We all know how indigestion feels. Most of us are accustomed to dealing with it by reaching for a packet of antacids or popping a proton pump inhibitor.
Unfortunately, these aren’t particularly healthy solutions: nor are they going to help in the long run!
Want to treat your tummy troubles at home? Here are the best of the “old remedies” that have stood the test of time. You need only add water!
Table of Contents
Hot Water – Alone or With Lemon
Yes, really. Although most of us automatically choose cold water, it doesn’t provide anywhere near the relief of warm water!
Drinking a cup of hot, filtered water can soothe an irritated stomach. Some health experts say that it can benefit the digestive system by stimulating peristalsis, the “squeezing” action of the intestines. This helps to move any waste along the digestive tract to the colon, where it can be flushed out. As a result, you’ll feel less bloated and less gassy.
Numerous health advocates recommend drinking a glass of warm water first thing in the morning after getting up. To really bump up the benefits, try adding a squirt of lemon juice. Lemon is a natural alkalizer, which helps to bring your body’s pH levels back into balance. Indigestion is often caused by an imbalance of acidity. Lemon also helps to counteract the damage caused by free radicals, which were exposed to everywhere we go.
This could be the cheapest, easiest and most effective solution ever!
Fresh Chamomile Tea
Chamomile is a sweet-smelling flower that’s been used in traditional herbal medicine since ancient times. It’s a carminative, which simply means it helps to calm the body and mind from the inside out.
Dried chamomile contains many different terpenoids and flavonoids which harbor powerful medicinal properties. Regular consumption of chamomile tea has been proven to help relieve the symptoms of indigestion, gas and bloating. Research shows that it has been used as a digestive relaxant for hundreds of years, and it still an effective solution for various gastrointestinal disturbances such as flatulence, indigestion, diarrhea, motion sickness, nausea, and vomiting.
It’s also useful for treating colic, croup, and fevers in children.
Chamomile also helps to soothe anxiety and muscular tension, which can also contribute to indigestion. It’s a natural sedative, so drinking it at night can help with sleep and relaxation.
To make chamomile tea, simply steep the loose dried flowers in a mug of boiling water for 5-10 minutes. Drink 1-4 cups a day. You can also find chamomile tea bags in almost any supermarket or health store, but these are generally not as strong as using loose flowers. You may also like to add honey to taste.
Apple Cider Vinegar Tonic
Every kitchen should have a bottle of apple cider vinegar! It’s one of the most healthy and versatile condiments available. It’s also excellent for treating stomach ache: just add water!
Be sure to use only the type of apple cider vinegar that contains ‘the mother’ – a cobwebby substance that floats around the bottom of the bottle. This means it’s been allowed to ferment naturally and contains the beneficial yeast and bacteria that will help your tummy troubles.
It’s believed that acetic acid in apple cider vinegar can help to restore the natural pH of the stomach, reducing the acidity that causes indigestion.
It’s also suggested that these acids can help slow the breakdown of starch until it reaches the intestines, preventing ‘bad’ bacteria from disrupting the normal digestive process.
While scientific research is somewhat lacking, one study did find that regular doses of ACV can help to relieve heartburn. It appears that taking small amounts of organic vinegar can alleviate heartburn symptoms for some individuals, but usually only for around 60 to 75 minutes.
Many people swear by taking a spoonful of ACV each day to keep their gut and digestive system healthy.
Baking Soda and Water
Don’t scoff – it really works!
If you’ve ever baked, you’ll have a box of baking soda in your kitchen. But bicarbonate of soda (or sodium bicarbonate) can do much more than help cakes rise. Much of its healing properties are to do with its alkalinity.
When baking soda comes into contact with an acidic substance – such as the gastric contents of your stomach – it alters the pH level. This can help to reduce the symptoms of indigestion, heartburn or general gas.
Interestingly, your pancreas naturally produces sodium bicarbonate to protect your intestines. This means sodium bicarbonate is technically a natural antacid that the body uses to neutralizes stomach acid and temporarily relieve symptoms of acid reflux.
Those who suffer from excess acidity after a meal often find relief with this simple baking soda remedy. To treat indigestion, simply add 1/4 teaspoon to a glass of water. Mix thoroughly and drink immediately.
NOTE: It’s important to take baking soda well away from other medications (say, two hours) as it may inhibit their efficacy. By lowering the pH of the stomach, the baking soda is effectively slowing down your body’s ability to absorb certain medicines.
Remember – these remedies are only temporary solutions to indigestion. If your stomach troubles continue over two weeks or more, it’s a good idea to see your doctor or a naturopath for a more holistic solution.