How to Treat Heartburn and GERD Using Essential Oils
Feeling a burning sensation in your chest, just behind your breastbone? Chances are it could be a heartburn. Perhaps it’s the alcohol you drunk, or your recent visit to a fast food outlet or maybe the cigarette you smoke.
A heartburn is triggered by various things, but the main ones include a fatty meal, a big meal, smoking and alcohol. If the pain comes immediately after you’ve experienced one of those then it most certainly is a heartburn.
What is heartburn?
A heartburn is a symptom of acid reflux. Acid reflux is a condition where some of the acid contents in the stomach pass back into the esophagus (popularly known as the food pipe or gullet). It is that acidic material that causes the burning sensation in the lower chest. Pretty much every adult gets the occasional heartburn. In the US there are as many as 22 million cases of heartburn every single day.
It is worth noting that other than the pain you feel, a heartburn has no negative consequence on your overall health. That said, if you get more than two per week then you might be suffering from gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD or GORD) – a case of persistent heartburns.
Although GERD cases are fewer compared to normal heartburn cases, the former is still a common condition that affects as many as 18 to 28% of American adults. The number is higher in the Middle East (33%) and slightly lower in Europe (between 9 and 26%). East Asia has the lowest number of cases (between 2 and 8%). While the numbers only account for the adult population, even children can get GERD.
When to see a doctor
Some people use the terms ‘heartburn’ and ‘GERD’ interchangeably. The truth is that GERD is a more serious case of heartburn and may be a genuine cause for concern. If left untreated it can cause ulcers (which may bleed) in the esophagus. Ulcers are common causes of chronic anemia.
Additionally, the acid can damage the lining of your esophagus and make it hard for you to swallow, and although it is extremely rare, it can also lead to cancer of the esophagus.
On its part, while a mere heartburn might not have serious health implications, the pain that it brings will certainly make you uncomfortable. It can also lead to a condition known as esophagitis – an irritation or inflammation of the food pipe.
Perhaps an ideal way of dealing with a heartburn is dealing with its potential triggers. For example it is a good idea to avoid:
- eating fatty foods
- spicy foods
- drinking alcohol
Pregnancy, some medicines and obesity are also common causes of heartburn. When you are pregnant or obese (or overweight) the extra body mass (which is caused by excess fat in the case of obesity and an enlarged womb in the case of pregnancy) will exert some pressure on your stomach and force some food content back into the esophagus.
Heartburn and Pregnancy
If your heartburn is caused by pregnancy you have very little control over it. But if it is due to obesity or overweight it is highly advisable that you lose the excess weight, otherwise the consistent heartburns may lead to GERD and expose you to all the mentioned risks that come with it.
Regardless of the cause, a few lifestyle changes can really help you manage heartburn and GERD in an effective manner. One of the best ways to do that is using essential oils. They are highly effective at preventing and treating heartburn as well as GERD. Considering that prescription drugs for heartburn and GERD cost as much as $270 for generic and $410 for brand name meds, it is safe to say that essential oils (which typically cost tens of dollars) are also the most affordable options.
Essential Oil for Heartburn
Evidence suggests that certain essential oils may relieve acid reflux – the primary cause of heartburn. There are also those that are great at relieving the pain that comes with a heartburn while others are perfect remedies for inflammation of the esophagus. Here is a list of the best picks and how they can help you deal with heartburns effectively.
Ginger essential oil prevents the stomach from producing excess acid during the digestive process. When food moves back in the food pipe it will have little to no burning effect. It is best to use ginger just before meals.
One of the best essential oils for indigestion, peppermint oil also helps prevent acid reflux. It is also a great pain reliever that will help alleviate the burning sensation of a heartburn.
Valerian oil relaxes body muscles, including those of the esophagus. Ultimately it helps prevent spasms and refluxes that can force stomach acid into the food pipe.
Eucalyptus oil has anti-inflammatory properties. You may want to use it if you get a scratchy feeling caused by heartburn. It will heal the esophageal muscles together with any internal burns that may have been caused by the acid reflux.
