A burning sensation or gnawing pain in the area of the chest over the heart (precordium) or beneath the sternum and near the heart.


Usually a symptom of indigestion or esophageal spasm. Generally this comes from gastric pyrosis, a stomach problem characterized by belching (eructations) an acid, irritating fluid. [SNH p.28]


As heartburn is an acid condition of the system, it is necessary to go on a complete cleansing program to clean out the system. Proper foods, proper eating habits, and effective elimination are very important. A cure is effected only with a complete change of living habits. [SNH p.28]

Herbal Aids:

General Instructions: Prompt and temporary relief may be given for heartburn with cramp bark, ginger, wild yam, etc. Massaging tincture of lobelia externally into the area and taking two or three drops regularly internally is often sufficient. [SNH p.28]

Slippery Elm: Chew the bark of slippery elm. [SNH p.335]

See formula using wood betony, rosemary, scullcap and yarrow. [SNH p.390]

Indigestion, Heartburn, Flatulence, Stomach Pains: See formula using centaury, agrimony, barberry, calumba and raspberry. [SNH p.450]

Heartburn During Pregnancy: Many women experience indigestion and heartburn, and sometimes gas, during pregnancy. This may be caused by the stomach having less room to do its work, nervous tension which inhibits good digestion, too many stomach acids, or a relaxed stomach, which allows foods to back up. Be sure that you do not take antacids during pregnancy. They further inhibit digestion, and they may cross over the placenta into the baby. To deal with these symptoms, Dr. Christopher first emphasized that we must chew our food. Many of us just gulp it down, and the large particles cause gas, fermentation, and pain. Chew well; even juices should be swished in the mouth to mix them with saliva and begin digestion. Don't drink with your meals; water or other liquids dilute the digestive fluids; you may, however, want to take broth or juices with the meal, but you should "chew" these, too. Increase your B-vitamin foods, including whole grains, brewer's yeast, wheat germ, yogurt, perhaps acidophilus. Don't smoke or drink tea or coffee; these irritate the stomach and increase heartburn. Eat small meals frequently; if you must be away from home, take juice, fruit and nuts with you to prevent your blood sugar going down and stomach acids overproducing. Papaya can aid digestion--fresh, dried or in tablets. Some women take tablets of activated charcoal to absorb gases in the system. Slippery elm gruel will alleviate heartburn and absorb gases and toxins. [EWH p.41]

Papaya: As mentioned above the Papaya is considered wonderful for digestive disturbances. The unripe fruit abounds in the enzyme papain which diminishes as the fruit ripens until there is a relatively small amount in the completely ripened fruit....Papain can digest about 35 times its weight of lean meat and 300 times its weight in egg albumin. This is considered important because these heavy proteins as well as those in beans, peas, nuts, and lentils are often difficult to digest and putrefy more quickly in the digestive tract causing gas, foul mouth taste, foul breath, constipation, sour stomach, and heartburn. [UW-Papaya]

Wormwood: Its use as a digestive tonic is indeed one of the foremost applications of Wormwood. "Wormwood is above all a stomach medicine, being useful for indigestion, gastric pain and lack of appetite, as well as the related problems of heartburn and flatulence" (Lust:409). [UW-Wormwood]


One herbalist, whenever he "pigs out on eggs or meat", brews a cup of Papaya leaf tea mixed with spearmint and camomile or if he's in a hurry (which, he mentions, is the worst cause of indigestion), he takes a Papaya-papain enzyme tablet. This removes the indigestion well. [UW-Papaya]

See Also:

Dr. John R. Christophers "Mucusless Diet"
Dr. John R. Christophers "Three Day Cleansing Program"

"Natural Healing with Herbs for a Healthier You"