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. But the apple cider kind. In fact, this is my absolute number 1, no-fail remedy for my own personal brand of hell heartburn. Seems counter-intuitive, 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, or of course, on Amazon.) 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, Garden of Life Primal Defense, and Prescript Assist.
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!
I found out I was highly allergic to gluten and it was gluten that caused my heartburn and reflux. When I am gfree – I have no heartburn. I hope this helps someone. Try going gfree for a few days and see if you notice a big difference. I did not sleep well for over 10 years because of reflux – and now that is no longer a problem (unless I cheat and eat some wheat).
I had heartburn so bad my voice was hoarse all the time and I couldn’t talk without coughing. Then I read about acidophilous capsules. They must have at least 3 billion CFU’s (active little critters) to be effective. Pull the capsule apart and pour the powder into your mouth. I prefer to put it underneath the tongue so your tongue doesn’t get all powdery. Don’t worry. It doesn’t have much taste. Dissolve the powder in saliva and then swallow. Don’t eat or drink for a half hour. Within 5 minutes I could tell it was working. I did this in the afternoon and before bed the first day. By the next morning, I was dramatically better. After 2 days, I didn’t need it. The acidophilous cost me $6, but the Nexium was too expensive and insurance refused to pay for it, saying that Prilosec was the same thing. It’s not. Prilosec didn’t work at all for me and the Nexium was just a little better than Prilosec. Neither compare to Acidophilous. Also, don’t sleep on your right side or go to bed with liquid in your stomach.
Deed Thompson Ward
I do this same thing but because i can’t stand the taste (using a small 4 oz glass), i mix in a packet of Hansen’s Berry-flavored Natural Fruit Stix! Best thing about that particular brand is it’s made with Truvia. It contains no artificial sweeteners, no artificial flavors, no preservatives, no sugar & it’s gluten-free (for sufferers like me). It’s really not that bad a taste either!!!
I’ve had heartburn for the past year because of weight issues (which I need to fix but not the point right now 😉 )… I’m so excited to try this!
But on another note, I have read that it’s either caused by too little acid or because of things like soda (which makes it so ur esophagus doesn’t close) chocolate, TOO MUCH water, or because your body is making acid for the times you normally eat and you haven’t eaten yet. I believe the first and last were my issue, and so I noticed that I was kind of a grazer (aka I’d eat lunch then take a bite of something like a chip or oreo every 15 minutes because I was bored!) So finally I said “NO MORE” because if I didn’t “graze” then my stomach would start to kill me, so after eating normal and waiting through the pain until it was actually time to eat.. after a few days I noticed no more heartburn.
But for the times it still occurs, I’m definitely going to try this!
…Please take note or remember that xylitol can be very dangerous and quickly turn fatal for our dogs. If a product with xylitol has been ingested by your dog, please, please get him or her to the vet immediately…That is all to this public service message. Thank you. 😀
Ginger, ginger and more ginger. Anything ginger really helps.
My husband drinks organic apple cider vinegar every night. About 2 tsp. straight down without water. Gags me to just watch him do it. But it WORKS! He was on prescription medicine for acid reflux for years until a co-worker told him about ACV. He has now been med free for almost 2 years!
I am so excited to try all of these remedies! I’ve tried baking soda, but it never helps for long. So, it must be an esophageal sphincter problem. Instead of taking my Pepcid Complete (which I have done every night for the past 5 years) I will be mixing myself a nice ACV cocktail instead. Thanks for sharing!
I never had heartburn until pregnancy, and went through several bottles of Malox and Tums with my first. With my second, I had started seeing a really good chiropractor who would hold down a pressure point while I took several deep breaths. Worked amazingly well. I can do it to myself at home too although have never had the use it while not pregnant so not sure if it would work otherwise. Lay flat on your back and just under your bottom left rib, feel around for a knot or sore spot. Apply pressure and take several deep breaths while pressing slightly more each time. Release.
Oh yes. I remember googling, in the middle of the night, “heartburn cures”
Some other things:
Fennel: chew a tablespoon of fennel seeds (or if you’re willing to wait, you can boil water and steep them for several minutes)
Olive oil: Take a tablespoon of olive oil. Straight. It’s good for you anyways.
Cindy @ OnePartSunshine
My husband has been suffering from heartburn on and off for years. In the past, he always popped pills but they only helped sometimes. A few months ago, he started trying baking soda and it works great! I would definitely recommend that.
