Heartburn, indigestion, upset stomach, or whatever you you want to call digestive distress, has been around since humanoids started eating. Just imagine our hunter-gatherer ancestors foraging on whatever they could find. Some of the grubs and beetles they likely consumed could not have been easy on the gastrointestinal tract. Home remedies for heartburn have been around forever. People have used herbs like fennel seeds, ginger, chamomile, slippery elm and licorice. Now that so many serious side effects have been linked to powerful acid-suppressing drugs it’s no wonder that people are looking for home remedies for heartburn.
Q. I was prescribed Nexium for heartburn, but it began to lose its effectiveness and I worried about side effects. I found that yellow mustard worked faster and longer.
A. Nexium (esomeprazole) is a powerful and expensive way to treat routine heartburn. Many others have told us that yellow mustard can help ease heartburn. Other options include old-fashioned antacids such as baking soda or calcium carbonate, as well as home remedies such as a spoonful of apple cider vinegar or a few almonds after a meal.
Problems with PPIs (Proton Pump Inhibitors)
You have doubtless seen the commercials or read the ads for drugs like Nexium, Prevacid (lansoprazole) and Prilosec (omeprazole). Although they once were considered among the safest drugs in the pharmacy, we now know that there are some serious complications, especially when people use them for extended periods of time. Adverse reactions may include:
- Kidney disease
- Hip fractures
- Heart attacks
- C diff infections
- Nutrient deficiencies (magnesium, iron, vitamin B12)
Home Remedies for Heartburn:
We do not recommend licorice for heartburn. That’s because natural black licorice has a dangerous dark side! It can cause serious side effects including hypertension, headache, low potassium levels, fluid retention, weakness and even paralysis. On the other hand, DGL (deglycyrrhizinated licorice) seems far safer. It has been used to treat heartburn, ulcers and other other digestive upsets.
Joyce in California reports:
“I developed a stomach ulcer in the 1980s after taking a medication. For the last five years I have been taking DGL and I am doing well. I sometimes have to take ibuprofen for osteoarthritis, but so far no ulcers.”
Chandler is even more enthusiastic:
“DGL ROCKS! I gave up the coffee that I loved because of heartburn. I take DGL with meals and it’s saving me. I am able to eat things that used to give me heartburn thanks to DGL.”
Deb in Arizona adds her experience:
“I was on Prilosec for over two years and tried to stop cold turkey a few months ago. The rebound effect was intolerable so I started Prilosec again when I couldn’t stand the reflux.
“When I read that DGL licorice tablets could help I weaned off Prilosec in two weeks. WOW! I have since taken the DGL tablets, starting with 6 per day, and now only as needed. They are low-cost, low-risk and work like a charm.”
We cannot tell you why almonds might be helpful against indigestion, but a lot of folks tell us that this is one of the best home remedies for heartburn they have ever tried.
RPN shared this pregnancy experience:
“I found out about almonds helping heartburn after my second child was born. I said if I had another baby I would definitely test out the theory.
“Three years later, I put it to the test as I craved Mexican food throughout my entire third pregnancy and never had heartburn. I had bad from heartburn in previous pregnancies. Years, later I contacted the California Almond Board for information about why almonds might work. Researchers said almonds were an ancient Middle Eastern remedy for peptic ulcers!”
Dr. Crystal had an interesting experience:
“I have a new patient with severe heartburn. When I saw her yesterday she had an attack during the office visit. I watched her stop it almost immediately with two almonds. She says it works every time.”
Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV):
Most gastroenterologists would cringe at the thought of treating heartburn with ACV. After all, they have been suppressing acid for decades, so adding acid seems totally counterintuitive. That said, lots of visitors to our website say apple cider vinegar is one of their favorite home remedies for heartburn:
Lily in Minnesota reported:
“I recently had a bad attack of heartburn. Just two tablespoons of ACV helped it immediately!”
Sasha in North Carolina says:
After months of acid reflux I started taking apple cider vinegar with water before meals. It really works well.”
Not everyone will benefit from ACV and some may find it makes their heartburn worse. If you try this remedy, be cautious at first.
Here is a video of some of our favorite home remedies for heartburn:
If you would like to read about other remedies you will find our Guide to Digestive Disorders of value.
Share your own favorite home remedies for heartburn in the comment section below.
This article was updated on July 28, 2016