Do you ever get heartburn? The surprising thing, heartburn is an indication (and a symptom) that you are lacking in stomach acid – AKA you most likely have low stomach acid. Low stomach acid and heartburn are also both symptoms of acid reflux, which if left untreated can result in gastroesophageal reflux disease or GERD. Most of the time when we think about heartburn and how to heal it we may first think of antacids (calcium carbonate), though it may get rid of the pain temporarily it does not get rid of the underlining issues.
Gastroesophageal reflux disease or GERD is acid reflux or a chronic relapsing acid-peptide disorder that results in gastric juices refluxing into the esophagus. Though heartburn is a symptom, it is only when the acid reflux gets to the point of damaging esophageal tissues and displaying a negative result on human health, it is diagnosed as GERD and can lead to cancer of the esophagus. Acid reflux begins to be a major problem when it is experienced more than twice a week, this is why it is important to understand why it occurs in the first place to prevent it from getting severe and causing extensive damage to our body.
The esophagus and the stomach are joined together by the Lower Esophageal Sphincter (LES), this sphincter should only open under two circumstances; 1) Food/drink is entering into the stomach (the chewing and swallowing of nutrients), 2) the release of gas from the stomach.
The main role of acid in the stomach is to break down food. With too little acid, food cannot be properly broken down and therefore it ferments. brings about Intra-abdominal Pressure (IAP), resulting in gas and that leads to the opening of the LES – thus welcoming acid reflux and the symptom of heartburn. Unlike the stomach, which is coated with mucus, the esophagus does not have a protective coating for its cell lining.
If you are wondering what helps acid reflux? or what to drink when heartburn kicks in? Instead of taking calcium carbonate or a strangely pink liquid, both of which aid in the further reduction of acid in the stomach, consider a herbal tea. The tea below will help relieve the pain and discomfort and aiding in the healing of the stomach as well as rebalancing acid levels within it.
Below I have provided the herbs name, the action of the herb, what that action will do for your aching tummy, as well as the amount that should be taken and how often.
Tummy Ache Remedy
Nettles Urtica dioica: will slowly restore the proper function of the body and increase overall health. Nettles are also high in iron and vitamin C (among other things) so they are great to drink in tea anytime.
Skullcap Scutellaria laterifolia: very effective nervine tonic, it will assist in reducing pain
Passionflower Passiflora incarnata: similar effect to that of Skullcap, however, it should be taken before bed, as it aids in falling asleep. Therefore, if you have insomnia from the pain, this is the way to go. It also has aromatic actions, so if the tea tastes bad this will make it more pleasant.
Chamomile Matricaria chamomilla: will release cramps and ease spasms, it also has a relaxing action on the body and mind.
Meadowsweet Filipendula ulmaria: reduces nausea, reduces excess acidity and treats heartburn aka tummy pains from acid buildup.
Peppermint Mentha pipertia: high in volatile oils which aid in relaxing the stomach and supporting digestion. It has aromatic properties.
- 2 tbsp nettles
- 2 tbsp skullcap or 4 tbsp of Passionflower if you are using this tea before bed and have insomnia. Make sure passionflower agrees with you.
- 4 tbsp chamomile
- 6 tbsp meadowsweet
- 2 tbsp peppermint
- Combine all the dry herbs together and store in a dark glass jar.
- To make yourself some tea combine 1 tsp of dry tea herbs and 100 ml of hot water (90 degrees) let it steep for 5 minutes and drink it 3 times a day.
Amanda Filipowicz is a certified nutritional practitioner (CNP) with a bachelor in environmental studies (BES) from York University. She also has certification in clinical detoxification, prenatal and postnatal care as well as nutrition for mental health. She has been working as a nutritionist since 2013 and is a lifelong proponent of eating healthy.