Ask anybody in my family and there is on ailment that they will say we all have in common: heartburn. For me, it comes in waves. I have periods of time where I’m just going to get heartburn everyday. Then it eases off for a while. Then it comes back. But, there is one way I can keep it from becoming chronic without taking antacids or acid reducers, both of which I am loathe to abuse
As long as I am using this product, my heartburn is kept in check. Now, I’m an honest person. I’m not going to tell you that you will never ever have even a touch of heartburn if you do the same. Heck, I can’t even guarantee it will work for you, although it really does seem to work for many other people. But, if you try it, and you use ENOUGH of it, you may just find that you end up with a ‘normal’ amount of heartburn, not chronic, severe heartburn.
Recommended: OrganicWise Turmeric Root Powder
Turmeric is THE Herbal Remedy for Heartburn
So, what do I use? Turmeric. You’ve heard of it, you’ve probably cooked with it, especially if you were making Indian food. And you probably know of many of the benefits of using this spice as a supplement. But, while many of these benefits come in the nebulous “good for your health” variety, one of the best uses of turmeric is for gastronintestinal discomfort, and overall GI health.
Now, whether or how well turmeric works to control your heartburn may depend on the cause of your heartburn. But, it can still help to contol symptoms even if it doesn’t prevent hearburn from occuring. As well, you get the other health benefits of turmeric, and especially its active compound, curcumin. People use turmeric for pain and arthritis as an anti-inflammatory, for brain health, liver health, diabetes, and digesitive problems.
I will caution you, however. To look at turmeric as a superfood or a miracle spice is to believe in sensationalized media reports which misrepresent the results of research. As with any herbal interventions, the best way to use it is for a specific complain, for which is is well-known to be effective. At the same time, it IS probably very good for you, and many of the supposed health benefits may well be born out.
Boosting Curcumin Absorption and Bioavailability
Another problem is the poor absorption of turmeric and its bioavailability. Many folks combine turmeric with black pepper as the pepper helps boost the bioavailability of curcumin. Curcumin is quickly metabolized in the liver as well as the intestinal wall which decreases its bioavailability. Piperine in black pepper inhibits the metabolization of curcumin, thus increasing its bioavailability. Studies have shown that the combination increases the serum concentration of curcumin in the body. However, while rat studies have shown no adverse affects of using piperine with turmeric, the compound will also inhibit the breakdown of certain drugs and other compounds. I would advise caution. It is not necessary to use black pepper if you simply take more turmeric. However, you may want to optimized absorption.
Some folks who use combination turmeric and piperine (from black pepper) supplements believe that the piperine boosts the absorption of curcumin by the gut. This is not true. To increase absorption into the gut, it helps to take your turmeric with fats or oils, or a meal containing them. If not coinciding with a meal, I take mine along with some fish oil or a little olive oil.
Since you will be taking multiple large doses, however, you can rest assured that a good deal curcumin and other active compounds will be absorbed.
Turmeric Can Help Stop Pain
Turmeric can help the pain of heartburn in more than one way, and one of those ways it to actually block pain. It does this by depleting nerve endings of substance P, which is one of the compounds that produce pain.
There was a time when I was taking so much turmeric that I basically stopped registering pain. I swear! I was a veterinary technician at the time and I kept getting bit but little dogs (you now those little biters!) without feeling it. I realized that I may be over-dong the turmeric and eased off, and my pain sensation returned. It takes a ridiculous amount to achieve this and I had some health problems at the time that caused me to desperately try all sorts of herbs. I found out how great turmeric was for heartburn at that time, although none of my efforts had any impact on my autoimmune disorder.
Turmeric Can Soothe Heartburn on Demand
Yes, you can take turmeric every day to control heartburn and keep it from becoming chronic, but you can also use turmeric to treat heartburn as it occurs. Whether you’re taking it therapeutically, or PRN (that means “as needed”), there are several different ways you can do it. But, I’ll give you a hint: capsules.
Now, you can take turmeric in capsule form to soothe heartburn as it occurs, but providing you are not lactose intolerant, one of the best ways to use it when you already have heartburn is to mix about a tablespoon of dried turmeric into heated milk. Let it steep for a bit, and then drink it. It will not taste great, but you can sweeten it. The turmeric and milk will actually coat you esophagus and thus help ease the pain and irritation, while treating the hearburn at the source. If you can’t drink milk, you can use rice milk or any kind of nut milk. Water can also be used, but this doesn’t ave the coating action that a milk or milk-like product has.
You can, of course, make a turmeric tea with fresh turmeric, but I’m assuming that you don’t have easy access to fresh turmeric and you’ll have to use dry.
