Home Remedies For Acid Reflux

Home remedies for Acid Reflux ( GERD ). Acid reflux is a painful and discomforting condition in which there is reflux of stomach acid and other intestinal contents back into the oesophagus ( food pipe ). Heartburn is just one of the symptoms of GERD ( Gastro-esophagal reflux disease ) , which is a sharp pain felt in the chest. Acid reflux which continues for a long period of time can put a person in danger of more severe diseases. Therefore it is important to treat it as early as you can.

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Symptoms

Acid reflux, or GERD can cause a variety of symptoms. The stomach acid which is refluxed back into the oesophagus is the main reason behind these symptoms.

  • Heartburn – The most evident symptom of acid reflux is heartburn. It is an intense, very sharp pain in the chest. It is quite similar to a heart attack, however there are certain differences. Heartburn often worsens after a meal. Some foods aggravate heartburn. One may experience a sour taste in the throat when the stomach acid reaches there.
  • Regurgitation – It is similar to vomiting. The person may regurgitate undigested food or stomach acid itself.
  • Coughing – throat gets irritated by the stomach acid, which can lead to coughing, and even a sore throat.
  • Nausea - Chronic acid reflux may lead to feeling of nausea. In some people, there may be nauseous feelings right before a meal is presented.
Some people assert that acid reflux may be the cause of many other major conditions. These include earache, fibrosis of the respiratory system and many others. In severe cases, acid reflux may cause holes in the oesophagus, which is extremely dangerous. The stomach acid may now spill into the body cavities and is definitely fatal. So, acid reflux should be kept under control.

Many of the remedies for heartburn work well for acid reflux. In essence, heartburn is a result of acid reflux. Any natural substance that provides relief from heartburn, should ease acid reflux for some time. However, there is a need of even more powerful home remedies that have an effect on the natural gastric acid secretion of the body.Most of the medication for acid reflux, or GERD is designed to reduce gastric acid secretion of the body. However, they are only effective in reducing the pain. In the long run, they worsen the disease as it never improves. Natural remedies do not reduce gastric acid secretions, but instead help the body to manage when and how to release it correctly.These are some home remedies to reduce acid reflux in the first place, so that the symptoms caused by it start to decline.

Home remedies for Acid Reflux / GERD

1. Apple Cider Vinegar ( best remedy for Acid Reflux )
This is perhaps the most powerful home remedy for acid reflux. It may seem counter-intuitive as to how an acidic food, like cider vinegar can help with something which is caused by acidity. Well, the answer lies in the fact that it does not matter whether the food is acidic or alkaline, but what it does when it enters the body. Apple cider vinegar helps the body regulate its gastric acid secretion in a better manner. That means, when body gets food, gastric acid secretion is strong. However, when there is no need, the gastric acid secretions dull down. Our daily lifestyle with an irregular eating patten confuses the brain as to when it should signal the stomach to release acid. Apple Cider Vinegar aids the body in normalizing acid levels. This is how one can make use of it.

  • Ingredients
    Apple Cider Vinegar (with the mother in it)
    Water
  • Directions / How to use
    Take 2 tablespoon ACV ( apple cider vinegar ) and add it to about 100 ml water. Warm the water slightly and then drink this mixture. It should be taken before meals, 2 – 3 times a day. If the water feels bitter or unpleasant, one can take honey after it.
  • Why it works ?
    Apple cider vinegar may help to normalize gastric acid secretions. Even though it may increase stomach acid production at certain times, this is still helpful in two ways. Firstly, food is digested better, which helps in overcoming nutritional deficiencies. Secondly, high stomach acid helps to kill H. pylori bacteria, which is believed to aggravate, or even cause acid reflux.
acv for acid reflux
( Photo credit : vegan-baking  )


2. Frequent and More Meals
A simple and yet quite effective natural remedy for acid reflux is to eat more frequently around the day. But, it should be healthy food, and evenly distributed. Another point is that there should be a routine to this eating schedule. One should avoid getting up till late at night and eat food at that time. A good option would be to go for 6 meals a day and try to eat mostly natural foods.

smaller meals for acid reflux
( Photo credit : davidstanleytravel )


3. Drink Mineral Water
Instead of drinking plain, filtered water which has most dissolved salts taken away, one should try to drink spring water. This water is naturally alkaline and feels more hydrating to the body. Drinking mineral water may help to lower lower increased acidity all over the body, help to digest foods better and improve overall digestion. One should aim for at least 1 litre of spring water a day.

drink spring water for acid reflux
( Photo credit : nicholas_t )


4. Potato Juice
Drink the juice made of raw potato. The juice of a potato is alkalizing for the body. It helps the body neutralize excess acidity not just in the stomach, but all over the body. Potatoes have been used in Europe as a home remedy to relieve common stomach issues, like heartburn and indigestion. Drinking its juice is a more optimized way of getting beneficial nutrients from potatoes.

