Archive for May, 2009

Reflexology as a Natural Heartburn Cure

Reflexology, one of the most popular of all the alternative therapies, can apparently treat almost any illness. It uses massage techniques on the hands, feet and sometimes ears to pinpoint various areas of the body which might need soothing. This claim has led us to wonder whether it would work as a natural heartburn cure and how exactly you might go about doing it.

As a rule, reflexology is not recommended to be done by anyone who isn’t trained, but there are some sources that give basic guidelines and as long as you aren’t massaging too hard then it’s okay to try. Firstly, start off by getting yourself as relaxed as possible. This could be by having a bath, or doing some exercise beforehand. Whatever you do, be sure to soak your hands/feet (whichever you prefer to massage) before attempting this heartburn natural cure and use massage oil to make the process smoother and easier.

So, looking at this hand reflexology map and hovering our pointer over each area shows us that the stomach area is from under the thumb near the wrist on the right hand up to the middle of the palm. On the right hand it is much smaller and also under the thumb.
On the foot reflexology map the stomach area is shown on the sole
of the foot. On the left side it is in the center of the foot, spanning almost the whole length across. On the right ride it is halfway down the foot, on the inside arch and a much smaller area.

It doesn’t matter which side you start with, but it might be better to start massaging with the hand that you write with, so you have more control. Simply massage the area slowly and gently. If you feel an area that is ‘crunchy’ (for lack of a better description) then this is often an area that needs a bit of extra work. Spend about 1 minute in each area before giving the whole hand/foot an overall massage for another minute.

When you are finished performing reflexology as a natural heartburn cure, take a few minutes to ground yourself again. Maybe have a cup of tea or a glass of water and a walk around the garden.

Of course, there is no guarantee that this will work as you are not a trained reflexologist. If you would like to try reflexology as a natural heartburn cure and want to do it properly then simply find your local reflexology clinic and book an appointment.

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A Smooth Heartburn Natural Cure

I recently went out and bought a new smoothie maker, after the one I’d had for the past two years stopped working. Since being ill with the Helicobacter Pylori virus that can cause stomach ulcers I’ve been on the lookout for a smoothie recipe that keeps stomach acid at bay. Having found one, I thought I’d share it with you as it could be a great heartburn natural cure.

Looking through a book that I have, ‘Miracle Juices’ by Charmaine Yabsley and Amanda Cross, I found this one that is designed specifically to help stomach ulcers:

WELL HEALED
250g (8oz) carrot
250g (8oz) green cabbage <Makes 200ml (7fl oz)

This natural cure for heartburn really is that simple! Okay so it might not sound too appetizing but in fact raw green cabbage has a very delicate, fresh taste that will mix with the carrot to make an almost melon-y and earthy smoothie mixture. If you can’t stand it then try adding some red apple (preferably not green due to the harsh acids) or some melon if you have any, to sweeten up the taste.

The book also gives nutritional values:
Vitamin A: 70, 654 iu
Vitamin C: 105 mg
Selenium 5 mcg
Zinc 0.95 mg
180 calories.

The main aim of this heartburn natural cure is to raise the intake of alkali, so that it can combat the acid and bring the pH level in the stomach down. For heartburn sufferers it should mean that any excess materials coming back up into the oesophagus won’t hurt quite so much and the heartburn symptoms are quelled.

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Slippery Elm; One of the Best Natural Heartburn Cures?

Slippery elm medicine is extracted from the bark of the slippery elm tree

Slippery elm medicine is extracted from the bark of the slippery elm tree

Slippery elm extract comes from the bark of the Slippery Elm (Ulmus Rubra) tree and while it has any uses, one of its primary ones is medicinal. It’s not one of the most traditional heartburn cures, but it has been used for years to treat disorders and diseases of the digestive system such as gastroenteritis and Irritable Bowel Syndrome. This is because slippery elm extract has mucilaginous properties and provides a soothing coating to the walls of the digestive system.

See where we’re going with this? Heartburn is often caused by a lack of saliva in the oespohagus. When stomach acid rises back into the oesophagus (which it often does, for a lot of people) and that tube is dry, we experience the burning pain we all know as heartburn. Any mucilaginous substance that we swallow will provide a coating for the oesophagus, but some are better than others. As a result, many people have deduced that slippery elm could be one of the best natural heartburn cures and the great news is that it does work for a lot of people.

One very important feature of slippery elm to remember is that it was used to induce abortion many years ago. Thankfully it is only able to do so when in pure bark form (in strips) and the sale of this type of slippery elm has been banned in most of the US and the whole of the UK. Pregnant women often suffer from severe heartburn, but while slippery elm tablets or tea found in health food shops will not harm an unborn child, it is probably a good idea to try other avenues first and certainly to consult your doctor before you start taking it.

