Hyperacidity, as known as acid reflux or heartburn, is the irritation of the esophagus that results when acid from the stomach is released into the esophagus.
This occurs because of a dysfunction in a muscular valve, known as the lower esophageal sphincter (LES), which normally keeps stomach acid in the stomach. The LES may open too often or it may not close tightly enough, allowing stomach acid to leak through. Acid reflux isn’t a serious medical problem unless it becomes constant and chronic, in which case it becomes GastroEsophageal Reflux Disease (GERD) and requires treatment. If you follow a few simple steps, you can diagnose acid reflux and learn to treat it naturally.
See When Should You Try This? to learn more about when natural remedies for acid reflux might be most beneficial.
Using Lifestyle Modifications for Acid Reflux
Change the way you eat. You can change the types and amounts of foods you eat in order to make your acid reflux better. Decrease the amount of food you eat at any one time. This reduces the stress pressure on your stomach. Don’t eat for 2-3 hours before bedtime in order to reduce the risk of food putting pressure on the LES as you try to sleep.
- Try to eat slowly because it allows the food to be digested more easily and quickly, leaving less food in the stomach adding pressure on the LES.
Avoid food and beverage triggers. You need to figure out exactly what kinds of food trigger your acid reflux. Start keeping track of foods and beverages you eat and note any that cause you any problems. Use a common triggers list to begin with and add any foods or beverages that you know you are sensitive to. If any food you eat bothers you an hour later, you should eliminate that food from your diet.
- For example, if you eat spaghetti and meatballs with tomato sauce for dinner and experience acid reflux within an hour, your trigger could be the spaghetti, the meatballs, or the tomato sauce. Next time, eliminate the tomato sauce. If you have no hyperacidity, you know that the tomato sauce is the trigger. If you still do, it could be the pasta or the meatballs. Next day, have some leftover pasta alone with no meatballs and no sauce. If you have hyperacidity, the pasta should be eliminated from your diet.
Shift your habits. There are certain things you can change in your everyday habits that can help with your acid reflux as well. Wear clothing that doesn’t constrict your stomach or abdomen. This causes unnecessary pressure on your stomach, which can cause acid reflux. You should also stop smoking because it increases the amount of acid in your stomach.
- Try to lose weight, especially if you are severely overweight or obese. This will help reduce pressure on the LES and relieve your acid reflux.
Rethink the way you sleep. Some people have bad acid reflux overnight. If you have this problem, raise the entire head of the bed to allow gravity to help keep the acid in your stomach. This way, the acid will not creep into your esophagus overnight and cause you problems.
- Piling up pillows won’t really help much as these tend to bend your neck and body in such a way that it actually increases the pressure and makes the hyperacidity worse.
Using Herbal Remedies for Acid Reflux
Talk to your doctor first. There a number of different herbal approaches to treat hyperacidity, but you need to be careful. Talk to your physician first before trying these remedies. In general, natural remedies are very safe, but it is best to be certain they are safe for you. Combining these herbal approaches with the lifestyle modifications should significantly improve how you feel on a daily basis.
- If you are pregnant, speak to your physician about using any of the herbs to ensure they won’t hurt your baby. 
Drink aloe vera juice. Aloe vera is not just good for the outside of your body. Aloe vera juice has many healing qualities as well. Buy organic aloe vera juice. Pour 1/2 cup into a glass and drink. You can sip this multiple times throughout the day, but since aloe vera can act as a laxative, you may want to limit it to a total of 1-2 cups a day.
- Aloe juice decreases inflammation and acts to neutralize the stomach acid. 
Try apple cider vinegar. Although it may seem counter-intuitive, you can use apple cider vinegar to help with acid reflux. Add 1 tablespoon of organic apple cider vinegar to 6 ounces of water. Stir it together well and drink. The vinegar doesn’t have to be organic, but only use apple cider vinegar.
- Other vinegars don’t work as well and can end up making your problem worse.
Make citrus water. You can use citrus fruits to make a drink similar to lemonade or limeade that will help with your acid reflux. Squeeze a few teaspoons of pure lemon or lime juice and add water to taste. Add a bit of honey or a tiny bit of stevia, a natural sweetener, to the drink if you want to make it a little sweater. Drink this before, during, and after meals.
- To make the drink more interesting, you can add both kinds of juices if you want.
- The extra acid in the juices tell your body that it can shut down acid production by a process called feedback inhibition.
