Natural health: I suffer form heartburn. What natural remedies can you suggest?

Natural health: I suffer form heartburn. What natural remedies can you suggest?

I eat healthily and avoid red meat but still suffer from indigestion and heartburn. I’ve tried drinking mint tea but it made little difference. What else can I do?

It is good to hear that you are already eating healthily, and have taken steps to avoid foods that may trigger digestive issues. Eating a small leafy green salad before your meal can help to prepare your stomach for the food to follow. Greens stimulate the digestive process, so this is a simple way to reduce the incidence of indigestion and heartburn.

Digestion begins in the mouth, so make sure that you are taking your time with each mouthful, sitting and eating in a relaxed environment and chewing each mouthful thoroughly. We have become used to grabbing food on the go, or eating at our desks in the workplace. Indigestion is often treated using antacid medication, which raises the gastric pH and inhibits the action of pepsin, the enzyme responsible for protein digestion. Raising the pH can temporarily reduce symptoms, but impact digestion in the long term by impairing protein digestion and allowing pathogenic organisms such as Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) to thrive.

H. pylori protects itself from the strong acidic environment of the stomach by producing a compound called urase which neutralises the acids, so that it can burrow into the protective mucous lining of stomach and duodenum. Not surprisingly, this spiral shaped bacteria is found in 90% of people who suffer from stomach ulcers.

Mastic gum, the resin of a tree which grows on an island in the Aegean Sea, has been shown to reduce or eliminate digestive symptoms where indigestion, heartburn, bloating, pains, and discomfort are due to the presence of H. pylori in the stomach. Mastic gum has actually been shown to kill H. pylori in test-tube experiments, and has no known side-effects. You will need to take 1g of mastic gum daily for two weeks to see if this is the solution for you.

Picture: iStock
Picture: iStock

I recently had a miscarriage at 10 weeks, which has left me feeling low and exhausted. What natural remedies would you suggest?

Miscarriage certainly takes a toll physically and emotionally, you are wise to take steps to help support you as you recover , body and mind.

There are a few herbs which may help with your feelings of sadness and exhaustion.

Withania somnifera (known as Ashwagandha in Ayurvedic medicine, sometimes referred to as Indian Ginseng) is the first herb I would recommend. It is an adaptogenic herb, meaning that it works to restore balance within the body, and is perfect for times of physical and emotional overwhelm. It is often used to help ‘refresh’ body and mind.

Rhodiola rosea (often called roseroot as it has a distinctive rose scent), right, is another adaptogen which works well together with Withania to help with physical and emotional distress. Rhodiola works by promoting the release of mood-modulating neurotransmitters norepinephrine, dopamine and serotonin, which is why it is used to help regulate mood and improve energy.

These two herbs alone will make a pleasant tasting infusion that will go some way towards supporting you in your healing process. Use a teaspoon of the herbal blend with a cup of boiling water, and steep for 3-5 minutes, drinking up to four cups daily as needed.

Two additional herbal remedies you might like to consider are Shatavari (Asparagus racemosus or wild asparagus) and Siberian ginseng (Eleutherococcus senticosus). Shatavari is often used to help with uterine bleeding, and for general female reproductive health, while Siberian ginseng is used to help with energy, immune support, and stress.

Low levels of vitamin D are linked with and increased risk of miscarriage, so it is a good idea to take a vitamin D3 supplement to support your body for the future. The recommended dosage is 4,000IU of vitamin D3 to help prevent miscarriage — which is less than half of that typically produced by the body following 20-30 minutes in the sunshine.

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