gum with xylitol). PLUS (and here’s where it ties into this post), xylitol seems to be extra easy on the digestive system, unlike other sugars.
Take a Probiotic Daily
You see ’em everywhere these days – often little pearls of fancy little bacteria that will help populate the flora in your stomach to optimum levels. Oftentimes, they’re not cheap. If you can afford them, go for it. Some brands I like: Enzymatic Therapy Acidophilus Pearls or Garden of Life Primal Defense.
Or, you could just eat a bit of yogurt every day. Again, look for yogurt made without artificial sweeteners. And try not to worry about the fat in yogurt. Full-fat yogurt is good for you (depending, of course, on how happy the cow’s life is).
Marshmallow Root and/or Ginger
One of the last remedies I have used with some success is marshmallow root and ginger tea. Marshmallow root isn’t all that easy to find, unless you have a wonderful store that sells herbs in bulk, but it’s worth it if you can find it. (You can also order it from Mountain Rose Herbs.)
Here’s How You Do It: Boil water for tea. Add 2 tsp of marshmallow root to a tea ball or other strainer. Cut off two dime-sized pieces of fresh, peeled ginger. Place marshmallow root and ginger in a tea cup and pour the hot water over it. Steep for 5 minutes. Add honey to taste. Sip and contemplate life.
Here’s What I Don’t Do for Heartburn
I offer this as a story, and not necessarily advice.
I used to take an awful lot of pills, back in the day. Particularly little purple ones.
Then, I read many stories and theories about how prescription and over-the-counter medications actually mask the symptoms of heartburn and eventually cause worsening cases of it.
I will not take medication for my heartburn. Ever. Ever again.
There are just FAR too many other options, and far too much wisdom behind using alternative, natural remedies for it.
When you factor in side effects with prescription medications, and extraneous unhealthy ingredients in over-the-counter meds, it just seems like a no-brainer to me to stay far, far away from anything that comes with a warning label on it of any kind.
That being said, I still have a nearly full, 6-year-old bottle of Tums in my linen closet, if anybody wants it.
There’s got to be something else those things can be used for …
Do You Have Any Heartburn Remedies?
The surface wasn’t even scratched here – there are as many heartburn remedies as there are little purple pills in this world. Do you have any I haven’t mentioned here?
Do you ever have heartburn? What causes it?
For your sake, I hope it’s not cheese.
In swooning-over-Harlequin-heartburn crunch!