Slippery elm extract can be taken as a gruel-like tea, that’s thick and goopy. That might not sound appealing at all, but when mixed with a milkshake or into porridge you probably won’t notice the difference as it has very little taste. Alternatively, you can buy slippery elm tablets to be taken with meals, one tablet twice a day. Often these tablets have ginger and peppermint added to them, which only serve as stomach soothers.

You should be able to find slippery elm tablets or tea in health food stores or online and for a lot of people this simply natural heartburn cure works a treat. It’s definitely worth a try.

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The Easiest Heartburn Cures

When heartburn hits, you just want a quick fix and can often feel desperate. Heartburn cures come in all different shapes and sizes, for all different causes of the condition and for all different types of people. No one stomach is the same as another, so you need to find out which heartburn cures work for you. Here are some to try out when you’re in pain and feeling impatient:

Chewing Gum

A dry oesophagus is one of the main culprits of heartburn. Our bodies usually naturally produce saliva to protect the oesophageal lining from acid erosion, when acid comes back through the oesophageal sphincter. Chewing a piece of gum actually stimulates your saliva glands, because your brain interprets the tastes and movements as eating. As a result you’ll have a coating of saliva that protects against excess acid. Try fruit flavoured gum, rather than the strongest gums designed to clear your sinuses as these have very strong flavourings that can actually make the problem worse. It’s one of the easiest heartburn cures; just open a packet and get chewing.


Water

Perhaps a given, and one of the heartburn cures that people will complain simply doesn’t work because they’re hydrated enough already. Yet a lot of people aren’t quite aware of how dehydrated they actually are. Each day, an adult should drink (around) 2.5 litres of water. That’s one and a quarter of the big 2l bottles of fizzy drink, but if you’re not hitting that mark don’t just gulp down a pint all in one. Making sure you drink little and often (having a small bottle of water or half pint glass full with you at all time is a good idea) will keep your stomach acid relatively diluted, but not to the point where it won’t digest your food. Drinking water will also flush out toxins that could be drying out your oesophagus or causing your stomach muscles and sphincters behaving abnormally.

Last but not least of the simplest heartburn cures is…


Ginger

This wonder-root can act as a very quick natural remedy for heartburn. Whether you buy ginger teabags, drink ginger juice mixed with water, suck on a ginger boiled sweet or nibble some stem ginger each one calms down the muscles within the stomach. In turn, this reduces the likelihood that acid will be forced back up into the oesophagus and your food can continue digesting uninterrupted. If you suffer heartburn and nausea combined then ginger is ideal.

While these heartburn cures might be too simple for some, hopefully they’ll have jogged the memory of others who have forgotten to give them a go every once in a while. Remember that heartburn is caused by lots of different things and the cause of heartburn one day may differ from the next.

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Excessive Burping; a Pain in the Arsophagus

Have you ever had that feeling where you’re ever so slightly disgusted with the human body? A large majority of us are hiding something we’re embarrassed about when we walk down the street, whether it’s a tyre round the stomach, a birthmark or hair in the wrong place. Yet for some people bodily functions are something that can’t be hidden and excessive burping is one of the biggest offenders for heartburn sufferers.

Many people swallow air if they talk during meals, which in turn causes excessive burping

Many people swallow air if they talk during meals, which in turn causes excessive burping

Burping, belching (whatever you want to call it) quite often brings a huge sense of relief, but for heartburn sufferers excessive burping is very unwelcome. It occurs quite simply because of excess air in the stomach, yet the causes of this air can vary greatly. For example, people who don’t help along the natural posture of sitting up straight are inhibiting the natural process of gravity moving food through the digestive system. As a result, food catches air in the wrong places and this rises up, as a burp. Excessive burping is often found alongside heartburn because of a simple problem, but one which causes a lot of discomfort. It can be very embarrassing, particularly if you are in a quiet place or somewhere it may be frowned upon.

The great news for people who experience excess burping, whether it’s associated closely with a heartburn condition or not, is that once the cause has been identified it can be very easily treated. You may simply need to prop yourself up with a specially designed pillow at night, or avoid talking during meals. Alternative you could have a food intolerance that causes your stomach to produce excess acid and bloat up when the food goes undigested too. Visiting your doctor can prove very helpful if you think heartburn cures as simple as these ones could cure your excessive burping, yet these are also things you can try at home by yourself.

Keep reading this Blog for more information on excessive burping that’s coming soon.

