Before we start discussing the natural remedies for GERD, let us first define GERD. This is short for gastroesophageal reflux disease which is a disease where stomach acid or sometimes bile refluxes into the esophagus or food pipe. The continuous seeping of stomach acids into the lining of the esophagus can cause irritation and can damage this part. Inflammation also occurs and this is what causes pain, discomfort and tenderness associated with the disease.
Some people are able to successfully control their heartburn by making some basic lifestyle changes or taking over-the-counter medications or natural remedies for GERD. Severe cases however, call for treatments that go beyond partial or temporary assistance.
Symptoms and Causes of GERD
Heartburn is the most common symptom of GERD but there are also other signs that indicate you have gastroesophageal reflux disease. These are:
- Heart pain – some discomfort may arise from the heart due to the pressure, tightness, weight and squeezing that occurs. A dull ache after a vigorous activity is also often associated with GERD symptoms.
- Lung difficulties – a person who has GERD may experience asthma attacks, wheezing and coughing.
- Difficulty swallowing – this is also known as dysphagia and is likely experienced by a person with GERD.
- Chest pain – a burning sensation may be felt in the chest especially when you lie down and sometimes the pain spreads into the throat.
- Food regurgitation – food and sour liquid in the stomach become regurgitated leaving a sour taste in the mouth.
- Sore throat – when a person suffers from GERD, his throat often becomes sore and causes hoarseness.
GERD occurs when the lower esophageal sphincter (LES), a circular band of muscle surrounding the lower part of the esophagus, becomes weak and starts functioning abnormally. When the LES becomes weak, stomach acid backs into the esophagus damaging the lining and causing frequent heartburn. The constant flow of acid into the esophagus also causes inflammation which will in time, lead to bleeding, narrowing and erosion of the esophagus, breathing problems and difficulty swallowing.
Natural Remedies for GERD
If your GERD goes untreated, it could lead to various complications like esophageal ulcers, Barrett’s esophagus and esophageal narrowing. To prevent these complications, you can start addressing the problem using one of these recommended natural remedies for GERD:
- Fennel seeds – this natural GERD remedy can reduce acidity in the stomach and ease the pain associating with cramping. This treatment must not be used during pregnancy though.
- German chamomile – the flowers from this plant can calm the digestive system and minimize the inflammation within the digestive tract. Infusions are the best way to utilize German chamomile as a GERD remedy.
- Meadowsweet Tea – this has a cooling and soothing effect and can reduce inflammation and help lessen the acid in the stomach. The symptoms of GERD can be eased by drinking 25 grams of meadowsweet tea and 500mL of water.
- Lemon balm – lemon balm leaves have relaxing properties and can be taken as an infusion or tincture when used as natural remedies for GERD. You can create an anti-inflammatory by mixing lemon balm with chamomile.
Making some lifestyle changes is also among natural remedies for GERD. Changing any bad eating habits you have and avoiding smoking and alcoholic and caffeine-based beverages can help prevent GERD from getting any worse.