12 Effective Natural Treatments for Heartburn and Stomach Ulcers

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12 Effective Natural Treatments for Heartburn and Stomach Ulcers
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Many people confuse between heartburn and stomach ulcer, as they are both common digestive problems. The symptoms of stomach ulcers and heartburn are very similar – both are causing burning sensation in the stomach, but these are two different conditions.

These two conditions cause serious problems for many people and affect their daily life. This article will discuss natural treatments for heartburn and stomach ulcers that may help relieve the symptoms of each condition. You will also find a great recipe for anti-reflux smoothie which is easy to make and is delicious too!

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Do You Have an Ulcer or Heartburn?

Stomach ulcers are painful open sores that develop on the lining of the stomach and small intestine. These open sores are getting worse by your stomach acid, but are usually not caused by the acid itself.

A great majority of ulcers are caused primarily by an infection of a bacterium called Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori). They also develop as a result of many factors, including the use of certain medications, as well as lifestyle and dietary factors.

Ulcers are treated through changes in lifestyle, medications, antibiotics and surgery, and this article will discuss natural alternatives for treating stomach ulcers.

The most common symptom of ulcers is burning pain that can be felt anywhere from the top of the sternum all the way down to the navel. Other symptoms include pain that wakes you up at night, or a pain 2-3 hours after eating and mild nausea that may go away with vomiting

Heartburn, on the other hand, is a painful burning sensation just below or behind the breastbone. It usually comes from the esophagus which is located in the upper central region of the abdomen. The pain often occurs in your chest and may spread to your neck or throat and can also be accompanied with a bitter taste in mouth.

Normally when food or liquid enters your stomach, muscles at the end of your esophagus close off this area. If these muscles don’t close tightly enough, stomach acid can escape into the esophagus. This partly digested substance can cause heartburn and other symptoms.

Symptoms of acid reflux that don’t occur when you have ulcers are dry cough and sore throat that cause trouble swallowing, increased burning sensation after eating some trigger foods, and a taste of acid or food in the back of the mouth. These symptoms often become worse when you lie down.

An accurate diagnosis is important, so in any case you should visit your doctor to find out whether you have acid reflux or an ulcer, and consult with him/her before taking any supplements to make sure they don’t interfere with other medications you take.

Natural Treatments for Heartburn

Appropriate diet

Avoid excessive consumption of caffeine, including caffeinated soft drinks, tea and chocolate. All these foods allow stomach content to escape into the esophagus.

Other foods that you should avoid are tomatoes, spicy foods, onions, citrus fruits, alcohol, tobacco and fried or fatty foods. It is also recommended to avoid large meals that slows digestion and increase the pressure in the stomach. You can consume many other foods that are part of the bland diet.

Many people drink milk to ease heartburn, but milk may actually aggravate heartburn.

According to the belief, milk coats the stomach and helps prevent heartburn. However doctors on WebMD say that higher fat content in milk makes heartburn even worse as it may stimulate the stomach to produce more acid. They say that milk can give you a temporary relief, and you can try skim milk in small quantities.

But it’s best to opt for water. It is advised to drink water between meals and not during meals. It’s also advised to eat slowly and chew well.

Enzymes and Probiotics

After you get your diet under control, the second step is to consume digestives enzymes and probiotics. Digestive enzymes are made in our body naturally, but as we get older, our body makes less of them. Luckily, they can be taken as a supplement and they have been shown to be very beneficial to treat heartburn in a case report from 2016.

It is advised to take enzyme supplement that also contains hydrochloric acid (HCI), or alternatively you can take HCI supplement alone. The most common form of HCI supplement is called betaine-HCI. Take the enzymes and HCI with every meal. Dosage depends on improvement.

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Probiotics have many health benefits and are known as “good gut bacteria” and promote healthy digestion. Probiotics help maintain the balance between the good and the bad bacteria in the gut, and inhibit the growth of harmful bacteria. They also boost the immune system and increase resistance to infection.

