The most effective natural remedies for acid reflux include drinking enough water daily, eating small meals, avoiding food and beverage triggers, and taking herbs, digestive enzymes and probiotics.
Acid reflux is a potentially serious condition that often begins with one or more common symptoms, including indigestion, heartburn, hoarseness, a bitter taste in the mouth, difficulty swallowing food or liquid, wheezing or coughing at night and feeling a need to clear your throat frequently.
A number of natural remedies have been proven to be effective at resolving this issue for many people. However, treatment with natural remedies requires trial and error because this is a highly individualized condition.
If you have been diagnosed with acid reflux, it’s advisable to consult your physician regularly, even if you get symptomatic relief from natural remedies.
This is the first and most important step because the vast majority of people are chronically dehydrated, which is one of the underlying causes of all gastrointestinal problems, including acid reflux.
According to Dr. F. Batmanghelidj, author of Water for Health, for Healing, for Life, dehydration alters the consistency of the mucus lining of the stomach, making it ineffective for preventing stomach acid from permeating through.
Batmanghelidj recommends drinking half of one's body weight in ounces of filtered water daily. For example, a person weighing 180 pounds would want to drink 90 ounces, or about 3 quarts, of water daily.
Alcohol increases stomach acid and often leads to symptoms of acid reflux, especially in the evening. Some people can tolerate a small glass of wine before an evening meal, but not always.
Smoking relaxes the esophageal sphincter muscle, which then allows stomach acid to surge upward. Smoking is also one of the major risk factors for esophageal cancer.
Rather than eating three large meals, try eating five to six smaller meals throughout the day. You are far more likely to suffer nighttime coughing or heartburn after a large meal late in the evening.
Allow at least three hours after your last meal before bedtime. It also helps some to raise the head of the bed or sleep on higher pillows.
Avoid bending over or exercising just after eating.
According to the National Library of Medicine, the most common foods and beverages to trigger acid reflux are alcohol, chocolate, caffeine, carbonated beverages, tomatoes and tomato-based foods, spicy or fatty foods, citrus fruits and juices, full-fat dairy products, and peppermint and spearmint.
Native and folk herbal remedies for acid reflux, heartburn and other digestive problems include slippery elm, fennel and ginger root.
Today herbalists often recommend a combination of these herbs along with one or more of the following: chamomile, catnip, gentian root and angelica root.
Aloe vera juice can also help to heal the digestive tract is one of the most effective remedies for acid reflux.
To improve the overall function of the digestive system, some experience acid reflux relief by eating fresh pineapple or papaya to increase digestive enzymes. Or you can take a good digestive enzyme in capsule form as a supplement.
Probiotics are the beneficial digestive bacteria found in cultured and fermented foods such as yogurt, tempeh and miso. A quality probiotic supplement may also be beneficial.
Water for Health, for Healing, for Life; F. Batmanghelidj, M.D.; 2003