Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), better known as acid reflux is a bodily condition where the stomach acid moves in an upward direction right into the esophagus, causing signs like nausea, a burning sensation in the chest, loss of appetite, etc.
In several studies, it has been found out that around 18 to 28 percent of people in North America and approximately 23 percent of people in South America experience the condition of acid reflux. Acid reflux is not a very serious medical condition and mostly occurs due to erratic lifestyle regimes such as not having food on time or consuming foods that take time to digest or even experiencing too much anxiety and stress.
Even though over the counter medical supplements and antacids are readily available to cure this ailment, these days, the focus has shifted towards opting for natural or herbal remedies that can help alleviate symptoms of GERD. The reason behind this is that these herbs help the body restore its normal digestive functioning without posing any potential side effects to the body.
In this article, we have compiled a comprehensive list of the best herbs that you can consume to relieve the condition of acid reflux. These herbs for acid reflux not only strengthen the digestive system, but they also help prevent the stomach from creating the excess acid that may pose a problem.
Herbs for Acid Reflux
Before delving deeper into the numerous herbs that can help provide relief from GERD(1), it is strongly advised that you consult your doctor before consuming any of them to avoid any harm to your body. Furthermore, if you are consuming any medical drug under a prescription, do consult and research if it is viable for you to have these herbs concurrently.
[Also Read: Natural Remedies for Acid Reflux]
1. Peppermint Oil for Acid Reflux
Specific research studies by noteworthy institutions and academicians have shown that peppermint can be used to reduce the signs and symptoms of GERD. This beneficial herb is usually found in tea leaves, as well as sweets.
You would be surprised to know that peppermint is one of the oldest and traditional remedies that have been used to cure a variety of stomach disorders.
However, here is a word of advice. Do not consume peppermint oil and antacids at the same time for the simple reason that a combination of the two will only contribute to a burning sensation in the chest.
Clinical evidence points to the fact that peppermint oil is excellent for alleviating signs and symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome, which is one of the prime reasons for heartburn.
How to use
Usually, preparing peppermint tea and having it is the best way to use it as an herb to cure acid reflux.
In a majority of adults, small doses of this herb are considered to be a safe option. However, in case you are a pregnant or breastfeeding woman, you should avoid consuming it.
[Also Read: Alkaline Foods for Acid Reflux]
2. Ginger for Acid Reflux
The root of ginger has been used as an herb to cure acid reflux(2) since time immemorial. Common conditions such as nausea and other gastrointestinal ailments can be quickly relieved with the consumption of ginger.
Ginger is known to possess anti-inflammatory properties that help reduce the irritation as well as swelling that may have been caused in the esophagus due to the reflux.
A study conducted in the year 2011 found out that the people who consumed ginger regularly had a marked difference in comparison to those who didn’t in the case of acid reflux.
How to use
The best way to have ginger for gerd is to either add a little bit of it to your daily meals or your salads. Another remarkable way to consume ginger is to make ginger tea by adding a pinch of it to boiling water and straining it.
Make sure that you do not consume too much of it since it can worsen the situation by increasing the inflammation in your heart.
[Also Read: Benefits of Ginger for Acid Reflux]
3. Lemon Balm for Acid Reflux
Lemon balm is a beneficial herb to get rid of GERD. It belongs to the mint family and has a light fragrance. It is used to cure several digestive problems such as intestinal gas, bloating, abdominal cramps, and heartburn/excess acid in the stomach. The benefits of lemon balm as a herb to alleviate acid reflux has been backed by several studies and researches too.
How to use
A dose of 1ml for around 4 weeks and three times a day can be an excellent solution to cure acid reflux. Make sure that you do not continue the consumption of this herb for a long duration to avoid any potential side effects.
[Read: Drinks for Acid Reflux]
4. Chamomile tea for Acid Reflux
Chamomile is yet another great herbal tea used for acid reflux. Chamomile has long been documented as a herb that has superb anti-inflammatory properties and is equally efficacious as any other over the counter medicine. It has been used for a long time by natives of several countries to ease digestion and improve the functioning of the stomach.
Studies conducted in the year 2009 suggested that people who consumed extracts of chamomile daily were less likely to develop symptoms of anxiety, which is one of the biggest causes of developing acid reflux. Notably, such people experienced a 50 percent improvement in their condition after being treated with chamomile.
