If you suffer from acid reflux did you know that there are many natural remedies you can try to help eliminate and prevent symptoms? Natural remedies can be an excellent alternative or compliment to medications. What’s more they can often be worked into your diet.
The following is a list of natural acid reflux remedies. The remedies listed are in no particular order.
– Fresh Banana – Bananas are a natural antacid. The substances in bananas help to suppress the acid secretion in the stomach. Furthermore, bananas coat and protect the stomach from acid, which helps to prevent stomach ulcers from developing, as well as ulcer damage from occurring. You can help prevent heartburn by eating a banana 30 minutes before a meal, or directly after a meal. It is also beneficial to eat a banana when heartburn symptoms first appear. The most effective bananas are fresh yellow bananas. Over ripe bananas do not provide the same benefits.
Potential risks: Bananas are considered a safe fruit to eat, and have no known common side effects; if side effects do occur they are extremely rare and are likely linked to an allergic reaction. However, Bananas are high in tyramine and may cause an increase in blood pressure in people who take MOA inhibitors for depression, increasing their risk of heart attack or stroke. Bananas are also high in sugar so if you’re diabetic please consult your doctor before trying this remedy.
– Fresh Pineapple – Fresh pineapple fruit is rich in enzymes, particularly in the enzyme Bromelian. The enzymes within pineapple improve digestion, help to alleviate inflammation, and can speed up the process of healing. It is important to note that only fresh pineapple fruit provides this benefit. Bottled pineapple fruit or pineapple fruit juice may make your acid reflux condition worse. To achieve the benefits of pineapple, eat a few pieces of the fresh fruit with your meal, after your meal, or when acid reflux symptoms first appear.
Potential risks: Pineapples are considered a safe fruit to eat, but there are certain side effects to be aware of including skin rash, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, menorrhagia (excessive bleeding during menstruation), dermal sensitization and uterine contractions. Pineapple should be eaten with caution if you take medications that thin the blood such as anticoagulants or aspirin, or other herbal supplements with the same blood thinning effects as bromelian such as garlic, ginkgo, or saw palmetto.
– Papaya – Papaya contains the natural enzyme papain which helps the stomach to better digest proteins. As a result, the enzymes in papaya encourages the body to digest food more quickly, and usually the faster food is digested, the less chance acid reflux can occur. In addition, due to its assistance in digestion, papaya helps to ensure that essential digestive functions continue to work while stomach acid is neutralized. Papaya can be eaten in small amounts during or after a meal, and also when symptoms of acid reflux appear.
Potential risks: Eating raw or unripe papaya fruits may cause irritation, pain, or sores to occur in the mouth, esophagus, stomach or intestines. Papain may cause skin or mucous membranes to become irritated, particularly if these areas already have sores. Ingesting papain may also cause inflammation in the mouth and upper gastrointestinal tract. In addition, papain may decrease the blood’s ability to clot after an injury, and can also interfere with the bloods ability to clot when taken with medications including anticoagulants and aspirin, or other herbal supplements with the same blood thinning effects such as garlic, ginkgo, or saw palmetto. If you are pregnant or breast feeding you should not eat papaya.
– Apple Cider Vinegar – Apple cider vinegar (ACV) helps to prevent and relieve acid reflux symptoms such as heartburn. ACV works by mimicking the acid level of the stomach, which helps you to properly digest food. ACV can provide relief from the burning sensation of heartburn, and may even help to alleviate nausea. As a preventative try taking ACV before meals and when suffering an acute attack of heartburn. ACV is available in tablet and liquid form.
Potential risks: Apple cider vinegar is considered relatively safe, but possible side effects include digestive upset, and when taken in large amounts, ACV can worsen acid reflux symptoms.
– Aloe Vera Juice – Aloe vera juice is taken from the leaf of the aloe vera plant, and is in gel form. Aloe juice has been celebrated for centuries for its healing properties. In regards to acid reflux, it is used to help soothe and heal esophagitis (inflammation of the esophagus). It is believed that the healing properties of aloe vera juice come from pectin, which naturally occurs in the leaves of the aloe plant, and stimulates growth hormone and encourages new cell formation. Aloe vera juice is typically mixed with tea or juice (avoid citrus), and is taken after meals.
