Indian Grandma’s Home Remedies for Heartburn that Work!
I feel like Indian wisdom becomes everyday more relevant, and Indian home remedies for heartburn are no exception. You can try lots of other natural remedies to prevent heartburn, but only Indian home remedies can make you smell and feel so good.
This is going to be a longer article than usual, as I decided to put together the knowledge I gathered from different Indian sources, namely yoga, ayurveda, and my grandmother of course! So be prepared for some movement and lots of spices in this incredibly thorough article on Indian home remedies for heartburn!
You can jump to the section you are interested in by clicking on the links below:
Why Indian Remedies for Heartburn are Important
Before we talk about Indian home remedies for stomach acidity, what is heartburn? Heartburn, indigestion, or reflux consist of a burning sensation at the centre of the chest. Heartburn can cause vomiting, coughing, bad breath (check out our effective Indian remedies for bad breath), fatigue, and sleep issues.
Many over-the-counter heartburn relief drugs have side effects, do not solve the problem from the root, and are not safe in pregnancy. Enough reasons to try the 100% natural Indian home remedies for heartburn I’m about to list.
Indian Traditional Remedies for Heartburn
If you read this website, you might have noticed most Indian home remedies have something in common: they are natural, they use everyday household ingredients, and they are cheap. And Indian home remedies for stomach acidity are no exception.
Yogurt drink – Lassi – लस्सी
Drinking lassi (a yoghurt based drink) after every meal reduces heartburn for 2 reasons. First of all because it is a fermented drink that increases good bacteria that help digestion; secondly, studies have demonstrated the effectiveness of calcium (contained in yogurt) against heartburn.
Buttermilk – Chas – छाछ
Buttermilk is used to combat heartburn for the same reasons as lassi. The lactic acid in buttermilk establishes a good Ph in the stomach. Moreover, buttermilk is a sattvic drink in ayurveda, which means it has the power of making you feel lighter by easing digestion. This natural probiotic is widely consumed after meals in India as an ayurvedic remedy for heartburn, and rightly so!
Ginger – Adrak – अदरक
This is an Indian home remedy for heartburn that gained worldwide popularity. Ginger, a key ingredient in most Indian dishes, prevents stomach acids from travelling up the esophagus, and reduces inflammation. If you suffer from heartburn, apart from eating ginger-rich Indian food, drink a ginger infusion after your meals.
Basil – Tulsi – तुलसी
A great Indian remedy for stomach acidity is basil, which you can either chew or let infuse in warm water. Basil stimulates the stomach to produce a kind of protective mucus that reduces inflammation.
Fennel seeds – Saunf – सौंफ
Fennel seeds are a popular digestive ingredient in Indian folk medicine, so much so that they are the main ingredient of most after-meal mukhwas and healthy paan mouth fresheners. To relieve your heartburn, simply chew a few fennel seeds or make a fennel tea.
Cinnamon – Dalchini – दालचीनी
Cinnamon has soothing and antibacterial properties. However, while some people benefit from adding a pinch of cinnamon to their yoghurt, others do not digest it well. Just try a couple of times and see if it helps.
Jaggery – Gur – गुड़
This is the king of Indian grandma’s remedies against heartburn. Virtually all Indian grandparents know of this! The high magnesium content makes jaggery an ally to intestinal health. Moreover, a glass of icy water with some jaggery will provide immediate relief from heartburn.
Cloves – Laung – लौंग
Cloves are used in both Chinese traditional medicine and Ayurveda to ease digestion and prevent gas formation. Cloves increase saliva production and relax the contraction of digestive muscles, thus preventing heartburn from occurring.
Cumin – Jeera जीरा
Cumin seeds provide instant heartburn relief. Try drinking some cumin water to see whether this Indian remedy for heartburn works for you.
Coconut water is used as a home remedy for heartburn in coastal India because it makes the stomach’s pH turn alkaline, and stimulates mucus production in the stomach walls.