Okay, my husband had heartburn today and I told him to try the ACV thing. I laughed my head off watching him react. It almost came right back out! Anyway, HEARTBURN IS GONE! Thanks. Yay for no more pill.
Diatomaceous earth. It’s one of those natural things that also supposedly cures everything under the sun, but I take it as a preemptive strike against internal parasites. (I work with dogs and pick up a lot of poop daily. I’d rather not get worms!) Anyway, I take a tbsp every night in a glass of water. One night I just so happened to have heartburn, and was debating doing some AVC after the DE. But much to my amazement, the heartburn disappeared INSTANTLY upon drinking the DE. And I did not suffer from any acid reflux that night while I slept, which can happen if I have heartburn anytime in the evening before bed.
As a side note, I THINK the DE is causing some of my grey hairs to turn back to their normal brown color, too! I occasionally pull out a curly, sticking-out bit of grey and much to my surprise a few months ago I saw brown roots on a few of the grey hairs. Then, I forgot about taking the DE for awhile, then pulled a hair that was grey, brown, grey. It’s the only thing I have done differently in my diet in the past 6 months, so it pretty much has to be it?? In any case, I am back to taking the DE daily for sure if it will turn my grey hair brown again!
Forgot to say, it has to be FOOD GRADE DE. Don’t go drinking the stuff for pool filters, they treat that and it’s dangerous!
Since diatomaceous earth is made up of primarily silica, it does act as a great absorbent. This is the theory as to why it can help with keeping parasites at bay. It can also be good at scraping the insides of the intestines to get nice clean insides. I have also seen that some of the silica can be absorbed into the blood stream. This could be why you see results in your hair (although I didn’t know it could possibly turn gray back to its original color) because hair is made of a lot of silica. This was a great tip that I never thought to try before!
Could you share the recipe, or ratio to liquids?
Karen @ Abundance on a Dime
I used to have terrible acid reflux (did the pharmaceutical thing reluctantly and even that didn’t help). It was majorly stress-related and quitting my job helped a whole heck of a lot 🙂
I don’t get heartburn too often anymore, but I would suggest trying acupressure as a first option, there’s a point on your feet you can use:
I’ve used homeopathics with good effect, too – nux vomica and pulsatilla are the most commonly used I think (I’ve used nux) but it depends on the specific symptoms and cause which remedy you would use. Way back when I was pregnant, my midwife recommended papaya enzymes but I never got around to trying those.
Jenn the Greenmom
I honestly haven’t had to deal much with heartburn since my last pregnancy, but whenever I’ve had nausea or refluxy kinds of things I make a sort of potion by mixing 1 drop each ginger and fennel essential oil with a spoonful of honey, and then stirring it into a cup of hot water. Truth is, while drinking it is the ostensible point, just breathing the fumes is probably just as helpful…
Yours sounds more immediately effective, though!
Jenn the Greenmom
Okay, OMG, today I was having reflux issues, and I drank a glass of water with a little slug of ACV in it…and it IMMEDIATELY cleared. Thank you for this!!!
Currently I use aloe to help my tummy. I have always had a super acidic stomach, but not too much heartburn. Except when pregnant and decided to eat fried foods. I had an ulcer and was on different pills to help it. They did help it, but I just wanted something different to try. Now I have aloe every morning and some other great concoctions that are great for other things in my body that I buy from a company. No more pills and ulcers for me now!
Danika @ Your Organic Life
When I was pregnant I had terrible heart burn. The only thing that would make it go away was ice cream… at least until I got a prevacid prescription…but I like the ice cream better.
I’m not one that gets heartburn, but I love your romance writing skills. I was yelling at the pizza, You jerk! How could you do that to her! 🙂
The pizza was definitely an evil villain to me last night. And, you know, today when I ate leftovers for lunch.
Some people never learn.
And now I’m headed off to help you win a contest, by george.
I use and love all the remedies you’ve mentioned here. I combine the baking soda and ACV and drink it daily. Since I’m anemic, I’m adding a TBSP of organic black strap molasses. It’s not too bad going down. The fizz from the “volcano” mixture makes it like gingerbread pop…well, kinda. The only thing I could add is a fennel capsule or tea and peppermint tea. Wonder what ginger-peppermint-fennel-marshmallow tea would be like? I love your blog!
Oooh. I LOVE the sound of adding molasses to the mixture. That sounds like a drink I’d love even if I didn’t have the sour stomach issues.
Haha – I also think ginger-peppermint-fennel-marshmallow tea sounds like it would be pretty good. Marshmallow root doesn’t taste like much at all. I always want it to taste like, you know, marshmallows.