  • Ingredients
    Organic potatoes
  • Directions / How to use
    Wash the potatoes thoroughly. They may have lots of earthy material on them. Then run them through a juicer with the skin. Drink about 2 ounces of this juice 3 times a day.
  • Why it works ?
    Potatoes naturally help to reduce stomach and intestinal problems. In juice form, it is more potent.
potato juice for acid reflux
( Photo credit : lindstorm )


5. Ditch table salt for Himalayan Salt
Regular table salt ( common salt ) is refined salt which is highly processed. One may get some relief from the symptoms of heartburn and acid reflux by switching over to Himalayan salt.

  • Difference between Common Salt and Himalayan Salt ?
    Table salt is purely sodium chloride (NaCl ). Iodine is often added to salt as fortification. Himalayan salt is only 98 % sodium chloride. Rest 2 % is composed of other minerals in small amounts, like iron oxide. That is why Himalayan salt is coloured. These minerals in small amounts are also good for stomach health. Stomach acid production depends on salt [2], and may also depend on the quality of salt. Himalayan salt may prove to be better in comparison with regular salt because of its beneficial minerals. It may help to control and improve gastric acid secretion, thus minimizing acid reflux.
himalayan salt for acid reflux
( Photo credit : mediterraneaaan )


6. Get more exercise
As a simple observation, getting more exercise may help you feel healthier and feel more hungry. Exercise can tune up many processes inside the body, and thus stimulate natural appetite. People with acid reflux may easily lose their appetite as they fear food would lead to heartburn and all such troubles. Doing simple exercises like basic yoga, cardio, weight training or martial arts like Tai Chi improves health on many aspects. It improves blood circulation, functioning of the skin, digestive system processes and even relieves constipation.

exercise for acid reflux
( Photo credit : Ian Sane )


7. Lemon Essential Oil ( Surprising Entry )I
It is rare that we use essential oils internally, but here is a wonderful natural ingredient for acid reflux. One can take 1 – 2 drops of lemon essential oil to relieve acid reflux. It is one of the best remedies for GERD. Even 1 drop of lemon oil is very powerful, because it is an essential oil. Thousands of lemons are needed to produce just 1 ml of essential oil.

  • Ingredients
    Lemon essential oil
    Juice
  • Directions / How to use
    Take 4 oz juice, preferably orange or any other citrus juice. Add 1 – 2 drops of lemon essential oil. Drink this juice once a day.
  • Why it works ?
    You may be wondering what is so unique about lemon essential oil which makes it helpful in acid reflux. It contains high amounts of d-limonene.This natural aromatic compound is a micro-nutrient which has been identified to help with heartburn. It may in fact have an effect on the gastric acid production of the stomach, thus helpful in GERD on the whole. [3]
lemon oil for acid reflux
( Photo credit : barockschloss )


8. Avoid the Triggers
Most people who suffer from GERD know that certain foods aggravate acid reflux. One of the most common triggers is processed food, that is foods that come packed in containers and packets. These are some foods which have been known to be triggers of acid reflux and at best should be avoided.

  • Coffee – especially the high caffeine varieties, like expresso coffee.
  • Chocolates – this is more experienced in milk chocolates.
  • Carbonated beverages - the regular soda can really harm our guts if taken in excess. So, curb the habit of taking a soda every now and then.
  • Mint species – herbs in the mint category may act as trigger for acid reflux in many people, like peppermint and spearmint. However, enteric coated peppermint oil is a wonderful remedy for stomach ache.
  • Tomato containing foods and more specifically tomatoes can cause acid reflux.
  • Dairy - milk products have a high probability of causing acid reflux. People who are lactose intolerant are at an even greater health risks caused by milk consumption. Acid reflux is believed to be caused by a protein called casein in milk.

