The People's Perspective on Medicine

Apple Cider Vinegar Is a Weird Remedy for Heartburn

Taking a spoonful or two of apple cider vinegar mixed in water is a popular remedy for heartburn. While not everyone finds it helpful, many people do.
Apple cider vinegar in bottle with apple summer day

Do you have a favorite remedy for heartburn? Some people rely on drugstore antacids such as Tums or Maalox. Others take medication such as cimetidine (Tagamet) or omeprazole (Prilosec). But plenty of readers prefer a home remedy for heartburn symptoms. Have you ever tried apple cider vinegar for that discomfort? Enthusiasts swear by it.

Apple Cider Vinegar as a Remedy for Heartburn:

Q. I took prescription meds for GERD [gastroesophageal reflux disease] for ten years. Finally, I tried apple cider vinegar after my evening meal. Although it seemed counterintuitive, it worked! I’m pleased to have found this remedy for heartburn.

I also sleep with the head of my bed raised. I use the things they sell to raise all bed legs for under-bed storage, but only put them under the headboard feet.

I’m happy to be med free so I don’t need to worry about side effects. I didn’t go cold turkey with the meds but weaned off them gradually. We have stomach acid for a reason–to digest our food. If we don’t digest it properly, we can’t absorb the nutrients in it.

A. Thanks for sharing your story. Doctors frequently recommend sleeping with the head of the bed raised to minimize nighttime reflux. Apple cider vinegar is a popular remedy for heartburn. Although it has not been studied in a clinical trial, doctors are beginning to take notice of its use (Current Gastroenterology Reports, July 10, 2019).  Naturopaths have adopted the use of apple cider vinegar and deglycyrrhizinated licorice (DGL) to treat reflux (Integrative Medicine, Aug. 2018). 

A Warning:

Not everyone benefits from this treatment. Occasionally, people report that vinegar makes their heartburn worse. However, people with heartburn may often be able to relieve their symptoms without using drugs. To learn how, you may wish to consult our Guide to Digestive Disorders.

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    About the Author
    Terry Graedon, PhD, is a medical anthropologist and co-host of The People’s Pharmacy radio show, co-author of The People’s Pharmacy syndicated newspaper columns and numerous books, and co-founder of The People’s Pharmacy website. Terry taught in the Duke University School of Nursing and was an adjunct assistant professor in the Department of Anthropology. She is a Fellow of the Society of Applied Anthropology. Terry is one of the country's leading authorities on the science behind folk remedies. .
    Digestive Disorders
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    Download this guide to getting off heartburn medicine. Preventing ulcers. Effective treatments for constipation and diarrhea. Foods and drugs that cause gas.

    Digestive Disorders
    Citations
    • Ahuja A & Ahuja NK, "Popular remedies for esophageal symptoms: A critical appraisal." Current Gastroenterology Reports, July 10, 2019. DOI: 10.1007/s11894-019-0707-4
    • Neiworth-Petshow EM & Baldwin-Sayre C, "Naturopathic treatment of gastrointestinal dysfunction in the setting of Parkinson's disease." Integrative Medicine, Aug. 2018.
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    Why Apple Cider vinegar, as opposed to any other kind of vinegar?

    What works for me is a glass of water with baking soda. Cure is tsp honey and quarter tsp cinnamon in a hot drink. Drink this often, and eat smaller meals.

    I use a teaspoon of baking soda mixed with a little water and drink. Works almost immediately.

    I found DGL works great for me.

    Apple cider vinegar diluted with water and honey works waaay better than years of harmful meds. Don’t make the mistake I did first time. I bought sipping vinegar and honey combo for the store and didn’t dilute. I thought I would die; felt like I swallowed gasoline.

    A teaspoon full of sugar is an even better cure and almost instant! I have been doing it for years. It is like magic!

    ACV worked for me!

    I use apple cider vinegar. An 8- ounce glass of water with 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar and a few sprinkles of cinnamon.I drink with straw. Adding 1/4 of lemon makes it not taste so bad. Haven’t had heartburn for a year. I drink this 4 times a week.

    Those heartburn episodes can be scary, esp. when the discomfort radiates near heart area – it can feel like having a heart attack. I take the apple cider remedy, and it relieves the symptoms all the time. Then I rub stomach or back area to burp. I elevate my upper body by sitting up straight or sleeping upright which prevents backup of stomach acid. Also, drinking cold water or sodas and juices can contribute to heartburn. Thanks.

    I have found that a couple of fork fulls of SAUERKRAUT will relieve heartburn symptoms in minutes. I keep a jar of it in my fridge at all times.

    Years ago, I would experience intense heartburn on very rare occasions. I found a glass of orange juice was the only thing that helped.

    I developed ulcers from apple cider vinegar. Use with caution and sparingly. It is definitely not for everyone.

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