Another study in the year 2006 suggested that chamomile consumed as a herbal preparation lowered gastric acidity to a great extent and even prevented the occurrence of the upward movement of stomach acid into the food pipe.
How to use
The best way to consume chamomile is by making its tea and straining it before consumption. You can also add a dash of lemon and honey to your tea to reduce the bitter taste.
In case you are allergic to plants belonging to the Asteraceae family, chamomile may not suit your body, and you may develop side effects, such as rashes on the skin, swelling in the throat, and even shortness of breath.
Make sure you consult a medical practitioner before consuming the same.
5. Licorice for Acid Reflux
Deglycyrrhizinated licorice (DGL) is quite a helpful herb that controls the signs of acid reflux and soothes the functioning of the stomach. Studies reveal that DGL increases the mucus activity in the body. This additional mucus further acts as a shield and prevents from allowing the stomach acid to back to the esophagus. Such a barrier prevents heartburns and related signs of GERD. Besides, it also helps heal damaged tissues occurred to due acid reflux.
How to use
DGL is available in liquid or tablet form. Ensure to discuss the possible side effects of this herb with your doctor. In case you are suffering from particular heart disease or suffer from high blood pressure, exercise caution while consuming DGL. Pregnant women too should avoid its consumptions since it may lead to preterm labor.
6. Turmeric for Acid Reflux
Turmeric has been pioneering the field of natural/herbal remedies for acid reflux since times immemorial. It is known to cure several stomach disorders such as gastritis and acid reflux in a brief time.
Curcumin, one of turmeric’s most active ingredients is the reason why it serves as an excellent remedy to cure acid reflux. This compound possesses antibacterial, antiviral, as well as anticancer properties. The antioxidant compounds present in turmeric makes a great food item that helps improve the digestion in the body and keep ulcers at bay.
How to use
A simple way to use turmeric for gastritis is to add it to your daily meals while cooking. Apart from that, you can also consider adding a pinch of the substance in warm milk and have it right before you sleep. This will not only ensure better sleep, but it will also prevent a burning sensation in your heart at night.
Remember, consuming too much turmeric will only worsen the situation of reflux.
7. Caraway for Acid Reflux
Caraway is yet another remarkable herb to cure acid reflux and related ailments, such as loss of appetite, etc. Caraway oil can be used to improve digestion, as well as relieve spasms, that may be caused in the stomach due to reflux. Besides, it also kills harmful bacteria in the body and helps to get instant relief from constipation. Caraway has also been known to reduce signs and symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome.
How to use
Caraway is a great herb to alleviate GERD. You can purchase caraway oil easily in the market. It can either be consumed directly or be used as a cooking spice. A 50 mg dosage of caraway for around 4 times a week can be an excellent option to get relief from heartburn.
GERD is quite a common problem in adults and even in teenagers. However, consumption of certain herbs can prevent the situation from getting worse. The same can be read about in the above sections.
In this section, we discuss the answers to a few of the common queries pertaining to acid reflux.
1. Can herbs for acid reflux be used without medical assistance?
Ideally, the consumption of herbs to cure acid reflux does not cause any side effects. However, certain herbs may trigger conditions like rashes on the skin, sore throat, etc. To find out which herb is best suited for your body, it is advisable that you first seek the advice of a doctor and only then shift your attention towards herbs for curing GERD.
2. How often should these herbs be consumed?
Well, there is no straitjacket or universal formula to consume these herbs. An overdose may only lead to worsening of the situation. Herbs consumed in the form of tea can be had around once or twice a day. Other herbs may be added into your dishes. It is best to visit a doctor to know the ideal dosage before consumption.
3. Is there clinical evidence of the success of these herbs as a remedy to cure acid reflux?
Yes, there is. Several studies and researches carried out by distinguished academicians and institutions prove that herbs can be used to cure the situation of acid reflux. Also, several more studies are being carried out to bolster the claim of herbs being a cure for GERD.
Review your diet honestly and find out which foods trigger the situation of acid reflux in the body. It is best that you avoid such foods and shift to healthy meals. Changing your lifestyle can be extremely helpful in getting relief from GERD and other gastrointestinal problems.
Limit your intake of processed foods and practice an active living that includes a considerable amount of exercise.
GERD is one stomach disorder whose cause and cure both lies in the hands of the patient. It is best that you find out what habits and foods trouble the body and take prompt corrective action to avert any significant physical ailment.