As you probably know heartburn’s real medical name is gastroesophageal reflux disease, or GERD. Symptoms include a burning, acidic feeling in your belly, caustic burps, and the occasional hiccups. Sometimes, you’ll hear it called indigestion or acid indigestion.
There are a few things that you can do to lessen the symptoms of heartburn, says Robert Jay Rowen, M.D., a holistic physician at the Complementary Medicine Center in Anchorage, Alaska, and a pioneer in the effort to have alternative medicine recognized in Alaska.
Number one, slow down at mealtime. Eating too much food too quickly doesn’t give your digestive system time to get in gear. Chew your food about 40 times before swallowing, says Dr. Rowen. The second thing you can do is back off the coffee and spicy food for a while. If you need a caffeine, get it from tea, which is less caustic to your innards. You can also make a tea from ginger. Ginger is a powerful stomach soother. Finely chop or grate 1 teaspoon of fresh ginger, put it in a mug, and fill the mug with boiling water. Cover the mug with a saucer and steep for 10 minutes. Let it cool slightly, then sip it slowly.
Being overweight or pregnant can be a factor, too, as the extra pound below pushes on your stomach, forcing acid up into the esophagus. That said, if your heartburn persist on a daily basis, make an appointment to see your doctor to rule out anything serious, such as an ulcer or esophageal cancer. Increased pain often signifies that something else is wrong, advised Dr. Rowen. (The Doctors Book of Herbal Remedies, p.265).