Indigestion is typically caused by eating spicy or high-fat foods or overeating. The disruption in normal eating habits creates trouble with the secretion of digestive juices in the stomach. Some individuals with gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) experience indigestion more often and more severely than others, and it can also be more prominent among patients with irritable bowel syndrome, stress or anxiety, obesity, ulcers, stomach infections, thyroid disease, as well as those who smoke or take certain medications.
The good news for anyone dealing with indigestion is there are quite a few simple natural treatments out there that can significantly relieve their symptoms.
Apple Cider Vinegar
One might assume apple cider vinegar would have the opposite effect on indigestion because of its high acidity, but the multi-purpose vinegar actually helps individuals maintain a healthy stomach. A simple recipe allows its alkalizing effect to minimize the irritating nature of indigestion. Simply add one tablespoon of raw, unfiltered apple cider vinegar to one cup of water. Stir in one teaspoon of raw honey and drink two to three times per day, or when quick relief is needed. Some individuals also take apple cider vinegar as a shot, though this is not pleasant tasting.
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Fennel is an herb stemming from the parsley family and has many health benefits. Fennel seeds are composed of a number of essential oils that happen to be incredibly helpful in reducing the painful symptoms of indigestion. Known for its anise flavor, fennel seeds have the potential to calm the colon. These seeds are typically dry roasted, ground, and sieved to form a powder. Half a teaspoon of ground fennel seeds with water taken two times a day is recommended. Fennel tea is also an easy-to-digest alternative if ground fennel seed is not available.
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Ginger is widely known as a treatment for upset stomachs. Countless individuals use it to calm nausea when they are feeling ill. In small quantities, ginger can be useful for heartburn by stimulating digestive juices and the flow of enzymes in the digestive tract. Ginger can be used in various ways. Mix two teaspoons of ginger juice, one teaspoon of lemon juice, and a pinch of table salt and black salt and drink alone or with water. Simply adding ginger and honey to hot water may work, and tea bags are available for convenience as well.
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Baking soda is a cost-effective alternative to commercial brand antacids when it comes to reducing the severity of indigestion and similar conditions. Its active ingredient, sodium bicarbonate, reduces stomach acid and relieves the uncomfortable results of eating too much. It is easy to find, inexpensive, and can be used for many other household tasks. Those looking to try this remedy should mix half a teaspoon of baking soda in a glass of water and drink one cup roughly every two hours. It is important for them to take small sips when doing this to avoid experiencing gas.
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Carom seeds, also referred to as Bishop's weed, are pungent seeds belonging to the same family as fennel, anise, dill, and caraway seeds. These seeds are incredibly popular and are used in many Indian recipes. Carom seed's digestive and carminative properties aid a wide variety of stomach problems, including indigestion, as well as irritating and unpleasant issues like flatulence and diarrhea. They can be mixed in equal parts with cumin seeds and chewed daily. Alternatively, individuals can grind carom seeds with ginger and add one teaspoon to warm water and a pinch of pepper.
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Herbal tea, whether made from dried loose leaves or purchased commercially, is an easy remedy to reduce symptoms of indigestion, gastroesophageal reflux disease, and similar conditions. Some of the recommended varieties of herbal tea to try for reducing these symptoms include chamomile, licorice, slippery elm, ginger, peppermint, and marshmallow. Once individuals have chosen their preferred variety of herbal tea, they should steep the tea in hot water for up to five minutes. It's important to drink the tea while it is still quite warm, though not so hot that it will burn their mouth.
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Cumin is a common spice and is also quite a powerful digestive aid, especially when it comes to indigestion. Individuals who wish to try using cumin to alleviate their indigestion should stir one teaspoon of roasted cumin seed powder in a glass of water. It can be taken as is, though individuals may also add a splash of coriander leaf juice and a bit of salt to the glass for extra flavor and effectiveness. If the individual's stomach troubles came from overeating, they should consider drinking a cup of buttermilk with a quarter teaspoon each of roasted cumin seed powder and black pepper. They should drink this two or three times a day for a few days, or until their symptoms subside.
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The essential oils, including borneol, linalool, and cineole, found in coriander are effective in stimulating the digestive process, and thus, helps get rid of indigestion. As a preventative measure to an acid eruption, coriander helps calm the stomach. To use this natural remedy, individuals should stir one teaspoon of roasted coriander seed powder in a glass of buttermilk and consume this drink once or twice a day. For the best results when it comes to acid reduction, fresh juice can be taken from the coriander leaves and mixed with buttermilk and used two or three times daily.