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Why Smokers Shouldn’t Bother with Heartburn Cures

As a smoker with heartburn it’s probably not what you want to hear, but there is a strong correlation with the habit and this particular gastric condition. Trying out heartburn cures could be a waste of time if you haven’t tried cutting down or quitting. If you’re unsure of why smoking causes heartburn and the physiological effects that nicotine have on the digestive system then let us explain:

As soon as you take your first puff, nicotine rushes to the brain and your arteries contract. This is what causes the head rush you get (a lack of blood supply to the brain). What happens next is the muscles in the stomach; namely the upper and lower oesophageal sphincters relax. The upper oesophageal sphincter is directly responsible for closing once you’ve swallowed a piece of food to stop stomach acid rising back up into the oesophagus itself. Because this relaxes when you smoke, acid often spills back up, especially after a meal when the stomach produces more acid. This is probably when you reach for the heartburn cures, when really you wanted to avoid the cause instead.

Quitting or even just cutting down on smoking could significantly reduce your heartburn

Quitting or even just cutting down on smoking could significantly reduce your heartburn

In addition, when you inhale the actual smoke itself dries out your mouth, throat and oesophagus, removing the saliva barrier your body naturally makes to protect the oesophagus lining from acid erosion. I regret to sound like an anti-smoking crusade. I, too, used to smoke and it’s only looking back now that I realise my heartburn would get so much worse in the evenings, at my friend’s house. I wasn’t allowed to smoke at home but I was at his, and there’s the correlation.

Of course smoking is not the only cause of heartburn and giving up is not the be all and end all of heartburn cures. There are so many things that contribute to it, as we all know non-smokers suffer too. All I am suggesting is that if you do smoke and want to help your heartburn then see what happens if you give up. There’s a huge chance that even if it doesn’t disappear completely it will vastly improve, and with evidence to show smoking dries your oesophagus and makes it more prone to acid erosion you are seriously risking your gastric health by carrying on. If you’re thinking of taking the plunge then here are some useful websites and links to help you through:

  • http://www.nosmokingday.org.uk/forum/ – a friendly forum where you can track your quitting progress from day one; discussing feelings and symptoms with other quitters who are at the same stage.

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Plant-based Natural Heartburn Cures

The BBC’s James Wong says it and so will I – there’s no reason why we can’t still use plants, herbs, roots, vegetables, leaves and flowers for medicinal purposes. Our ancestors did it hundreds of years ago and it’s only because of the convenience of man made medicines that our knowledge was lost. This is essentially what ‘natural’ cures are and there are plenty of natural cures for heartburn.

There is one thing to keep in mind when trying out cures for heartburn and that is that not all of them will work for you. Heartburn can have different causes, such as the oesophageal sphincter failing to close after you swallow, allowing stomach acid to spill back into the oesophagus, or a lack of saliva coating the oesophageal tube. As a result some natural heartburn cures can help immensely, while others could make the problem worse.

For some people, nettle, mint and peppermint tea used as natural cures for heartburn can be extremely beneficial. You can buy these in health food stores and even supermarkets, although be careful to check if they have added caffeine if you are sensitive. Some people find ginger tea to be good and this is especially true if your heartburn is accompanied by nausea.

A lot of people find that chewing on something relieves heartburn, yet constantly sucking boiled sweets is awful for the teeth and most chewing gums contain aspartame; a substance that causes all kinds of problems. The native Americans actually had heartburn natural cure before this problem even started and it came in the form of rhubarb. Why not try cutting up some fresh rhubarb into bite size pieces and sucking or chewing on a piece out of the fridge?

Visiting your local health food store and asking the staff there for natural heartburn cures should prove fruitful; they’re usually very well clued up on common complaints. Alternatively, keep checking back here for news and more natural cures for heartburn. We may even include some recipes for you to follow at home.

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Take Care Not to Overdo Natural Heartburn Cures

There are so many natural cures for heartburn, old wives tales and urban legends that it’s no wonder some of them simply don’t work. If you’re a heartburn sufferer you’ll know the feeling of desperation you get, in anticipation of the quickest fix that will literally make you try anything. I know I’ve often tried a few heartburn natural cures in quick succession, only to find each one reacts with the other to make the pain and discomfort worse.

Unfortunately the only way to find natural heartburn relief is to be patient. Try each remedy on its own, but not all of them all at once or you’ll never learn what works. Quite often you can learn a lot about your own body and the exact cause of your heartburn from what different natural heartburn cures do. For example, if you drink ginger tea and it works wonders then chances are your actual stomach was unsettled. If, on the other hand, this makes your heartburn worse then you may have a lack of saliva coating your oesophagus, or your stomach is too full of harsh liquids.

