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Ridiculous Remedy Pits Vinegar Against Heartburn: Vinegar Triumphs

Ridiculous Remedy Pits Vinegar Against Heartburn: Vinegar Tr...

Q. Who would have dreamed that the very odd suggestion of vinegar in water would actually work for heartburn? I tried several home remedies (including pickled ginger and ginger tea) but they didn’t help.

After a bad acid reflux episode one night, I bit the bullet and swallowed two tablespoons of vinegar in 8 oz. of water. It took some time to get down and it burned a little along the way, but I went back to bed and slept undisturbed for three hours. The next day I drank some during the day and before bedtime and slept through the night. Last night was my second night of undisturbed sleep. Thank you so much for this suggestion!

Should one take vinegar and water as a preventative or only when heartburn is present? I am also a little concerned about what vinegar can do to one’s teeth. Can you address that, please?

A. We have mostly heard from people who use vinegar as a remedy for heartburn symptoms rather than as a preventive measure. The question about its effect on teeth is important. Vinegar, lemon juice and other acids can soften tooth enamel. Make sure not to brush the teeth for about an hour after you have consumed the vinegar. Otherwise, the toothbrush may abrade the softened enamel. Rinsing with plain water after drinking vinegar water will probably help protect the teeth somewhat.

If you would like to learn more about other heartburn remedies, we suggest our Guide to Digestive Disorders or our book, The People’s Pharmacy Quick & Handy Home Remedies. This book from National Geographic is full of home remedies, both odd and otherwise, for a wide range of common ailments.

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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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