They also contain enzymes that help digest dairy products like lactose in milk. You can find probiotics in yogurts that contain active cultures, or in kefir drink, but you can also consume probiotic supplement. Take it as a pill or in powder form (like this one) and stir into water or yogurt.

Aloe Vera Juice

There is a scientific evidence that aloe vera juice may help ease heartburn.

Aloe vera juice has been used throughout history to treat acid reflux, as well as other medical symptoms. Aloe vera contains many nutrients and is thought to have many healing properties.

Drink 1/4 cup of aloe vera approximately 20 minutes before a meal or whenever you experience heartburn. If you don’t like the taste of aloe vera juice, you can mix it with water or tea.

The juice is believed to help soothe the esophagus from the burning sensation of the stomach. Taking aloe vera orally is not recommended for children or pregnant women, or if you have diabetes, kidney failure or thyroid disease (unless otherwise specified by your doctor).

Common side effects of drinking aloe vera juice are diarrhea and abdominal cramps, so don’t drink more than 50 to 100 ml (2 to 3.5 fl. oz.) aloe vera juice daily.

Further reading: Proven Benefits of Drinking Aloe Vera Juice + DIY Aloe Juice Recipe.

Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV)

ACV is one of the most popular natural remedies for acid reflux, and this is surprising because how can it be that ACV, which is so acidic, possibly helps to relieve heartburn symptoms? After all, we were recommended all the time to avoid acidic foods if we suffer from heartburn.

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Well, there are several theories about how ACV works for heartburn, and one of them is that ACV aids digestion by helping break down fats, but regardless of how exactly it works, many people have reported about the efficacy of ACV for heartburn.

Researchers from the Arizona State University found that apple cider vinegar can help reduce the symptoms of acid reflux and heartburn. The small study found that drinking diluted apple cider vinegar helped to reduce the symptoms of heartburn after meals.

It is recommended to mix one or two teaspoons of raw unprocessed ACV with a glass of water and drink before meals or when heartburn strikes. Also read my article about 10 uses for ACV for great health and at home.

Baking Soda

Other people swear that the best way to beat heartburn is with a little bit of baking soda.

It is recommended to mix 1/2 or 1 teaspoon of baking soda with a glass of water. While the taste is not so good, it helps to neutralize some of the acid by consuming the baking soda which is alkaline. It will increase the pH of the liquid in your stomach which will help ease the heartburn.

It is not recommended to use baking soda on a regular basis as it is high in salt and could cause side effects like swelling and nausea. It may also interact with some medications.

Further reading: Baking Soda (Bicarbonate of Soda): Uses and Benefits (Science Based).

Anti reflux smoothie Recipe

Below is a recipe for anti reflux smoothie. As most enzyme supplements contain a mix of enzymes like bromelain (found in pineapple), and papain (found in papaya),

Ingredients
1 cup diced fresh pineapple
1 cup diced fresh papaya
1/2 cup Greek yogurt
1/2 cup ice
1/2 cup pineapple juice or water

Mix all in a blender and drink.

Natural Treatments for Stomach Ulcers

Zinc Carnosine

This form of zinc dissolves in the stomach and coats the ulceration on the stomach lining. Zinc Carnosine helps to heal the ulcer and repair the tissue and thus improves ulcer symptoms. It is recommended to use it for 8 weeks to see results. Recommended dose is 75 mg daily in divided doses.

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Probiotics

Researchers have identified strains of probiotic bacteria that may be useful in treating ulcers caused by Helicobacter pylori. The regular intake of probiotic microorganisms has been demonstrated to prevent several disorders including diarrhea and inflammatory bowel disease.

A study from 2018 showed that prebiotics and probiotics containing Lactobacillus strain were useful for relieving symptoms associated with ulcerative colitis (a form of IBD).

One study showed that probiotics can also boost the efficiency of standard treatments for ulcerative colitis. Probiotic drinks containing L. delbrueckii and L. fermentum bacteria helped to prevent recurring bouts of ulcerative colitis.

