Gastro-esophageal Reflux disease – known as GERD or GORD – is a common condition that is caused by an over production of stomach acid. The excess acid leaks into the stomach then into the esophagus causing unpleasant symptoms such as heartburn and nausea. Some patients with the condition will also experience a nasty taste in their mouth and may also have problems swallowing.
There are medications to help this complaint, but for those that would prefer the more natural approach, there are some suggestions listed below. However, if you have been prescribed anti-acid medications or are on any other type of medications, then get medical advice first, as some of the remedies could interact with other drugs you are taking for your symptoms.
Diet plays a role in the production of acid so this is one of the most important aspects that a patient with GERD will need to address. Anyone suffering from GERD will be aware of the foods that make their symptoms worse, so these are obviously best avoided. Foods such as meat and dairy products are among the foods that can increase the production of stomach acid. Try leaving some of these foods out of your diet and see if the symptoms improve.
The herb slippery elm is well known for helping to treat people with digestive disorders. It is soothing to the stomach lining, and it is usually taken in powder form. It is suggested that a few teaspoons of the powder are added to a glass of water and drunk before a meal to help prevent the unpleasant symptoms of heartburn.
Our bodies naturally produce digestive enzymes to help us digest our food and aid our digestive system. Some people with GERD find relief from their symptoms by supplementing their diet with digestive enzymes. They can also be helpful for patients with other conditions such as IBS.
When buying a digestive enzyme, go with a popular brand, check the label for allergens, and don't chose a peppermint flavoured variety.
Manuka honey is known for its healing properties and has been used with success in the treatment of many medical conditions. As well as being effective at treating GERD, It has also been found to help treat ulcers, infections, burns and cuts. Manuka honey comes as two types: UMF and Active. It is advisable to buy the UMF variety as it stays active for longer and has a much longer shelf life.
Some people suggest taking Manuka honey with a meal; it can be taken three times a day, if required. Manuka honey can also be taken last thing at night and needs to be taken for at least ten days before they'll be a reduction in symptoms.
Many people find the drinking herbal teas such as camomile and fennel can help reduce the discomfort of GERD. However, since both camomile and fennel can act as antispasmodics, it is best to be careful not to drink too much as this may make the muscles too relaxed and ultimately make the symptoms worse.
Anyone looking for an affordable solution to their symptoms could benefit from baking soda. Baking soda works as an anti-acid and will help to neutralise excess acid in the stomach. Baking soda can be taken by adding a few teaspoons to some water and drinking it every few hours, or when the symptoms are at the worse – just don't expect it to taste very nice.
Aloe Vera Juice
Aloe Vera juice was once sold as a cure for just about everything, including many digestive problems. Aloe Vera has been found to be beneficial for patients suffering from GERD and will help reduce the symptoms by soothing the stomach. Aloe Vera juice will also get to work quickly, helping to reduce symptoms, and it will ease some of damage that an excess of acid can do to the stomach.
Beware of Peppermint Tea
One final note, many people think of peppermint as a cure all for digestive problems – including GERD – and research has shown some benefits from drinking peppermint tea for digestive disorders. However, the University of Maryland Medical Center advise against this as peppermint is a known antispasmodic. This means it could relax the sphincter and increase the amount of acid produced, thus making the symptoms worse.
Image credit: nebari / 123RF Stock Photo
February 16, 2012