Heartburn can be frustrating and disrupt your life. But antacids can give you unpleasant side effects. Mastic gum is natural and promises to help stop heartburn and reduce its symptoms – but does it work?
If you’ve experienced heartburn, then you’ve probably tried antacids – which are designed to neutralize your stomach acids. Unfortunately, you might have also experienced side-effects like constipation, diarrhea, and itchiness – or even swollen glands, muscle pain, and fever.
But could mastic gum be a natural solution to your heartburn?
What is mastic gum?
Mastic gum is an antioxidant-rich resin extracted from the mastic tree – a small shrub or tree that grows in the Mediterranean.
For hundreds of years, locals have chewed this naturally-occurring gum to improve their oral and digestive health. And today, it’s available in health stores around the world in several forms, including:
- Mastic chewing gum.
- Mastic powder.
- Mastic tincture.
It’s also used in food and drink, as insect repellent, as a cream for cuts and abrasions – and even as a material for tooth fillings.
Some people have also discovered that chewing mastic gum can help alleviate their heartburn symptoms.
Can mastic gum treat heartburn and its symptoms?
Research suggests that chewing mastic gum can help to reduce heartburn symptoms – and perhaps even prevent its underlying causes.
7 out of 10 people who chewed mastic gum enjoyed reduced stomach pain and aches.
- 77% of participants exhibited significant improvements in terms of stomach pain, dull abdominal aches and heartburn, in research published in the Journal of Ethnopharmacology.
- Researchers concluded, “…mastic gum significantly improves symptoms in patients with functional dyspepsia compared to placebo.”
Mastic gum could reduce the bacteria that cause GERD and heartburn.
Heartburn is a symptom of ‘gastroesophageal reflux disease’ (GERD).
Severe GERD is associated with higher concentrations of a bacteria called ‘helicobacter pylori’ (HP) – according to research published in the Journal of the Society of Laparoendoscopic Surgeons.
Mastic gum removed HP from more than 30% of participants, in a study published by Phytomedicine – which could help prevent or reduce the severity of heartburn cases.
Are there any risks associated with using mastic gum to treat heartburn?
Overall, it’s is an effective health supplement that can be used safely by most people.
This makes it an attractive alternative to conventional medicinal approaches for treating heartburn.
However, a small percentage of people could experience side-effects after chewing it, such as:
- Digestive problems.
Also, an allergic reaction could be triggered by chewing it, if you are allergic to the Pistacia genus – and Schinus terebinthifolius, in particular.
You should avoid mastic gum if you are pregnant or breastfeeding.
Is mastic gum a natural solution to heartburn?
Mastic gum is a natural product that may alleviate pain and discomfort associated with heartburn. However, while mastic gum may be an effective reactive solution for reducing the symptoms of heartburn, it is not a preventative solution, like the d-limonene found in orange oil. When taken together, the two have the potential to be a holistic natural solution.
Given the potential side-effects of conventional treatments like antacids, it’s unsurprising that so many people are turning to more natural solutions to relieve heartburn and acid reflux, as well as treat gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD).
If you plan on taking mastic gum, we strongly recommend starting with a small dose and slowly building up to a full dose, in the absence of any major side effects.
As with any medication or health supplement, please consider consulting a physician or health care professional before starting use.