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Do you have a burning feeling in your stomach, chest and/or throat after you eat? Does your chest feel like it’s on fire when you lay down to bed at night? Do acidic foods such as citrus, tomato and chocolate make your symptoms worse? If so, you have acid reflux.

Below are ten natural remedies for the treatment of acid reflux.

Apple Cider Vinegar 

While it may seem counterintuitive to put more acid into your body when you’re already suffering, there are multitudes of positive accounts of those who have used it to treat their acid reflux. Suggested use: Take 2 teaspoons of apple cider vinegar in water 3 times per day or take 2 teaspoons of apple cider vinegar twenty minutes before a meal.

Baking soda

Suggested use: If you’re having an attack of acid reflux, drinking a few tablespoons of baking soda mixed into lukewarm water will neutralize the acid and ease your symptoms.

Activated charcoal

Activated charcoal taken in pill form will absorb the excess acid in your stomach and relieve the symptoms of acid reflux.

 Caution:

If you are taking a prescription, consult your healthcare provider before taking activated charcoal, as this treatment will interfere with the effectiveness of your medication.

Digestive enzymes

Digestive enzymes containing pineapple and papaya help ease the discomfort of acid reflux by helping digest proteins and promote a natural acid/alkaline balance in the body. For more on digestive enzymes, click here.

Caution:

Digestive enzymes can sometimes produce a laxative effect as the body cleans out toxins. This is part of the healing process. Begin slowly at first to see how you’ll react.

Aloe Vera Juice

Aloe Vera Juice helps to sooth the irritation in the throat and esophagus of those suffering from acid reflux. Suggested use: Take ¼ cup twenty minutes before a meal.

Caution:  

Use only Aloe Vera juice made for internal use. The use of a leaf directly from a plant has a powerful laxative effect and should not be used for this purpose.

Extra Virgin Pine Nut Oil

Extra Virgin Pine Nut oil is used in Russia, Europe and China for a wide array of digestive maladies including acid reflux. Extra Virgin Pine Nut Oil has a powerful anti-inflammatory property and offers a soothing, protective effect on the digestive system.

Yogurt 

Yogurt contains probiotics, which are part of the three main necessities of good digestion (the other two being digestive enzymes and fiber). Probiotics are “friendly bacteria” that help the body to digest, absorb and assimilate food properly. Probiotics also help “crowd out” harmful bacteria in the gut which can interfere with digestion.

Ginger

Ginger has a soothing effect on the digestive system by helping regulate and normalize the flow of digestive juices. If your natural stomach acid is regulated, you have less of a chance of occurrence of reflux.

Slippery elm 

Slippery Elm is a “demulcent” or soothing herb with powerful anti-inflammatory and healing properties. When taken internally, this herb soothes the irritated tissues of the digestive system and promotes healing.

Chewable DGL

DGL is a licorice herb that has had the glycyrrhizin removed so that it could be used without causing water retention or hypertension (high blood pressure). Chewable DGL is enzymatic therapy designed to support the stomach lining and intestinal tract.

Remember, acid reflux is a sign that your natural digestive process is out of balance. Taking over-the-counter acid pills, chewable antacids and/or prescriptions will only mask the symptoms and, in the long run, make the problem worse. If you can get to the source of the problem and get your digestive system back in balance, your acid reflux will disappear naturally as your body heals.

As always, if you have serious health problems and/or have medical questions, please contact your healthcare provider.

For more healthy, natural products I recommend check out the Product Review Page on my website.

photo © Julia Freeman-Woolpert

This article is intellectual property © Jaime A. Heidel 2010

All Rights Reserved

“Let your food be medicine and your medicine be food.” ~ Hippocrates

 

The father of medicine knew what he was talking about. While modern or “allopathic” medicine has been around for only a little over one hundred years, natural medicine (including the use of kitchen herbs as medicinals) has been around for millennia.

Garlic is personal favorite of mine. I discovered its benefits when I was doing some research on candida and how to cure it naturally. Garlic is a powerful antifungal and antibacterial and can prevent a cold when taken regularly and/or speed up the healing process when sick.

Because of its blood cleansing properties, garlic has been known to improve in the healing of acne, high cholesterol and blood clots. The best way to eat garlic is to cut or chop it up and put it into food raw. Putting garlic in the microwave kills the active ingredients so if you plan to heat it up, do so by stovetop or oven. When cooking food, it is best to wait until the last ten minutes before adding the garlic so as not to “cook out” all of the active ingredients.

