Could Ginger be Your Cure-All for Heartburn?
11. 27. 2017
When heartburn strikes, where do you turn? Antacids and proton-pump inhibitors can be helpful in some situations, but some of the best cures for indigestion and reflux can be found in nature. There’s some truth to those old wives’ tales and home remedies that Grandma used to make. When it comes to healing heartburn, you may want to explore the soothing power of ginger.
The history of ginger
What we commonly call ginger is the rhizome, or root, of a flowering plant that originated in the rainforest of southern Asia. Ginger has been used for generations for two basic purposes: as a spice and as a folk medicine. With narrow green leaves and yellow flowers, the ginger plant is in the same family as turmeric and cardamom, two other plants which are used to flavor Asian dishes. In the 15th century, ginger plants were introduced to the western hemisphere when they were carried on ships and grown in the Caribbean islands.
The healing properties of ginger
Across the globe, ginger is used to treat various digestive issues from nausea to indigestion. Ginger is believed to help protect against heartburn by preventing the lower esophageal sphincter (LES) from loosening and allowing acid to seep back up into the esophagus and cause painful reflux. Additionally, ginger can kill the harmful bacteria that is linked to acid reflux.
A 2007 study published in Molecular Research and Food Nutrition compared the anti-ulcer and anti-Helicobacter pylori (bacteria that causes ulcers) properties of ginger and conventional acid-blockers like Lansoprazole or Prevacid. Ginger was shown to be six to eight times more effective in relieving symptoms of acid reflux. This is because ginger does not block acid or remove the stomach acid barrier, which makes the digestive system prone to infection. It naturally inhibits acid reflux and reduces inflammation through antioxidants like polyphenols, vitamin C, beta carotene, flavonoids and tannins (Source: Natural Society).
Researchers believe that the antioxidants and anti-inflammatory chemicals in ginger work primarily in the stomach and intestines, but they may work in the brain and nervous system as well. Ginger also contains high levels of melatonin, a hormone that helps the body relax and regulate sleep.
Uses and doses of ginger
If you are experiencing heartburn or acid reflux, there are countless ways that you can add ginger to your diet to reap its digestive benefits. Brew some ginger tea, grate the root into a salad or squeeze the juice into a smoothie and experience the ancient power of this mystical cure-all root that has fascinated cultures across the globe. The recommended daily dose of ginger is 4 grams, in any form, but talk to your doctor if you suffer from ulcers or bleeding disorders or if you are taking blood thinners or aspirin.
In most cases, ginger is an easy, inexpensive way to naturally soothe the discomfort of heartburn and acid reflux. However, it should not replace a doctor’s care. If you are experiencing chronic heartburn, make an appointment with your doctor to discuss your symptoms. Heartburn could be an indicator of a more serious problem.