Heartburn is usually a symptom of an underlying condition such as gastroesophageal reflux disease, functional dyspepsia, and an H. Pylori infection. Heartburn can feel like a hot and sometimes painful sensation in the middle of the chest. This feeling occurs due to the presence of acid in the esophagus. There are many theories as to the specifics of this condition as it is not completely understood.
Allopathic medicine generally considers this condition to be caused by excessive acid and is thus treated with antacids and proton-pump inhibitors. However, many doctors are now suggesting that this condition may actually be caused by low or diluted acid in most cases. It is also important to keep in mind that H. Pylori is more common than most people think. It is crucial to find out which of these is the case in your condition in order to treat it appropriately.
1. Indian Gooseberry (Amla/Amalaki)
This is an age-old remedy for instantly reducing acidity and normalizing the secretions in the stomach and GIT. It is a known thing that the sensation of “acidity” is not always caused by an increase in acid, but more likely by a reduction in acid due to several factors including inflammation – this causes the esophageal sphincter to not work properly and results in the contents of the stomach re-entering the esophagus and resulting in the feeling of “acidity”. Indian Gooseberry normalized gastric secretions due to its various acid-based constituents such as citric acid, ascorbic acid, gallic acid, ellagic acid, and several due to its anti-inflammatory and mucolytic properties. When consuming Amla, you will feel an instant cooling sensation as it goes down. In a clinical trial, Amla supplementation was able to significantly reduce heartburn and regurgitation in patients with acid reflux (see study).
2. Licorice Root
One of the other causes of Acidity is the bacteria known as H.Pylori. This bacteria causes acidity and can eventually lead to gastric ulcers. Licorice root is effective in eradicating this bacteria, hence why it is even used in the case of ulcers. Licorice Root is also an antacid and is extremely cooling in nature, therefore it is used extensively in Ayurvedic Medicine for solving acid-related complaints. Half a teaspoon of Licorice in a glass of room temperature water should do the trick. This can be taken twice a day. Do not consume too much as it may cause nausea and/or vomiting as well as high blood pressure. (this is not the same as licorice candy). Also, do not consume this for more than 8 days. A safer option than standard Licorice root is “Deglycyrrhizinated Licorice Root“, this does not increase blood pressure or cause absorption issues and can be used long term. In a clinical trial, Licorice Root was able to reduce heartburn as well as other symptoms in patients with functional dyspepsia (see study).
3. Mastic Gum
Mastic Gum is a resin that is extracted from the Mastic tree. It has a long history of medicinal uses dating back to the ancient Greeks. In recent clinical studies, Mastic gum has been found to be useful in treating multiple gastric complaints. It has specifically shown much promise for eradicating H. Pylori – the bacteria known for causing peptic ulcers and which also plays a role in some cases of heartburn. In a clinical trial, Mastic Gum was able to reduce heartburn in patients with functional dyspepsia (see study).
(Always use medicinal herbs under the supervision of a doctor)
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by Dr. Nishal R.