10 Natural Home Remedies for Indigestion
Indigestion, also referred to as acid indigestion or functional dyspepsia, is characterized by stomach pain or a discomfort mainly in the upper abdomen. Indigestion symptoms are among the most common digestive ailments, affecting more than 20% percent of people across America. Luckily, a number of indigestion remedies are available right in your home.
The Herb Garden
Sip on chamomile, lavender or angelica herbal tea. These herbs serve as stomach tonics that stimulate the secretion of gastric juices, aiding the digestive process. To brew the herbal tea, steep two to three heaping teaspoons of dried herb in one cup of boiling hot water. Strain and drink a cup after each meal.
Add 5 to 10 drops of peppermint tincure to one cup of warm water and drink this after each meal. Peppermint is a carminative herb, which alleviates indigestion symptoms such as bloating and nausea. It also has anti-spasmodic properties that help to relieve stomach and intestinal cramping. Alternatively, suck on peppermint candy.
Angelica, caraway oil and gentian relieve flatulence. Dandelion, fennel, horehound and peppermint relieve gas.
Put five to six drops of chamomile or lavender essential oil onto your pillow before retiring to bed. This will help to alleviate indigestion symptoms by promoting a relaxing sleep. Alternatively, dilute the essential oil in almond oil and massage this into the tense muscles around the abdomen to relax the tension.
Spice Things Up
Turmeric helps to sooth stomach irritation, relieving stomach pain associated with functional dyspepsia. It is also a carminative that relieves gas and bloating. Take up to 3 grams of powdered turmeric, sprinkling it on your food or cooking with it.
Incorporate tarragon into your dishes. This aromatic spice not only adds flavor to your food, but also serves as a digestive aid. Tarragon is at its most potent when used fresh, because it loses some of its medicinal potency in the drying process.
Brew some ginger tea and drink a cup after each meal. Ginger is especially helpful in alleviating nausea and other indigestion symptoms.
Cinnamon helps to alleviate gas, bloating and cramping. Sprinkle this over your food or cook your meals with it.
Rub it In
Have an Abdominal Massage
Ease indigestion symptoms such as gas and bloating with an abdominal massage using an herbal essential oil (EO). Fennel, anise, chamomile and peppermint essential oils have carminative properties that will help alleviate indigestion symptoms.
Dilute the EO in a carrier oil such as almond oil. The ratio to use is 5 to 10 drops of essential oil to 2 teaspoons of carrier oil. Massage this in a circular motion over the aching area on your abdomen.
Raid Your Pantry
Stir two tablespoons of apple cider vinegar and two teaspoons of honey in one cup of warm water. Drink this two or three times a day, preferably before your meals.
Neutralize excess gastric acid with baking soda. Stir a teaspoon of baking soda into a warm glass of water and drink this to alleviate dyspepsia symptoms.
Snack on cream or soda crackers. These crackers contain bicarbonate of soda and cream of tartar, which help to neutralize gastric acids in stomach. Eat a few crackers along with a glass of warm water to quickly sooth your indigestion symptoms.
Put Your Diet on a Diet
Cut Out the Fat
WebMD lists fat among the food substances that are most commonly associated with indigestion symptoms. Fat hinders the digestive process by slowing down the functioning of the gastrointestinal muscles. Adopt a strict low-fat diet.
Chow Down the Fiber
Increase your daily intake of dietary fiber. The roughage obtained from eating raw vegetables, fruit and salads help to regulate and stimulate the digestive process. Whole grains, legumes and nuts are also rich sources of dietary fiber.
Avoid or cut down on your caffeine and alcohol intake. They tend to relax the stomach valve that keeps the stomach contents from backing up into the esophagus, causing it to malfunction. Minimizing your intake of coffee, chocolate, tea and other caffeinated food and drink helps prevent or alleviate indigestion symptoms.
A Cuppa Yogurt
Drink a cup of yogurt daily to help alleviate indigestion symptoms. Yogurt contains live cultures that promote the proliferation of “good” bacteria in the digestive tract, which helps to alleviate dyspepsia.
Raw Veggie Juices
Sip on raw vegetable juices, which have been found to be very easy to digest. You can alleviate indigestion symptoms by drinking carrot, cabbage and other vegetable juices. In fact, naturopathic practitioners often recommend going on a brief period of fasting, taking nothing but vegetable juices.
Work Your Body
Exercising aids the digestive process. Aim for 30 to 60 minutes of moderate-level activity each day, such as walking or cycling. However, you should not exercise right before or after a meal, which would be counterproductive, but rather before eating or one hour after eating.
