Q. Several months ago I went to the ER because of severe chest pain. I thought I was having a heart attack. After some tests they told me it was heartburn.
My highly respected naturopathic doctor told me not to take the heartburn drugs, because they can be hard to stop. Instead, he put me on DGL tablets. I take one twice per day and have not had any heartburn since. I think this would be very helpful for people who do not want to take acid-suppressing drugs for heartburn.

A. DGL is short for deglycyrrhizinated licorice, a natural medicine that can be helpful against heartburn. Other non-drug approaches include chewing gum (to stimulate saliva production), herbal tea, ginger or mustard. You will find more information on these options in our Guide to Digestive Disorders.
Your doctor is right that getting off acid-suppressing drugs can be challenging. Gradual tapering of the dose, along with DGL, ginger or persimmon tea (all found in the Guide) may be helpful. Have your naturopathic doctor monitor your progress to make sure the remedy you have chosen is working as it should.

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  1. Garry L

    I find the best thing for heart burn is simply licking the end of your finger and dipping it into some Bicarb Soda and licking the small amount of your finger, seems to cure me when I wake up in the middle of the night with heart burn and acid reflux.

  2. Ansel C.

    I find that an inexpensive, easy to find bottle of Digestiv Enzyme capsules prevents heartburn, etc. upfront. I take one a day as a preventive.

  3. CAR

    Have this heartburn thing at times. Was on Prevacid for years, but weaned myself off & since have been taking a multienzyme formula 3x daily & have found that eating dried apple slices or a fresh apple also helps along with eating a chocolate kiss. Soothes that indigestion feeling & for sleeping we raised the head of our bed & that has also helped, plus I have not had “asthma” situations which my allergist says were being helped along due to acid reflux. It’s now all much better.

  4. dp

    For Gerd, Dont forget the mechanical changes one should make to stop acid reflux before the esophogus is damaged. First, eat supper before 7:00 pm. to give your body time to digest before lying down to sleep. Eat a small supper meal, low in foods that take a long time to digest.
    If reflux is daily, put the head of the bed up on blocks until episodes stop and healing takes place. Use Alkaseltzer or bicarb if licorice can’t be taken, at the first sign of heart burn. Sleep in a recliner if awakened by reflux. I think stopping the cause is better than continuing the practices that cause the reflux. Hiatal hernia surgery is risky business, by the way.

  5. TDR

    Wow, JFR. I am sorry to hear you are having a lot of trouble and not getting much relief from your endoscopies. I have one about once every year or two, in response to food becoming difficult to swallow. I would actually feel the food pass through and on a couple of occasions, swear that food was stuck, which it wasn’t. I have a continuous bout with acid reflux and the drugs don’t provide much relief, as I am still popping calcium carbonate tabs every night and drinking a couple of ounces of antacid ( generic “Maloox”). For some reason about 3 months ago, the reflux stopped and the heart burn went away. During that period, the acid disappeared and my esophagus began to heal to the point that I had no trouble swallowing or feeling the food go down. This led me to believe that my swallowing issues were due to the acid burns to my esophageal lining. I will try your idea for the DGL tabs, but can you tell me where to get them please?

  6. Lacey

    I have found it difficult to remain off prilosec due to gerd but if DGL is a licorice base, then people like myself who are on blood pressure medicines, should not take it. It’s my understanding that licorice in its true form counteracts the effect of blood pressure meds. Is that correct?

  7. Jo

    DGL brought blessed relief to me!!

  8. JFR

    I have been chewing DGL tablets for many years, not only for heartburn, but for digestion. It works immediately. My understanding is that consuming licorice that is not deglycyrrhizinated can increase blood pressure–thus the name DG before L for “licorice.” When I have acid reflux, due to a hiatal hernia, I immediately wash the acid down with water than quickly chew two DGL’s. Oh, and by the way, I have had several endoscopies for food getting caught in the throat. The good results of these dreadful procedures lasted about two weeks. Now, when food gets caught in the throat, I force down a teaspoon or two of vegetables oil or fish oil. It has worked so far. Though one must be prudent–a situation such as this can be serious and need immediate medical attention.

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