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Herbs For Acid Reflux

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Herbs For Acid Reflux
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Symptoms and consequences of acid reflux are not to be taken lightly. Once your lower esophagus sphincter inappropriately relaxes, stomach acids begin to move upward and can cause severe pain. In the long-run, this can cause abrasions along the delicate linings of your esophagus which, unlike your stomach, will not be able to tolerate high levels of acidity. This then results to scarring of the tissues and trigger serious problems in breathing and swallowing. Consequently, chronic acid reflux has been associated to an increased risk in esophageal cancer. [1]



Acid reflux medications like antacids can only benefit to a certain extent. You may eventually become resistant to them. The body may even slowly learn to compensate for the rapid decline in gastric acid by producing more acid and thus, worsening your symptoms. And of course like any other drugs, long term use of antacids may affect vital organs like your liver.

It's comforting to learn that antacids are not your sole option to experience acid reflux relief. Herbal remedies are not only more natural, safer, and cheaper options to alleviate symptoms of acid reflux, they also target the source of acid reflux to prevent similar occurrences. After all, acid reflux is more often than not caused by natural factors like poor diet and eating habits or stress [1] so it may be a good idea take advantage of natural strategies to relieve yourself of it.

Although research on herbal alternatives for acid reflux has been relatively modest, [2] some herbs have been studied in this regard by scientists and shown promise in relieving stomach, digestive, and esophageal related issues with lesser adverse effects.

10 Herbs for Acid Reflux Relief

Fenugreek seeds

Researchers have found that it is the physical attributes of fenugreek seeds that make it uniqueófenugreek works like sponge that absorbs excess gastric acid. [3] It is also for this reason why a 2002 study in India found both aqueous extracts and gel fractions of fenugreek seeds to have significant protective effects on gastric ulcer and can even lower mucosal injury better than Omeprazole. [4] And unlike other herbs which have to be brewed, fenugreek seeds can just easily be sprinkled over your meals to gain their benefits. [3]

German Chamomile

This herb makes up part of a popular herbal product formulation called Iberogast which has been extensively studied and shown to reduce acid reflux, stomach pain, cramping and nausea. [2] Because chamomile is also known as a relaxant herb, German Chamomile is best for stress-related acid reflux. [5] Moreover, chamomile is considered one of the gentlest botanical remedies so it is generally safe with minimal side effects, if any. [3]



Ginger

The roots of ginger have been shown to possess medicinal properties in absorbing stomach acid while also producing a calming effect. Medical herbalists recommend regularly taking one ginger capsule after dinner [1] to help irritated gastrointestinal tract and promote better sleep at night. [5]

Licorice

Like German Chamomile, licorice is also part of the mix of herbs that comprise Iberogast. [2] One study has investigated the effects of administering gastro-protective treatment including preparations of licorice on 80 patients with erosive gastritis and gastroduodenitis partly caused by gastric reflux. After 3 weeks, results exhibited improvements in erosive alterations among 75% of patients, [6] suggesting evidence of both preventive and therapeutic properties of licorice on acid-reflux related symptoms and effects.

Agrimony

Experts believe agrimony is beneficial to relieve stomach distress and restore proper GI functioning. [5] Aside from severe chest pain or burning sensation, acid reflux may also be accompanied by diarrhea, vomiting and nausea and this is where agrimony can be most useful. [3]

Fennel

Usually made into tea, fennel proves to be one of the most effective ways of combating acid reflux. When ingested, this herb works by improving digestion process, thereby preventing acid reflux. Fennel actually contains a powerful anethole substance that is beneficial in calming or suppressing spasms of the digestive tract. [7]

Papaya

Noted for its remarkable effects on improving digestion, papaya is a wonderful herb that can help suppress acid reflux. This fruit is an excellent source of nutrients like lutein, zeaxanthin, lycopene, choline, bioflavonoids, antioxidants, pentatonic acid, Vitamins A, C, K, and E, copper, selenium, iron, phosphorous, zinc, magnesium and calcium.

More than its beneficial ingredients, papaya also makes an excellent treatment for acid reflux. It contains powerful proteolytic enzyme that help in breaking down proteins into amino acids. Its papaine content is useful in the digestion of carbohydrates and fats. The proper digestion of these nutrients helps in improving digestion which in turn results prevention of acid reflux and indigestion. [8] Furthermore, it potassium content provides healthy bacteria into the intestine. This eases the digestion process and prevents the stomach from working very hard. [9]

Slippery Elm

This potent herb really makes an excellent herb for acid reflux and indigestion. The inner bark of this tree contains mucilage that coats the irritated and inflamed mucous membranes of the stomach lining and esophagus. This results to the neutralization of the stomach acids. [10]

Furthermore, this herb increases the production of mucus by stimulating the nerve endings of the gastrointestinal tract. Improved mucous production helps in soothing and protecting irritated and inflamed issues. [11]

Wood Betony

Also known as purple betony, wood betony is an amazing herb that is found to be useful in treating acid reflux. This herb works by eliminating unnecessary acids from the stomach as well as in improving the digestion process. [12]

Turmeric

Known for the wide ranges of health benefits it brings about, turmeric is an amazing herb that works expertly in treating acid reflux. What makes turmeric effective in treating acid reflux is its curcumin content. If you are suffering from indigestion and acid reflux, adding curcumin to your diet will definitely be of great relief. Curcumin as the ability to shrink inflammation which may result to improved digestion and relief from digestive symptoms like bloating and gas. Curcumin is also known for its toxin-eliminating, disease-fighting and antioxidant properties. [13]

Herbs For Acid Reflux - References:

[1] http://www.homeremediesweb.com/acid_reflux_home_remedy.php

[2] http://www.webmd.com/heartburn-gerd/home-heartburn-remedies-natural-remedies-heartburn

[3] http://melissabarrett.hubpages.com/hub/HerbsforAcidReflux

[4] Gastroprotective effect of fenugreek seeds (Trigonella foenum graecum) on experimental gastric ulcer in rats. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12127242

[5] http://omtimes.com/2012/05/great-herbs-for-acid-reflux/

[6] Erosive gastritis and gastroduodenitis--clinical, diagnostic and therapeutic studies. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/3617707

[7] http://www.ehow.com/facts_5834028_fennel-acid-reflux-disease.html

[8] http://www.infobarrel.com/Papaya_The_Fruit_that_Prevents_Acid_Reflux

[9] http://tbfrascone.hubpages.com/hub/5-Natural-Remedies-for-Acid-Reflux

[10] http://www.livestrong.com/article/449392-slippery-elm-and-gerd/

[11] http://www.umm.edu/altmed/articles/slippery-elm-000274.htm

[12] http://www.ayurvedicnaturalhomeremedies.com/effective-natural-and-home-remedies-for-treating-acid-reflux/

[13] http://www.livestrong.com/article/353412-curcumin-for-gerd/

Article researched and created by Cathy Ongking and Elfe Cabanas, © herbs-info.com 2013

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