Three Herbs for those with Acid Reflux

by Garreth Myers


Have you ever suffered from a burning sensation in your chest or stomach soon after you have consumed a meal? Try not to get your stomach in a knot if you have because it's most likely nothing more than acid reflux. Acid reflux is a common occurrence in most people and can affect just about anyone. Early treatment will prevent other conditions like GERD that can be a lot more persistent and also pose higher risk of complications. Acid reflux results when the esophagus does not close completely leading to the stomach acids rising up and irritating the esophagus and chest. This leads to the burning sensation that you experience.

While there are a lot of over the counter medications available to treat this condition, the use of natural herbs is known to be more beneficial. Licorice, milk thistle and Chamomile are particularly effective in the treatment of acid reflux and can help reduce the severity and frequency of symptoms. Let's look at each of them separately.

Licorice:

The extract of licorice herb has a sweet flavor and is used in a number of candies. Deglycyrrhizinated licorice refers to an extract of the herb that is known to be very beneficial in the treatment of acid reflux. The extract is special as the glycyrrhizin component, which can cause serious side effects to the body, is removed from the extract. The use of licorice as a remedy for acid reflux actually ranks higher than the use of antacids, as most antacids only curb acid production for that time. Licorice on the other hand actually begins the healing process. While one of the best ways of consumption is in tablet form, it could also be boiled in tea and consumed. Many naturopaths recommend the use of licorice in the tablet form as it mixes with the saliva and enzymes that break it down to its healing properties. This helps to make it more effective in treating the reflux and healing the area.

Milk Thistle:

Milk Thistle, also known as 'blessed milk thistle', is a plant that is widely used for its medicinal properties. The seeds, fruits and leaves of this herb are used for their medicinal properties. Milk thistle is particularly useful in the treatment of acid reflux. Both the leaves and seeds of milk thistle can be used to brew a healing herbal tea. Studies conducted by the NCCAM also concluded that milk thistle is useful not only in the treatment of acid reflux but also in treating conditions like food poisoning, diabetes, cirrhosis and so on.

Chamomile:

Chamomile is widely grown in Europe and also the United States & has a long association with early Western folk medicine. Chamomile was regarded as a sacred herb that could help in the treatment of various conditions, but its mystical healing properties may not be all that mystical. Although a lot more clinical trials are needed, the healing properties of chamomile do in fact have a scientific basis and may be attributed to the terpenoids and flavonoids present in the herb. Though there is no scientific proof that chamomile can completely treat acid reflux, the herb is known to soothe the lining of the esophagus. It also helps keep a check on pepsin, which is an enzyme in the gastro intestinal tract. Mucliage present in the root is one of the major components that make the herb useful. You could drink up to 4 cups of chamomile tea daily.

Herbs Are Just A Pluck Away:

While these remedies are straightforward enough, at times you could find it impossible to get your hands on these herbs. Growing your own herbs can be quite fun, satisfying and it also ensures the quality of the product. You could plant some of these in your own backyard or home. These herbs traditionally require a warmer climate, but they also do well in colder conditions. Lightly shaded places work well for these plants. The seeds can be sown anytime in early summer or late spring, and the herbs can even be dried at home and kept in air tight containers for later usage.

Before you consume any of these herbs in any form, make it a point to consult with your doctor. This is because over consumption could result in serious side effects leading to other health issues. To treat acid reflux you could make a tea combining licorice, milk thistle, and chamomile and consume it after a meal or when you suffer from bouts of reflux. In addition to treating the condition, keep in mind that there are certain lifestyle and dietary factors that could be contributing to it in the first place.

Related Links:

  1. Janmejai K. Srivastava, Sanjay Gupta, Chapter 8 - Health Promoting Benefits of Chamomile in the Elderly Population, In: Ronald Ross Watson, Editor(s), Complementary and Alternative Therapies and the Aging Population, Academic Press, San Diego, 2009, Pages 135-158, ISBN 9780123742285, 10.1016/B978-0-12-374228-5.00008-1.
  2. Bradly P Jacobs, Cathi Dennehy, Gilbert Ramirez, Jodi Sapp, Valerie A Lawrence, Milk thistle for the treatment of liver disease: A systematic review and meta-analysis, The American Journal of Medicine, Volume 113, Issue 6, 15 October 2002, Pages 506-515, ISSN 0002-9343, 10.1016/S0002-9343(02)01244-5.

http://www.umm.edu/altmed/articles/licorice-000262.htm


Warning: The reader of this article should exercise all precautionary measures while following instructions on the home remedies from this article. Avoid using any of these products if you are allergic to it. The responsibility lies with the reader and not with the site or the writer.
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