Potential risks: Aloe vera juice should be taken with caution as it is known to act like a powerful laxative. Long term use of aloe vera or overdosing can cause fluid imbalance and the loss of electrolytes (potassium, hematuria, and albuminuria). You also shouldn’t combine aloe with drugs designed to flush water and potassium from the body such as diuretics.
– Active Manuka Honey – This is a type of honey that has shown to be beneficial for acid reflux sufferers because it acts like a natural anti-inflammatory. Honey has the ability to coat the esophagus and protect it should acid reflux occur. Active manuka honey is also thought to help heal esophagitis and protect the inflamed esophagus from further damage. Active manuka honey works best when taken before meals and before bed by applying 1 teaspoon to bread (the bread allows the honey to reach the lower esophagus). It can also be taken after a meal and when acid reflux symptoms are present for those with severe gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD).
Potential risks: Active Manuka Honey is considered safe and has no common side effects; side effects are extremely rare and are typically linked to an allergic reaction.
– Ginger Root – Ginger has been used for thousands of years as a natural medicine to remedy stomach distress, as well as aid digestion. It is considered to be one of the most pure of all natural remedies, and is recognized for its antimicrobial, analgesic and anti-inflammatory properties. Ginger helps to increase mucous in the digestive tract which provides tissues with additional protection and coating from acid. It has long been used in pregnancy to combat nausea. Ginger is typically taken in the form of tea, but fresh ginger can also be added to food, or taken in the form of a supplement. Ginger can be ingested during and after meals to help prevent and alleviate acid reflux symptoms. Note: tea should be sipped and drunk when warm.
Potential risks: Ginger only appears to produce side effects when taken in extremely large amounts (I.E. 10 grams of fresh ginger or 4 grams of powdered ginger). Side effects that may occur if too much ginger is ingested include heartburn, diarrhea, or burning or tingling sensations in the mouth. Ginger is believed to interact with H2 receptor blockers and may interfere with their effectiveness. It also should not be taken with medications that thin the blood such as anticoagulants or aspirin, or other herbal supplements with the same blood thinning effects such as garlic, ginkgo, or saw palmetto.
– Chamomile – Chamomile is traditionally known for its calming and sedative properties. However, chamomile has the ability to aid in digestion, decrease stomach acid and relieve irritation in the esophagus caused by acid reflux. This is due to its high calcium content. Chamomile is usually ingested in the form of tea and can be take during and after meals, before bed, and to calm an attack of heartburn. Note: tea should be sipped and drunk when warm.
Potential risks: The one side effect of chamomile appears to be vomiting, which only occurs when taken in extremely high doses. Chamomile should not be taken with medications that thin the blood such as anticoagulants or aspirin, or other herbal supplements with the same blood thinning effects such as garlic, ginkgo, or saw palmetto, as bleeding can occur. Additionally, people allergic to daisies should avoid taking chamomile as it is part of the daisy family.
All natural remedies should be taken as directed by the instructions on the packaging or as instructed by a qualified dietitian, herbalist, or health care provider who has recommended the natural remedy(s) to you.
If you discover that you have an allergic reaction to any natural remedy stop taking it immediately and contact your doctor or pharmacist. Signs and symptoms of an allergic reaction that you should watch for include: rash, itching, hives, swelling, dizziness, or difficulty breathing.
If you are pregnant, have a medical condition, or are taking medication for acid reflux or any other medical condition, it is extremely important that you first speak with your health care provider before taking any natural remedy to ensure this is a safe option for you.
Keep in mind that acid reflux is an individual condition that has many causes and can take many different forms. While one remedy may work for one person, it may do nothing for another, or make their condition worse. Therefore, not all acid reflux sufferers will find relief with natural remedies.
That said, you might therefore need to experiment with different natural remedies that are safe for you based on your overall health, and determine if the effects are beneficial. If you discover that the remedies do not work, or if symptoms persist or worsen, stop taking them and see your doctor to discuss other treatment options.