Heartburn and dyspepsia are digestive complaints which may cause symptoms such as discomfort, pain, a burning sensation felt behind the breastbone of the upper chest, feelings of fullness or bloating, wind, constipation, diarrhoea, undigested food in the stools, intestinal cramps and nausea. Heartburn typically commences 30 to 60 minutes aftereating and is caused by impaired gastric function.

Pepcid and Mylanta are antacids which decrease the amount of digestive acid produced in the stomach. Inhibiting theproduction of digestive enzymes in the stomach may initially take away the symptoms of your condition but this can also cause a worsening of the situation in the long term. Eventually the continued inhibition ofthe enzymes and acids produced will cause further digestive sluggishness and reflux and heartburn can get worse.

In regards to your question asking how long will it take to heal the digestive tract and re-correct digestive imbalances, each individual responds to therapies differently and therefore it is a matter of how your body works. Generally with digestive complaints it is slow going. But by following some of the suggestions below, your path to digestive harmony may be eased along the way. Slippery elm has been used successfully for heartburn complaints because it settles the stomach and coats the digestive system to protect it from acids and degradation.


  • Helicobacter pylori infection
  • Recreational drugs and alcohol (ethanol) by relaxing the lower esophageal sphincter and decreasing peristaltic force
  • Excessive consumption of dietary fats by putting a strain on the gall bladder in its bile production, gall stones may also complicate the issue
  • Processed, rich and fatty foods
  • Chocolate by relaxing the lower esophageal sphincter
  • Reflux esophagitis (inflammation of the esophagus)
  • Hypochlorhydria (insufficient production of Hydrochloric Acid)
  • Inflammatory conditions of the bowels and stomach such as gastritis, Ulcerative Colitis, Crohnes Disease, Pancreatitis, peptic ulcers or colon/ stomach cancer
  • Eating too fast or eating large meals which compromise the digestive acids and cause fermentation of undigested foods
  • Allergies (wheat, sugar or dairy foods)
  • Gall bladder insufficiency due to insufficient flow of bile from the liver to the gallbladder due to obstruction of the bile duct due to the lack of Bile available for the digestion of Dietary Fats)
  • Nervous indigestion may occur as the result of Stress that inhibits the flow of Gastric Juice and slows down peristalsis


  • Dont eat large meals, instead eat smaller meals more often to lighten the load on the digestive secretions
  • Dont eat when you are feeling stressed
  • Dont drink large amounts of water 20 minutes before or after a meal as this will dilute the digestive acids and contribute to symptoms of heartburn
  • Consume more papaya, banana, beetroot and pineapple in your diet as these contain enzymes to encourage and soothe the digestion
  • Have a vegetable juice each day to cleanse the body and provide the digestive system with enzymes for proper break down of foods
  • Herbal teas can help digestion and assimilation of nutrients. Try Chamomile, Peppermint, Ginger, Lemon and Licorice
  • Avoid the foods which exacerbate the symptoms of heartburn, common problematic foods are rich, spicy, fatty and oily foods, chocolate and alcohol


  • Avoid alcohol
  • Manage stress
  • Have an allergy test to determine any trigger foods which contribute to a decrease in digestive function and heartburn
  • Address underlying enzyme insufficiency, pancreatic function and stomach acids
  • Support liver function
  • Dont rely on antacids to neutralise the symptoms of heartburn, these will only alleviate the symptoms and not treat the cause of the problem


  • Aloe vera juice taken before foods is a gentle healer for the digestion and provides symptomatic relief for heartburn
  • Some herbs and spices may be helpful such as Cinnamon, Dill Seeds (two teaspoons of crushed Dill Seeds steeped in hot Water), Fennel tea, Chamomile tea, Peppermint tea and Ginger as a tea or in your cooking
  • Herbs such as Gentian, Marshmallow, Globe Artichoke, Dandelion Root, StMarys Thistle, Golden Seal, Slippery elm, Meadowsweet may help to prevent heartburn and dyspepsia also
  • Slippery Elm (1 teaspoon in a small glass of water 15 minutesbefore meals) may alleviate heartburn (by coating and soothing the irritated upper gastrontestinal tract)
  • Digestive enzymes may alleviate heartburn (by facilitating the digestion of undigested food).

The principal Digestive Enzymes used to treat reflux/ indigestion are

  1. Amylase (which digest Polysaccharides found in grains)
  2. Cellulase (which digests Cellulose found in fruits and vegetables)
  3. Lipases (which digest dietary Fats)
  4. Pancreatic Enzymes are a useful as many people produce insufficient quantities of these in the stomach to break down proteins consumed in the diet