Heartburn and Herbal Remedies
Acid indigestion is a common symptom for the great number of people. It is gastroesophageal reflux (or acid reflux) that produces rather unpleasant sensation commonly known as heartburn. Caused by regulation of gastric acid, it reveals as burning pain in the esophagus, below the breastbone. This location gave the name to the condition which in reality has nothing to do with the heart. In some cases heartburn may be the reason of chronic cough, sore throat, or chronic hoarseness and can mimic asthma.
Heartburn is characterized by the burning pain behind the lower breastbone which sometimes radiates upward toward the neck. Other characteristic signs are liquid or food coming up to the throat or mouth, difficulty swallowing, feeling of food "sticking" in the middle of the throat and bitter or acid taste in the mouth cavity.
To understand the cause of the heartburn it is essential to understand the mechanism of food passing through esophagus. Befor entering the stomach, the food content must pass the opening that acts as the gate allowing it to penetrate there. If this opening doesn’t close after the food passesd through (as it usually does), the stomach content together with the gastric acid gets back to esophagus - it is stomach acid that irritates espophagus and causes heartburn. Certain foods and products also trigger heartburn – citrus fruits and juices, peppermint and spearmint, spicy foods, red pepper, chocolate and carbonated beverages.
Medicines that neutralize stomach acid and quickly relieve most heartburn symptoms are called antacids. Although, their effect is short acting and they do not prevent heartburn. Other medications for heartburn work on improving stomach emptying, tightening the esophagus/stomach barrier and reducing acid production. Lifestyle and dietary habit changes usually improve heartburn symptoms without any other measures needed to be taken.
Number of herbs and herbal preparations are there at hand when you need to remove the heartburn without any “chemistry” to take.
Rosemary contains a variety of tonic chemicals that treat heartburn and indigestion. Tea preparation is the most effective way to use the beneficial properties of this herb.
Thyme has the long history of use for treating the irritated intestinal tracts, and since it has low levels of toxicity, the herb may be used for children, too.
Licorice is helpful in restoration of the mucus lining of the inner stomach and is useful in combating heartburn and related symptoms.
Soothing of esophagus is achieved with the aloe vera’s action – its juice provides healing from heartburn symptoms.
Also, clinical researches have shown that marshmallow, slippery elm, garlic, and Saint-John's-wort are able to protect stomach from its own acid and reduce inflammation.
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