I frequently have heartburn and finally found a wonderful remedy: papaya pills. Every time I have heartburn, I eat one of the pills and the heartburn disappears. My doctor says it’s fine to use them. Others might like to know about this great way to treat heartburn.
Papaya is a tropical fruit that contains an enzyme (papain) that may be very helpful for digestion. Although papain does nothing to suppress acid, some people report that papaya relieves heartburn. Anyone who is allergic to latex should avoid papaya since there is cross-reactivity between latex and papaya, which could be very dangerous. Papain may also increase the blood-thinning effects of warfarin (Coumadin).
I have been on acid-blocking drugs for years to treat heartburn. Initially I was on Prilosec, then Prevacid, and now Nexium. I recently saw a naturopathic physician who said that stomach acid is necessary for proper digestion and good health. He said I could be more vulnerable to infections if I keep shutting down my stomach acid and recommended two tablespoons of apple cider vinegar in a glass of water instead. This seems totally illogical to me.
Vinegar seems an odd remedy for heartburn, but this isn’t the first time we have heard of it. One reader reported that his doctor recommended a tablespoon or two of vinegar in water for heartburn relief. He tried it, and it worked. Studies have suggested that constantly suppressing stomach acid may increase the risk of pneumonia or severe infectious diarrhea.8 Acid in the stomach kills bacteria. Without it germs may survive and cause trouble. Nonetheless, some people require such medication to avoid scarring the esophagus.
I’m trying to find out what causes heartburn and how best to treat it. Is it caused by eating too fast? Can heartburn cause heart attacks? My boyfriend has discomfort nearly every night. A guy he works with has recommended vinegar, but that seems ridiculous.
Heartburn happens when stomach acid splashes back into the esophagus. The corrosive chemicals are irritating to the delicate lining of the gullet. Though heartburn may sometimes feel like a heart attack, it does not cause one. If there is any question about the cause of chest pain, it warrants a visit to the ER for checking out. Many foods and drugs can make heartburn worse. Eating rapidly or overeating may also aggravate it. We agree that vinegar doesn’t sound like a logical thing to take for heartburn, but we have heard from several readers who found it helpful.
My wife and I both use plain old yellow mustard to combat indigestion or acid reflux. It works very well for us. If we swallow a spoonful of mustard before an Italian meal, we are okay.
Although mustard may seem like the last thing anyone would want to take for heartburn, we have heard from others that it can be helpful. The turmeric that makes mustard yellow was traditionally used for digestive upset in Chinese medicine. Mustard also contains vinegar, which some people find helpful against heartburn.
Joe Graedon & Terry Graedon, The People’s Pharmacy: Quick & Handy Home Remedies, published by National Geographic