Consume more apples. Just as the old saying goes, you should eat at least one apple a day. Apples are very good for you and help to calm acid reflux. The pectin in the apple skin acts as a natural antacid.
- If you don’t like eating plain apples, try adding them to a salad or putting them in a smoothie.
Drink ginger tea. Ginger acts as an anti-inflammatory and a soothing agent for the stomach. It can also help with nausea and vomiting. To make your own ginger tea, cut up about 1 teaspoon of fresh ginger and add it to boiling water. Let the mixture steep for about 5 minutes. Pour it into a mug and drink.
Try other types of tea. You can make a few other varieties of tea to help with your acid reflux. Fennel helps settle the stomach and decreases the acid levels. To make fennel tea, crush about a teaspoon of fennel seeds and add it to a cup of boiled water. Add honey or some stevia to taste and drink 2-3 cups a day about 20 minutes before meals.
- You can also use mustard seeds or powder to make a tea. Mustard acts as an anti-inflammatory and as an acid neutralizer. You can dissolve it in water to make a tea. If you are up to it, you can take 1 teaspoon of mustard by mouth.
- You can also try chamomile tea to calm the stomach and act as an anti-inflammatory agent. You can buy chamomile tea in bags or as loose leaf tea.
Take other herbal remedies. There are a few other herbs that can be taken to help your acid reflux. Deglycyrrhizinated licorice root (DGL) works very well to heal the stomach and control hyperacidity. It comes as chewable tablets, but bear in mind that the taste might take some getting used to. The standard dose of DGL is 2-3 tablets every 4-6 hours.
Trying Other Home Remedies for Acid Reflux
Make a baking soda drink. Baking soda is a base, which means it helps counteract the effects of acid. This holds true for the acid in your stomach. To make this drink, dissolve a teaspoon of baking soda in about 6 ounces of water. Stir it well and drink. It is very effective in neutralizing the acid.
- Make sure you get baking soda and not baking powder. Baking powder is not nearly as effective.
Chew gum. After you eat, pop in a piece of sugar-free gum. This appears to work because chewing the gum stimulates the salivary glands, which releases bicarbonate into the saliva. The bicarbonate help neutralize the acid in your stomach.
- Don’t chew sugary gum because it may contribute to the acid in your stomach.
- Do not chew gum on an empty stomach.
- You can also chew mastic gum. Mastic gum is made from a resin of the mastic tree, known as Pistacia lentiscus. It has antibacterial properties and has been used to kill the H. pylori infection often associated with peptic ulcers or too much stomach acid.
Attempt the heel drop. There is a chiropractic approach that is used to treat hiatal hernias that is also effective for acid reflux. Drink a 6 to 8 ounce glass of slightly warm water the moment you get out of bed in the morning. While you are standing, bring your arms straight out to the sides and bend them at the elbows. Then, bring both hands in to meet at your chest. Stand up high on your toes, then drop down on your heels. Repeat 10 times.
- After the 10th drop, keeping your arms up, pant in short, quick, shallow breaths for 15 seconds. Repeat every morning until you get relief.
- This process seems to realign your stomach and diaphragm, so the hernia does not interfere with your esophagus.
Use coconut oil. Coconut oil has antibacterial properties that help stop acid reflux. This may be the reason that chronic H. pylori stomach infections respond quite well to this simple home remedy. The bacterium H. pylori is often associated with reflux esophagitis.
- Take 1/2 a tablespoon of coconut oil in warm orange juice, or directly by mouth if you can, three times daily. You can work this up to one to two tablespoons of coconut oil three times daily.
- Stop three days after your symptoms have subsided.
Eat probiotics. Probiotics are mixtures of a variety of bacteria normally found in your gut, which may include saccharomyces boulardii yeast, cultures of lactobacillus, and bifidobacterium. These good bacteria tend to improve overall well being, help with stomach health, and are all naturally found in your intestines.
- You can easily get probiotics by eating yogurt with active cultures in it. You can also take a supplement, though make sure you follow the manufacturer’s warnings.
Managing Stress to Help Acid Reflux
Take quiet time. Stress, especially chronic stress, has been linked to acid reflux. To help with your condition, you need to destress everyday. To relax, go into a quiet room or a quiet space outside and breathe deeply for a few minutes. Inhale through your nose slowly, and exhale through your mouth. Take twice as long to exhale as you do to inhale. If you have trouble keeping straight how long you breath, counting can be helpful. Inhale for the count of 6 to 8 counts and exhale, counting to 12 to 16. Repeat as often as you can.
