Heartburn can interfere with your daily activities. The burning sensation in your chest that’s triggered by stomach acid that backs up into your esophagus commonly occurs after eating and gets worse when you bend over or lay down. Heartburn can occur unexpectedly, and if you don’t have over-the-counter medication available, there are some home remedies you can use to ease the discomfort.
Having sugar-free chewing gum on hand comes in handy when heartburn takes you by surprise. Research findings published in the Journal of Dental Research proved that chewing sugar-free gum for 30 minutes after eating a meal reduces acid reflux. When you chew gum, the saliva production in your mouth increases by about 140%. This combats heartburn, because saliva contains proteins, prostaglandin E2 and mucin, which are compounds that protect the esophagus.
Sodium bicarbonate is one of the active ingredients in many heartburn medicines. Because baking soda also contains sodium bicarbonate it is often used as a remedy to treat heart burn. The American Association of Colleges of Nursing recommends dissolving ¼ teaspoon of baking soda in a glass of water. They state that after drinking the liquid, the acid in your stomach will reduce.
A staple in Chinese medicine, licorice root can ease heartburn as long as it’s mixed with saliva. Dr. David Williams, a biochemist, medical researcher and chiropractor, recommends deglycyrrhizinated licorice root, or DGL, which is available online and in health food stores. DGL comes as a root preparation for making tea, and in tablet, capsule and liquid form. Williams suggests taking a chewable DGL tablet 20 minutes before eating, three times a day, or before bedtime if heartburn primarily occurs at nighttime.
Used for centuries in North America, Slippery elm can ease heartburn. According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, it stimulates mucus secretion in the gastrointestinal tract, protecting it from excessive acidity. Although slippery elm tablets, capsules and lozenges are available, you can also make a tea by mixing 2 tablespoons of the powdered form into 2 cups of boiling water. Drink the tea three times a day.
Known as a common digestive aid in Asian culture, ginger can combat heartburn. After purchasing ginger root in the supermarket, grate some daily and eat one teaspoon to combat acid reflux. Alternatively, drink ginger root tea, or if you dislike the taste, take ginger in capsule form.
Journal of Dental Research: The Effect of Chewing Sugar-Free Gum on Gastro-Esophageal reflux
Dr. David Williams: Natural Treatments and Remedies for Acid Reflux
Ask a Nurse: From Home Remedies to Hospital Care; American Association of Colleges of Nursing
Eating for Acid Reflux; Jill Sklar and Annabel Cohen
University of Maryland Medical Center: Slippery Elm