If you’re interested in the benefits of garlic but are concerned about garlic breath, you can take a garlic supplement instead.

Below, I’ve included a recipe I concocted when sick a few months back. If you’ve got a cold or bacterial infection, this recipe packs a wallop!

Antibacterial tomato juice

4 oz tomato juice

1-2 cloves garlic

A dash of oregano

A dash of cloves

A dash of cayenne pepper

A dash of turmeric

A pinch of salt

Pour the tomato juice into a 4 oz glass, chop or mince one to two cloves of garlic and add it to the juice, then add the rest of the spices. Mix it all together with a teaspoon and down the hatch. It will clear our your sinuses and may burn a little going down. Remember to always use care especially with cayenne pepper, as it is a hot spice.

Caution:

If you are on an anticoagulant (blood thinner), consult with your health care provider before using garlic. Excessive garlic consumption can aggravate the digestive system so start slowly to see how your body will react. If you have any other concerns, consult your health care provider.

For more healthy, natural products I recommend check out the Product Review Page on my website.

photo © Alessandro Paiva

This article is intellectual property © Jaime A. Heidel 2010

All Rights Reserved

Leaky Gut Syndrome

So far, I’ve talked about parasites, food allergies and the benefits of digestive enzymes. Now, it’s time to talk about something called leaky gut syndrome. Many autoimmune disorders have been traced back to increased gut permeability (leaky gut).

 

Just what is leaky gut?

In a person with leaky gut, the stomach lining is more porous than it should be, allowing protein molecules to slip through the gut and enter the blood stream where it causes an autoimmune response.

What causes leaky gut?

  • Prolonged/chronic antibiotic use
  • Parasites
  • Food allergies/intolerance
  • Low stomach acid
  • Food additives and preservatives
  • Alcohol consumption
  • Caffeine consumption
  • Oral contraceptives

How can leaky gut be treated?

  • Probiotics
  • Digestive enzymes
  • Fiber
  • Herbs

Probiotics are live, active cultures found in yogurt, kefir and tempeh. They are the “friendly bacteria” that protect your body from invading organisms, break down food and produce vitamins in the intestinal tract.

You may be thinking, “Okay, I can just eat more yogurt then, right?”

Not really. There aren’t enough live, active cultures in yogurt to give you the type of benefit you’d need to begin healing leaky gut and its related autoimmune effects. It is recommended that you supplement your diet with probiotics containing 1-20 billion CFUs (Colony Forming Units). Use a probiotic that requires refrigeration or is ‘shelf-stable’ to ensure your body is receiving an optimal dose of these live, active cultures.

Probiotic supplementation has been known to not only improve proper absorption of nutrients and help heal leaky gut; it has also been linked to helping improve symptoms of those who suffer with irritable bowel syndrome, inflammatory bowel disease, ulceritive colitis, high cholesterol, high blood pressure and inflammation. It improves immune system function, prevents infection and has even been touted as an anticarcinogenic (anti-cancer).

Caution:

Start slow with probiotics. Begin with a dose of 1-3 billion CFUs once per day at first, and then gradually increase your dosage based on its effect on your symptoms. Some people will notice ‘die off’ symptoms similar to those being treated for parasite infection. Those symptoms could be diarrhea, headache, bloating and gas as toxins are expelled from the body. This is temporary and a part of the body’s healing process. Lactose intolerant people and vegetarians should use a probiotic that is rice-based. If you have pancreatitis, consult your doctor before using probiotics. It is advisable to consult your healthcare practitioner before adding probiotics or other supplements to your diet.

Digestive Enzymes

Fiber is a very important element in the digestive process that is missing from today’s high-fat, sugary, processed diet. Few people get their recommended daily serving of fruits and vegetables. Therefore, it is important to add this essential ingredient into our diets through a bulk fiber supplement.

Bulk fiber acts as a sponge, which absorbs waste, water and toxins in the intestine. This helps form a soft, bulky stool that can be then quickly and smoothly eliminated from the body. This is especially essential for those with leaky gut and related autoimmune disease as those with these conditions produce far more toxins in the body than healthier individuals. A good bulk fiber I’ve used for years is called psyllium fiber. It can be taken mixed with water or in tablet form. Psyllium fiber helps to lubricate and heal damaged intestinal walls.