There may be many other foods which trigger acid reflux [4], like processed products, ice creams, alcohol, overly spicy foods and the like. It is better to keep a food diary and keep track of foods that aggravate or relieve acid reflux.

tomatoes trigger acid reflux
( Photo credit : photon_de )

9. Garlic
Taking a few cloves of garlic can be great for acid reflux. Why ? Garlic is one of the most powerful natural antibiotics known to man and it is easily available. It is strongly active against the Heliobacter pylori bacteria. This bacteria resides in stomach and thrives in low acid environment. Garlic however kills the bacteria directly [5]. Take 2 cloves of garlic on empty stomach. Make sure to peel off the cloves. It will definitely lead to garlic breath, but the bacteria would have a hard time surviving the garlic attack.Within a few days, one should expect the H. pylori to vanish from the body. This way it helps in relieving acid reflux which is brought on by an aggressive H. pylori infection.
Powerful method to take garlic – Take some olive oil and saute the garlic cloves in this oil on very low heat. Let this oil cool down. Then drink this oil, about 1 tablespoon. It is even more effective against H. pylori because it contains nutrients from olive oil and garlic. Olive oil also helps in eradicating this infection.

garlic

( Photo credit : hills_alive )
10. Take some Yogurt
Probiotics
found in Yogurt are very healthy for the body. These are healthy organisms, like lactobacillus, which improve gut health. Research has proved that probiotics assist in improving the “brain-gut” communication [6]. It is the message which nerves take from the stomach to the brain and back. Nervous system controls the opening and closing the valve between stomach and esophagus. When body’s natural nervous system response becomes flawed or dull, this valve may open and close at the wrong times, releasing stomach contents back into the esophagus. This is a major cause of acid reflux.Take about 1 cup of fresh, live and organic yogurt in non frozen form. This replenishes healthy bacteria in our intestine and improves nervous system response related to digestion.

yogurt for acid reflux
( Photo credit : momthebarbarian )


11. Drink Chamomile Tea
Stress may aggravate acid reflux [6]. It may even cause it in the first place. There are a few things that can help a person reduce his or her stress levels. One of the is chamomile tea.

  • Ingredients
    Chamomile tea bags, or powdered herb
  • Directions / How to use
    Prepare a strong herbal tea from chamomile. Add 2 tea bags, or 1 tablespoon powdered herb to about 200 ml water. Boil it repeatedly till it is only 100 ml left. Cover the kettle with a lid and let the tea sit for another 20 minutes. This allows more of the ingredients and micro-nutrients from the herb to seep into the water. Now strain it out and drink your herbal tea. For best results, drink at night before sleep.
  • Why it works ?
    Chamomile tea is a simple and easy to do home remedy for mental stress. So, if you are regularly having tough days at work or some other stress, drinking this tea may help the mind lower some of it. This in turn relieves acid reflux caused by stress.
chamomile tea for acid reflux
( Photo credit : lyre )


12. Eat Tropical fruits
Feasting on tropical fruits may help with acid reflux. These fruits are rich in natural digestive enzymes, like papain, bromelain etc. These enzymes provide more digestive power externally, so that foods are digested better and there is lesser strain on the stomach. Try out these fruits.

  • Mangoes
  • Papayas
  • Pineapples
  • Bananas
  • Kiwifruit
  • Lychee
  • Loquat
  • Durians

and many more.

( Photo credit : bangdoll )


13. Get some more Sun
Taking more minutes of sunshine can help with your Vitamin D levels. Vitamin D levels are really low in people who have an unhealthy diet and also do not take sufficient sunshine. Sitting in the sun for a few minutes can help boost Vitamin D levels. How much you need to sit really depends on your location, the intensity of sunlight and the danger of UV radiation.As a simple rule of thumb, get morning sunshine as it poses low risk of UV radiation induced skin damage.

sunshine for acid reflux
( Photo credit : naturesdawn )


14. Aloe Vera juice
One can extract aloe vera juice at home. This juice, which comes from the gel of aloe vera plant is incredibly healthy for the entire intestinal tract [7]. There may be some apprehensions regarding its use internally. But, in ancient Egypt, it was very popular as a herbal remedy for many gastro-intestinal complaints.

