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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 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.

55 Comments so far

  • JP

    flaxseed absolutely helps with heartburn. But the best way to do this is by ADDING it to food, especially acidic foods. You can test the affect of flaxseed of reducing acid by adding it to tomato sauce or spaghetti sauce, both of which are highly acid. When you add baking soda while cooking any tomato based sauce you will see bubbles as the acid is being neutralized by the flaxseed. The “outgassing” is the result and causes bubbles you can see in the sauce. Adding baking soda is used to increase the pH of water but can cause issues. However, flaseed does this exact same thing. When you add flaxseed while cooking tomato bases sauces you will also see these bubbles caused by the outgassing of the acid being neutralized. When you taste the tomato based sauce you can tell the acidic levels of the sauce have changed slightly and not as sharp. I do this every time i heat or cook spaghetti sauce now and i no longer get acid reflux after eating spaghetti.

  • Liza

    Thank you!!! It worked

  • Cesia

    Agree 100%! Ground flax seed taken on a daily basis had helped my reflux issues and has basically helped reset my gut health in a much better way than acid reducing prescriptions. If I get lazy and miss taking my flaxseed/fiber concoction, I start to feel the symptoms come right back after a few days. So, yes, I’m a believer!

  • Vandana

    I have a ditto acid issues….very severe exactly like what u mentioned and guess what after trying all kinds of medicines I tried my mom’s advice of having flaxseed every morning soaked in water and now I’m just addicted to it. I love it so much for the relief it provides that I keep a bottle handy all the time. Another magical drink is aloe Vera juice which instantly neutralizes my acid!

  • Lou

    This is very helpful information, I suffer terribly from GERD, I purchased ground flaxseed but wasn’t sure of how to apply it to my diet. I will put this advice to use today.

  • Biniam

    I am currently taking it on mornings before meal. I tried peptical gel and other anti acid tablets. It woke me up from sleep at 4 am everyday. I tried drinking milk but it wont last much plus u have to pee all night which means u have to pee every hour or so disrupting sleep. After all this mom suggested to drink fluxseed boiled and cooled. Now am not taking omiprazole or any meds it lasts the whole day. The main cause for the gastric problem is eating just before bed. Avoid eating jest before bed, decrease stress in this corona time, entertain well also work well and adjust sleeping time…

  • Eileen Barry

    I was taking Flaxseed for high Colesterol, & it was realy most effective, for 2 yrs at least, then for no reason, it started irritating my stomach, & i had to reluctantly stop it…i wonder why this happened, so disappointed, they wre the “actual seeds”…hope now after reading all these comments that I can get the ground Flaxseed, or could in some way grind the seeds myself??? any advice appreciated

    • Tomasz P. Szynalski

      I think you can grind flaxseed, but what you get will contain oil. Not sure if that’s bad, but the ground flaxseed I was personally using had the oil removed.

    • Coleen Martin

      Ground it yourself otherwise nutritional balance is lost… best to grind and then ingest with water or meal withi a reasonable time ..

  • Elizabeth Sallie

    Since a naturopathic doctor suggested that I sprinkle flax seed on my cereal every morning, I have been grinding brown Flax seed to a powder in my coffee grinder for 30 years to help lower my cholesterol level and also help with chronic constipation. I take 1 dessertspoon every morning either on my cereal or in my grapefruit juice. I am now 70 years young and had acid reflux problems I found that it the ground flax taken in water does the trick. Thanks for sharing!!

    • Michele Acito

      You must stop the grapefruit juice. That is what started my extreme bout with acid reflux. Your esophagus cannot take the acid in it.

  • Linda

    Thank you for blogging this information about ground flaxseed. I have been taking omeprazole for years and was wanting to get off medication and try something natural. I use ground flaxseed in baking and over cereal but I will definitely try it with water as a daily regimen! Thanks again for posting your experience. I also have cholesterol issues so excited to see what it does for that also!
    How often and how much do you take each time?

  • Natasha Kuczynska

    I agree 100%. Flaxseed really works. I have a history of ulcers in the family. My dad had them 30 years ago and the doc modified his diet AND told him to drink cooked flaxseed “boogers” twice a day. It worked. Now I have them too. In the fall of last year it was really bad and I started to grind and cook flaxseed and drink it before a meal. It resolved itself completely. So I stopped. Then Christmas came, and a weeklong vacation. Lots of drinking, fatty foods, less sleep…it came back. I reintroduced flax last week and it’s better already.

  • Elizabeth

    I have just started using flaxseeds for my GERD. So far it has been woo. I do not ground them but cook whole, 1tbs in a cup of water, just simmer for 15 min, then strain and drink the gelatinous liquid. It helps much better than anything I tried before.

  • ERIC Stehle

    Thank you very much for all the helpful information.I just took some ground flax seeds in cold water and it sure made a big difference.It feels so hard to believe. I thought of using it because I found out its a lectin free food and lectins casn cause serious health problems. I found out about lectins from Dr. Gundry M.D.on the internet.I feel you can learn alot from him. Check him out for yourself.I feel I having the worst case of acid reflux. I haven t been able to do hardly anything because of it.Im even on a special income becayse of it and wasted alot of my time seeing alot of useless doctors too .Thank you very much again. From:Eric Stehle

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