Try progressive muscle relaxation. Since stress is such a common problem, the American Psychological Association (APA) has come up with multiple ways to help you relax. They suggest progressive muscle relaxation. For this exercise, stand straight up. Contract the muscles in your feet and lower legs, tightening them as much as possible for 30 seconds. After this amount of time, slowly release the tension. Move on to your upper legs and repeat.
- Continue these exercises for your hands and lower arms, upper arms and shoulders, and finally your stomach and abdominal muscles. Repeat daily.
Take a mental vacation. The APA also suggests that, no matter where you are and even if you can’t go on an actual vacation, you can take a mental vacation. Take a few deep breaths, relax, and close your eyes. Imagine the most beautiful place you have ever been or your dream vacation spot.
- Try to experience that place as fully as you can, smelling the smells, feeling a breeze, hearing the sounds. Repeat daily.
4Try emergency stress relievers. The American Heart Association (AHA) recommends certain emergency stress relievers. They suggest that, if you find yourself under too much stress, count to 10 before you speak, take 3-5 deep breaths, walk away from the stressful situation, and say you’ll handle it later. You can also try going for a walk to clear your head.
- To reduce stress, don’t be afraid to say “I’m sorry” if you make a mistake.
- Avoid stressful situation by setting your watch 5-10 minutes ahead to avoid the stress of being late, driving in the slow lane, and avoiding busy roads to help you stay calm while driving.
- Break down big problems into smaller parts. For example, answer one letter or phone call per day, instead of dealing with everything at once.
Practice good sleep hygiene. Your sleep hygiene is your daily routine of sleep related activities and your sleeping patterns. The National Sleep Foundation (NSF) recommends that you avoid naps during the day because naps tend to disturb the normal cycle of sleep and wakefulness. Also avoid stimulants, which include caffeine, nicotine, and alcohol, too close to bedtime. Alcohol can help you get to sleep, but can disrupt sleep later on as the body begins to metabolize the alcohol.
- Only do vigorous exercise in the morning or late afternoon. Try more relaxing exercises, like stretching or yoga, later at night to help get a full night’s sleep.
- Avoid large meals, chocolate, and spicy foods around bedtime.
- Make sure you get exposure to natural sunlight. Light exposure helps maintain a healthy sleep-wake cycle.
Establish a relaxing bedtime routine. Try to avoid any emotional, physical, or mental upset before trying to go to sleep. Try not to dwell on problems in bed. If you find yourself reviewing the day or reviewing problems you have, try getting up again for 10-15 minutes.
- During this time, do something that relaxes you like reading a book, doing deep breathing exercises, or meditating. Then, try going back to bed.
- Associate your bed with sleep. Don’t use the bed to watch TV, listen to the radio, or read. If you link your bed with activities, your body will not want to sleep while in it.
Seek medical attention if necessary. If you have faithfully tried the lifestyle modifications and the natural remedies recommended and still have no relief after about 2-3 weeks, call your physician. You may need more direct medical help.
- If you are pregnant or nursing, call your physician for advice on dealing with hyperacidity. Don’t try any of these approaches without discussing it with your physician first.
- If you are taking medications and believe that your hyperacidity may be caused by these medications, call your physician and see if the medications or dose can be changed.
Taking Over the Counter Medication to Help Acid Reflux, monitor and see your doctor regularly
Understanding Acid Reflux
Recognize the symptoms. Acid reflux can be quite common. Typical symptoms of acid reflux include heartburn, or a burning sensation in the chest. This can occur after eating or while you sleep. You may also experience a sour taste in the mouth, bloating, dark or black stools, burping or hiccups that won’t stop, nausea, dry coughs, or pain that gets worse when you bend over or lie down.
- You may also experience dysphagia, which is a narrowed esophagus that feels as if there is food stuck in your throat.
Learn the triggers. There are a number of possible triggers for acid reflux. These triggers include smoking, overeating, stress, and lack of adequate sleep. It can be triggered by certain foods and beverages that you may be sensitive to, such as citrus fruit, caffeinated beverages, chocolate, tomatoes, garlic, onions, alcohol, fatty foods, and spicy foods.
- Certain medications including aspirin, NSAIDs, muscle relaxants, and blood pressure medications can make acid reflux worse. Also, antibiotics, tetracycline, bisphosphonates, and some iron and potassium supplements can be a problem and make acid reflux worse.
