What are natural treatments for heartburn?

Lawrence S. Friedman, MD
Some people have found herbs and other natural remedies to be helpful in the treatment of heartburn symptoms.

Chamomile. A cup of chamomile tea may have a soothing effect on the digestive tract. People with ragweed allergy should avoid chamomile.

Ginger. The root of the ginger plant is another well-known herbal digestive aid and has been a folk remedy for heartburn for centuries.

Licorice. This remedy has proved effective in several studies. Licorice is said to increase the mucous coating of the esophageal lining, helping it resist the irritating effects of stomach acid. Deglycyrrhizinated licorice, or DGL, is available in pill or liquid form. It is considered safe to take indefinitely.

Other herbs. A variety of other remedies have been used over the centuries, but not enough scientific studies have been done to confirm their effectiveness. Catnip, fennel, marshmallow root, and papaya tea have all been said to aid in digestion and act as a buffer to stop heartburn. Some people eat fresh papaya as a digestive aid. Others swear by raw potato juice, three times a day. However, these remedies are not reviewed for safety and effectiveness by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
Yogi Cameron Alborzian
Alternative & Complementary Medicine

Given its close association with the stomach, Ayurveda relates the problem of acid reflux to an excessive build-up of the fire element. This element sits in the stomach and is responsible for fueling the digestive fire that metabolizes energy, and when food has passed from stomach to the small intestines, the fire and heat level of the body rise. When we consume substances like spicy foods, heavy meats, and sour foods like yogurt and pickles, however, the level of heat in the body rises to excessive levels and symptoms occur. Symptoms typically appear a few hours after eating these fiery foods.

Ayurveda simulates the action of antacid-type medications through diet modification. To alleviate symptoms, it is important to eat foods that reduce heat in the body like milk and ghee and avoid the foods that increase it like yogurt and pickles. Additionally, taking herbs can have a cleansing effect on the stomach, small intestine, and large intestine. This treatment is conducted with the use of herbs and substances such as cumin, coriander, mint, fennel, licorice, baking soda, yellow dock, and dandelion.

Other remedies include:

  • Stop eating at least three or four hours before going to bed.
  • Maintain proper posture both while and after eating.
  • Drink 1 to 3 cups of warm water each day. Refrain from drinking during meals or immediately before or after meals.
  • Take 1 to 3 tablespoons of Aloe Vera gel.
  • During meals, only drink half a cup of warm water with food.


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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.