Herbs for heartburn relief have been used for millennia to treat this painful condition that at some time affects most people.
Good heartburn remedies should be gentle in their action and work to relieve the symptoms of reflux while reducing the incidence of this debilitating condition.
The herbs used for heartburn relief ease gastric spasms and stimulate peristalsis, the natural wave-like motion that occurs in the digestive tract.
In addition, herbs such as meadowsweet and marshmallow work to soothe the inflamed areas affected by the upward movement of acidic digestive juices into the sensitive tissue of the esophagus.
A good natural remedy for heartburn will aim at restoring digestion while the cause of reflux and heartburn should be examined for food intolerance, allergies, overeating, stress and other more serious gastric disorders with the focus on restoring balance to the digestive tract.
Commonly Prescribed Medicinal Herbs for Heartburn
Meadowsweet (Filipendula ulmaria)
The aerial parts of this herb have been traditionally used for the treatment of gastritis, peptic ulceration and pain associated with reflux; giving it a reputation as the number one herb for digestive upsets. Meadowsweet is an anti-inflammatory, antacid and stimulates digestive activity. The active components include flavonoids, glycosides and an essential oil containing salicylaldehyde. People sensitive to salicylates should use caution in taking this herb.
Marshmallow root (Althaea officinalis)
This herb is high in soothing mucilage and is and is specific in the treatment of inflamed and irritated oral and pharyngeal mucosa and reflux and heartburn. It has demonstrated topical anti-inflammatory activity and has been used for centuries to relieve the pain associated with heartburn.
Chamomile (Matricaria recutita/chamomilla or Anthemis nobilis)
Chamomile flowers have been used for hundreds of years to treat dyspepsia (painful digestion), reflux or heartburn, colic, motion sickness and gastritis. A well know anti-spasmodic, chamomile contains the triterpenoids, bisabolol, and azulene; which reduce cramping and inflammation in the gastrointestinal tract. In treating heartburn, azulene will stimulate peristalsis and act to reduce irritation in the gut and has recently gained interest for its antimicrobial effects on some gastrointestinal bacteria.
These herbs have high concentrations of the essential oil, anethole. Their use stimulates digestion and in addition, these herbs act as antimicrobial. All essential oils work to improve digestion by reducing smooth muscle spasms and improve peristalsis; which is the rhythmic wave that is vital to a healthy digestive system. Dill, caraway, and fennel are also used to treat hiccups, reflux and colic where there is an inflamed gastrointestinal tract. Dill and fennel are also supportive of breastfeeding mothers if their babies have a tendency toward reflux and colic as it will also increase breast milk.
Ginger (Zingiber officinale)
Ginger’s fleshy rhizome has a gentle digestive action that is used to treat disorders such as heartburn and nausea. Ginger’s active agents, the pungent phenols, shogaols, and gingerols, give this herb its digestive action and work by stimulating while soothing the digestive system.
This herb also protects the stomach by reducing its acidity and in turn lowering gastric secretions which reduce the incidence of reflux.
Ginger is not indicated in children under two and is contra-indicated if gallstones are present. Ginger can be taken fresh, juiced or in tea with a maximum dose of 2-4 grams daily. Remember, fresh ginger is the ideal form for medicinal purposes as dried ginger varies greatly in active constituents and heating ginger will decrease gingerol content.
Other natural herbs that have been used for heartburn.
- Juniper – (Juniperus communis)
- Dandelion – (Taraxacum officinale)
- Carob – (Ceratonia siliqua)
- Wormwood – (Artemisia absinthium)
- Boldo – (Peumus boldus)
- Bogbean – (Menyanthes trifoliata)
The Use of Herbal Supplements for Heartburn
In addition to these medicinal herbs for heartburn, nutritional support is a key area in treating this painful condition. Care should be taken to avoid foods and beverages known to exacerbate heartburn such as coffee, beer, carbonated drinks and most alcohol. Chewing your food slowly, and eating smaller regular meals, will assist in easing the symptoms of heartburn.
With any natural remedy for heartburn it is essential to look at supporting the body to heal itself and a good B Vitamin high in pantothenic acid (Vitamin B5) and the cell salt Nat Phos 6x is not only very economical but also a great heartburn remedy. Your digestion is the foundation of your health and heartburn is a wakeup call that all is not well and immediate action is required to get your body back on track.