Among all of these wonderful Indian ingredients used as Indian home remedies for stomach acidity, I feel cardamom deserves a special mention. So our next section will be about cardamom for heartburn.
Cardamom Tea for Heartburn
Cardamom – Elaichi – इलायची
In India, cardamom is not only used for cooking, but is consumed after meals too. Wonder why? Because cardamom has carminative properties that ease digestion and cure the bad breath which often accompanies heartburn. Let’s clarify how cardamom acts on heartburn…
Does cardamom cause acidity? Absolutely not! Cardamom is NOT one of the spices to avoid if you suffer from heartburn.
Is cardamom good for heartburn? Cardamom is actually one of the best Indian remedies for heartburn. Cardamom strengthens the internal mucous that protects the stomach from irritating foods, and reduces gas. Cardamom is also known to increase saliva production, which is key to good digestion.
In Ayurveda, cardamom seeds are used as a quick heartburn remedy. In fact, its alkaline properties make the stomach environment less acidic. The magic pod does not only relieve heartburn. Thanks to its phytochemical cineole content, cardamom is a natural remedy for bad breath, nausea, intestinal spasms, and other digestive problems. A wonderful Indian home remedy for stomach acidity!
I will give you a few cardamom tea for heartburn recipes, but if you want a quick fix, simply chewing on a cardamom pod after every meal will provide instant relief.
Cardamom tea for heartburn #1
Just boil 2 cardamom pods in a cup of water for 5 minutes
Drink while still warm to relieve your heartburn instantly
Cardamom tea for heartburn #2
3 pods cardamom
1 inch ginger
Grind the ingredients together to obtain a liquidish paste
Drink 3 tablespoons of the mixture after your main meal
Cardamom tea for heartburn #3
3 cardamom pod
5 coriander seeds (dhania seeds)
1 cup water
Boil cardamom pods and coriander seeds in water for 5 minutes
Blend until combined
Drink 3 tablespoons of the mixture after dinner
IMPORTANT: do not consume cardamom tea for heartburn if you have gallstones, as cardamom can trigger gallstones colics (in people who already have gallstones).
Next in the list, a more medical approach to Indian remedies for heartburn: Ayurvedic medicine for stomach acidity
Ayurvedic Treatment for Heartburn
Before we see how to reduce acidity in the stomach with Ayurveda, let’s see how stomach acidity or heartburn occur according to Ayurveda. Agni, the “fire” in charge of digestion, is a vital force for all living beings. When we eat the wrong food for our particular physical and emotional structure, we put agni’s balance at risk. In other words, we cause metabolic or digestive disease, ama in Sanskrit.
Ayurveda attributes hyperacidity (amlapitta) and acid reflux (urdhva gata amalpitta) to different causes: unhealthy habits, pregnancy, obesity, or stress. Unhealthy habits include overeating, skipping meals, and leading an excessively fast-paced life. To be more specific, heartburn in Ayurveda is a manifestation of an imbalance affecting the pitta dosha. It occurs when this dosha becomes too “fiery”, and that is why it is often accompanied by high blood pressure, skin reddening, and anger. So how to reduce acidity in Ayurveda? In order to balance this metabolic fire, the ancient medicine recommends the intake of cooling foods, medicinal herbs, and the practice of relaxation techniques. So any Ayurvedic treatment for heartburn involves working towards a healthier lifestyle.
