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Indigestion, Heartburn, and Low Stomach Acidity

Also indexed as:Bloating (Indigestion), Dyspepsia, Flatulence, Gas (Stomach), Gas, Bloating, and Fullness, Heartburn & Indigestion, Upset Stomach
Halt the heat. Stay away from foods that fuel the flames of heartburn and indigestion. According to research or other evidence, the following self-care steps may be helpful.
  • Reliable and relatively consistent scientific data showing a substantial health benefit.
  • Contradictory, insufficient, or preliminary studies suggesting a health benefit or minimal health benefit.
  • For an herb, supported by traditional use but minimal or no scientific evidence. For a supplement, little scientific support.

Our proprietary “Star-Rating” system was developed to help you easily understand the amount of scientific support behind each supplement in relation to a specific health condition. While there is no way to predict whether a vitamin, mineral, or herb will successfully treat or prevent associated health conditions, our unique ratings tell you how well these supplements are understood by some in the medical community, and whether studies have found them to be effective for other people.

For over a decade, our team has combed through thousands of research articles published in reputable journals. To help you make educated decisions, and to better understand controversial or confusing supplements, our medical experts have digested the science into these three easy-to-follow ratings. We hope this provides you with a helpful resource to make informed decisions towards your health and well-being.

SupplementAmountWhy
Artichoke
500 to 1,000 mg cynarin in a standardized herbal extract three times per day3 stars[3 stars]
Extracts of artichoke have been repeatedly shown in research to be beneficial for people with indigestion.
Astaxanthin
4 to 12 mg per day2 stars[2 stars]
The carotenoid astaxanthin may inhibit the growth of Helicobacter pylori and reduce related gastric inflammation.
Bitter Orange
3 cups of tea daily, prepared with 1 to 2 grams of dried peel2 stars[2 stars]
Bitter orange has traditionally been used as a digestive aid.
Caraway
50 mg of oil plus 90 mg of peppermint oil in enteric-coated capsules taken three times per day for indigestion only2 stars[2 stars]
One trial found that a combination with peppermint, caraway, and fennel was useful in reducing gas and cramping in people with indigestion.
Charcoal
Refer to label instructions 2 stars[2 stars]
Supplementing with charcoal may help relieve gas.
Digestive Enzymes
Consult a qualified healthcare practitioner2 stars[2 stars]
Lipase, a pancreatic enzyme, aids in the digestion of fats and may improve digestion in some people.
Fennel
1/2 tsp (2 to 3 grams) of ground or crushed seeds three times daily, taken directly or as tea2 stars[2 stars]
Studies have found that a combination of peppermint, caraway, and fennel is useful in reducing gas and cramping in people with indigestion.
Ginger
2 to 4 grams daily fresh ginger or equivalent for indigestion2 stars[2 stars]
Ginger, with its anti-inflammatory and anti-nausea effects, has a history of use in treating gastrointestinal complaints, from flatulence to ulcers. It has been shown to enhance intestinal movements that aid digestion.
Greater Celandine
4 to 8 mg chelidonine in a standardized herbal extract three times per day2 stars[2 stars]
One study found that a standardized extract of greater celandine could relieve indigestion symptoms (such as abdominal cramping, sensation of fullness, and nausea) significantly better than placebo.
Linden
Several cups of tea per day, made with 2 to 3 tsp of dried flowers per cup of hot water, for indigestion2 stars[2 stars]
Linden has a long tradition of use for indigestion. It has antispasmodic action and may help people who suffer from upset stomach or excessive gas.
Peppermint
90 mg of oil plus 50 mg of caraway oil in enteric-coated capsules taken three times per day, for indigestion only2 stars[2 stars]
A combination of peppermint, caraway, and fennel has been shown to reduce gas and cramping in people with indigestion
Sage
4 to 6 grams daily of dried leaf or equivalent, for indigestion2 stars[2 stars]
Sage is a gas-relieving herb that may be helpful in calming an upset stomach.
Turmeric
500 mg four times per day, for indigestion2 stars[2 stars]
In a double-blind trial, turmeric was found to relieve indigestion.
Vitamin B12