  • Ingredients
    Aloe vera plant’s fresh leaves ( You can easily grow it in your garden )
    Knife
    Juicer
  • Directions / How to use
    Take 1 leaf of aloe vera. Slice out the covering on the front and the back, and the spiky protrusions on the sides. This should reveal the gel encapsulated by the leaf. Put it into the juicer and extract its juice. This is a thick greenish juice from aloe vera gel. Drink about 15 ml of this juice with water 1 – 2 times a day. It may taste bitter and unpleasant.
  • Why it works ?
    Aloe vera gel is a powerful healing agent. It heals ulcers and damage caused by acid reflux on the esophagus. This is important as the esophagus needs to be healed. If acid reflux goes on unabated, then it puts so much pressure on the food pipe that it may eventually puncture the delicate wall and create a perforation. Drinking aloe vera juice regularly heals the food pipe.
aloe vera juice for acid reflux
( Photo credit : rikajenzhomekitchen )


15. Drink Vegetable Juices
Veggies are naturally highly alkaline. Their juices are green and immensely powerful. Drinking a good amount of veggie juice everyday can help your body heal its digestive disorders and even any other disease which may be cause by excess acidity in the body. These are some juices that are excellent for acid reflux.

  • Cabbage juice – excellent for ulcers.
  • Spinach juice – improves peristalsis ( natural downward movement of food ).
  • Kale juice – great for its nutritional value.

You can try others like broccoli juice, cauliflower juice, turnip juice etc. These are really powerful, so drinking half a glass should be enough for the day.Diet rich in alkaline foods can boost health and improve existing health conditions significantly. [8]

vegetable juice for acid reflux
( Photo credit : bertholf )

16. Go for Organic Foods
Although this is not directly related to acid reflux, but eating organic foods can improve a person’s health. In the long run, this may help in acid reflux as the digestive functions of our body improve. So, make sure to check out the organic farmer’s market and know what your foods are coming from.

organic food for acid reflux
 ( Photo credit : michigancommunities )


17. Do not drink water right after a meal
This is a common habit which many people have. They tend to drink water right after eating food. But, for people with heartburn and acid reflux, this should be avoided. One should only drink about 1/2 glass of water, and that too only if needed. Avoid drinking water for about 20 – 30 minutes post a meal. This allows digestive acid to work on the food and completely digest it.If you drink water after a meal, it dilutes the digestive acids which makes it less powerful. This is detrimental to overall health.

water for acid reflux
( Photo credit : nexeus_fatale )


Herbal remedies for Acid Reflux
Besides the above mentioned home remedies, there are a few herbal remedies for acid reflux as well. These are obviously more powerful than home remedies because they contain herbs. However, one should exercise caution before taking herbs as they can have side effects as well. Herbal remedies should be taken under supervision of a trained and certified herbalist. These are the herbs which relieve GERD.

  • Slippery elm tea - Prepare a herbal tea with 1 tablespoon slippery elm bark powder. It is a natural demulcent which coats the intestinal wall and protects it from damage.
  • Chamomile tea – It reduces stress related acid reflux.
  • Calendula - a herbal tea prepared from calendula also assists in acid reflux.
  • Cardamoms - Chewing a few cardamoms curbs nausea and also relieves GERD.

Alternate treatment therapies like acupressure, acupuncture and yoga can also be quite helpful in Acid Reflux disease.

Precautions

Medication for GERD is based on substances that lower gastric acid secretion of the stomach. This is eventually very harmful in the long run. They are also difficult to get over, as they provide lot of relief to acid reflux patients. So, if you have been taking medication for GERD, do not discontinue them all at once. Try to incorporate a home remedy and gradually lower the amount of medication that you need. It is a slow process and should take months. Also consult with your doctor about the interactions between home remedies and medications.

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References

1. Efficacy and tolerability of potato juice in dyspeptic patients: a pilot study.Chrubasik S, Chrubasik C, Torda T, Madisch A.NCBI.
2. Reduction of gastric acid secretion on a low-salt diet and furosemide.M L Kothari, J C Doshi, H G Desai, A B Vaidya, U K Sheth, and J M Mehta. Gut. Jan 1969; 10(1): 71–73.
3. Willette RC, Barrow L, Doster R, Wilkins J, Wilkins JS, Heggers JP. Purified d-limonene: an effective agent for the relief of occasional symptoms of heartburn. Proprietary study. WRC Laboratories, Inc. Galveston, TX.
4. Heartburn – PubmedHealth
5. Antibacterial effect of garlic and omeprazole on Helicobacter pylori. D. Jonkers et. al.
6. Stress and the gut: pathophysiology, clinical consequences, diagnostic approach and treatment options. Konturek PC, Brzozowski T, Konturek SJ.
7. Aloe (Aloe Vera ) – MayoClinic.
8. The Alkaline Diet: Is There Evidence That an Alkaline pH Diet Benefits Health? Gerry K. Schwalfenberg