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Heartburn remedy: Ground flaxseed

About a month ago, I had a bad case of heartburn (AKA “acid indigestion”). After two days of having my stomach “burp” hydrochloric acid up my digestive tract, my esophagus (the part of the digestive tract that’s directly above the stomach) got inflamed and the pain would persist even when there was no acid.

I had to do something about it, and, of course, I turned to the Internet for advice. Here’s what I tried based on my research:

  • First, I started taking Maalox (mixture of magnesium hydroxide and aluminum hydroxide) chewable tablets. I also considered Manti, but it is 50% more expensive (in Poland at least) and the only difference is that it also contains simethicone, which helps relieve excess gas. Maalox helped neutralize the acid, providing instant relief, but I found I had to take it at least once every 2 hours. That didn’t look like a good remedy to me.
  • Some obscure sites recommended eating Jonagold apples for heartburn and GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease), which is a kind of chronic heartburn. The idea is that apples contain pectin, which neutralizes stomach acid, and Jonagolds have the most pectin. I could find no reputable sources recommending apples as a remedy, but I thought it was worth a try. What I found was that the apples worked well — they actually provided longer-lasting relief than Maalox.

Even though I had found some ways to temporarily relieve my symptoms, my esophagus kept hurting. My mother suggested that I drink ground flaxseed, which she considers a good remedy for indigestion. Obviously, I scoffed at this advice. After all, I spent many hours researching heartburn on the Web and there was not one place that listed flaxseed as a possible remedy. Just to be sure, I ran a quick Google search, and — sure enough — absolutely no link between heartburn and flaxseed. Was I going to trust the whole of the world’s medical knowledge or my mother’s uneducated guesses?

Later that day, my mom made me some ground flaxseed with hot water, which I drank reluctantly, and — you guessed it — now the Internet shall have a page linking flaxseed and heartburn, because the flaxseed worked like a charm. Not only did it instantly kill the burning pain in my esophagus, it also seemed to neutralize the acid (or somehow shield my digestive tract from it). After days of popping Maalox, eating apples and watching my diet, I finally felt I was getting to the underlying cause of my condition. As an added bonus, I find the taste much better than Maalox. [Update: For a few more weeks, I still had the burping and an acidic taste in my mouth, especially after eating a considerable meal on a relatively empty stomach. But I had no burning pain, and I credit flaxseed with this change. Also, I did not have to take flaxseed every couple of hours, like antacids. In my case, the effects persisted for a really long time.]

Certainly I could be an isolated case, or I guess it could be some weird coincidence that I got better immediately after drinking the flaxseed. I don’t know if flaxseed will relieve your heartburn. But the results I experienced were too dramatic for me to keep this to myself.

The specific product that I used was Len mielony (podwójnie odolejony) made by Herbapol Lublin, a Polish manufacturer of herbal products. The name translates as Ground flaxseed (doubly de-oiled) and it is a sort of “diet” version of regular ground flaxseed with less flaxseed oil and fewer calories. It is a pretty fine powder with has a faint smell reminiscent of pumpkin seeds. You prepare it by simply pouring a glass of hot water over a teaspoon of the flaxseed powder.

In Poland, ground flaxseed is readily available in most drugstores. I’m not sure how easily it can be purchased in other countries. You can probably get it in health food stores and the like. If you suffer from heartburn and you can find it, I suggest you give it a shot.

About heartburn causes: I don’t know what caused my episode. The Internet tells me that heartburn is commonly caused by an incompetence of the lower esophageal sphincter (LES), which is a kind of valve that connects the stomach with the esophagus. There is a long list of possible causes of this “incompetence” (eating too much, eating wrong, smoking, hiatus hernia, etc.). About the only thing that I was able to identify with was eating shortly before bedtime, and I have adjusted my habits accordingly. So far this seems to have helped, although I sometimes feel some acidity, which seems to occur when I make long breaks between meals.

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31 Comments so far ↓

  • Rouletta-Rouletes

    Great idea, but will this work over the long run?

    • Thomas

      I suffered bad indigestion for 4 months and for
      No reason other than my illogic mind, I
      Thought I would try flak seeds.

      I am a vegetarian and hardly eat anything
      Fatty for last 20 years of my 70. It worked
      Wonders and my belching and lack of being
      able to sleep has diminished incredibly
      Much.