Cooking with Turmeric
I’ll be honest. It’s a pet peeve of mine when people say, “cook with turmeric for your heartburn” or for any therapeutic benefits. It just doesn’t work that way, folks. We don’t use large amounts of turmeric spice in cooking. It would overwhelm any dish if we did. And, see, in order to use turmeric therapeutically, you have to take in large, so-called ‘supra-physiological’ doses of it. You have to ingest more of it than your would normally use in cooking. So, sure, use turmeric in cooking, if you like it (I don’t). It is healthy. But if you expect it to help your heartburn because you use some in your recipes, you’ll be dissapointed. You’re going to need to use around six to ten teaspoons a day, if not more! Try using that much in your cooking.
Make Your Own Turmeric Capsules
I’ll bet you thought I was going to recommend one of the dozens of turmeric capsules on the market. Nope. It’s much too expenensive!
You can easily make your own capsules at home. It’s a job. It’s something you’ll have to remind yourself to do. But it’s absolutely a huge money saver and worth the little bit of time and effort it takes.
The first thing you want is a bulk dried turmeric powder which is standardized for curcumin. There are other compounds in turmeric that may be important, but so far, it seems the the curcumin is the most important compound. When an herbal supplement is standardized for a certain compound, it means that the batch will contain a certain percent of that compound. Since each different turmeric root will contain a different amount of curcumin, differnt batches of dried turmeric will contain different amounts of curcumin. To ‘standardize’ the amount, different batches are mixed until the desired level of active ingredient is achieved.
Most turmeric supplement products are standardized to 5% curcumin. There are several good sources of bulk turmeric powder standardized to this amount.
I’ve been buying Organic Wise Tumeric Root Powder, which is standardized to 7% curcumin. I’ve been very happy with it. Other brands may not list the amount of curcumin, so make sure you are getting at least 5%. Otherwise, you may end up with more like two percent.
Gelatin Capsules and Capsule Maker
To make your turmeric powder into convenient turmeric capsules, you’re going to need some large gelatin capsules and a capsule maker kit. These PurecapsUSA Size 00 Clear Empty Gelatin Capsules come in packs of 1000 capsule and you can save money by buying 2,000 or 5,000 at a time. They will last virtually forever as long as you keep them dry.
Next, you’ll need the capsule filler machine. There are much better options available than when I bought my simple ‘cap ‘m quick’ capsule maker.
This Capsule Holder Plate, Tuyounger Capsule Filler Machine Tray with 100 Holes has a handy tool for placing the heads on the caps. I have to place all mine manually. Besides that, they all work basically the same.
You place the long part of the capsule into the holes so that their tops are flush with the edge, then you pour your powder on top of the open capsules, and scrape it down into the holes. You tamp it down, put on some more powder, and repeat until you’ve got the capsules nice a full. Then you place the tops on the capsules. Full instructions are on the Amazon description page.
I make up a big batch of capsules and then I simply take 6 to 8 of them several times a day. You can take them before you eat, or just anytime you choose, depending on whether you find a certain schedule works best for you. You can also take some turmeric capsules to help with active heartburn should it occur.
Now, you can get all the benefits of turmeric in a capsule, without breaking the bank.
Turmeric Gives Me Heartburn!
Some people report that turmeric gives them heartburn. This is possible but I should note, based on years of experience, that turmeric will often temporarily seem to exacerbate feelings of heartburn. However, after around ten or 15 minutes, if not sooner, the feeling will subside the relief will be at hand. However, nothing works for everyone. If it did, there wouldn’t be so many different heartburn medicines on the market. It also can depend on how you take your turmeric. Some may find that taking turmeric mixed in warm milk, or as a tea, is better and will not make symptoms worse before they get better. But, if turmeric always triggers your heartburn (for more than several minutes) then it’s probably not the treatment for you.
That doesn’t mean there aren’t other herbal remedies you can try. Many report success with marshmallow root. While turmeric can work both soothe heartburn and prevent its recurrence, marshmallow works by coating and soothing the esophagus. This can help soothe heartburn on demand but also aid in healing the esophagus. You can buy heartburn teas with marshmallow such as Heartburn Relief by Birds and Bees Tees, or purchase Marshmallow Leaf and Root Tea. Turmeric and marshmallow together would make an excellent two-pronged approach to treating your heartburn. I would recommend taking turmeric capsules several times daily as a general heartburn preventative and drinking marshmallow containing tea as needed, after meals, or before bed. If you are pregnant and suffering from pregnancy-related heartburn, I just caution you that not all herbal remedies are safe for pregnancy and breastfeeding. The one’s I’ve linked hear are generally considered safe for pregnant and nursing mothers.
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