There are three herbs I have personally used for my digestive health. Those are turmeric, gentain root and ginger. Turmeric acts as an anti-inflammatory and helps strengthen the intestinal walls, decreasing gut permeability. Gentain root promotes the production of gastric juices and bile. Ginger also aids in digestion by stimulating bile flow and helps relieve bloating and flatulence.

If you’ve been suffering with autoimmune-related health problems, leaky gut may be the source. Help reverse the effects and you’ll discover a whole new world of good health!

For more healthy, natural products I recommend check out the Product Review Page on my website.

photo © Sumners Graphics

This article is intellectual property © Jaime A. Heidel 2010

All Rights Reserved 

 

Do you suffer from any of the following symptoms?

  • Chronic diarrhea/and or alternating with constipation
  • Multiple food allergies
  • Changes in appetite
  • Sudden weight loss
  • Insomnia
  • Anxiety/Irritability
  • Brain fog
  • Bloating
  • Muscle pain
  • Sore intestines
  • Gurgling intestines
  • Anal itching
  • Yeast infections
  • Itching on the soles of the feet
  • Fowl-smelling gas
  • Dizziness
  • Nausea/vomiting
  • Anemia
  • Conjunctivitis
  • Palpitations (indicates hookworms)
  • Coughing bloody sputum (in some cases)

Then you might have parasites. According to research, over 50% of Americans are infected with some type of parasite. Not only can parasites be picked up from eating undercooked meat, walking barefoot in gardening soil and sexual contact, they can also be transmitted through your pets, a mosquito bite (they carry dog heartworm) or simply by breathing or drinking tap water! In other words, it’s very easy to get them! So how can you get rid of them?

The following are the most effective natural methods for getting rid of parasites:

  • Black Walnut Hulls
  • Wormwood
  • Cloves
  • Caprylic Acid
  • Grape Seed Extract
  • Pau D’Arco
  • Male Fern
  • Garlic
  • Cranberry Powder
  • Pumpkin Seeds
  • Fennel
  • Sage
  • Thyme

The three most important methods are the first three, Black Walnut Hulls, Wormwood and Cloves.

Black Walnut Hulls oxygenates the blood, which helps kill parasites, and acts as a laxative to help expel the worms from the body. Wormwood asks as an anesthetic to the worm, which helps loosen its grip on the intestines so that it can pass from the system. Cloves are antibacterial, antiparasite and antifungal and are most effective when fresh.

The parasites are gone. Now what?

Now it’s time to help your body heal. Introduce a good probiotic to your diet (live acidophilus requiring refrigeration is best) to help rebuild healthy intestinal flora. Turmeric is also useful in this. Use a bulk fiber (such as psyllium) to flush wastes and toxins left from the die-off of parasites. Milk thistle is good for healing and rebuilding the liver and pure aloe vera juice will soothe the irritated digestive tract.

Caution:

You may experience “die off” or flu like symptoms such as fatigue, brain fog, diarrhea, chills, fever, body aches and excess mucus in the nose and chest as your body releases toxins. This is temporary and part of the healing process. Start off slowly, with the lowest dose of the remedy/remedies to see how your body will respond. If you have a serious medical condition, consult your healthcare provider before embarking on a parasite cleanse.

For more healthy, natural products I recommend check out the Product Review Page on my website.

This article is intellectual property © Jaime A. Heidel 2010

All Rights Reserved

Do you have unexplained symptoms? Have you gone to doctor after doctor and taken test after test just to have the health professionals you’re going to for help insist they can find nothing wrong with you?

I feel your pain.

I was sick from birth. As an infant, I had terrible colic, threw up constantly and did nothing but scream and cry most of the day unless I was passed out from exhaustion. In early childhood I had terrible behavioral and cognitive problems that only grew worse as I went into my teenage years.

I moved out on my own at 17 and continued to go to doctors trying to find out what was causing the constant stomach and muscle pain. I didn’t know at the time that the emotional and behavioral problems were linked to the same culprit. It wasn’t until my hair started falling out and my weight dropped drastically that I went to a naturopath for the first time.

He looked over my medical records, my symptoms and my behavior and knew, almost instantly, that my problem was food intolerance related.