  • MEDO

    I AM A PHARMACY STUDENT FOURTH YEAR AND I RECOMMEND YOU TO MAKE SOME LIFE STYLE MODIFICATIONS:
    1-WHEN YOU EAT ,YOU BE IN UPRIGHT POSITION.
    2-MEALS MUST BE SPACED AND AVOID EATING LARGE MEALS BUT SMALL AND LARGER NUBER OF SMALL SPACED MEALS.
    3-YOU MUST EAT AT LEAST 3 HOURS BEFORE YOU GET SLEEP
    4-WHEN YOU ARE SLEEPING YOUR HEAD MUST BE IN HIGHER LEVEL THAN YOUR LIST OF BODY.
    5-YOU MUST AVOID TIGHT CLOTHES AND BELTS.
    6-YOU MUST AVOID CHOCOLATE,FATTY MEALS,TOMATTO AND COFFE

  • cagedspirit

    I wonder if flaxseed oil would work as well?

  • cloneman

    Nice! It’s actually somewhat awesome that I found your blog today by accident.

    Theres like 5 entries that jumped at me are bringing new insight into questions I’ve had for a while.

    Your writing style an opinions sound like my own (albeit scattered and disoriented) thoughts. I’m simply baffled this morning at how close this page is to my own “wavelength” of thought (albeit more complete).

    Anyway, thanks for the tips 😀

  • Adas'

    I just received a package of a several boxes of Len mielony from my mom’s friends in Poland. Going to give it a try! 🙂

  • Nancy

    I found this at 2:45 am. Yes, I was up searching for more remedies because nothing was helping and I was in so much pain. Because of the hour I just mixed a spoonful in cold water and drank. Awful taste but it relieved the pain instantly!

    Thank you for posting but most of all thank your mother!!

  • Mars

    I have to agree with you, I take my flax seed every night before going to bed, i even travel with it. Can’t live without it now, it really does work!

  • mark e

    A lot of vegans use flaxseed as a source of omega 3 fatty acids, which non-vegans could get from eating oily fish like salmon and sardines. It is a simple matter (in the United States) to find flaxseeds at health food stores, and to grind them into a powder in just a few seconds using a coffee grinder. I have often heard that consuming them freshly ground is better than buying a pre-ground powder as some of the beneficial constituents become lost over time (perhaps this is due to oxidation? I don’t know).

    At any rate, I’m glad to hear the flaxseeds provided you some relief. Thank you for sharing the tip! I hear celery is another natural way to counter heartburn. Personally, I would choose a natural remedy over a pharmaceutical treatment any day, if one can be determined.

  • Home Remedies for Acidity

    It just goes to show that the medicine you get over the counter is not always the best. In addition to the flax seeds there are many other natural remedies that can work wonders with heartburn and acid reflux.

  • rock eh

    eating sugars and rich fatty deserts after eating much protein will possibly
    create heartburn because of fermentation..but the flax is really a good thing for the gut…soak whole seeds overnight and drink the juice in the morning for”regular” benefit….go ahead and chew up the seeds for the guaranteed flush out if you have constipation issues,too…
    we do need to value the ancient wisdom ,as this society is burning old technology bridges at every turn and don’t even know it…

  • Rossan

    I use ground flaxseed with water a lot for my acidic stomach. Works better and quicker than any medicine 🙂

  • Sinister

    I have been suffering with acidic stomach for quite some while and was becoming dependent on “Omeprazole”, been on them for a whole year and was suppose to stop using it after 14 days, but the pain was too much for me to be without the “Magic Pill”. I was even willing to deal with all the side effects, until this weekend when my mother came by to visit and told me the same thing about “Flaxseed”… it is incredible how these old school folks know all these “Homebrew” medical remedy. So I started using the flaxseed every day, twice a day (in the morning and evening) and it has been a blessing. She even went as far as to making me drink raw potato juice first thing every morning because it also helps and heals. At this time I’m willing to try anything and stay away from the pill.

