Acid reflux occurs as a result of gastric acid flowing back into the esophagus. It is a pretty common gastrointestinal problem with around 25 to 40 percent of Americans across all ages experiencing the symptoms. Also, 20 percent of American adults experience acid reflux disease or GERD on a daily or weekly basis. A more severe symptom of acid reflux is heartburn [R].
We have a list of four natural home remedies for symptom management of acid reflux. These are all backed and supported by scientific studies.
1. Slippery Elm
This is also called Ulmus rubra or Moose Elm. It is a species of elm that is commonly found in Canada and North America. [R] The inner bark of this tree has traditionally been used as a natural home treatment for a variety of illnesses, such as gastrointestinal diseases, skin diseases, UTI, and cancer [R] [R] [R].
A study was conducted wherein 3 patients with GERD or acid reflux disease were treated with slippery elm coupled with other herbs and lifestyle changes, such as quitting smoking and drinking, and they have reported an improvement in their GERD symptoms [R] [R] [R].
2. Orange or Lemon Peels
Orange and lemon peels are one of the highest sources of pectin [R]. Pectin is a cell wall polysaccharide in plants that helps maintain their structure and promotes plant growth. It is a viscous soluble fiber that is extracted to form a gel that helps make jellies and jams firm [R].
In a 2008 crossover study involving 18 children with acid reflux and cerebral palsy, a diet that is high in pectin can help reduce the frequency and duration of acid reflux episodes [R].
3. Aloe Vera
A pilot study with 79 patients with acid reflux was conducted that showed that aloe vera is effective in alleviating heartburn and other symptoms [R].
Another group received a conventional PPI treatment (omeprazole) and aloe vera was noted to be equally effective in alleviating heartburn, belching, emesis, nausea, and other symptoms of acid reflux with much fewer side effects. Aloe vera was also well tolerated by the patients [R].
Fenugreek is a common ingredient in South and Central Asian cuisines. In India, it is a traditional treatment for digestive issues, such as diarrhea and flatulence [R]. Multiple rat studies were conducted showing that fenugreek seed oil plays a significant role in the prevention of acid reflux and ulcers [R].
Although these natural remedies are proven safe and effective by various scientific studies, the American Gastroenterological Association (AGA) recommends people to consult their doctor if their symptoms persist for 2 weeks.
However, an immediate checkup is necessary when experiencing any of these symptoms [R]:
- unexplained or unintentional weight loss
- chest pain when doing activities
- dysphagia or difficulty swallowing
- vomiting a coffee ground-like substance
- red or black stool
Any of these symptoms warrants an immediate visit to the doctor as this could be indicative of a more serious, life-threatening medical condition.
We strongly advise you to have a regular check-up with your doctor and lab tests (blood, kidney, and liver) at least every three months if you decide to take any herbal medicine or supplement mentioned in the list for long-term.