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Infographic © herbs-info.com. Image sources: see foot of page
Acid reflux disease and stomach ulcers affect an astonishing number of people – approximately 60 percent of the American population will experience signs and symptoms of gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) at some point within the next 12 months. In fact, about seven million people in the US are experiencing GERD right now.  Because the signs and symptoms are often mild and self-limiting, you wouldn’t even know that you have GERD until the condition worsens.
Learning a little about GERD: GERD is characterized by the backflow of stomach acid into the esophagus. This manifests as a “heartburn” around the epigastric area, often mistaken as chest pain. When a person eats food, it travels down the esophagus until it reaches the stomach. To prevent stomach acid from flowing back into the esophagus, the stomach has a sphincter to keep both food and acid in. However, if the sphincter is damaged or there is too much acid in the stomach, a person can develop GERD. 
When people manage GERD, they usually turn to medications to soothe the symptoms. However, GERD can also occur because of taking certain drugs. Here are some natural alternatives that have been reported beneficial:
1: Apple Cider Vinegar
There are instances when GERD is caused by too little acid in the stomach (instead of the other way around), which then forces the body to produce more than what is needed. One of the natural ways to prevent this is to add a little raw, unfiltered, apple cider vinegar in your diet. Try to drink a tablespoon of ACV in a warm (or cold!) glass of water at the start of your day.
Because of ACVs numerous health benefits, more and more scientists are focusing on this natural substance. A recent study published in June 2015 revealed that a gum with ACV as one of its main ingredients was able to alleviate the symptoms of GERD after a refluxogenic meal. 
Betaine is a naturally occurring substance that has been used as a safe and natural source for hydrochloric acid.  Similar to ACV, betaine supplements help balance the acid content in the stomach to prevent overproduction by the body, thereby alleviating (and preventing!) any symptoms of GERD. They can also be taken after a heavy meal to assist the body in breaking down the food for digestion. 
3: Baking Soda
One of the most common medications prescribed to manage acidity is sodium bicarbonate. It usually comes as a chewable tablet but did you know you have it right in your very kitchen? You read that right! The scientific name of baking soda is sodium bicarbonate, an effective acid neutralizer that can quickly help relieve GERD symptoms.  Sodium bicarbonate can help heal severe GERD according to a 2015 study. 
4: Aloe Juice
Aloe vera is a popular medicinal plant because of its soothing properties. It’s a gentle moisturizer than can ease itchiness and swelling, usually used on irritated skin. However, aloe juices are also becoming increasingly popular in the market! The soothing properties of aloe make it excellent for digestion and acid reflux – it maintains good pH in the stomach, reducing acidity, dyspepsia, and the risk for ulcers. 
5: Ginger Root
Ginger is a potent anti-oxidant, able to manage a variety of conditions that typically affect the stomach. You will often be advised to take ginger ale or tea if you have an upset stomach – and this is not without merit: A study on a ginger-based Chinese decoction revealed that it was able to alleviate the symptoms of GERD and prevent its relapse. 
Like ginger, chamomile is an excellent way to settle your stomach. Its anti-inflammation properties not only promote rest and relaxation, but also digestion and acid control in the stomach. Drinking chamomile tea can manage a variety of gastrointestinal problems, like GERD and gastritis. 
7: Vitamin D
Management of acid reflux with vitamin D takes on a completely different approach – it boosts immunity to prevent infection-associated GERD, instead of counteracting the symptoms directly. One of the risk factors for GERD is an H. pylori infection, which causes peptic ulcers. By improving vitamin D levels in the body, you are also improving the body’s immune system to fight against H. pylori. 
Astaxanthin is a naturally-occuring antioxidant found in yeast and certain seafoods. According to a 2008 study, while astaxanthin was unable to cure stomach infections caused by H. pylori, it was able to reduce the symptoms of dyspepsia and acid reflux, especially at higher doses. 
9: Slippery Elm
As the name suggests, slippery elm is a plant known for its rather slimy appearance. It has been part of Native American medicinal history, used to treat a variety of health conditions. The mucilage of the plant is an excellent way to soothe ulcers and control excess acidity in the stomach – a property that can help relieve GERD. 
