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Mustard Magic For Heartburn?

Posting Date: 09/11/2000

Q: My husband and I use a teaspoon of yellow mustard to relieve our heartburn. I was in a chat room a while ago when one of the chatters complained about her heartburn. Another said, "Try mustard." We all thought this was ludicrous, but she did try it and it helped.

The next time my husband had one of his terrible roll-on-the-floor-in-agony bouts of heartburn, I suggested mustard. I figured it couldn't hurt any more than what he already had. Amazingly, it worked, and faster than Tums or DiGel. We've told our friends and they have had good results also. I hope it works for others, too.

A: Mustard seems like the last thing someone with heartburn would want to swallow. Some people react to spicy food with indigestion, but there may be some explanation for the relief you report.

Saliva is the body's natural buffering agent for stomach acid. This is why chewing gum or sucking on hard candy can be surprisingly effective against heartburn. Mustard may stimulate saliva and work in a similar manner.

We could find no reference to mustard as a heartburn remedy, but we checked with one of the world's leading experts on herbs, James Duke, Ph.D. He suggested that turmeric, the spice that makes mustard yellow, has ingredients that are beneficial for the digestive tract. If anyone else finds that mustard works against heartburn we would be interested.