9 Simple Tricks To Fight Heartburn Naturally

These tips can come in handy when you’re dealing with acid reflux.

May 11, 2017

If you have a burning sensation in your chest keeping you up all night, you might be tempted to reach for chalky antacids and prescription pills—but there are plenty of natural solutions for heartburn to try instead.

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Heartburn, or acid reflux, is a reaction to acid in our stomach ending up in our esophagus. It's caused when a muscle valve called the LES (lower esophageal sphincter) between the stomach and esophagus becomes relaxed. The LES should allow food only to go one way—down. However, when the muscles that make up the LES relax, it can allow partially digested foods and stomach acids to go bi-directionally.

Heartburn can be irritated by high acid foods like tomatoes, citrus, and coffee as well as spicy foods. It can also be heightened by pregnancy, from both hormones relaxing the LES and due to the growing uterus crowding the stomach. Here are 9 ways to reduce acid reflux naturally.

standing on scale
Melissa Ross/getty
Manage diet and weight

Dr. Jeremy Wolf, N.D., lead wellness advisor for LuckyVitamin.com, says one of the most important steps you can take to reducing heartburn is dietary intervention: “Certain foods including fats, non-vegetarian, fried foods, coffee, juice, and alcohol have been shown to worsen symptoms or trigger reflux symptoms. Weight management is another behavior that may help improve acid reflux and chronic gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), as there has been a strong correlation over time with obesity.”

Related: 15 Foods That Help You Lose Weight

melatonin supplements
Melatonin and licorice supplements

Wolf says supplements that may help with heartburn and GERD include melatonin and deglycyrrhizinated licorice (DGL). “Mostly melatonin is actually produced in the gut," he says, "On top of offering anti-inflammatory and protective features for the esophagus, melatonin may also strengthen and increase pressure of the LES which could help prevent stomach contents from escaping back into the esophagus.”

On licorice, Wolf says, "The licorice plant is considered a demulcent meaning that it is rich in mucilage, so it can sooth and protect irritated or inflamed tissue. DGL is a form of licorice root that has been processed to remove a chemical known as glycyrrhizin. Because glycyrrhizin, which can have safety limitations, has been removed, DGL may be good for many GI problems and can be used for a longer period of time.”

Related: Is It Safe To Take Melatonin Pills To Help You Fall Asleep?

ginger soup
Fiorella Macor / EyeEm/getty
Ginger and parsley

Rebecca Lewis, in-house dietitian at HelloFresh, says foods that help fight acid reflux include ginger, a known antidote to inflammation and nausea; and parsley, which helps to settle the stomach and aid digestion. Try them raw or as key ingredients in recipes, teas, or tinctures. 

Related: 7 Surprising Benefits Of Eating More Ginger (Goodbye, Migraine!)

Cook with aloe to reap surprising health benefits.
Thu Thai Thanh / EyeEm/Getty
Aloe vera

Lewis also recommends the plant aloe vera, which is known for soothing external burns but also helps soothe the mucus membranes in our digestive tract. There are various aloe vera juices on the market that can help ease the burning. 

Related: The Health Benefits Of Cooking With Aloe Vera

heartburn candies
Photograph courtesy of Mera and Longhi
Natural herbal candies

Take a tip from the Italians who regularly have a digestif after dinner! Mera & Longhi handcrafts herbal candies in the Italian Alps to help naturally sooth and calm digestion. Based on homeopathic medicinal herbs and a centuries-old recipe, Mera & Longhi digestives help ease discomfort caused by heartburn, GERD, and indigestion with natural ingredients like honey, chamomile, strawberry, and rhubarb root. Plus, they are seriously delicious. 

homeopathy medicine

While the name Nux Vomica is a bit of a turnoff, this homeopathic medicine from Boiron utilizes the homeopathic principle that active ingredients (diluted plants, animals and minerals) relieve the same symptoms they cause at full strength. Nux is made from the seed (or in Latin, the nut) of the Strychnos nux-vomica tree native to Southeast Asia.

In this safe micro-dose form, Nux provides symptomatic relief of nausea, acid indigestion, heartburn, upset or “sour” stomach from overindulgence of food and drink, hangovers, or excessive coffee drinking.

Related: A Homeopath Answers To Skeptical Critics

baking soda
Baking soda

Dr Yael Varnado, practicing physician at The Johns Hopkins Hospital, recommends good old-fashioned baking soda and water.

“The soda, or sodium bicarbonate, can help put an end to that uncomfortable burning feeling you get because it neutralizes stomach acid. Just pop in a half to a full teaspoon into an 8 oz. glass of water. But, please note that if you’re getting heartburn regularly, don't use this home remedy regularly, as it can dehydrate you and cause swelling.”

sleeping couple
Sleep position

You may have noticed in the past that when you lay flat on your back you start getting heartburn and acid reflux. Dr. Varnado suggests remedying this by sleeping on an incline, or try sleeping on your left side, which has been shown to reduce these issues. In fact, some research has shown that sleeping on either your right side, or your back, can actually increase your heartburn problems. 

Related: 50 Ways To Sleep Better Tonight

chewing gum
Photograph courtesy of amazon
Chewing gum

Chewing sugar-free gum increases the flow of saliva into your gut, which dilutes the acid and helps wash it away, taking that burning sensation with it. Natural chewing gums without aspartame include PUR and Simply Gum.

Paige Wolf is the author of Spit That Out: The Overly Informed Parent's Guide to Raising Healthy Kids in the Age of Environmental Guilt, offering advice on making green living practical, manageable, and affordable. Follow @paigewolf on Twitter.