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Just about everyone has heard of basil, and any chef worth their salt knows how to use this herb incredibly well in their dishes. Even amateurs can use it fairly well! What many individuals may not realize, however, is basil, with its carminative properties, is a versatile herb to use as a remedy for indigestion. The fresh or dried leaves can be made into a tea and steeped for up to fifteen minutes. For extra sweetness, individuals should add raw honey. Basil capsules can be made at home or purchased in-store. To use as a small snack and still reap the benefits of relieving indigestion, individuals should add five to six ground basil leaves to three tablespoons of yogurt with a bit of salt and pepper.
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Cinnamon is widely used, very easy to find, and can nip indigestion in the bud in quite a few different ways. Cinnamon not only helps reduce the amount of acid in the stomach, but its antibiotic and antifungal elements stimulate the digestive system as well. Indigestion-relieving tea can be made with a half teaspoon of ground cinnamon and ginger added to boiling water. Individuals can also use a stick of cinnamon for steeping. Adding a bit of honey will also combat too much stomach acid build-up and contains enzymes for proper digestion.
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Many individuals find lemon water to be an effective treatment for indigestion. In particular, acid reflux can be mitigated by swigging some water with lemon juice. This may seem counterintuitive because lemon juice is, after all, acidic. However, when it is ingested in small concentrations, lemon juice can actually be alkalizing. This means it can help reduce the acidity in the stomach. Another way lemon juice helps is by providing a hefty dose of vitamin C, which is an antioxidant that helps keep the cells of the digestive tract healthy and strong. A good ratio is one tablespoon of lemon juice for every cup of water. Drinking the lemon water before meals can help to reduce the symptoms of indigestion. Individuals should not, however, drink undiluted lemon juice, as it is too acidic and can make digestive issues worse.
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A very simple way to reduce symptoms of indigestion is to simply drink more water. This helps raise the pH of the stomach, which can help with acid reflux caused by high stomach acidity. Some individuals find drinking warm or even hot water is helpful. The warmth can be soothing, and a hot drink can help move things along in the digestive tract. If an individual frequently suffers from indigestion, they should make sure they are staying hydrated throughout the day and drinking water with meals. It can also be helpful to try tracking how much they are drinking throughout the day and to avoid drinking acidic beverages.
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Licorice root is useful for indigestion because it reduces stomach inflammation, lowers the amount of mucus in the digestive tract, and stimulates the healing of digestive tract ulcers. Studies have demonstrated licorice products can be effective in treating acid reflux and heartburn. Studies have also indicated licorice root can be a helpful supplement for patients who have irritable bowel syndrome, a common cause of indigestion. Taking licorice along with antacids is a great natural way to treat stomach ulcers. Licorice root can be taken as a pill, a powder, or a tea, and it is often combined with other natural substances with soothing properties, such as peppermint.
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BRAT stands for 'bananas, rice, applesauce, toast,' and it has long been a doctor-recommended method for treating indigestion and other stomach issues. The BRAT diet is designed to be easy on the stomach and intestines. Though it is low in nutrients, this diet can be followed for short periods in order to help a turbulent digestive system calm down. It is okay to venture outside of the specific foods in the acronym and incorporate things like crackers and broth. The idea is just to stick to very bland foods. Anything spicy or acidic is off the menu, as these things can further irritate an upset stomach. Things that are tougher to digest, such as meats and fibrous vegetables, are also out. The BRAT diet may not be very exciting, but dealing with temporary boredom is worth it if it gets rid of indigestion.
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Aloe vera is popular as a topical gel because of its soothing properties, but it can also be used as a powerful anti-inflammatory substance inside the body. Drinking aloe juice can help heal an upset stomach and calm down acid reflux symptoms. Some studies have indicated aloe vera juice works just as well as medication to treat indigestion. Furthermore, it seems aloe vera has none of the common side effects medications can bring on. Aloe juice has two major properties that make it an ideal treatment for indigestion: it lowers the amount of acidity in the stomach, and it is anti-inflammatory. A word of caution: be sure to only pick up aloe vera juice that says it is purified and decolorized to avoid side effects such as diarrhea. This is because the pigment in aloe is harsh on the intestines and can act as a laxative. As long as individuals get the right kind of aloe vera juice, it is a great natural remedy that can help them feel better when their stomach is throwing a fit.