7 Effective Home Remedies For Heartburn

By Afya Well •  Updated: 05/14/24 •  9 min read

Imagine sitting down to a lovely meal with your loved ones, but your food options are so limited, that you even question why exactly you attended this family gathering.

Every biting that you want to savor reminds you of the numerous sleepless nights you’ve had, prepped against your bed at an angle, to prevent that choking burning sensation from thrusting up your chest.

It’s miserable to even think that a piece of chocolate can disrupt your sleep, erode your teeth, create a persistent cough, inflame your esophagus, irritate your voice to hoarseness, and as if that isn’t enough, make you dread attending parties.

If you resonate even a tiny bit with this story, know you are in the right place.

You’ve struggled with over-the-counter medicines and even prescription drugs, that only provide temporary relief without dealing with the root cause of the problem.

You are then left to deal with the nasty side effects of these pharmaceuticals…

If you’ve taken PPIs, you know exactly what I’m talking about.

Did you know that long-term use of PPIs can increase the risk of bone fractures, particularly hip, wrist, and spine, due to calcium absorption interference?

Anyway, don’t get me started…

However, you are not alone…

The reality is that about 60% of adults in Western countries report experiencing reflux symptoms once a year, while 20% experience them weekly according to the New England Journal of Medicine.

This need not be the case…

While many turn to conventional medicines to quench these flames, holistic solutions provide a gentler, yet truly effective, approach to treating heartburn.

You are about to dive deep into the various home remedies you can use to treat acid reflux, from dietary adjustments, and herbal remedies that actually work, to lifestyle changes.

What is Acid Reflux and How Does It Occur?

Acid reflux occurs when stomach acid flows back into the esophagus, causing irritation and discomfort.

The journey of digestion begins in your mouth and ends in your intestines. As you chew and swallow food, it passes down your esophagus.

The lower esophageal sphincter (LES), which we can also call the gastroesophageal sphincter, is like a valve located about 3 centimeters above where the esophagus connects with the stomach. It acts as a barrier between your esophagus and stomach.

Normally, this valve stays partially closed, creating a bit of pressure to keep stomach contents from flowing back up into the esophagus.

When we swallow, the valve ahead of the swallowed food briefly opens (we call this “receptive relaxation“), to let the food easily move into the stomach.

Normally, the “Angle of His“ (the angle at which the esophagus enters the stomach) creates a valve that prevents duodenal bile, enzymes, and hydrochloric acid from moving back up to the esophagus, where they can cause a burning sensation and inflammation of sensitive esophageal tissue.

However, in individuals with acid reflux, this process is disrupted.

The LES may weaken or relax at inappropriate times, permitting stomach acid to splash upwards into the esophagus.

This acid irritates the delicate lining of the esophagus, leading to the uncomfortable symptoms associated with acid reflux.

This leads to what we commonly call heartburn.

To treat heartburn effectively and permanently, you have to address these three things:

7 Effective Home Remedies For Heartburn That Actually Work!

1. Acid Reflux Herbal Remedies for Instant Relief:

Herbs have been used for centuries to treat various ailments, and acid reflux is no exception.

Here are some of the most powerful herbs for heartburn relief.

  1. Chamomile: Known for its calming effects, drinking chamomile tea can soothe the digestive system and reduce acid buildup.
  2. Licorice root: Effective in forming a protective barrier in the stomach and esophagus, reducing the impact of acid.
  3. Apple Cider Vinegar: While it might seem counterintuitive to ingest an acid, apple cider vinegar may help balance stomach acid levels when diluted and consumed in small amounts.
  4. Ginger: It has anti-inflammatory actions which reduce gastric contractions and relieve irritation.
  5. Slippery elm: Slippery elm forms a protective layer in the esophagus, reducing irritation and inflammation caused by stomach acid.
  6. Marshmallow Root: Marshmallow root contains mucilage, a substance that coats and protects the esophagus. Steep marshmallow root in hot water to create a soothing tea that aids in reducing heartburn.

I break this down in a more detailed way in this Guidebook here, including how to prepare the herbs for acid reflux safely, possible interactions with food and drugs, contraindications, how to store them safely to preserve their effectiveness and fun recipes you can play around with.

2. Avoid foods that trigger acid reflux by making dietary changes:

To defeat heartburn, avoid foods that trigger acid reflux and embrace gut-friendly meals.

Here are your tried and tested go-to options, that you should incorporate in your meals.

