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Cayenne Pills for Heartburn

Cayenne Pills for Heartburn
Hot pepper

Q. I have had success with a remedy I read about in your newspaper column. I have persistent heartburn and was on prescription medications for more than a decade. I was surprised to read that cayenne pepper extract had helped others with this problem.
I have been taking one cayenne pill in the morning and one in the evening for less than two weeks. I have gone from chomping Tums or Rolaids three to five times a day to almost none. It has made a huge difference in the way I feel. The relief came very quickly and was inexpensive. I have even had some pretty spicy food.
A. You have confirmed what others report, namely that capsaicin (the hot stuff in chili peppers) may be helpful for heartburn. Although such an approach seems unorthodox, a study in the Journal of Neurogastroenterology and Motility (April, 2010) showed that regular ingestion of hot peppers reduced symptoms of reflux. Using an extract in pill form might be more tolerable for those who dislike spicy flavors.
Here is the original report from a reader who found hot pepper helpful. Others recommend apple cider vinegar, almonds after a meal, or DGL (deglycyrrhizinated licorice). There’s more information in 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. .
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