The only thing I’m lacking at the moment is ginger – but as soon as I get to the store and get some, I’m SO trying it!
Man, every post feels like you are narrating my life! I read about using ACV on your blog a while back for heartburn (and conditioner, and toner, and…) and I thought it was a little crazy. No offense.
But, I’ve also had major acid reflux since I was 2 (one of my first memories…rough) — I’ve taken pills for it this past year only, but taking pills drives me crazy, soooo, I tried the ACV thing and it has literally transformed my life.
I got my begrudging fiancÃ© to give it a try one night when his tummy was upset, and now he is the one reminding me to drink some in water to calm my tummy.
Thank you so, so, so much. Drinking ACV has improved my life dramatically.
I’m curious – did you notice any other effects when you started taking it regularly? I go through little spurts where I make an effort to drink it daily with a little honey.
It was probably you that I mentioned this to, but I have a book of New England Medicine that’s solely (and completely) dedicated to curing EVERYTHING with ACV and honey. It’s weird.
Anyway, my point is, when I’m good at being regular about it, I definitely feel like I have more energy. Have you noticed that at all?
Lol…well, if I drink ACV then I feel like I am allowed to drink coffee (coffee without ACV is a big mistake for me) — so then I have lots and lots of energy 🙂 …I haven’t noticed other big side effects from ACV, but this one is a big enough advantage that I will keep drinking it forevah!
I take ACV and baking soda for mine,in a fuzzy icky little mixture..works like a charm.
The thing I wonder about with that is whether or not that just, like, neutralizes everything. I need to do more checking into that, ’cause I’ve wondered that with a couple of cleaning solutions I make with vinegar and baking soda, too.
The reaction of vinegar (acetic acid) is in a 1:1 ratio and you get carbon dioxide, water, and sodium acetate as products. Although I say it reacts in a 1:1 ratio, it isn’t as simple as adding same amounts of baking soda and vinegar together to get all of it reacted. It depends on the purity of the baking soda and also I think vinegar is usually a 9% (? I think ?) solution of acetic acid. Then you also have the complication of the fact that vinegar is a weak acid and that makes the calculation different too. Maybe there is still some vinegar and baking soda left in your cleaning concoction that didn’t react all the way? Just talking off the top of my head, though, I don’t really know for sure. Maybe sodium acetate has some cleaning abilities?
The reaction of vinegar (acetic acid) and baking soda is in a 1:1 ratio, and you get carbon dioxide, water, and sodium acetate as products. Although I say it reacts in a 1:1 ratio, it isn’t as simple as adding same amounts of baking soda and vinegar together to get all of it reacted. It depends on the purity of the baking soda and also I think vinegar is usually a 9% (? I think ?) solution of acetic acid. Then you also have the complication of the fact that vinegar is a weak acid and that makes the calculation different too. Maybe there is still some vinegar and baking soda left in your cleaning concoction that didn’t react all the way? Just talking off the top of my head, though, I don’t really know for sure. Maybe sodium acetate has some cleaning abilities?
Kristin @ Peace, Love and Muesli
Ha! That was good.
I thought heartburn was something people made up, like they ate too much. Until I was pregnant. Yeah, it’s a real thing and it sucks.
Awesome that the ACV works for you.
I do heart ACV. I was so stoked the other day when I was in one of the local grocery stores and saw that Bragg’s is now making an ACV drink. Like, tea. Like ACV and ginger and stuff. In a bottle. Like tea.
I actually like the taste of it when it’s watered down. Reminds me of kombucha.
Low-carb diet, dude. Seriously.
I just don’t know how I can fit Dominoes into one of those. And would I have to give up rice? I like rice a lot these days.
lol, you are too funny! I have to agree with the low carb. comment though. I do low carb., and never get heartburn anymore. My husband doesn’t and suffers from heartburn terribly. Never knew about ACV. Will have to let him know about that!
P.S. I love your blog! So glad I found it!
I forgot something wonderful about ACV. Um, gallbladder attack CURE. 1-2 T with unfiltered apple juice (or just water, I suppose). Pain is gone. Oh – and just a tip…heartburn is a precursor to gallbladder problems. I had heartburn pretty badly for awhile (and constipation…another gallbladder issue symptom) and then I started having attacks. And back again to the low-carb diet…gallbladder issues are usually caused by too many carbs in the diet (NOT fat as “they” would like you to believe). People with gallbladder problems often have elevated triglycerides and fatty liver…ahhhh…it’s all connected.