Think twice before you go and try the vinegar cure, too. I’m sure for some people it does work but I learnt the hard way one night, fed up of annoying heartburn that I was dumbing down with antacids ever 20 minutes. Being impatient, I gulped down some apple cider vinegar and spent the next three hours in agony. Take my advice and be prepared if you’re desperate enough to try this one!

Also, remember that sometimes your instinct aren’t always right. I still consider drinking milk when I get mild heartburn, because it just seems to make sense, but I must’ve read countless times that it’s actually counteractive. Similarly, I always think strong peppermints might help but they always make it worse. The best thing to do is just wait it out, perhaps trying one new heartburn natural cure and using one that you know helps. Don’t smoke, drink alcohol, have fizzy drinks, juice, acidic or fried foods and eat in little portions until you get some relief. Natural Heartburn cures will work for you, it’s just a matter of figuring out which one you should be using for your unique case.

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My Battle with Heartburn, Natural Cures and Medication

When I was 14 I visited the doctor complaining of heartburn and nausea. I hadn’t yet tried any natural cures for heartburn, but when prescribed a bottle of Gaviscon I felt disappointed that no further questions were asked. 14 year olds aren’t supposed to get heartburn, are they?

Anyway, 8 years on, I’ve never stopped having these symptoms but I’ve finally discovered the cause. With another bout of nausea and a fresh dose of frustration I visited a different doctor from my usual one, who suggested I could have a stomach infection (from a bacteria that 50% of the population have, but only 1 in 9 carriers have symptoms). Blood tests for H. Pylori came back positive and I soon learned that this was the bacteria that causes stomach ulcers, with the main symptom heartburn. Instead of pursuing natural heartburn cures I thought it was best to follow medical advice and take the incredibly harsh antibiotics I was prescribed (1 clarithromycin twice a day, 2 amoxycillin twice a day and 1 omeprazole twice a day). Four days in and I was sleeping 2 hours a night with horrific heartburn and constant, severe nausea. I gave up on them.

Helicobacter Pylori: A strain of bacteria that can damage tissues and cause stomach ulcers

Helicobacter Pylori: A strain of bacteria that can damage tissues and cause stomach ulcers

A return visit to the doctor was surprising. I suggested I took some alternative treatments for H.Pylori along with natural cures for heartburn and nausea and she agreed, suggesting peppermint tea. So far I’ve found this to be really good, not only for the heartburn but for nausea too. Through trial and error I’ve discovered sucking boiled sweets is a good heartburn natural cure for me, along with eating something bland like porridge oats or an apple and improving my posture whilst working. I’m hoping that the mastic gum tablets I’m about to start taking (to kill the H.Pylori virus) will act as a good natural heartburn cure. I still suffer from heartburn on occasion, especially when I eat too much fried food, but on the whole it’s getting much better.

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Natural Cures for Heartburn to Try Out

Right, let’s get stuck in to some of the best and least-known-about natural heartburn cures shall we?

Nettle and/or peppermint tea is a quick-fix for most heartburn sufferers

Natural Cures for Heartburn to Try Out

Firstly, one of the biggest offenders for heartburn is lifestyle. If you really want a heartburn natural cure, but you are a smoker, then stop. If you eat a lot of spicy and fried foods, stop. If you drink a lot of alcohol, stop. It’s as simple as that.

Others might find they follow an incredibly healthy lifestyle, but are still suffering from heartburn. If this is you and you’re not sure of the cause of your heartburn then I recommend you see your doctor. You may find out your symptoms are caused by the helicobacter pylori virus that resides in 50% of the population’s stomachs, yet only causes problems for 1 in 9 of them. Alternatively you might have a food intolerance, something which cutting out certain food groups, one at a time, can act as natural heartburn cures.

Introducing foods and cutting out others from your diet can help heartburn too. Spicy and acidic foods like hot curries or orange juice are common causes, whereas chewing on rhubarb, drinking nettle tea and eating a banana are all good natural cures for heartburn.

We’re all supposed to sit up straight while we eat and that’s especially true of those prone to acid indigestion or heartburn. You might find it gets worse as you’re trying to get to sleep and that’s because you’re lying down; the acid in your stomach has a better chance to come back up into the oesophagus. If this is the case investing in a nursing pillow and propping yourself up (comfortably) to sleep may help a lot.

These are just a few of the natural cures for heartburn that are out there, so add our blog to your RSS feed or reader for updates on how to cure heartburn without prescription drugs.

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