Glutamine

Our muscles produce the amino acid glutamine and also store some of it. Taken as a supplement, glutamine helps to reduce inflammation caused by Helicobacter pylori infection.

Aloe Vera juice

Aloe vera has long been known as a powerful soothing salve for the skin. The anti-inflammatory effect of drinking aloe vera juice is also good for treating inflammation in your gut caused by gastric ulcers.

Aloe vera juice, when taken internally, can soothe many stomach conditions, including ulcers. One study on rats found that aloe vera has a gastro-protective effect when ingested because it helps inhibit the levels of gastric acid. This helped to reduce irritation in the gut and reduce gastric inflammatory responses.

You can find aloe vera juice at your local health food store. Keep it refrigerated and follow the instructions on the bottle.

Deglycyrrhizinated licorice (DGL) powder

A special extract of licorice known as DGL is a remarkable medicine for peptic ulcers.

One double-blind study involving humans found that taking 500 mg of licorice extract capsules a day helped reduce the abdominal pain, bloating, and heartburn caused by H. pylori. After one month of taking licorice extracts, the researchers noted that licorice pills were just as effective as antibiotics in healing gastrointestinal ulcers.

To protect the lining of your stomach and duodenum take deglycyrrhizinated licorice (DGL), which has excellent soothing and healing properties. Recommended dose is 200 to 400 mg daily dissolved in 200 ml warm water. DGL is available here.

Further reading: Scientifically Proven Benefits of Licorice (Root, Tea, Powder, DGL).

Cabbage juice

Cabbage is one of the most medicinal vegetables you can find. It contains powerful medicinal properties and one of its best known uses is as a natural remedy for stomach ulcers.

According to a research published in the Western Journal of Medicine, 13 patients with peptic ulcers were treated with fresh cabbage juice. The study indicated that the healing time for these 13 patients was rather fast at 10 days. Meanwhile, patients who used standard therapy took approximately 37 days to heal.

The study stated that cabbage juice has anti-peptic ulcer benefits known as vitamin U, which prevents histamine-induced peptic ulcers from forming.

One quart daily (approximately 1 liter) of fresh cabbage juice, taken in divided doses, can be very effective. Start slowly and increase the amount gradually to avoid stomach upset.

Dietary changes

Avoid coffee and other sources of caffeine as well as alcohol and tobacco. Reduce consumption of milk and milk products as well, as they may increase acid discharge. Eat smaller amounts of foods more frequently and don’t let your stomach go empty for long periods of time.

Try to follow the low FODMAP diet as it may help to greatly improve your symptoms by eliminating certain foods from your diet.

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5 Responses to 12 Effective Natural Treatments for Heartburn and Stomach Ulcers

  1. Emily says:

    My mom and hubby’s reflux stopped when they went gluten free. Hubby ate several antacids a day and now he only needs them when we have tomato sauce or too much ketchup.

  2. colleenh says:

    Dill pickle juice works great for me if I drink it when heartburn first occurs.

    • Todd Otterson says:

      I have the same reaction. If I have a sour stomach or am starting to get heart burn, I drink a little pickle juice and it currs it, very fast.

  3. Barbara says:

    When I get an acid flair up at night, usually just after falling asleep, I eat about 1/2 an apple. It calms it down right away. (It has to be a real apple; I have not found applesauce or ACV to work in the same way.)

  4. Dawn says:

    Excellent article.
    I researched natural remedies for GERD after my doc told me to take Zantac, which didn’t sounds like a long term solution to me.
    I saw aloe juice recommended and decided to try it, along with liquid probiotics. I cut out coffee and chocolate for the first few months(my triggers), and took aloe 3-4 times daily at first. After 3-4 months, I cut back to once a day. Now, a year later, I do aloe as a preventative in a smoothie a couple times a week, and take probiotics as often as I remember – daily would be ideal.
    Aloe Vera juice is amazing and healed me. I am so glad I didn’t follow my ex-doctor’s orders!

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