Natural Remedies To Treat Acid Reflux
Acid reflux, also known as Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease or GERD, is a condition in which the contents of the stomach leak backwards into the esophagus. This can create different uncomfortable and painful symptoms, including:
- Sore throat
- Regurgitation of food (when the food comes back up after eating)
- Hoarse/change in voice
- Difficulty swallowing
Antacids and other medications used to treat acid reflux can help, though there are natural remedies that many sufferers find to be effective as well. However, always consult a doctor before trying these or any other natural remedy.
Aloe Vera is known to have a wide array of healing properties. The plant is used as an ingredient in various sunblocks, lotions, and shampoos, and the gel has been known to relieve the pain of minor burns and other superficial wounds when applied to the area. When it is made into a juice, it can be used to treat the symptoms of numerous medical conditions- including acid reflux. This is because the plant contains the nutrients and amino acids that are needed to help balance the digestive system and therefore relieve symptoms.
Apple Cider Vinegar
ACV is a well-known home remedy for reducing or completely eliminating the symptoms of acid reflux. It is thought to work by lowering the the acidity of the stomach and maintaining it at that lower level, since acetic acid is weaker than hydrochloric acid. As a result, it reduces symptoms by decreasing problems that are associated with the esophagus.
To make your own apple cider vinegar tonic, mix two to three teaspoons of ACV with eight ounces of water. Drink it before meals or whenever you experience symptoms.
Do not use this baking soda remedy if you have high blood pressure and are restricted to a low sodium diet. When the baking soda is combined with the stomach acid, it reacts, forming sodium chloride and water which is ordinary table salt.
Baking soda is also an old remedy used for treating the symptoms of acid reflux. Because baking soda, or sodium bicarbonate, is alkaline, it neutralizes the stomach acidity. However, make sure to use only baking soda that reads 'aluminum free' or '100% sodium bicarbonate', as others may contain aluminum which can be left over in the manufacturing and processing of the baking soda and can be potentially harmful.
It is important not to overdo it on the baking soda, since that can lead to too much stomach acid being neutralized and create digestion problems. Consequently, this can actually cause acid reflux. It is recommended to use only half a teaspoon of baking soda dissolved in four ounces of water.
Eating apples can help prevent acid reflux symptoms in some sufferers, as they contain tartaric and malic acids, which help neutralize stomach acidity. This remedy only works, though, if you eat sweeter apples, such as Braeburn instead of tart versions, such as granny smiths.
For best results, eat half an apple within 15-20 minutes immediately after you finish a meal to prevent acid reflux. However, make sure you save some room in your stomach to eat the apple, as eating it on a full stomach can result in the onset of symptoms.
Because licorice can cause high blood pressure, do not take DGL if you currently have or are being treated for the condition.
Deglycyrrhizinated Licorice, or DGL, is thought to work in treating acid reflux by soothing the tissues of the stomach and esophagus that have become irritated by the refluxed stomach acid. In addition, it is also believed to have anti-inflammatory properties. DGL in chewable tablet form often works the most effectively.
Lemon juice is another natural remedy that neutralizes stomach acids, therefore preventing and relieving acid reflux symptoms. It is best to use lemons or lemon juice that is at room temperature. To make the lemon juice tonic, simply combine a teaspoon of lemon juce into half a glass of water, preferably warm (not microwaved, though).
Glutamine is an amino acid that reduces the intestinal inflammation that is associated with acid reflux. It can naturally be found in the body, as well as in foods, such as milk, dairy products, eggs, fish, chicken, beef, beans, cabbage, and spinach. Increasing the consumption of these foods can help reduce occurrences of acid reflux.
Other Lifestyle Changes
There are changes that you can make to your lifestyle that alone can help significantly decrease and eliminate acid reflux symptoms. These include:
- Losing weight
- Avoiding alcohol
- Quitting smoking
- Not overeating and eating slowly
- Drinking more water
- Avoiding foods that can trigger acid reflux (For a list of these foods, look here.)