(Delayed Gastric Emptying, Helicobacter Pylori Infection, Vitamin B12 Deficiency)
1,000 mcg daily2 stars[2 stars]
Vitamin B12 may be beneficial for people with delayed emptying of the stomach in association with Helicobacter pylori infection and low blood levels of vitamin B12.
Andrographis
Refer to label instructions 1 star[1 star]
Andrographis acts as a digestive stimulant and may be helpful for indigestion.
Anise
Refer to label instructions 1 star[1 star]
Anise is a gas-relieving herb that may be helpful in calming an upset stomach.
Barberry
Refer to label instructions 1 star[1 star]
Taking barberry may help stimulate digestion and relieve an upset stomach.
Basil
Refer to label instructions 1 star[1 star]
Basil is a gas-relieving herb that may be helpful in calming an upset stomach.
Betaine Hydrochloride
Consult your doctor 1 star[1 star]
Supplementing betaine hydrochloride with meals may improve digestion in people who have been diagnosed with low stomach acid (hypochlorhydria).
Bitter Melon
Refer to label instructions 1 star[1 star]
Bitter melon acts as a digestive stimulant and may be helpful for indigestion.
Bladderwrack
Refer to label instructions 1 star[1 star]
Bladderwrack is a demulcent herb, meaning it seems to work by decreasing inflammation and forming a barrier against irritants such as stomach acid.
Blessed Thistle
Refer to label instructions 1 star[1 star]
Blessed thistle acts as a digestive stimulant and may be helpful for indigestion.
Boldo
Refer to label instructions 1 star[1 star]
Boldo has a history of use in South America for a variety of digestive conditions.
Cardamom
Refer to label instructions 1 star[1 star]
Cardamom is a gas-relieving herb that may be helpful in calming an upset stomach.
Centaury
Refer to label instructions 1 star[1 star]
Centaury acts as a digestive stimulant and may be helpful for indigestion.
Chamomile
Refer to label instructions 1 star[1 star]
Chamomile is effective in relieving inflamed or irritated mucous membranes of the digestive tract.
Chaparral
Refer to label instructions 1 star[1 star]
People in the southwestern United States and northern Mexico have long used chaparral tea to help calm upset stomachs.
Cinnamon
Refer to label instructions 1 star[1 star]
Cinnamon is a gas-relieving herb that may be helpful in calming an upset stomach.
Cloves
Refer to label instructions 1 star[1 star]
Cloves are a gas-relieving herb and may be helpful in calming an upset stomach.
Coriander
Refer to label instructions 1 star[1 star]
Carminatives (also called aromatic digestive tonics or aromatic bitters) such as coriander, may be used to relieve symptoms of indigestion, particularly when there is excessive gas.
Dandelion
Refer to label instructions 1 star[1 star]
Dandelion acts as a digestive stimulant and may be helpful for indigestion.
Devil’s Claw
Refer to label instructions 1 star[1 star]
Devil’s claw acts as a digestive stimulant and may be helpful for indigestion.
Dill
Refer to label instructions 1 star[1 star]
Dill is a gas-relieving herb that may be helpful in calming an upset stomach.
Elecampane
Refer to label instructions 1 star[1 star]
Elecampane has been used by herbalists to treat people with indigestion.
European Angelica
Refer to label instructions 1 star[1 star]
European angelica is a gas-relieving herb that may be helpful in calming an upset stomach.
Fructo-oligosaccharides
5 grams per day 1 star[1 star]
Supplementing with fructo-oligosaccharides may help relieve abdominal discomfort, fullness, constipation, urgency, and diarrhea.
Gentian
Refer to label instructions 1 star[1 star]
Gentian is a bitter herb thought to stimulate digestion by increasing saliva production and promoting stomach acid and digestive enzyme production.
Goldenseal
Refer to label instructions 1 star[1 star]
Goldenseal is a digestive stimulant widely used in traditional medicine in North America.
Horehound
Refer to label instructions 1 star[1 star]
Horehound’s major active constituent increases the flow of saliva and gastric juice.
Juniper
Refer to label instructions 1 star[1 star]
Juniper acts as a digestive stimulant and may be helpful for indigestion.
Lavender
Refer to label instructions 1 star[1 star]
Lavender is a gas-relieving herb that may be helpful in calming an upset stomach.
Lemon Balm
Refer to label instructions 1 star[1 star]
Lemon balm is a gas-relieving herb that is used traditionally for indigestion.
Licorice
Refer to label instructions 1 star[1 star]
Licorice protects the mucous membranes lining the digestive tract by increasing the production of mucin, a compound that protects against the adverse effects of stomach acid and various harmful substances.
Marshmallow
Refer to label instructions 1 star[1 star]
Marshmallow is a demulcent herb, meaning it seems to work by decreasing inflammation and forming a barrier against irritants such as stomach acid.
Oregano
Refer to label instructions 1 star[1 star]
Oregano is a gas-relieving herb that may be helpful in calming an upset stomach.
Oregon Grape
Refer to label instructions 1 star[1 star]
Oregon grape may stimulate digestion and relieve spasms in the intestinal tract.
Picrorhiza
Refer to label instructions 1 star[1 star]
Boldo has been used in South America for a variety of digestive conditions.
Prickly Ash
Refer to label instructions 1 star[1 star]
Prickly ash acts as a digestive stimulant and may be helpful for indigestion.
Rooibos
Refer to label instructions 1 star[1 star]
Rooibos is traditionally used as a tea as a digestive aid.
Rosemary
Refer to label instructions 1 star[1 star]
Rosemary is a gas-relieving herb that may be helpful in calming an upset stomach.
Slippery Elm
Refer to label instructions 1 star[1 star]
Slippery elm may have an anti-inflammatory effect in the stomach and intestines, and its mucilage content appears to protect against the damaging effects of acid on the esophagus.
Thyme
Refer to label instructions 1 star[1 star]
Thyme is a gas-relieving herb that may be helpful in calming an upset stomach.
Vervain
Refer to label instructions 1 star[1 star]
Vervain is a digestive stimulant widely used in traditional medicine in North America.
Vitamin B-Complex