  1. Lean Proteins: Opt for lean meats, poultry, fish, and plant-based protein sources like tofu and legumes.
  2. Non-Citrus Fruits: Bananas, apples, and melons are less acidic and are usually well-tolerated.
  3. Vegetables: Most vegetables are low in fat and can be included in your diet. Avoid adding high fat sauces or dressings.
  4. Whole Grains: Oatmeal, brown rice, whole wheat bread, and quinoa are good choices for grains.
  5. Yogurt: Unsweetened natural yogurt is not only safe but acts as a probiotic

3. Meal Planning:

In addition to making the right food choices, how and when you eat can influence acid reflux symptoms. Here are practical tips you can incorporate into your daily habits.

  1. Smaller Meals: Instead of large, heavy meals, opt for smaller meals to reduce the pressure on your LES.
    1. Chew Thoroughly: Take your time to chew your food thoroughly. Eating too quickly can lead to swallowing air, which can worsen symptoms.
    1. Avoid Late Dinners: Aim to finish your last meal at least three hours before bedtime to allow your stomach time to digest, before lying down.
    1. Intermittent Fasting: Try an 8:16-hour fast. This means fasting for 16 hours and having an 8-hour window where you eat. A practical way to approach this is to enjoy your last meal of the day at 7:00 pm and then have your first meal at 11:00 am the following day. What’s advantageous about this fasting method is that the time you spend asleep is included within the fasting period.

4. Weight Management:

Excess weight, especially around the abdomen, can put pressure on the stomach and LES, increasing the risk of acid reflux.

If you’re overweight, losing weight through a balanced diet and regular exercise can significantly improve your acid reflux symptoms.

You should implement these natural remedies and weight loss plans hand in hand for lifetime results.

There are even modified exercises for acid reflux management.

I am personally using a customized workout program and loving the results, especially after having tried several from fitness influencers before.

If you are struggling in this area as well and would love to take a peek into my program, shoot me an email (insert subscribe link).

5. Stress Reduction and Acid Reflux:

Stress can exacerbate acid reflux symptoms. Incorporating stress reduction techniques into your daily routine can help manage acid reflux:

  1. Deep Breathing: Practice deep breathing exercises to calm your mind and reduce stress.
  2. Meditation: Meditation is an effective way to relax your body and mind.
  3. Regular Exercise: Engage in regular physical activity to reduce stress and maintain a healthy weight.

6. Evening Meal timing:

  1. Early Dinners: Aim to finish your last meal at least three hours before bedtime. This allows your stomach time to digest the food before you lie down, reducing the risk of acid reflux. With intermittent fasting, your last meal will be at 7:00 pm and your bedtime should be from 10:00 pm.
  2. Light Dinners: Opt for lighter, less spicy, and lower-fat meals in the evening. Heavy, rich foods can increase the likelihood of nighttime acid reflux.

7. Sleep Positioning:

  1. Elevate the Head of Your Bed: Raising the head of your bed by 6 to 8 inches can help prevent stomach acid from flowing back into the esophagus. This elevation can be achieved using bed risers.
  2. Use Pillows: If elevating the bed isn’t feasible, try using extra pillows to prop yourself up. However, this method is less effective than elevating the entire bed.

8. Bedtime routine:

  1. Avoid Late Snacking: Steer clear of late-night snacks, especially those known to trigger acid reflux, as they can increase your risk of nighttime symptoms.
  2. Stay Upright After Eating: Avoid lying down immediately after eating. Instead, engage in relaxing activities like reading or gentle stretching to allow your stomach time to digest.
  3. Hydration: While it’s important to stay hydrated, try to limit fluid intake in the hours leading up to bedtime. This can help minimize the chances of nighttime acid reflux, as a full stomach can increase pressure on the LES.


Acid reflux doesn’t have to control your life.

Managing acid reflux naturally involves a holistic approach, focusing on diet, lifestyle adjustments, and effective home remedies.

By understanding your triggers and implementing these strategies, you can reduce the frequency and severity of acid reflux episodes, leading to a better quality of life.

 Remember, every individual is unique, so it may take some time to find the combination of techniques that works best for you.

Remember to be patient with yourself as you test out different strategies to find what works best for you.

I have an interesting email newsletter where I share African wisdom for holistic living and the hidden wealth of knowledge that can transform our lives for the better. If you would like to join the club, CLICK HERE, and welcome aboard.
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Afya Well

I'm James, founder of Afya Well. Growing up in Africa, I witnessed the transformative power of herbal remedies. After struggling with health issues and finding only temporary relief from conventional medicine, I turned to African herbs, which healed my gut and boosted my immunity. Studying Pharmacy and Alternative Medicine, I blend ancient wisdom with modern science. Now, I offer holistic, science-backed solutions that treat root causes, tailored to individual needs.