Eight years later, I’m following a healthy diet free of the foods that used to make me sick from head to toe; gluten, corn and processed sugars and to a lesser degree, beans and peanuts and I’ve never been healthier in my life.

Do you have a food allergy or intolerance?

Food intolerance has been linked to the following health problems:

  • Sinusitis
  • Irritable Bowel Syndrome
  • Inflammatory Bowel Disease
  • Constipation
  • Diarrhea
  • Headache
  • Skin rashes
  • Insomnia
  • Irritability
  • Anxiety
  • Brain fog
  • Delayed learning
  • Behavioral/cognitive problems
  • Muscle pain
  • Flatulence
  • Candida (yeast)

among others.

As the digestive system struggles to assimilate what it is sensitive to, the body produces an inflammatory response causing one or more of the above symptoms.

Intolerance to wheat gluten has even been linked to autism spectrum disorders.

Also, those who suffer from autoimmune disorders such as fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome may develop food sensitivities that can worsen the symptoms of these conditions.

So what do you do if you believe your symptoms may be linked to food sensitivity?

While some would advise a blood test either done at your doctor’s office or through a home self-testing kit, my advice is to avoid this. Research shows, since we all make antibodies to the food we eat, blood tests for food sensitivity are too inconclusive to be of benefit.

Instead, try an elimination diet followed by the reintroduction of the most common foods that cause symptoms of intolerance. These being wheat, gluten, dairy, corn, soy, egg, citrus, nuts and seafood. 

The best example of an elimination diet I have recently come across is under the link below.

Elimination Diet

 Though it is categorized under fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome, this elimination diet can be used by anybody who is looking to see if food sensitivity is the cause of their chronic ill health.

I would offer the diet I followed myself but it was mostly rice and vegetables and the above list has much more variety. 😉

Remember to keep a journal of what you’ve eaten throughout the day and don’t give up. It’s tedious at first but the results are absolutely worth the journey.

Good luck and happy hunting!

Check out the Product Review Page on my website for a list of natural products I’ve used to improve my digestive health.

This article is intellectual property © Jaime A. Heidel 2010

All Rights Reserved

You are what you eat, or so the old saying goes. But if you’re not digesting what you’re ingesting, your health is suffering.

Eating whole, raw foods helps start the process of digestion so your body only needs to supply a little of its own natural enzymes. The problem is, most people eat processed, overcooked foods and the pancreas has to work overtime to digest them. This places stress on the system as it spends more energy processing food than doing what it’s supposed to do; repairing damaged cells and keeping the immune system strong.

This is why over-the-counter antacids and other stomach remedies are immune from the economic downturn. We’re so used to eating foods our body has difficulty processing we think that flatulence, indigestion and irregularity are normal!

Not so.  And this is where supplementing your diet with digestive enzymes comes in. They help the body break down, absorb and assimilate the nutrients in the food we eat. This gives our pancreas a break, which, in turn, allows the body to heal.

I’ve personally experienced the wonders of digestive aids.

Even after eliminating the foods I was intolerant to, I still suffered from stomach distress, muscle/joint inflammation, headaches, sinus congestion and post-nasal drip. Compared to the pain I had been in, this was still a great improvement but when I ran across an article three years ago touting the benefits of digestive enzymes, I decided I’d give them a try.

The difference was like night and day.

The stomach cramping and gurgling I always experienced after eating went away, I became regular for the first time in my life and the constant low-grade muscle pain that had been in the background twenty-four hours a day all but disappeared. Because of digestive enzymes, I’m no longer limited to a diet of brown rice, steamed vegetables and plain chicken. Other than wheat, gluten, corn, beans and peanuts, I can eat just about anything I want.

The added bonus is since I’ve started taking digestive aids, my immune system has healed which, in turn, makes my body better able to assimilate, process and absorb foods on its own!

Digestive enzymes have been known to help people who suffer from acid reflux, food allergies, Crohn’s disease, sinusitis, irregularity, flatulence, candida (yeast) and much more.

If you have a weakened immune system or an autoimmune disease, you will definitely benefit from the use of digestive enzymes. Your body will spend less time struggling to process the food you’re eating and all that extra energy will go toward helping you heal.

