Guest Author - Sharon Lasitter
If you suffer from occasional heartburn why not reach for your cupboard instead of your medicine cabinet for a remedy? These remedies are safe, effective, have no side effects and there is no risk of developing a dependency on them.
It is a common misperception that heartburn, acid reflux and GERD are conditions which stem from having too much acid in your stomach. You may be surprised to know that low stomach acid is the most common cause of heartburn. (Unless you have overstuffed your stomach. This will cause an over production of acid as well as putting pressure on your LES [lower esophageal sphincter].)
It is important to recognize that there are basically two stages of heartburn or acid reflux.
•The occasional flare-up due to high-fat foods, low acid production, stress and other habits that affect the stomach and the LES.
•Chronic heartburn or GERD. If your problem is chronic heartburn this is a sign that your LES and esophagus have suffered some damage and have become highly sensitive to acid. It may be that you have developed an esophageal ulcer or esophageal inflammation due to a compromised LES and long term exposure to stomach acid. This would normally occur if you are on medications that are known to relax the LES (such as medications for GERD) or any other cause that has not been recognized or corrected, such as an unhealthy lifestyle. If your condition is chronic the following home remedies are not for you – some of them will simply aggravate your condition.
If you have occasional heartburn or acid reflux then what you need to do is increase your stomach acid and get your LES to tighten up. Here are some simple ways to remedy a low acid situation:
•Apple Cider Vinegar: Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV) adds acid to your stomach. It is important to use the kind available in health food stores that contain “The Mother” which is the sediment you see at the bottom of the bottle. Stir a teaspoon of ACV into a half a glass of warm water and drink. (Liquids that are too hot or too cold can relax the LES.) Add some honey if you like. If you use this remedy often, just make sure you rinse your mouth out with a little baking soda and water to neutralize the acid in your mouth because it can begin to erode your tooth enamel.)
•Milk: Milk increases stomach acid and it also has a coating effect on the esophagus and stomach. Try a half glass or so. For best results drink it warm. (Lactose intolerant? Small amounts of dairy will help by stimulating lactase production. It’s overdoing it with the dairy intake that creates the problem. The human body can only produce so much lactase to break down lactose.)
•Ginger Tea: Ginger has a calming effect on the stomach. Use fresh ginger root. Take a few slices and pour boiling water over it. Add an ice cube or allow it to cool a bit – hot liquids tend to relax the LES. Drink plain or add some honey.
•Peppermint Tea: Just steep the tea bag or loose leaves in a strainer and you are good to go. Always wait for your tea to cool to a warm temperature. Hot foods and liquids are not good for the LES.
•Slippery Elm Tea: Not everyone can tolerate ginger or peppermint, but this one works for everyone. Available at health food stores, this remedy is available in powder form. (You can get the extract, but it’s really just for the throat.) Just take a little less than a tablespoon of the powder with a drizzle of honey and mix with warm water. It’s an acquired taste, but I love the results.
•Papaya Enzymes: A health food store wonder, chew just three of these tablets and feel the relief! The enzymes in papaya help to digest proteins.
•Baking Soda: As a last resort, try a half teaspoon of baking soda mixed into a half glass of water. This will neutralize the acid that is in your stomach without adding chemicals to your system. (Warning: Never take baking soda on an overly stuffed stomach! It can bloat you out even more and cause damage to your stomach.)
Taking control of your body is your right and your privilege! You don’t need to purchase and ingest medications that not only cause dangerous side effects but end up flushed out of your body and into public drinking water. Here is to you and your health!
*Please know that I am not a medical doctor or a health practitioner. I cannot diagnose your stomach problems nor can I guarantee a cure. I am here to share my knowledge, which applications have worked for me and to offer suggestions of where you may go physically, emotionally and spiritually for healing and self-empowerment. If you choose to explore alternative medicine, do not independently stop taking your prescribed medications. Always consult with your current doctor as well as your new practitioner when changing your medical program.