You could chew a dozen antacids every day. You could pay hundreds of dollars a month for prescription medication with questionable side effects. Or you could try one of these effective natural remedies to regulate your digestion and treat your acid reflux.
1. Baking SodaAcid reflux and heartburn are caused by stomach acid rising up through the esophagus. If you remember high school chemistry class, you’ll know the best way to neutralize acid is with a base, which is why baking soda is an effective remedy. For most people, the alkaline baking soda will help calm the acid in your stomach and reduce the pain of reflux.
If you’re experience occasional heartburn, try drinking ½ to 1 teaspoon of baking soda mixed into a glass of water. However, the high salt content of baking soda can cause swelling or nausea, so it should be avoided if you have regular or frequent acid reflux.
In small amounts, licorice can help naturally heal stomach conditions, including acid reflux and ulcers.
When using licorice to treat stomach conditions, always look for DGL licorice, which does not have glycyrrhizic acid in it. GL acid gives licorice it’s sweet flavor, but in large amounts in can cause swelling and high blood pressure. Instead, look for chewable DGL licorice tablets at a natural food store. Two tablets taken about half an hour before meals can help prevent acid reflux. If you frequently get heartburn at night, you can also take a tablet or two 20 minutes before you go to bed.
3. Aloe Vera JuiceThe aloe plant is known for its soothing properties, reducing inflammation and helping delicate tissues to heal. Though it is most often used to treat burns, it can also sooth irritation caused by stomach acid and heal damage to the esophagus.
Drinking half a cup of aloe vera juice can help reduce acid reflux and heal the tissues that were hurt by previous bouts of heartburn. The juice can also work as a laxative, though, so be sure to look for a brand that says the laxative compounds have been removed.
Ginger helps to stimulate saliva production, washing away acid that collects in the esophagus and mouth. Once ingested, its phenolic compounds like zingerone and gingerol promote a healthy flow of bile and stomach acid, regulating and normalizing your digestion. And its anti-inflammatory properties soothe irritation caused by heartburn.
Make a ginger tea by steeping ginger root in hot water for several minutes, then drinking it either before a meal or before bed. You can also buy ginger candies at a natural food store, or chew on, then spit out, a peeled piece of fresh ginger.
5. ChamomileChamomile doesn’t just help you relax before bed — it can reduce inflammation in your stomach and balance out your levels of digestive acid. Chamomile also contains high levels of mucilage, a gooey substance produced by plants to store food and water, which can help soothe and heal the lining of the esophagus when it has been damaged by acid.
If you often wake up in the night with acid reflux, try drinking a cup of chamomile tea half an hour before bed. You can either buy the tea in a grocery or natural health store, or make your own by steeping chamomile flowers in hot water for 3-4 minutes, then straining it before drinking.