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Heartburn presents as a painful warm and burning sensation in the chest, usually behind the breastbone. The pain arises from the stomach or lower chest and then spreads towards the neck, throat,and jaw as a result of stomach acid backing up to the esophagus (the swallowing pipe where the food passes from the mouth to the stomach). Heartburn is medically labeled as pyrosis. It commonly appears after a meal or during sleep. The pain associated with heartburn worsens when one lies down or bends over and can last for several minutes and even hours. 
Heartburn afflicts a few people occasionally. However, when heartburn occurs too often, gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) should be suspected. Although heartburn itself poses no serious health concern, it can sometimes interfere with a person’s daily routine. The discomfort of heartburn particularly can hinder a person from accomplishing certain tasks. Here is a list of home remedies that may assist and prevent heartburn. Note – as always for this site, this is not medical advice nor substitute for consultation with a qualified medical practitioner.
1. Diet modification – Add more fiber into your diet. Fiber helps keep the digestive tract healthy. Also, avoid acid-forming foods: Certain foods and drinks can trigger an increased stomach acid secretion and hence may worsen heartburn. These food items include coffee, alcohol, carbonated drinks, fatty or spicy foods, chocolates, tomatoes and tomato sauces, peppermint and spearmint, and acidic fruits and juices such as those from oranges, pineapples, and grapefruit. Avoid foods and drinks that can trigger heartburn.
2. Eating properly – Aside from a diet devoid of heartburn triggers, eating smaller meals rather than three large ones is advised. Don’t rush your meal into your mouth, and try smaller bites instead – as eating too much can trigger heartburn for some. Moreover, only lie down to rest or sleep about three hours after your meal. This will ensure that what’s inside your full stomach doesn’t press too much against the lower esophageal sphincter, a band of muscle at the end of your esophagus responsible for closing off the esophagus.
3. Quitting smoking – Cigarette smoke may contain chemicals that can weaken your lower esophageal sphincter.
4. Chewing sugar-free gum – There is more to chewing gum than just eliminating certain odors in your mouth from some meals. The results of a study from London Hospital Medical College, UK, indicated that chewing gum is an effective non-pharmacological treatment option for some patients with gastroesophageal reflux.  Chewing gum increases the production of saliva, one of the body’s natural defensive responses against acid reflux. Saliva is alkaline in pH and acts as an acid buffer. Moreover, chewing gum stimulates one to swallow more often. Swallowing helps to clear the acid within the esophagus by pushing the acid back into the stomach and out of the esophagus. In a 2005 UK study published in the Journal of Dental Research, chewing sugar-free gum for half an hour after a meal was evidenced to reduce the acidic reflux after eating a meal. 
5. Fat-free Skimmed Milk – Drinking half a cup of skimmed milk can help ease the heartburn. It can temporarily buffer stomach acids and can provide the necessary nutrients that would help irritated esophageal tissues to recover. Note that whole milk contains fats that may induce acid production in the stomach, so drink only fat-free milk.
6. Baking Soda – Baking soda, or sodium bicarbonate, is a well-known home antacid probably just sitting at the comfort of your kitchen cabinet. Acting as a base, it remedies heartburn by neutralizing the excess acid in the stomach. For adults, mix 1-2.5 teaspoons of baking soda effervescent powder into a glass of water and drink this after meals. For children, reduce the amount to a quarter or half a teaspoon. When using baking soda powder, add one-half teaspoonful in a glass of water, and take this every two hours. 
7. Apple Cider Vinegar – There is not much actual scientific research regarding the effectiveness of apple cider vinegar against acid reflux – but it has been reported beneficial by some sources. Apple cider vinegar, although acidic itself, supposedly helps to balance the acid production in the stomach, buffering the acidity level. Mix one teaspoon to two tablespoons of apple cider vinegar with eight ounces of water, and drink this to relieve the heartburn. Add honey if apple cider vinegar doesn’t exactly suit your taste.
8. Apples and Bananas – Snack on apples or bananas, whether fresh or dried. Both fruits are reported to work charms in reducing the burning sensation: Apples and bananas are reported alkalinizing and may help neutralize the excess acid.
9. Deglycyrrhizinated Licorice – Licorice holds a 1000+ year history of being used as a medicinal herb. The sweet-flavored root of Glycyrrhiza glabra possesses a broad range of health-promoting and therapeutic properties, such as anti-inflammatory effects. Licorice root contains glycyrrhizin, which is also used as peptic ulcer treatment and expectorant. However, glycyrrhizin can also produce negative side effects such as hypertension and edema. Eliminating glycyrrhizin from licorice (i.e., deglycyrrhizinated) would provide the beneficial effects of licorice without these symptoms. Deglycyrrhizinated licorice works against heartburn by helping in minimizing the inflammation caused by the acid reflux on the esophagus tissues and in initiating the healing of irritated mucous membranes. 
10. Ginger – Around 2 to 4 grams of fresh ginger can help ease the irritation and inflammation on the esophagus that typically comes with heartburn. Ginger works in an almost similar fashion with non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, but with lesser side effects. It suppresses the synthesis of prostaglandin and leukotriene, which act as mediators of inflammation.  Ginger tea makes a wonderful remedy for digestive problems, including heartburn.
11. Oatmeal – Oatmeal can constitute a low-fat, high-fiber meal. Such meals limit the acidity in the stomach to a manageable level and soothe the stomach itself. As mentioned earlier, bananas can help neutralize the excess acid, so top your oatmeal with sliced bananas for breakfast.
12. Aloe vera – The juice that can be extracted from Aloe vera can reduce the inflammation caused by the excess acids on the irritated esophagus. Several in vitro and in vivo studies have already demonstrated the anti-inflammatory effect of Aloe vera, which inhibits substances involved in the inflammation process such as thromboxane B2 and prostaglandin F2.  Try drinking half a cup of non-laxative Aloe vera juice prior to meals.
For more, please see our page http://herbs-info.com/herbs-for-acid-reflux.html
 Nordqvist C. (2011). “What Is Heartburn? What Causes Heartburn?.” Medical News Today. Retrieved 30 July 2013 from http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/9151.php
 von Schonfeld J., Hector M., Evans D. F., & Wingate D. L. (1997). Oesophageal acid and salivary secretion: is chewing gum a treatment option for gastro-oesophageal reflux? Digestion, 58(2): 111-114. Retrieved 30 July 2013 from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9144299
 Moazzez R., Bartlett D., & Anggiansah A. (2005). The effect of chewing sugar-free gum on gastroesophageal reflux. Journal of Dental Research, 84(11): 1062-1065. Retrieved 30 July 2013
 Sodium bicarbonate (oral route, intravenous route, subcutaneous route). Retrieved 30 July 2013
 Collins D. (2011). “Effective heartburn home remedies using DGL deglycyrrhizinated licorice?”
Retrieved 30 July 2013 from http://undergroundhealthreporter.com/heartburn-home-remedies-dgldeglycyrrhizinated-licorice
 Grzanna R., Lindmark L., & Frondoza C. G. (2005). Ginger–an herbal medicinal product with broad
anti-inflammatory actions. Journal of Medicinal Food, 8(2):125-132. Retrieved 30 July 2013
 Surjushe A., Vasani R., and Saple D. G. (2008). Aloe vera: A short review. Indian Journal of
Dermatology, 53(4): 163-166. Retrieved 30 July 2013 from
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