Understand the causes. The actual cause of acid reflux is complicated and often includes many different causes. The cause, despite its name, is not the production of too much acid. Factors that can contribute to acid reflux are pressure on your stomach or esophagus. This can be caused by pregnancy, constipation, being overweight or obese, or a hiatal hernias, which is when the upper part of the stomach moves above the diaphragm.
- It can also be caused by LES abnormalities, abnormal contractions in the esophagus, and slowed or prolonged emptying of the stomach.
When Should You Try This?
Use herbal remedies as an adult with acid reflux. Most natural acid reflux remedies are safe for the majority of adults. Note that some herbal remedies, however, may not be safe for children or teenagers. It’s best to try mild lifestyle changes first if you need to treat acid reflux in an adolescent. If these do not work, consult your doctor or do some thorough research before giving an adolescent an herbal remedy.
- For example, you should not give aloe juice to children under the age of 12 since it typically results in abdominal pain, diarrhea, and cramping.
2Try natural remedies in moderation. Most herbal remedies and other natural treatments will be safe in moderate amounts, but too much of a good thing can quickly become bad. When using herbal supplements, check the label for dosing instructions. For any natural remedy that does not have dosage instructions readily available, do some research to find out how much you should safely be able to endure.
- For instance, aloe juice can cause stomach pain and other forms of digestive upset, especially if the juice contains aloe latex. Long-term use of large amounts can also result in kidney problems, muscle weakness, and heart problems. Make sure that any juice you drink contains no more than 200 mg aloe or 50 mg aloe latex to avoid complications.
- Consuming apple cider vinegar is usually considered safe short-term, but drinking 8 oz (250 ml) per day for several weeks or months may result in low potassium.
- High or prolonged doses of licorice root can result in headaches, fatigue, high blood pressure, heart attacks, and water retention. Do not take licorice for more than four to six weeks.
Consider natural remedies if you’re not pregnant or breastfeeding. If you are not currently pregnant or are not at risk of becoming pregnant, most natural remedies are likely safe for you. However, for acid reflux connected to pregnancy, always talk to your doctor before treating your symptoms to make sure you do not inadvertently harm your baby. It’s important that you do this before trying any herbal remedy, dietary fix, or lifestyle change.
- Similarly, if you are currently breastfeeding, you may need to stay away from certain ingested remedies since they could get into your breastmilk and harm your baby. Most lifestyle remedies will likely be safe, though.
- Potentially problematic remedies for pregnant and breastfeeding women include, but are not limited to, aloe juice, apple cider vinegar, ginger, fennel, licorice, and slippery elm.
Exercise caution if you have other medical conditions. In addition to pregnancy, certain medical conditions may also make herbal remedies or other natural fixes unsafe. If you have a known health concern other than acid reflux, talk to your doctor or do your research before trying any particular home cure.
- Avoid aloe juice if you have diabetes, intestinal conditions, hemorrhoids, or kidney problems.
- Avoid apple cider vinegar if you have diabetes.
- Ginger may cause problems if you have a bleeding disorder, a heart condition, or diabetes.
- If you are allergic to celery, carrot, or mugwort, you may have an allergic reaction to fennel. You should also avoid fennel if you have a bleeding disorder or hormone-sensitive condition, like estrogen-sensitive cancers.
- Licorice root may cause problems if you have heart disease, heart failure, hormone-sensitive cancers, fluid retention, hypertension, diabetes, kidney disease, liver disease, or low potassium.
- If you have an immune system disorder, you may need to avoid taking probiotic supplements.
- Additionally, you may need to consult your doctor or avoid herbal remedies if you take certain medications, including medications for congestive heart failure, insulin, anti-diabetes drugs, stimulant laxatives, blood pressure medication, diuretic drugs, anticoagulant drugs, antiplatelet drugs, birth control pills, antibiotics, or estrogen pills.
Treat your acid reflux after talking with your doctor. While most healthy adults can safely treat acid reflux at home using natural remedies, it’s never a bad idea to confirm the diagnosis with your doctor and discuss treatment options before making any major changes. This is especially important if you’ve already been trying home treatments and they haven’t worked.
- If your condition worsens after following natural remedies or does not improve after two to three weeks, you may need to make an appointment with your doctor.
- If you experience acid reflux symptoms more than twice per week or if you are unable to swallow/eat because of your symptoms, call your doctor before trying home remedies.
- In addition to guiding your treatment and possibly prescribing stronger medications to treat your acid reflux, your doctor can verify that acid reflux is the problem and rule out other conditions that may behave in similar ways.
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