Celiac disease is a malabsorption syndrome and chronic digestive disorder. The intestine is not able to absorb vital dietary nutrients from foods containing gliadin, an alcohol-soluble portion of gluten. This condition which is often hereditary means the sufferer has a serious intolerance to wheat (including durum, semolina and spelt), rye, oats, barley, and related grain hybrids such as tritaclae and kamut.

Arthritis refers to inflammation of the joint. The most common form of arthritis is osteoarthritis which is characterised by joint degeneration and loss of cartilage. Rheumatoid arthritis is a type of inflammatory arthritis which is also an autoimmune disorder. In this case the body's immune system attacks its own cartilage and tissue surrounding the joints.

Some detoxification experts advocate fasting, while others do not. It is known that the components of any well-designed detox program will stimulate the body to cleanse itself, but people who are underweight, are undernourished, have weak hearts, have blood sugar issues or are ill should avoid fasting. Some studies have shown that restricting food intake can actually lead to bingeing.

Hemorrhoids are extremely common in industrialised countries and it is estimated that fifty percent of persons over fifty years of age have symptoms of hemorrhoidal disease. Although most people may begin to develop hemorrhoids in the twenties, the symptoms do not become evident normally until in ones thirties!

Heartburn / Acid reflux

What is heart burn and acid reflux?

Upper gastric distress or heartburn (gastroesophageal reflux disease), is a feeling of pressure and fullness, or painful burning in the middle of the chest. There may be an acidic taste with degrees of nausea. This commonly occurs within an hour of eating when stomach acids are at their highest level. It can be referred to as reflux, acid indigestion, regurgitation or gastro-esophageal reflux.

Usually the culprit is a fault with a one-way valve, a small muscular ring called the lower esophageal sphincter or LES. It is located at the lower end of the esophagus where it connects with the stomach. It is the job of the LES to allow food and beverages to pass into the stomach, then close tightly and prevent a backward flow. If the LES is weak, powerful stomach acids slosh back into the esophagus and inflame its sensitive lining with caustic digestive juices.

Certain foods, drugs and behaviours are known to relax or weaken the valve. Sometimes the problem is caused in part by a hiatal hernia. The esophagus naturally passes through an opening—a hiatus—in the diaphragm. It this opening becomes stretched, the stomach protrudes, making an acid backwash more likely.

How do I treat acid reflux, esophageal gas and heart burn naturally?

Untreated acid reflux can cause serious problems. Repeated irritation of the esophagus can lead to bleeding, ulceration and a build-up of scar tissue which narrows the opening and makes all solids painful to swallow.

Being overweight can trigger or worsen the problem. Fat is not only deposited where we can see it—it also accumulates around internal organs. As it fills up the interior of the abdomen, pressure builds up under the LES and weakens it. Weight loss may be part of your treatment plan.

The number one factor most commonly linked to gastro-intestinal problems is: stress. Practice stress management techniques, take time daily to deeply relax, and most importantly, calm, yourself before eating. The finest food will not be properly digested in an environment of tension or haste.

Heartburn, esophageal gas and acid reflux - natural treatments and remedies:

  • Consciously relax before eating. Sit upright and take a few deep breaths. Avoid eating when tense or upset.
  • Eat slowly. Put down fork/food after each mouthful. Chew each mouthful thoroughly, only then take another bite.
  • Avoid over-eating. Keep meal size moderate.
  • Avoid missing meals. Fuel your body according to a regular pattern.
  • Avoid likely food triggers.
  • Do not habitually drink with meals—wait about 1½ hours after eating.
  • Drink ample water—6-8 glasses daily (herb tea can be included). Sufficient water is crucial to the integrity of the stomach lining and to the production of the 9 liters of digestive secretions we need to make daily.
  • Eat apple, pineapple or especially pawpaw (fresh, dined, tinned, juice or even tablets) all contain digestive enzymes.
  • Limit carbonated beverages, alcohol, ordinary coffee and tea, highly sweetened foods and especially drinks, high fat meals (not necessarily any 1 food).
  • Eliminate gum chewing, smoking, sucking on lollies, drinking from straws or from bottles, and gulping large quantities of fluid (all these activities encourages air swallowing).
  • Do not eat a large meal late at night—late snacks for most people are not advised. Lie down no sooner than 3 hours after eating.
  • Gradually reduce any excess weight.
  • Take appropriate measures to normalize daily bowel elimination, including drinking at least 5 glasses of water daily, and gradually increasing fibre intake.
  • Exercise regularly –at least the equivalent of 3 x 30 minutes brisk walking each week.
  • Take a tea of aniseed or fennel seeds steeped in boiling water. Sip after meals.

Additional herbs & specifics to help reduce acid reflux, heartburn and esophageal gas

Gentian is a bitter herb which stimulates appetite and increases digestive secretions. Meadowsweet is also used in a similar manner

Chamomile settles digestive spasm, particularly when high levels of essential oil and alpha-bisabolol are present.

Choleretic herbs (Dandelion root, St Mary's Thistle) improve the production of bile.

Golden Seal is an excellent herb for restoring the integrity of the mucous membranes of the digestive tract. Especially used traditionally where atonic dyspepsia with liver involvement occurs, and used as a tonic during convalescence when digestive function is often reduced.

Licorice (Glycyrrhiza glabra) Licorice is a demulcent (soothing, coating agent) often used to prevent and treat stomach ulcers.

Turmeric (Curcuma longa) Turmeric has long been used in both Ayurvedic and Chinese medicine to treat digestive disorders. Scientific research is beginning to test the merit of this traditional use. In an animal study, for example, extracts of

Slippery Elm (Ulmus fulva) - Slippery elm, has a long effective history of use. Based on clinical experience it has been very effective in treating conditions including ulcers and gastrointestinal inflammation.


  • Avoid vigorous exercise and bending soon after eating
  • Avoid pressure on the abdomen: obesity, straining, tight fitting belts and clothes, slouched posture.
  • Elevate the head of your bed on 15 cm blocks. This works better than pillows to raise the entire torso comfortably and discourages stomach acids from flowing uphill.
  • Avoid lying on your right side which thwarts the natural line of transit.
  • One hour after a meal is when stomach acids are at their highest concentration. Especially avoid stressful behaviours at this them.
  • If you have a bad attack, sit upright or stand. Loosen clothing. Avoid food and beverages triggers. Drink plain hot or cold water, a slippery elm drink, hot soy or rice or nut-milk, or hot broth. Suitable food choices: dry rice crackers, soft cooked rice or potato, soup with lots of potato, pumpkin, carrot or kumara (generally no dairy, tomato, onion, brassicas—see list—legumes, spices). Eat very slowly and chew thoroughly.

Common Food Triggers

Decades of clinical research have isolated foods which tend to irritate the lining of the GI tract, cause spasm, stimulate acid secretion or produce gas. In addition there is always biochemical individuality—how you react to certain foods.

Try going without the most likely triggers for 1 month or until symptoms improve. Then gradually reintroduce 1 food per week. Carefully observe your body’s reaction. If there is no problem, resume including this food in your diet. Some people may have a bad reaction every time they eat a food (or by the next day). For others it is a matter of quantity or frequency. Other people require a cluster of factors to trigger a bad reaction: perhaps the addition of tiredness, stress, the week before menses, or accumulated food/drink stresses that day or week