How to Reduce Acidity in Ayurveda
Foods to avoid
Chili pepper, fried food, processed food, mustard, excessive garlic and onion, empty crabs, chocolate, large quantities of oil, caffeinated drinks, tea, alcohol, food prepared several days in advance (even if it’s not rotten it loses it vitality and it is more difficult to digest), ice water, heavy and abundant meals
Whole wheat, rice, green gram, coconut water, bitter gourd, pumpkin, green vegetables, gooseberry, pomegranate, figs, sweet lime, amla juice, laja peya (puffed rice), lots of warm water (water should ideally be consumed warm throughout the day)
Good habits to implement
Drinking lots of water, eating roughly at the same time every day, waiting at least 3 hours (full digestion) in between meals, small meals (no fasting or overeating), eating only if hungry, chewing properly, eating dinner early, light walking after dinner, getting enough sleep, good balance between activity and rest (days should not be too fast paced and stressful nor too lethargic), cultivating positive emotions of peace and contempt, practicing yoga, pranayama, and meditation
Ayurvedic Home Remedies for Heartburn
We can divide the Ayurvedic treatment for heartburn into Ayurvedic home remedies for heartburn and Ayurvedic medicines for stomach acidity. If your heartburn is mild, try the home remedies before considering more medical approaches. Do not take Ayurvedic medicines for stomach acidity without having consulted an Ayurvedic doctor.
Here are the best Ayurvedic home remedies for heartburn:
- 3 cups a day of warm milk with the addition of a teaspoon of ghee
- Daily dadimpak (pomegranate juice syrup), moramla (amla jam), or gulkand (rose petal jam) – you can alternate!
- Daily intake of amla (Indian gooseberry). Whenever you can, take it together with Haritaki powder
- Drink buttermilk (containing real probiotics) every morning
- Daily infusions made with water and fennel seeds
- To relieve acute reflux eat some tulsi (basil), chew fennel seeds; or dissolve some jaggery in water and sip frequently
Amla needs a special mention among Indian home remedies for heartburn. Because the Indian gooseberry is considered Sattvik in Ayurveda, it is indicated whenever we need to calm our body, including digestive organs. Plus, amla is a superfood containing loads of vitamin C, which strengthens the overall immune system. That is why if you must try only one Ayurvedic remedy against heartburn, it should be amla.
Ayurvedic Recipe for Heartburn
The list of ingredients might be a bit long, but believe me, this is one of the best Indian home remedies for heartburn, plus it’ll make your breath smell amazing!
1 tsp fennel seeds (saunf)
5 cardamom pods (elaichi)
1 tsp clarified butter (ghee)
3 basil leaves (tulsi)
3 cups warm water
Make an infusion using the above ingredients
Let simmer for 5 minutes and then sieve
Warm up before drinking
*It lasts up to 3 days in the fridge
Ayurvedic Medicine for Stomach Acidity
If lifestyle changes are not enough, there are ayurvedic medical treatments (including ayurvedic medicine for heartburn) you can try under the supervision of a certified ayurvedic doctor. These treatments are all aimed at pacifying the pitta dosha.
First of all you should try the following Ayurveda natural medicines for heartburn, in small amounts:
- Indian gooseberry (amalaki)
- medical ginger (sunthi)
- Bengali dill seeds (Shatapuspa)
- Kamdudha Ras, Narikel Lavan and Avipattikar churna can be taken before eating to suppress acidity
If your heartburn does not improve it means your condition is more challenging than most. In that case the Ayurvedic practitioner might opt for a Panchakarma treatment, or at least part of it. Panchakarma is an Ayurvedic treatment consisting of 5 phases, which can last up to 4 months. It includes enema, induced diarrhea, and bloodletting. So, if you must undergo it, make sure you understand what you will get, and that you are in professional hands. Panchakarma is not an Indian home remedy for heartburn, it is a medical procedure, and it should not be taken lightly.
Now comes a part of Indian home remedies for heartburn which I consider almost like a medicine of its own: yoga!
Yoga for Stomach Acidity
Yoga can cure lots of ailments, and heartburn is no exception. Regular yoga practice will strengthen the digestive organs, stimulate bowel movements, increase oxygen intake, reduce gas, improve blood circulation, and reduce stress. All of these factors contribute to a more efficient digestion.
All in all, yoga is healthy for you, but if you have heartburn there are some poses you should avoid. Particularly all poses including crunches and all inverted poses. Even downward facing dog can be problematic when you suffer from heartburn.