Just like eucalyptus oil, rosemary oil is great for treating the symptoms of heartburn. You can use it for pain relief, but its anti-inflammatory qualities make it particularly great for healing any muscular and tissue injuries caused by acid refluxes.
Juniper oil is one of the best pain killers today. That explains why it is a popular remedy for symptoms of hemorrhoids, dysmenorrhea, colitis and many other illnesses that come with extreme pain. It does make a good remedy if you experience excruciating pain caused by heartburns or GERD.
Cayenne essential oil is as good a pain reliever as juniper oil. If your heartburn comes with extreme pain that deters you from your daily activities you may want to use this oil as a remedy.
Best Essential Oils for Heartburn on the Market Today
Even with a clear idea of the essential oils that are good for treating heartburn, choosing one or two brands can still be an uphill climb. There are so many manufacturers today what with the growing popularity of these magical oils. But not all brands are equal. While some have uncompromised quality, others are nowhere close to perfection.
You definitely don’t want to choose an essential oil that is short on quality. It might have severely negative effects. Remember that your body will absorb the particles, and the last thing you want is to cause more damage in an attempt to treat heartburns or GERD. We have taken the liberty to highlight the two most recommended brands of essential oils for heartburn. Hopefully this section can help you choose good brands in case you need more than two.
Manufacturer: Edens Garden
Price: $39.95 for a set with 10ml bottles
Amazon rating: 4.6 stars after 4,419 customer reviews
This set comes as a package of six different essential oils, namely peppermint, eucalyptus, lavender, lemon, sweet orange and tea tree essential oils. Peppermint is one of the best at preventing stomach refluxes. It ensures that food doesn’t climb up the food pipe from the stomach. But that’s not all, this multipurpose oil also helps with indigestion and pain relief.
Eucalyptus has anti-inflammatory properties. Heartburns are very unpredictable. You can’t know when one will strike, so that makes it a bit hard to prepare in advance. But in case you get an attack that results in the inflammation of your esophagus, you can use this eucalyptus oil to treat it and also heal any physical injuries that may have resulted from the acid.
The same goes for lavender and tea tree. They treat inflammation and also come with added benefits like balancing your mood.
Contrary to what most people think, lemon and orange oils are actually good for your stomach. They encourage the digestive tract to release only the required enzymes and in the right amounts. That reduces the amount of acid in the stomach significantly. In case you get an acid reflux it will have very little to no effect.
It is worth noting that all the oils in this set are 100% pure and natural. The default set comes with 10ml bottles but options also include 5, 30 and 100 ml bottles. The manufacturer – Edens Garden – contributes 10% of all proceeds from the sale of these oils to charity. If you wish to see a better world in the near future then that should give you a very big reason to buy this set.
Manufacturer: Organic Aromas
Amazon rating: 4.7 stars after 53 customer reviews
The packaging of this set is just as appealing as the oils that it comes with. The sleek box features a patented, one of a kind design that holds six different essential oil blends, each in a 10ml bottle.
It’s always a good idea to buy essential oils as blends rather than single oils. That way you get so many different oils in a single bottle. This particular product has over 30 different essential oils packed in 6 blends. They range from the popular options like lavender to the less popular ones like patchouli. But more importantly you get all the oils you need to treat heartburns.
Here are some of them:
- Thievery blend- contains eucalyptus and rosemary as the main heartburn relieving oils. Others are cinnamon and lemon.
- Passion blend- has ginger. Additional oils include ylang ylang, patchouli, orange and sandalwood.
- Purity blend- contains rosemary as the primary remedy for heartburn. Other oils are lemongrass, camphor, tea tree, citronella and lavender.
- Serenity blend- has lavender, ylang ylang, lime and cedarwood.
- Energy blend- features rosewood, spearmint, peppermint, tangerine and melissa.
- Signature blend- has clary sage, elemi, bergamot and chamomile.
You may want to know that while some of Organic Aromas’ essential oils are official certified as purely organic, these are not. However, the company still uses the same process to extract and purify these oils. That’s why they are very concentrated. You’ll need just a few drops, whether you are using them in a diffuser or for massage.