"Sit down and feed, and welcome to our table." -William Shakespeare

Friday, March 16, 2012

Herbs for Heartburn

Heartburn is one of those things...

For most of us, heartburn is an annoyance and not a serious condition. The information here is for this type of occasional heartburn. Severe, prolonged, or constant heartburn should be overseen by a qualified healthcare practitioner.

Herbs are not miracle cures. That means if you are consistently eating a less-than-healthful diet, don’t expect miracle results with any herb. Herbs always work best when you are doing your best to eat a healthful diet and live a healthy lifestyle.

Peppermint is the “Digestion Doctor.” Occasional heartburn can be taken care of quite effectively with a strong peppermint tea. Loose peppermint is available at virtually any healthfood store. For the lazy, buy a brand of tea bags that come individually wrapped so they stay fresh. Traditional Medicinals is a great brand for tea if you need tea bags. While it costs a bit more than other brands, I can promise you their teas are much stronger than most brands. Brew this at the first sign of heartburn. Pour boiling water over your tea bag in a nice large cup and then COVER your cup tightly with a plate or saucer. Let it steep 10 minutes or more.

Mmmm- minty! Add a drop of stevia and enjoy.

If you are prone to heartburn or you know a certain meal may cause it, drink a cup 30 minutes before the meal and then again 30 minutes after the meal. Don’t wait for it to start. Peppermint tea is good for you, so no need to worry about drinking too much. (UNLESS you are a nursing mother. Mint herbs can adversely affect milk supply, so be aware.) Peppermint essential, just 1 drop, can also be added to your water glass at dinner to help avoid the development of heartburn after the meal. That can be a good choice when traveling, as a tiny bottle of Peppermint Essential Oil takes up little room and won’t get smashed like a tea bag might.

If you don’t care for peppermint (what’s wrong with you?), or you do happen to be a nursing mother, then another good digestive herb is anise. You can get anise in teabag form also. But I buy it by the pound and it gets used up! Use it just like peppermint. This is a traditional after dinner tea in Egypt. It is also used in Egypt for colic, and for many Egyptian babies, it’s the first “food” they will taste after mother’s milk.

Editing to add: One of my friends recently got sick of hearing me whine about pregnancy heartburn, so she told me to go drink some baking soda. Boy, it tastes gross, but a little baking soda dissolved in a little water gives lots of folks immediate relief from occasional acute heartburn. My mother-in-law confirms that this is the folk remedy of choice in northern Mexico.

"In wilderness I sense the miracle of life, and behind it our scientific accomplishments fade to trivia."
-Charles A. Lindbergh, Life, 22 December 1967

*DISCLAIMER* The author of BreadwithHoney is neither a healthcare professional nor a certified herbalist. Information here is for educational purposes only. Use all home remedies at your own risk and always consult your healthcare provider.***

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