However, yoga for stomach acidity can be effective and there are many yoga poses that provide great relief for heartburn. A good yoga class for heartburn should include movements to relieve tension in the upper body and lots of mindful breathing to lower stress.
Of course, yoga for heartburn is not magic. Together with its practice, you should also implement the lifestyle changes we talked about earlier, and take all the natural remedies you deem necessary.
Here is a yoga sequence that can help you relieve the symptoms of heartburn (of course consistency is key!)
Yoga for heartburn sequence
Kapalabhati Pranayama and Anulom Vilom – breathing exercises: start with these 2 breathing techniques which will oxygenate your whole body, activate the digestive system, and relax your body and mind (a tense body is one of the main causes of heartburn)
Tadasana – Mountain
Utkatasana – Chair
Parivrtta Trikonasana – Revolved Triangle: be careful with this one as it can be uncomfortable for people whose heartburn is accompanied by a strong sense of fullness and indigestion
Natarajasana – dancer
Virabhadrasana I – Warrior I
Marjariasana – cat pose & Bitilasana – cow pose: through the alternation of these 2 poses you will massage your internal digestive organs and ease digestion. Marjariasana and Bitilasana are key poses in any yoga for heartburn sequence
Vajrasana – diamond pose: take a couple of minutes to breath in this position, which relaxes the abdomen
Ardha Matsyendrasana – Half Lord of the Fishes: by promoting regeneration, this pose eases the passage of food
Ushtrasana – camel pose: by creating space in the front part of your abdomen, ushtrasana will ease the passage of food
Balasana – Child’s Pose: another great massage for your internal organs, plus one of the most relaxing poses ever! Remember, relaxation is one of the most important aims of yoga for heartburn
Pavanamuktasana – Wind-Relieving pose: another massage for the digestive organs
Supported Supta Sukhasana – Reclining Easy Cross-Legged
Supta Baddha Konasana – Reclining Bound Angle
Padmasana – Lotus posture: relax, be mindful of all the benefits of this practice, and be grateful of your body’s ability to move and relax. Remember, the main aim of this Indian home remedy for heartburn is relaxing the organs and the mind!
Yoga is first and foremost about inner freedom and lack of pressure, so if a pose feels uncomfortable, listen to your body and move on to the next pose of our yoga for heartburn sequence.
Among Indian home remedies for heartburn, there are some that are particularly indicated in pregnancy. We will talk about them in the next section.
Indian Home Remedies for Heartburn during Pregnancy
The last group of our Indian home remedies for heartburn are dedicated to a very affected category of people: pregnant women.
There are various reasons why many pregnant women get heartburn:
- Increase in progesterone relaxes the valve that is supposed to stop food from entering the esophagus
- Baby demands space at the expense of the digestive organs, making digestion harder and longer
- Pregnant women produce less acids than normal. Good acids are like good bacteria: they are necessary for digestion
- The folk explanation is that the baby is growing hair. You pick!
How to naturally cure heartburn during pregnancy
Before we look at the Indian remedies for heartburn in pregnancy, let me give you an advice: look into what you’re eating and what triggers the acidity. I didn’t get it with my first pregnancy but with my subsequent pregnancies I kept a diary and I can be pretty sure that sugar and wheat were my triggers. When I cut them off, my heartburn improved considerably.
So, first of all cut on sugars and refined carbs and see how you feel.
In parallel, the following traditional Indian remedies against heartburn in pregnancy can be of help. They’ve been taught to me by my mother, I did my research and discovered they make a lot of sense from a medical point of view as well. Plus, they worked for me and many women I know!
Indian home remedies for heartburn during pregnancy:
Coconut: Indian pregnant women tend to eat and drink a lot of coconut (milk, water, or fruit), especially along the coastal areas. That’s because coconut provides lots of nutritious good fats pregnant women need. Moreover, its alkaline minerals help the stomach maintain a healthy Ph, with obvious positive consequences for heartburn.