Glutamine is a naturally-occurring substance a well, found in meat and dairy products. In terms of managing GERD, glutamine has been discovered to prevent cell death, which happens to stomach cells affected by H. pylori infections. In a 2009 study, glutamine supplements were shown to have protective effects against GERD in the test subjects by an increase in cytokines (which protect against inflammation). 
11 & 12: Vitamin B And Folate
A study on Vitamin B and Folate supplements published in 2013 revealed that there is an inverse association between vitamin B and folate and lesions caused by reflux esophagitis, esophageal adenocarcinoma, and Barrett’s esophagus. Not only do vitamins improve the body’s fight against infection and other diseases, they can also help with the signs and symptoms of GERD. 
 Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project (2008). Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD) Hospitalizations in 1998 and 2005. https://www.hcup-us.ahrq.gov/reports/statbriefs/sb44.jsp
 Mayo Clinic. GERD. http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/gerd/basics/definition/con-20025201
 Brown, R., et. al. (2015). Effect of GutsyGum(tm), A Novel Gum, on Subjective Ratings of Gastro Esophageal Reflux Following A Refluxogenic Meal. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25144853
 PubChem. Betaine. http://pubchem.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/compound/betaine
 Wright, J. & Lenard, L. (2001). Why Stomach Acid is Good for You. https://books.google.com.ph/books?isbn=0871319314
 US National Library of Medicine. Sodium bicarbonate. https://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/druginfo/meds/a682001.html
 Orbelo, D., et. al. (2015). Once-daily omeprazole/sodium bicarbonate heals severe refractory reflux esophagitis with morning or nighttime dosing. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24448652
 Rubin, J., Sataloff, R. & Korovin, G. (2006). Diagnosis and Treatment of Voice Disorders. https://books.google.com.ph/books/about/Diagnosis_and_Treatment_of_Voice_Disorde.html?id=IqRsAAAAMAAJ&redir_esc=y
 Rajeswari, R., et. al. (2012). Aloe vera: The Miracle Plant Its Medicinal and Traditional Uses in India. http://www.phytojournal.com/vol1Issue4/Issue_nov_2012/17.1.pdf
 Ling, W., et. al. (2015). Aloe vera: The Miracle Plant Its Medicinal and Traditional Uses in India Consistent Efficacy of Wendan Decoction for the Treatment of Digestive Reflux Disorders. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26243580
 D’Arcy, G. (2012). Digestive Improvement Herbal Program. http://true-wellness.com/twmedia/articles/digestive_program.pdf
 University of Maryland Medical Center. Gastroesophageal reflux disease and heartburn. https://umm.edu/health/medical/reports/articles/gastroesophageal-reflux-disease-and-heartburn
 Kupcinskas, L., et. al. (2008). Efficacy of the natural antioxidant astaxanthin in the treatment of functional dyspepsia in patients with or without Helicobacter pylori infection: A prospective, randomized, double blind, and placebo-controlled study. http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0944711308000767
 University of Maryland Medical Center. Slippery elm. https://umm.edu/health/medical/altmed/herb/slippery-elm
 Hagen, S., et. al. (2009). Inflammation and Foveolar Hyperplasia Are Reduced by Supplemental Dietary Glutamine during Helicobacter pylori Infection in Mice. http://jn.nutrition.org/content/139/5/912.short
 Sharp, L., et. al. (2013). Intakes of Dietary Folate and Other B Vitamins Are Associated with Risks of Esophageal Adenocarcinoma, Barrett’s Esophagus, and Reflux Esophagitis. http://jn.nutrition.org/content/143/12/1966.long
Infographic Image Sources:
Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gastroesophageal_reflux_disease
Fenugreek Seed – http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Fenugreek-methi-seeds.jpg
German Chamomile – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Matricaria_February_2008-1.jpg
Ginger – http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Gingembre.jpg
Licorice – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Gardenology.org-IMG_2804_rbgs11jan.jpg
Agrimony – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Agrimonia-eupatoria.JPG
Fennel – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Foeniculum_July_2011-1a.jpg
Papaya – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Papaya.jpg
Slippery Elm – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Mature_Ulmus_rubra_bark.jpg
Wood Betony – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Pedicularis_canadensis.jpg
Turmeric – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Curcuma_longa_roots.jpg
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