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Acid Reflux Symptoms and Natural Remedies
Pain, Discomfort, Nausea are just some of the Acid Reflux symptoms, and natural remedies are by far the best way to go in the search for relief.
Acid Reflux, or Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD) is a condition where the acids from the stomach leak (or reflux) up into the oesophagus, or gullet, burning the lining.
This can lead also to scar tissue forming, which will cause problems in swallowing. There have also been links observed between GERD and oesophageal cancer.
Sliced Ginger and Garlic Cloves
Symptoms and Natural Remedies
What are the symptoms?
Acid reflux can begin with repeated bouts of heartburn, and the symptoms are very similar, with chest pain just behind the breastbone.
Although acid reflux can occur without the heartburn. In these cases, chest pain exists, along with dry throat, wheezes, difficulty breathing, throat constrictions, and disturbed sleep.
It can also cause bad tastes in the mouth, and bad breath, or halitosis. Often accompanied by regurgitation, or 'vomit in the mouth'.
Mostly, acid reflux is recognised by a sharp pain behind the breastbone, similar to when you swallow a large pill too quickly or without enough water, and you feel it 'lodged' part way down. You feel like there's a lump of stone trapped in your gullet, and the pain gradually rises through your throat to your jaw. It can be very painful and can even cause nausea.
How It Happens
Acid reflux occurs when the lower oesophageal sphincter (LES), a band of muscle tissue and hormones, which acts like a valve between the oesophagus and stomach, malfunctions.
When working normally, the LES will open to allow food down from the oesophagus into the stomach, and will close, and not allow anything to rise up from the stomach into the oesophagus, thus stopping stomach contents from regurgitating. However at times this valve can weaken and lose it's control, and allow excess acid and pepsin from the stomach to rise through into the oesophagus. Hence acid reflux.
Natural Remedies or Home Cures for Acid Reflux
Apple Cider Vinegar
The most well-known and commonly used natural remedy for acid reflux, is apple cider vinegar, with the mother. This is raw organic cider vinegar, the 'mother' referring to the sediment found within, which contains all the health giving benefits. The vinegar has to be shaken well, to assure this 'mother' is well distributed throughout the liquid before use.
Apple cider vinegar taken in water is very helpful in easing acid reflux.
Fresh ginger helps by absorbing stomach acids, and has a further benefit of being calming to the nerves.
The ginger root, peeled and grated or crushed, can be left to soak in water, and the water drunk. Crushed ginger can be infused in boiling water, and drunk like a tea.
You can even chew on a piece, without swallowing, just swallow the juices, but it is quite spicy and bitter to the taste.
Candied ginger is also helpful, if you can find it. This is more pleasant to chew, and it can also be added to a cup of chamomile tea for flavour and sweetening.
Garlic should be eaten every day, as it kills pathogenic organisms like Helicobacter pylori. This is the only bacterial organism which cannot be destroyed by stomach acids, and is the main cause of gastritis and other stomach problems.
Garlic also destroys most bowel flora.
Fresh garlic should be crushed or chewed before swallowing, or added to water and left to steep for a while before drinking. Or crush it and add to boiling water and drink as an infusion.
Attempting to swallow whole cloves will not help, as the beneficial properties will not be activated correctly.
Garlic can be taken in capsule form, available in health stores.
Fennel seed is well known as a herb that helps in many digestive conditions, and has several other benefits. Fennel seeds contain Anethole, a compound which suppresses spasms of the stomach or gastrointestinal tract. For this reason, it is considered helpful with acid reflux.
The seeds can be chewed slowly, up to a teaspoonful at a time, after meals. Again these can also be used as an infusion.
Aniseed and lavender infusion
This is another 'tea' which is very good for acid reflux. Mix equal amounts of aniseed and lavender in boiling water and leave to brew. Strain and add a little honey. This can be drunk whenever needed, most helpfully first thing in the morning, and late in the evening.
A very old remedy for acid reflux and heartburn, just a spoonful in a glass of water will help to calm the discomfort.
This is a debatable remedy, opinions differ as to whether it helps or not with acid reflux, or even with heartburn. Some say a glass of milk calms heartburn, others say it will make it worse. Personal opinion necessary on this one.
Drinking plenty of water as often as you can, will dilute stomach acids, and help to wash food and acid downwards, and keep them down.
However a point to make note of:
DO NOT drink water or any liquids whilst you are eating, because of the fact that this will dilute stomach acids, and stop them doing their job properly.
Drink a good glass of water 20 to 30 minutes before eating, and allow time to digest your food before drinking any more.
Between meals, drink as much water as you possibly can, the belief is that not enough people drink the amount of water they should each day. This in turn leads to a lot of illnesses that could be avoided.
A few almonds, chewed thoroughly, have been discovered to help enormously with acid reflux. Chew a few in the morning, and after meals.
An apple eaten after a meal has proved to be helpful in alleviating acid reflux. Preferably organic apples, even a few slices will help.
Another fruit which is helpful to eat, as it contains digestive enzymes to aid digestion, and is also available in capsule form. Papaya enzyme pills, available at health stores are a good aid in acid reflux.
Aloe juice has proved a good remedy to acid reflux, but it's consistency is often found difficult to take. Again you could try to take it in water, either hot or cold.
Chewing sugarfree gum after meals will stimulate saliva production, which helps dilute stomach contents and acids, and helps the downward passage of foods from your oesophagus to your stomach. Not as efficiently as water, but can be used directly after eating, whereas water requires waiting.
Wash potatoes well, without peeling, cut into pieces and place in a blender or liquidiser. Blend well to extract juices, which can be drunk alone or mixed with fruit juices if you prefer. Alone works best, the potato juice neutralising stomach acids.
Chamomile tea helps ease irritation of the oesophagus.
Liquorice is very good in cases of acid reflux and heartburn. Natural licorice can be chewed, or again used as an infusion in boiling water. Licorice is also used in the treatment of stomach and oesophagus ulcers.
1 teaspoon of Royal Jelly, fresh or frozen, will calm the burning of acid reflux very quickly.
Foods to avoid are: oily, salty, fatty and spicy foods, also nutty foods and junk foods. These are particularly bad for your digestive system, especially for people prone to suffer from heartburn or acid reflux. Acidic fruits, eggs, fatty meats, coffee and tea (including decaffeinated) These will all cause a flareup of acid reflux
Avoid sugar as much as possible as it can be irritating.
Avoid peppermint; a lot of people think peppermints help heartburn, but the contrary is true as they are very acidic.
Foods you should choose are: non-acidic foods (Apple is a better choice than orange, because the Orange is so acidic)
non-fat or low-fat foods, lean meats, grilled food in place of fried.
Try to eat smaller meals, take smaller mouthfuls, and chew well before swallowing. Well-chewed food will be a lot easier for stomach acid to deal with.
Digest well before trying to sleep, eat earlier if you can, allowing more time between digestion and sleep.
When you are upright it is easier for the oesophagus and the LES to do their jobs.
Lying down, it is easier for the food and acids to flow back up into the oesophagus, and remain there, causing more damage.
Another food which very surprisingly has proven to help with acid reflux, is sauerkraut. It has been reported that after eating sauerkraut, the spasms relax within 5 or 10 minutes.
There are pharmaceutical aids on the market for acid reflux symptoms, but there are so many natural choices too. Surely adding pills to your system is only giving your stomach something else to deal with, when it could be ingesting something naturally soothing.
I am a firm advocate of natural remedies, I much prefer to visit natures 'pharmacy'
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