Mustard for Heartburn Relief: Exploring Natural Remedies and Effects

Mustard for Heartburn Relief: Exploring Natural Remedies and Effects

Published on Thursday, October 05, 2023 by Haley McGaha

Investigating Mustard's Potential: Can It Really Help with Heartburn?

Mustard, yellow mustard, to be exact. It’s one of those things that you either love or hate! Historically, it has had many uses. Not only can it provide a lot of good flavor to food, in my opinion, but it's been known to have many home remedies. 

Mustard’s Multifaceted Uses

Just a quick Google search, and you will find several ways to use mustard that don’t include cooking! 

Some uncommon uses of mustard are for things like muscle cramping and sore muscles, sore throat relief; it acts as a decongestant, it can remove unwanted smells, hair conditioner, and something I wish I would have known before now - a burn relief for mild burns. If you spend any time in the kitchen, odds are, there will come a time that you touch something you aren’t supposed to….note to self - don’t do this. But, theoretically, if I did, I would know that after running my burn through cold water, I could just apply mustard to the burn and keep reapplying as needed in hopes of lessening my burn. 

I know this is an article for Foodguides, where we focus on gut health, so you may find yourself wondering where I am going with this. Well, surprisingly, one of the mustard’s home remedies that I have yet to mention is for heartburn relief. 

This got me thinking - could mustard for burns on the skin be why someone thought mustard for heartburn could be helpful? This is a question I would love to ask whoever thought of this, but I can’t do that, so I figured what better way than doing my own research to see what I could find. 

Turmeric’s Role

First, I started with mustard ingredients because knowing what is in mustard will likely help me pinpoint why mustard could be good for heartburn. Most people agree that mustard is composed of mustard seeds, water, vinegar, salt, and spices (most of them have turmeric as a staple ingredient, which is what provides mustard with its yellow color).  

For a while now, turmeric has been studied for its anti-inflammatory properties. This study found that when compared to lansoprazole (a common medication used to treat gastroesophageal reflux disease or GERD), turmeric was desired over the medicine as it reduced esophagitis or inflammation of the esophagus. Also, this study supports the idea that turmeric can be beneficial for indigestion! It compared turmeric to omeprazole (another very common medication for GERD) and found that turmeric and omeprazole were pretty equal in comparison. 

Choosing the Right Mustard & Other Considerations

I might add that not all mustards are the same. If you are living with IBS and following a Low FODMAP diet, I highly encourage you to learn more about what your specific mustard is made of before trialing if mustard can help with your heartburn. Certain mustards can contain high FODMAP foods, like garlic.

Mustard can have high levels of sodium, so this may not be the best therapy for someone with high blood pressure. Some mustard varieties even contain added spices, which could further relax the lower esophageal sphincter (LES), leading to more acid reflux or heartburn.

There is scarce scientific evidence supporting mustard as an effective treatment for heartburn relief, even though it contains turmeric, which shows some promise regarding gastrointestinal health. If you find that you are having episodes of heartburn more than a couple of times a week, you should seek medical attention, as your heartburn may lead to a more serious condition such as GERD. Even if the mustard is providing some relief, it is not a long-term solution for regular discomfort.

As always, we hope this helps provide you with more insight into why mustard has been suggested as a home remedy for acid reflux! We can’t wait to see what other staple foods will be talked about in the future to help with various ailments. 

  1. Kongkam, P., Khongkha, W., Lopimpisuth, C., et al. (2023). Curcumin and proton pump inhibitors for functional dyspepsia: A randomized, double-blind controlled trial. BMJ Evidence-Based Medicine. Advance online publication. doi:10.1136/bmjebm-2022-112231 
  2. Kwiecien, S., Magierowski, M., Majka, J., Ptak-Belowska, A., Wojcik, D., Sliwowski, Z., Magierowska, K., & Brzozowski, T. (2019). Curcumin: A Potent Protectant against Esophageal and Gastric Disorders. International journal of molecular sciences, 20(6), 1477.