Practically everyone has suffered from heartburn at one time or another in their lives. Those who have know that it is a most uncomfortable situation to be in. People who suffer often pop anti-acid tablets like they are going out of style. While this may help the problem, this help is only temporary. It is, by no means, a permanent solution. Heartburn is one of those things that repeats itself again and again, literally. (No pun intended).
Another name for heartburn is acid reflux, and some people who suffer from this ailment have a variety of other similar disorders, one of which is called GERD, otherwise known as “gastroesophageal reflux disease”. GERD has been in the news a lot lately. Acid reflux and GERD are not usually one, but a variety of digestive disorders. This is when you feel like your food is repeating on you, when you feel a burning sensation in your chest (and it’s not heart problems). If you suffer from an overabundance of acid reflux you might have a hiatus hernia (where the stomach comes up through the opening in the diaphragm). When this happens you might end up needing surgery. Luckily most acid reflux (heartburn) is a simple problem of some of your stomach acid coming up through your esophagus and causing the burning sensation of these delicate membranes. While, for most people, this is an occasional distraction, some people are practically debilitated by it. When the problem becomes serious, medical professionals often recommend a variety of chemical medicines, and, even when the problem isn’t being caused by a hiatus hernia, sometimes even surgery. Luckily, in the overall majority of cases, surgery for heartburn isn’t necessary. It certainly isn’t very common in any case, and if more people tried prevention and alternative methods of treatment, surgery and chemical medication would be unnecessary in most, if not all cases.
I remember one patient of mine who actually got to the point of not being able to eat at all. This patient literally was living on tiny amounts of tea and coffee and had lost tons of weight. What he didn’t realize was that it was his lifestyle and habits that were causing the problem, and in continuing them the way they were, he was unwittingly causing it to get worse. It was like a vicious circle. He would feel pain, drink tea, smoke a cigarette, suffer, drink coffee, suffer, and smoke another cigarette. His esophagus could take no more. It was almost completely seized up and he couldn’t eat any form of solid food at all. He was literally on death’s doorstep. His treatment was simple. Stop smoking, drinking tea, and coffee, eat a healthy diet, and drink an herbal combination (in a tea) that included several soothing and healing herbs. He followed my advice to the letter. He had an immediately improvement in his symptoms, and was better within two days!
There are several factors that contribute to the occurrence of acid reflux (heartburn). These factors can be easily turned around with a little effort. These factors include: lack of sleep, eating too close to bedtime, weight gain, smoking (especially heavy smoking), lack of exercise, poor posture, too tight clothing (particularly tight waistbands, belts, etc.), eating too many spicy, acidy, or fatty foods, overeating (in general), and pregnancy.
The dietary recommendations would include a low carbohydrate diet. This means, little or no bread, rice, pasta, sugar, flour products, fruit, etc., and more vegetables, and a wide variety of proteins. Avoid tomatoes, citrus fruits, heavy spices, chocolate, mints (like candy, etc), tea, coffee, colas (and other soft drinks, particularly those with carbonation and caffeine), artificial additives, colorings, and preservatives, and certain kinds of fatty foods, particularly dairy products. Eating smaller meals will always be beneficial in these cases. Also there are certain medications that can increase reflux problems, for example ibuprofen. So, if you are taking medication and aren’t sure if it might be causing your problem, consult your medical professional.
There are several alternative methods of treating acid reflux, including herbal teas. Some of the most effective herbs for this problem are: oatmeal, marshmallow leaf, chamomile, fennel seed, rose petals, anise seed, slippery elm, calendula, and marjoram, which all soothe and reduce swelling in the mucous membranes. Some people swear that if you eat a banana a day you will not have to suffer from heartburn. I haven’t tried this myself, though. I have tried the herbs on many patients, and any one or more of the herbs I mentioned work like a charm. But, it is important that the other behaviors change along with the treatment. Getting rid of the coffee, tea, and cigarettes is particularly important.
If you suffer from acid reflux, otherwise known as heartburn, help is right around the corner. Yes, you will have to change your lifestyle a bit, but not THAT much, and the relief that you will feel will be enormous. It will be well worth every effort that you have made. So, what are you waiting for?
Here are the herbs you can use (Click on any of the images to buy from Amazon and help to support this website):
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From the Arab Times June 2006