  • Sinister

    “Potato juice not only neutralizes the acid in your stomach, but it also heals the lining of your esophagus. It is simple, safe and effective, producing no side effects or dangers to those who drink it. Potato juice is the ultimate heartburn cure.”
    http://www.helium.com/items/933436-the-best-options-for-heartburn-relief

  • Ania Nowicki

    Great blog! Funny as only the Poles seem to know that flax works for acid reflux! LOL. Also good are: apple cider vinegar, bicarbonate of soda, getting rid of processed salt in the diet and, THE ULTIMATE CURE: Eat a diet high in natural enzymes; ie. every meal having lots of raw veg and fruit, freshly made juices and smoothies – then you’ll never get acid reflux! 🙂

  • Joe

    A quick way to releave heartburn is a level teaspoon of baking soda in a glass of water. Stir the baking soda into water and drink. Add more water if any baking soda is left in the glass. Within seconds you will expel a loud burp and instant releaf. Then put the opened box of baking soda into your refrig to absorb odors.

  • andy

    I agree with you as I was also suffering from acid reflux and my throat used to burn 24*7. After suffering for almost a year I started using grounded flax seeds in the morning and you would not believe within 24 hrs acidity was greatly reduced…Its been over a week now and my acidity is completely gone…simple thing with great benefits…

  • English

    Raw Cabbage juice cures ulcers in half the time as standard medical treatment says a scientific study

  • D

    Last night I too had taken ground up flax seed with water …not for acid reflux but for other benefits . When I woke up this morning I realized my acid reflux situation was improved .I wanted to find out if there was any conversation out there that spoke to acid reflux and ground up flax seed and came upon this site. Interesting reads .This morning I will try another glass and continue to take it in the evenings too. I find these conversations hopeful and even exciting. Thanks everyone

  • Julie

    I found this as I realised my indigestion had stopped and had recently added flaxseed to my diet for other health reasons and wondered if there may be a link !!

  • Ben

    Slippery elm is another effective treament for gastric reflux. I believe that the flaxseed is working much in the same way that slippery elm works. When you combine slippery elm powder with water, is becomes gel like. I think the same is occuring here; when combined with water, substances from the flaxseed diffuse into the water forming a gelatinous mixture. It is this gel formation that is alleviating the heartburn symptoms, helping to coat and soothe the esophagus from the irrataing effects of the refluxate.

  • Natisha

    If you believe the issue of obesity has got a handle over
    your lifetime, do not let that occur. To artificially
    make 1 kilogram, you will need $20,000. Why do we need fat loss products and medications?

  • Susan

    I have just started drinking smoothies as a regular part of my diet. I have chronic heartburn/reflux and take a few tums every day and occasionally drink ginger tea. The first couple of days drinking smoothies I noticed a marked decrease/ elimination of any reflux or pain. The next two days, I did experience some heartburn. I went through my memory trying to isolate what may have had a positive effect and FLAXSEED was the only thing that made sense. I put 2 tbs. of flaxseed in my smoothies the first two days. So I tested it, and it holds true. I put flaxseed in my smoothie = NO HEARTBURN/REFLUX. Don’t know why it works, but I know I will be doing it every day.

  • Anna M

    Hi Thomasz I suffer of reflux as well, taking esomeprazol for years, recently I heard contains aluminium which is not great , I do have a very sore and dry throat, did you have these symptoms as well? Were you relieved after taking the flax seed boil ? I can’t eat for days, lost lot of weight . I’ve been to doctor not much said .Thank you Anna

  • Mrs Cloud

    I literally found this page because my brother in law had both found major heartburn relief from drinking smoothies with flaxmeal and I was searching to see if there was anything to it. The recipes that we are using and our diet otherwise are completely different the only connection was the flaxmeal.

  • Kat

    I found this post after looking to see if flax seeds are acidic. I used to use them for general gastrointestinal health. I began again using a teaspoon in smoothies or oatmeal. Drinking plenty of water. I actually GET a sore throat from them. Does anyone have an idea why? I grind my own into a fine powder. By the way I find that a lemon or lime squeezed into room temp water helps with a I problems. Highly recommend

  • magsevy

    I developed reflux after going on Pearls probiotics for just 4 days. Looking for a remedy, I tried glutamine, slippery elm, ACV, digestive pills. They helped but not all the time and I was still getting sour stomach and bloat.
    I chanced upon flax seed oil that I started taking for less oily skin. In the space of a day, I felt so much better. The bloat was gone, my stomach felt of nothing, which should be the way. Even after a spicy soup meal. Flaxseed oil really works.

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