(Vitamin B12 Deficiency)
Refer to label instructions 1 star[1 star]
For people who have inadequate absorption of vitamin B12 due to low stomach acid, supplementing with vitamin B complex can help correct a deficiency.
Vitamin B-Complex
Refer to label instructions 1 star[1 star]
People with achlorhydria (no stomach acid) or hypochlorhydria may not metabolize B vitamins properly, putting them at risk of developing various nutritional deficiencies, which could presumably contribute to the development of a wide range of health problems.
Wormwood
Refer to label instructions 1 star[1 star]
Wormwood is believed to stimulate digestion and relieve spasms in the intestinal tract.
Yarrow
Refer to label instructions 1 star[1 star]
Yarrow is a digestive stimulant widely used in traditional medicine in North America.
Yellow Dock
Refer to label instructions 1 star[1 star]
Yellow dock is a digestive stimulant widely used in traditional medicine in North America.

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The information presented in Aisle7 is for informational purposes only. It is based on scientific studies (human, animal, or in vitro), clinical experience, or traditional usage as cited in each article. The results reported may not necessarily occur in all individuals. Self-treatment is not recommended for life-threatening conditions that require medical treatment under a doctor's care. For many of the conditions discussed, treatment with prescription or over the counter medication is also available. Consult your doctor, practitioner, and/or pharmacist for any health problem and before using any supplements or before making any changes in prescribed medications. Information expires June 2015.

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