Healing Heartburn

http://www.motherearthliving.com/In-the-Garden/healing-heartburn.aspx

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Meadowsweet (Filipendula ulmaria), originally used in aspirin to treat aches and pains, is also thought to be effective in decreasing stomach acid, naturally.

About 100 million Americans suffer or have suffered from heartburn, with 15 million suffering daily. You may take a Zantac, Tums or maybe a Prilosec, but when the problem goes away you tend to forget about it.

Experts say you should be more concerned – not only with heartburn, but what you’re taking to “cure” it.

Call it what you want, heartburn, acid reflux or gastritis – stomach-to-esophagus problems can have serious effects such as swallowing problems, adenocarcinoma, cancer of the esophagus and chronic or violent cough.

There are three levels of heartburn treatment – antacids, h-2 blockers and PPIs.

When I was alerted to the issue, I’d been using Zantac, which is a histamine-2 blocker (as are Pepcid and Tagamet).  Histamine 2 is what signals the stomach to produce acid.  Supressing acid in this way can cause an alkaline environment in the stomach that is ideal for the production of the bacteria Helicobacter pylori

This bacteria can ultimately cause stomach ulcers, which, paradoxically, result in reflux problems. Proton-pump inhibitors (PPI) [Prevacid and Prilosec] can have an even more severe effect. Antacids have high concentrations of Calcium carbonate, which can potentially lead to kidney stones.

More frustrating are the contradictory suggestions made online for natural treatments.  But here, I’ve sifted through the suggestions to find the most consistent natural prevention methods and treatments.  Hope they help – both in your case, and in mine.

Prevention:

1.  Avoid carbonated beverages, coffee, alcohol, whole milk and caffeinated tea.

2.  Avoid tomatoes, citrus fruits, chocolates, onions and peppermints.

3.  Avoid fatty and fried foods.

4.  Eat smaller meals more often with plenty of water.

5.  Elevate your head at night with pillows or sleep on your left side.

6.  Avoid eating right before bed or exercise.

Herbal Remedies:

To absorb stomach acid try marshmallow root or slippery elm bark.  To decrease acid use chamomile, licorice root, or meadowsweet. 

For more information, check out these Herb Companion articles:

My husband has acid reflux disease. Help! ... (scroll down for article)
Treating Heartburn Naturally (scroll down)
Holiday Heartburn