Do you experience a burning pain in your chest accompanied by a feeling of fullness or pressure? Do you get gassy or nauseated especially after eating or lying flat? You may have acid reflux disease. It is a very common affliction. Of course, you should get professional help immediately if you are having chest pain that has not been diagnosed. However if you have been diagnosed with acid reflux disease, also known as GERD or gastro-esophageal reflux disease, herbs may help to relieve your symptoms and promote healing of inflamed tissues.
What Causes Acid Reflux Disease or GERD?
Acid reflux is commonly due to a problem with a valve that protects the esophagus from stomach acid. When the digestive system is functioning properly, food travels down the esophagus to the stomach and does not back up into the esophagus because of the valve. When food reaches the stomach, strong acid digests the food.
The stomach has a special lining to protect it from the acid; however, since stomach acid normally does not go into the esophagus, the esophagus does not have the protective lining. If the valve is not working properly, food and stomach acid back up into the tender tissues of the esophagus, causing damage to the esophageal tissues which results in pain and other symptoms of GERD.
Herbs to Relieve GERD
I prefer using herbal teas over other types of herbal preparations for the treatment of acid reflux or GERD. By consuming the herbs in tea form, the herbs coat the irritated tissues and provide quick relief. In addition, teas afford the herbs the longest time to be in direct contact with irritated tissues. While I often recommend herbal tinctures, I do not recommend tinctures for the treatment of GERD, as the tiny amount of alcohol in tinctures may irritate the esophagus.
Herbs Create a Protective Barrier
One of the best herbs used to treat acid reflux is marshmallow root. Marshmallow root forms a protective barrier between the stomach acid and the esophagus. Its anti-inflammatory properties provide quick relief to raw tissues.
Marshmallow root is best prepared as a cold infusion. Pour one quart of water over two tablespoonfuls of dried marshmallow root. Let it sit covered, overnight. Strain the herb out and compost it. Drink one cup of the infusion three times daily. If you experience an episode of pain, drink additional tea as needed for rapid symptom relief.
In a pinch, simply mix one teaspoon of powdered herb with a little honey and take that for rapid pain relief if you do not have an infusion prepared.
Marshmallow root, like the other herbal remedies for acid reflux, works best when consumed regularly as it will hasten healing and prevent future irritation to the delicate tissues of the esophagus.
Another herb which provides a protective barrier is aloe. You may purchase the juice or gel at health food stores. I prefer the gel. Simply follow instructions on the label. Aloe helps to relieve constipation if that is a concern.
Use Anti-inflammatory Herbs to Relieve Acid Reflux
Chamomile acts as a tonic for the digestive tract. If nausea is present, it helps to relieve it. Chamomile has potent anti-inflammatory effects. It has been used for centuries to relieve digestive symptoms. Chamomile is a relaxing herb. It helps to relieve spasms of the digestive system which frequently are a source of distress for people suffering from GERD.
Calendula is a terrific herb to use as it has many healing qualities which promote digestive health. It improves immune health, enabling the bodies’ own healing powers to restore wellness. Calendula offers a protective barrier to the tissues. It has mild astringent properties which tone the lining of the esophagus and prevent bleeding. Calendula prevents inflammation and pain.
Orange Peels for a Healthy Esophagus
Researchers have discovered that orange peel extract promotes transit of the food through the esophagus. It also provides a protective barrier from stomach acid to esophageal tissues. Researchers recommend that a standardized form of orange peel extract, standardized to 98.5 percent D-limonene, be consumed every other day for three weeks.
Orange peel extract has been the subject of several scientific studies. Researchers believe that orange peel extract helps the food travel through the esophagus more efficiently. It may also coat the esophagus, preventing exposure to stomach acid if reflux does occur. Experts recommend consuming 1000 mg of orange peel extract every other day for 3 weeks to reduce acid reflux and aid healing of the esophagus.
I believe that adding one tablespoon of fresh or one teaspoon of dried orange peel tea cup of hot water and drinking it four times daily offers the same benefits. Be sure to use organic oranges only. Drink the orange tea between meals.
Have a Cup of Herb Tea for Relief
Here is an herbal tea which is very helpful for treating acid reflux. Use it in addition to the marshmallow infusion.
Combine three teaspoons of chamomile, three teaspoons of dried orange peel and two of teaspoons calendula. Pour one quart of boiling water over the tea. Let it sit, covered, for twenty minutes. Strain the herbs out and compost them. Drink the tea warm or at room temperature throughout the day. If it is easier for you, combine the cooled tea with the marshmallow infusion. It will enhance the flavor of the marshmallow infusion. If calories and sugars are not a concern, sweeten with honey as desired as raw unprocessed honey offers healing benefits, too.
Herbal teas can be a very effective part of a treatment plan for GERD. Use them liberally in conjunction with other steps which you use to ease pain and prevent acid reflux from occurring.