Heartburn won’t kill you, but it can make you very uncomfortable. It happens when the liquid in your stomach backs up into the esophagus, causing inflammation and perhaps damage to the lining. The problem is this liquid contains acid, pepsin and bile. It’s these three substances that cause that burning sensation you get when having a heartburn attack.
When your lower esophageal sphincter, which is at the end of your esophagus, opens while you are eating, it is supposed to close quickly to stop food and stomach liquids from going back into the esophagus. Sometimes this muscle doesn’t move fast enough and you get heartburn.
Here are some home remedies you can try; just note that they’re not necessarily backed up by studies. The next time you have an attack, try drinking a large glass of water. If that doesn’t work for you, try a glass of raw potato juice. Just wash a potato and throw it in a juicer. Don’t remove the peel first. Drink it immediately after you prepare the juice. Take this three times a day. Alternately, a glass of fresh cabbage or celery juice might do the trick.
Ginger is also known to absorb stomach acids and, at the same time, it could calm your nerves. Fresh papaya (with the seeds) could aid digestion, as could pineapple. Both contain special enzymes that help food break down in your stomach and keep this part of the digestion process running smoothly.
A Swiss team investigated clinical trials in which herbal extracts were used in the treatment of heartburn. They researched trials in which caraway oil, peppermint oil, curcuma extract, and ginger extract were used to treat patients suffering from heartburn. They discovered that these herbal extracts proved to be superior compared to placebo and were as effective as drugs.
They reported that results showed that the aforementioned herbal extracts could stimulate the stomach as well as the digestive glands and strengthen the smooth musculature of the digestive tract. At higher dosages, they found that the herbs could directly affect the mucous membranes of the stomach and the bowel. In many of the clinical trials, herbal extracts were combined with essential oils. Essential oils appeared to act as “spasmolytics” (something that relieves or prevents spasms), “carminatives” (an agent that expels gas from the stomach and intestines), and local anesthetics.