The Mayo Clinic recommends relaxation therapies such as progressive muscle relaxation (PMR) and guided imaginary as natural indigestion remedies. Relaxing helps to relieve symptoms of stress and anxiety that are associated with dyspepsia.
Specific yoga poses, such as the Cat Pose (Bidalasana) and Wind Relieving Pose (Pavanamuktasana) help to alleviate indigestion symptoms. It also helps to lower stress and anxiety.
Change How You Eat (Literally)
Chew food slowly and thoroughly. This simple, basic process of mechanical digestion in the mouth (chewing :) is just as essential as chemical digestion in the stomach and intestinal tract. One of the most common causes of indigestion symptoms include eating too fast and swallowing food in relatively large chunks. Also avoid eating with your mouth open as well as talking while chewing.
Eating smaller, more frequent meals helps prevent or alleviate dyspepsia. A full stomach tends to trigger or aggravate dyspepsia symptoms.
Avoid drinking fluids during meals. The excess liquid may dilute the stomach acids and digestive enzymes, hindering the digestive process. Drink after you have finished eating. You should also avoid late-night eating, just before retiring to bed for the night.
Revamp Your Lifestyle Choices
Quit or cut down on smoking and tobacco intake. The National Institutes of Health list nicotine among factors that aggravate or trigger indigestion symptoms. If you need to smoke, try not to smoke right before eating.
Sit up straight rather than slouch, particularly after eating a meal. Slouching puts pressure on the stomach, which can result in indigestion symptoms such as heartburn, by allowing stomach contents to back up into the esophagus. Don’t lie down right after you eat a meal, and avoid bending over as much as possible.
Relieve indigestion symptoms such as heat burn and acid reflux at night by elevating the head of your bed. This can be done with cement blocks or bricks. This enables gravity to work in your favor by helping keep the stomach acid down, rather than regurgitating upward into the esophagus.
If your indigestion symptoms include gas and bloating, avoid wearing tight-fitting clothes, particularly around the waist or tummy, such a belts or tight jeans. These can add extra pressure on your digestive tract.
Maintain a normal weight. Try to lose excess weight, because the additional weight puts extra pressure on your abdomen and worsen your indigestion symptoms.
Pop a (Dietary) Pill
Take a combination of caraway oil and peppermint oil nutritional supplements. Clinical research studies by German scientists discovered that taking 50mg of caraway oil along with 90mg of peppermint oil are effective in relieving dyspepsia (indigestion) symptoms.
Consider taking digestive enzymes nutritional supplements. Enzymes are catalysts that help to speed up chemical reactions in the body, helping speed up the break down of food in the digestive process. These nutritional supplements often contain a combination of digestive enzymes like protease, amylase, lipase, cellulase, lactase, pectinase and alpha galactosidase
Probiotic Nutritional Supplements
Take probiotic nutritional supplements to help regulate the digestive system and alleviate indigestion symptoms. These dietary supplements contain live, friendly bacteria (good bacteria), which help to restore and maintain a healthy balance of good bacteria versus bad bacteria in the digestive tract, helping to alleviate indigestion symptoms. These include L. acidophilus, L. bulgaricus, S. thermophilus and L rhamnosus.
Prebiotic Nutritional Supplements
Prebiotic nutritional supplements also help alleviate symptoms of indigestion. These dietary supplements contain soluble fibers that are not digested, but which provide a conducive environment in which friendly bacteria can grow in the intestinal tract. Fructooligosaccharides (FOS), which are available as powders, are the most common prebiotics available.
Check your Meds
Many types of commonly taken medicines can irritate your stomach lining, causing indigestion symptoms. These include painkillers and anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen and aspirin. Some antibiotics may also cause discomfort.
If you take medications, speak to your pharmacist to see whether any of them could cause dyspepsia. Seek advice about alternatives and whether these drugs could be taken with food.
When Should You Call the Doctor?
estion symptoms may result from a more serious underlying condition, particularly when they are especially severe and frequent. Call your doctor if these symptoms persist, and if you have any of these symptoms:
- Vomiting, especially if you vomit blood
- Black, tarry stool or blood in the stool
- Severe, recurrent pain in the upper abdomen
- Loss of appetite and weight loss
Seek immediate medical attention if your indigestion symptoms are accompanied by sweating, shortness of breath or pain that radiates from the jaw, neck or arm
- Indigestion Remedies - MayoClinic.com
- Indigestion Comprehensive overview covers causes, symptoms, treatment for this common digestive disorder.
- Peppermint: MedlinePlus Supplements
- Peppermint (Mentha x piperita L.) Clinical research on peppermint and caraway herbal oil to treat dyspepsia.
- Research on Tuina massage in treating functional dyspepsia
- Information from UpToDate on functional dyspepsia