Mild to moderate heartburn, also called GERD, is pretty common. It’s not a serious condition, in terms of threat to your health, but it can be frustrating and uncomfortable. If left untreated, GERD can develop into more serious conditions, like stomach ulcers, but if dealt with while mild it can be managed.
There can be different reasons why people develop GERD, the most common of which is stress. Chronic muscle tension can put pressure on the abdominal organs, causing stomach acid to move up into the esophagus, which then gives the well-known burning sensation and nasty taste in the back of one’s throat that are the hallmarks of heartburn. Also too much stomach acid, as well as too little, can create discomfort and indigestion.
There are some natural remedies that are very helpful in reducing the frequency and severity of heartburn simptoms. Here are my suggestions.
Foods to avoid or reduce
- Fatty, salty, or fried foods
- Intensely spicy foods
- Members of the Nightshade family: tomatoes, bell peppers, eggplant
- Caffeine (especially coffee)
- Refined sugar
- Cigarettes (not a food, obviously, but definitely hard on the stomach
- Yoga, Tai Chi
- Regular light exercise, especially walking
- Adaptogenic herbs (my favorites are Ashwagandha, Holy Basil, Eleuthero)
- Good sleep
- Regular healthy meals
- Staying hydrated
- Digestive Enzymes
- Ginger Root
- Aloe Vera Juice
- Slippery Elm Bark
- Marshmallow Root
- Lemon Balm
- Aloe Vera Juice
- Licorice Root
My favorite ready-made preparation for immediate relief of heartburn is Gaia Herbs Reflux Relief, a chewable tablet that works quickly and well for mild heartburn symptoms. I keep some in my purse and some by the bed—just in case.
My favorite preventatives are Triphala and Marshmallow root. I take them in capsule form, once or twice a day.
A sensible, high-fiber diet with lots of fresh greens is essential, as is stress management, for long-term digestive health.
Easy Yoga Poses
Gentle stretching to relax the muscles of the back and torso can make a big difference. A yoga practice is great, but if that doesn’t work for you, try a simple seated forward bend twice a day, you can even do it in bed!
Go slowly, exhale into the stretch, and try to go a little further each day. If you’re feeling motivated, you can balance it with Cat and Cow pose. These two go naturally together, and are easy to do.
Doing all three poses takes less than ten minutes, and is a great way to start and end the day. Regular practice will reduce a great deal of the stress and pressure in your shoulders, back, and torso.
Take good care of yourself, remember to drink plenty of water, and get some good rest!