Many people suffer from heartburn either occasionally or chronically. There are over the counter medications for this problem, but they may not work well for everyone. Sometimes a person finds prescription medications too expensive or ineffective as well. Perhaps side effects make them intolerable. Others may be put off by chemicals and seek natural remedies. Whatever the reason, a person may look for a natural heartburn treatment as an alternative.
One should first ensure that heartburn or acid reflux is not a symptom of a more serious condition like GERD, which can lead to tears, ulcers, and even tumors of the esophagus if it is not controlled. A doctor can prescribe medicines and lifestyle changes to treat GERD. Smoking, drinking alcohol, poor diet, and a stress are major contributors to these conditions. Changing these habits and reducing stress will be very helpful in preventing attacks. One can learn relaxation techniques like meditation or yoga and start a regular exercise program to help reduce stress.
Simple heartburn is normally an occasional occurrence and is often triggered by certain foods or beverages. One should keep track of his or her foods in a diary for a period to determine the common ingredients that may be triggering the discomfort. Items containing acidic fruits and vegetables like tomatoes, lemons and limes are common sources. Onions, garlic, peppers, vinegar, chocolate are also common trigger foods. Beverages like coffee, carbonated drinks, and alcohol are also culprits. Eating and drinking fewer of these items will reduce attacks. It is always advisable to avoid eating anything within three hours of going to sleep because the acid is more likely to erupt when the person is lying down.
A natural heartburn treatment can be used to help ease occasional attacks. Some herbal remedies include aloe juice, marshmallow, and slippery elm. Aloe plant is used to treat superficial external burns on the skin, and its soothing properties also aid in treating acid reflux as well. When using this plant as an internal treatment it is important to drink juice that has been specifically prepared for ingesting. The gel that comes straight from the plant contains aloe latex and other substances that are not safe to drink. Adults can take about a quarter cup of the juice before each meal. Marshmallow does not refer to the squishy sweet confections sold for toasting or cocoa.
This is the herb Althaea officinalis, which contains mucilage that coats and soothes the esophagus. One makes a tea with the marshmallow root and drinks up to three cups a day for relief. People with diabetes and those who are on prescription medications should consult a doctor before using this tea. It can lower blood sugar too much and make certain drugs less effective. Slippery elm works like marshmallow root because it also contains mucilage. This is a common ingredient in natural throat lozenges because of its soothing quality. It is important to note that pregnant women should not take herbal remedies as the risks and side effects are often unknown because no testing has been conducted.
In some cases dietary and lifestyle changes will eliminate symptoms of acid reflux. Sometimes this is not enough or it is simply not practical. In the case of stress and very common food ingredients it may not be possible to eliminate the sources completely. It is helpful to have a remedy on hand when reflux rears its ugly head. A natural heartburn treatment may also be the perfect solution for those who do not like synthetic ingredients or have had no relief from standard medicines.