Wholemeal Roti: a traditionally prepared wholemeal roti will satisfy any cravings for carbs (needed for energy), while also keeping you away from refined wheat, which oftentimes causes heartburn. Moreover, wholemeal roti is better than white wheat bread during pregnancy as whole cereals help prevent gestational diabetes.
Pineapple: enzymes in pineapple decrease the sense of acidity in the stomach. Plus, it is a very nutritious fruit for pregnant women!
Amla: Indian gooseberries are powerful (I will make an article about them soon!). As I explained earlier, this pungent fruit is a popular Indian remedy against acidity and morning sickness in pregnancy. Plus, due to its vitamin C and antioxidants content, it contributes to the optimal functioning of the immune system during pregnancy
Dai/milk: yogurt or milk are great for relieving acidity, due to the beneficial effect of calcium on heartburn. Yogurt with live cultures is even better as it enhances digestive health and the immune system. Plus, this is an Indian home remedy for heartburn you can find worldwide!
Ajwan: carom seeds are known as powerful antacids in India. Pregnant women consume them powdered with a glass of water
Banana: a banana a day keeps the heartburn at bay! In some areas of India, women eat a banana first thing in the morning. That’s because this alkaline fruit balances the stomach Ph, relieving both heartburn and morning sickness. Moreover, banana contains acid fighting enzymes similar to those of pineapple. A great Indian home remedy for heartburn!
Lemon water: like most other Indian home remedies for heartburn in pregnancy, lemon water with a pinch of salt does not only relieve heartburn, but also benefits the pregnant women in other ways, namely by providing her with some extra energy
Garlic: Raw garlic (not cooked garlic in fried food) reduces intestinal inflammation and promotes the formation of good bacteria necessary for digestion. Plus, garlic is immunity boosting and has a positive impact on high blood pressure.
Ginger: this Indian home remedy against heartburn during pregnancy has become famous worldwide. A ginger tea can work wonders for indigestion and morning sickness However, do not drink more than 1 tea a day as excessive ginger intake has been linked to the possible early onset of contractions
Liquid diet: Indian pregnant women with digestive problems are often put on a liquid diet as liquids can travel more easily through the stomach compared to solids. So indulge in broths, soups and smoothies. Food – like water – should be sipped slowly to avoid indigestion
Relaxation techniques: unlike Western medicine, Indian traditional medicine gives a lot of importance to stress reduction, and relaxation techniques are one of the pillars of Indian home remedies for heartburn, especially for pregnant women. There is more than one reason why you want to stay calm during pregnancy, preventing heartburn is one of them. Yoga, meditation, chanting, getting a massage with oil are all Indian practices that are beneficial to the pregnant woman
Bigger lunch: making lunch your main meal will ease your digestion at night, when heartburn can become annoying and cause insomnia
These are specific Indian remedies for heartburn in pregnancy. However, many of the Indian home remedies for heartburn we mentioned in the first part of the article can be adapted to pregnant women. Lifestyle changes such as changing sleeping position and light physical activity are especially relevant. Some other remedies, on the other hand, should be avoided in pregnancy. I explain them in the next section.
A word of caution…
The Indian home remedies for heartburn you shouldn’t be applying in pregnancy are:
Spacing meals: pregnancy is not a good time to space your meals as you might want to consume smaller and frequent meals to keep your energy up and avoid morning sickness. Remember, gaining weight is normal and healthy in pregnancy, as long as it comes from healthy food (including good fats)
Fennel tea: as we explained before, fennel eases digestion and is one of the best Indian home remedies for heartburn. However, fennel tea is not indicated for pregnant women as it can increase the risk of miscarriage
Spices: we Indians love spices, but in pregnancy some spices can increase heartburn (particularly chili and asafetida)
These are all the Indian home remedies for heartburn I know. If you have some other secret remedy to suggest, as always let us know in the comments below!