And while you’re at it, trade in a few of those Big Mac’s for salads filled with dark, leafy greens, organic chicken, nuts and your favorite dressing. Your body will thank you. 🙂

Caution:

If you have never used a digestive enzyme before, start out slowly to see how you react. Some may experience loose stools as the body rids itself of toxins. This is especially true if your diet is rich in processed food. If you have an acute medical condition, consult your healthcare provider before trying any new supplement.

For more healthy, natural products I recommend check out the Product Review Page on my website.

This article is intellectual property © Jaime A. Heidel 2010

All Rights Reserved

So you’ve done yard work for the first time in months and you just know you’re going to be sore when you wake up in the morning. Just reach for some menthol-heavy cream and ibuprofen right? Not necessarily.

There’s a more natural (and less expensive) way of easing your aching muscles. Plus, there are some great added benefits!

Epsom salt is magnesium sulfate; an element our bodies need but do not absorb enough of through diet alone.

Just a fifteen-minute soak in a hot bath filled with 4 cups of Epsom salt draws toxins from the body, relieves stress and reduces inflammation. Another benefit is Epsom salt’s ability to regulate the body’s electrolytes. This improves nerve system function which alleviates anxiety and induces a deeper, more restful sleep. The sulfate in Epsom salt also stimulates digestion and improves the body’s ability to absorb nutrients.

I’ve used Epsom salt for years to help with anxiety and ease inflammation due to my body’s autoimmune response. It’s real medicine and it works.

At less than two dollars a pound, you can’t go wrong with this tried-and-true folk remedy!

Caution:

If you haven’t done an Epsom salt soak before, use 1 cup of Epsom salt to start. Soaking in magnesium sulfate can cause feelings of lightheadedness and it’s best to begin gradually to see how you’ll react. Do not soak in Epsom salts if you are pregnant or allergic to sulfur. If you have a specific medical concern, seek the advice of your healthcare practitioner before using Epsom salt.

For more healthy, natural products I recommend check out the Product Review Page on my website.

This article is intellectual property © Jaime A. Heidel 2010

All Rights Reserved

An ounce of prevention

My favorite quote of all time has to be, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” ~ Benjamin Franklin. One of his similar but less familiar quote is, “It is easier to build strong children than to repair broken men.” Mr. Franklin imparted great wisdom in his time and it still holds true today. It is so much more difficult (not to mention so much more costly) to take care of a health problem after it’s already gotten completely out of control than it is to prevent it in the first place.

We are a nation of instant gratification and quick fixes. Therefore, to some of the more comfortable and sedentary among us, the idea of solving a health problem with more effort than it takes to swallow a prescription can be a bit of a turn-off.

Understandable. Which is why my advice is to take baby steps.

Eight years ago, the health problems I’d had since childhood went from bad to worse. My digestive system was terrible. I had no energy. I was down to ninety pounds and my hair had begun to fall out.

Desperate, I went to a naturopathic physician for help. He said something that surprised me. The problem I was having could be food-related. He put me on an elimination diet which basically meant I could eat nothing but rice and vegetables for a week or so and then, I was to gradually reintroduce foods to see what I reacted to. Well, other than being grouchy at the bland diet, for the first time in 22 years, I didn’t have terrible pain in my stomach. The fog that had been in my brain since birth began to clear. I could suddenly breathe through my nose. My anxiety calmed. 

When I did reintroduce foods, I found I reacted to wheat, gluten, corn syrup, beans and peanuts.

This fascinated me. That I could be so physically and mentally ill from FOOD was amazing! It sent me on a journey to better understand the human body/mind connection. I began to practice yoga and meditation, kept a food journal to see what form of nourishment my body best operated on and began experimenting with supplements.

The more I learned, the more I wanted to. I tried accupuncture, Reiki, homeopathy and went back to the days of old and studied simple home remedies.

Eight years later, I’ve had quite the accidental education. That’s what this blog is going to be dedicated to; what I’ve learned.

If you’re suffering from health problems and the doctors are still scratching their heads and telling you it’s “all in your head” trust me, I feel your pain.

There are simple ways to prevent illness of all kinds, not just food intolerances or autoimmune diseases.

So go brew yourself a good hot cup of organic green tea, put on some relaxing music and stay a while.

Your mind and body will thank you and the next time you go back to that doctor who didn’t believe you, you too can tell him, “I Told You I Was Sick.”

😉

For healthy, natural products I recommend check out the Product Review Page on my website.

This article is intellectual property © Jaime A. Heidel 2010

All Rights Reserved