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woman in pain from heartburn

How To Beat Heartburn

(Gastroesophageal reflux disease—GERD)

Remedies For Life Magazine

What is it? A burning sensation in the upper abdomen or behind the breastbone experienced by one in five Americans. Symptoms may include difficulty swallowing and a dry cough. Can be worse after a meal or when lying down.

What causes it? Stomach acid refluxing (or seeping) into the esophagus, often due to a valve between the stomach and esophagus that does not close properly, or opens too frequently. Slow digestion is also a factor.

Lifestyle: Eat smaller meals; avoid fatty foods. Quit smoking and reduce alcohol intake, and don’t drink iced beverages while eating. Wear clothing that does not bind the abdomen. Lose weight.

Homeopathy: Pulsatilla, Ipecacuanha, and Nux vomica (for nausea); Carbo vegetabilis (for bloating and indigestion).

Herbal therapy: Fennel, licorice, aloe, cranberry, or mastic in capsules, powders, tinctures, or teas. 

Food therapy: Green vegetables, steamed or chopped. Almond milk, oatmeal, ginger tea. Avoid acidic foods and drinks (like orange juice), high-fat foods and condiments, caffeine, chocolate, spearmint and peppermint, and carbonated beverages. Take bicarbonate of soda in water before bed. If slow digestion is the problem, add vinegar to food at the beginning of a meal. 

Nutritional supplements: A daily multivitamin/mineral that contains vitamins A, C, E, and the B vitamins, as well as magnesium, calcium, zinc, and selenium. Omega 3s, digestive enzymes, probiotics.

Selected Sources: 

“9 Foods That Soothe Heartburn Naturally” by Lambeth Hochwald,, 5/5/15
“Acid Reflux” by Jacob Teitelbaum, MD, Cures A-Z,
“Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease,” University of Maryland Medical Center,
“Heartburn? Lifestyle Changes to Reduce Acid Reflux Symptoms” by Digestive Health Team,, 4/15/14
“Herbs and Supplements for Acid Reflux” by Dale Kiefer,, 6/30/12
“Understanding Heartburn—The Basics,”, 3/18/15