If you're like I was, and you've been to the doctor multiple times for heartburn or acid reflux problems, you may be ready to throw those stupid pills to the side in favor of natural remedies. You may wonder why your doctor went straight to suggesting pills anyway (pharmaceuticals are a multi-billion dollar industry in the U.S. alone, and natural remedies can't be patented and sold at outrageous prices--you do the math).
I'm not going to talk here about swallowing vinegar or mustard to relieve temporary acid reflux or heartburn symptoms (though we've had blog commenters swear by both, especially mustard). My biggest suggestion to you is to find out why you're getting acid reflux. Yeah, figure out the cause instead of just taking drugs (this concept perplexed my general practitioner). In my case, I found out I was gluten- and dairy-intolerant and once I eliminated these foods from my diet (yes, now that I'm better I can cheat a little now and then without major repercussions), my nights of lying awake wondering if I was having a heart attack or if I'd ever be able to sleep without sitting up in a chair went away. Years later, it's hard to remember just how awful it was, but I know I was miserable there for quite a while.
I definitely recommend everyone who has these problems (or other digestive ailments--even my acne was a result of my body's intolerance for gluten and dairy) get tested for food allergies or food intolerances (intolerance means that you can eat the food without immediately getting sick, which is why it can be hard to diagnose; but, over time, the foods are giving you longterm health problems). I had to go to a natural doctor to get this done because the regular one just wasn't into looking for root causes. It only cost about $125 for a blood draw and test that checked me for the 100 most common food allergies. Compare that to the price of all those pills and the surgery they wanted to do (putting a scope down there to check things out)
While food allergies won't necessarily be the cause of everyone's heartburn/acid reflux problems, they're definitely worth ruling out before going onto other possible causes. Environmental factors have also been known to affect our health (if you live in a damp climate or have had moisture get into your house, you may check into black mold as a cause of heartburn and other health problems).
Imbalances of yeasts in your digestive tract can also cause heartburn and other problems. I posted briefly on Candida a few years ago, when I first learned of it, but if you Google the troublesome yeast, you'll find more information on how it can cause acid reflux and a whole host of other health problems. People with high sugar/high refined foods diets and who have taken courses of antibiotics seem to be particularly at risk for yeast imbalances.
Other things to consider are sleep (are you getting enough? it's hard to sleep when you have acid reflux at night, so it can be something of a vicious circle), stress, and leaky gut syndrome (another one to Google--it's sometimes caused by food intolerances or yeast imbalances). As you can see, a lot of these problems are interconnected and related. The true "natural remedy" for acid reflux or heartburn is to find out what's at the root of your problems.
Recommended reading (the book that taught me enough to know to ask for a food allergy test):
Another life-changing read (the one that led me to the clinic where I was eventually tested):