Because prescription medications can sometimes have unwanted side effects, many people look for natural cures for acid reflux. In addition, most prescription medications were not designed to be taken for long periods of time, possibly while a person makes dietary and lifestyle changes which can be natural remedies for acid reflux. Herbal remedies for acid reflux are based on what herbalists know of traditional medicine and traditional medicinal plants. Some of these are common food herbs, which pose no danger for long-term use, but their effectiveness as natural cures for acid reflux has not been proven.
If you have been diagnosed with acid reflux, it is important to see your doctor regularly, even if you feel that your symptoms are under control. And you should let your doctor know about any botanical or herbal remedies for acid reflux that you may be using. It is important to see your doctor regularly, because stomach acid can damage the esophagus and lead to more serious conditions including cancer of the esophagus. If you are relying on natural cures for acid reflux and you become hoarse in the morning, develop a cough, or feel a need to clear your throat frequently, these may be symptoms of silent acid reflux. Silent acid reflux is the term used to describe acid reflux that affects the voice box and the vocal cords, but does not cause heartburn symptoms. So even if natural remedies for acid reflux keep your heartburn under control, you should still see your doctor regularly and report new or different symptoms.
Herbal remedies for acid reflux include chamomile, meadowsweet, slippery elm, cancer bush, fennel, catnip, angelica root, gentian root, ginger root and other botanicals, including aloe. Slippery elm was used historically by native peoples to treat stomach upset, diarrhea, constipation, heartburn and other digestive complaints. Fennel and gingerroot were also common “folk remedies” for the relief of indigestion. Modern herbalists have found that a combination of several of the herbs that had been used for indigestion could be effective natural remedies for acid reflux. Some may call them natural “cures” for acid reflux, but long-term relief of acid reflux is best accomplished by changes in lifestyle and eating habits.
For example smoking relaxes the sphincter muscles that normally prevent stomach acid from reaching the esophagus. It also dries out saliva in the mouth and throat, which normally would neutralize some of the stomach acid and begin the digestive process. If you use herbal remedies for acid reflux and you do not stop using tobacco products, then you may still have acid reflux and you are still at risk of developing esophageal cancer. The major risk factors for developing esophageal cancer include acid reflux, smoking and alcoholism.
This brings up another lifestyle change that is recommended for long-term control and relief of acid reflux. Reducing or eliminating alcohol consumption can reduce acid reflux. In particular, alcohol consumption in the evening is believed to lead to more symptoms of night time acid reflux, as well as other health problems. While some argue that a glass of red wine has many health benefits, this is a 4 ounce glass, before a meal, and for those who suffer from acid reflux, even this may be a problem. Alcohol increases stomach acid. Prescription and natural remedies for acid reflux are geared towards reducing or preventing excess stomach acid. It just does not make sense to continue to drink alcohol when you have been diagnosed with acid reflux.
Changing your eating habits may be natural cures for acid reflux. If you normally eat a large meal late in the evening, less than three hours before bedtime, then you are more likely to suffer from nighttime heartburn or other acid reflux symptoms like coughing. This is because acid is traveling up out of the stomach and into the throat. Raising the head of the bed is also considered one of the natural remedies for acid reflux symptoms that occur at night. Gravity helps keep the acid in the stomach, but eating your last meal earlier and making it a smaller meal may prevent nighttime acid reflux.
Finally, weight loss should be mentioned as one of the natural cures for acid reflux. If you are currently at your ideal weight then you may not need to read this section. Overweight and obese people are much more likely to suffer from acid reflux, including nighttime acid reflux. Trying herbal remedies for acid reflux control and making no effort to lose the extra pounds will undoubtedly be disappointing. Using prescription and/or natural remedies for acid reflux while you are trying to lose weight makes sense. Avoiding fried and fatty foods is often recommended for people who suffer acid reflux. If you avoid these and eat several small meals during the day then you may naturally lose weight and naturally cure acid reflux. Eating several small meals every couple of hours is often recommended by diet doctors, because it increases your metabolism and keeps blood sugar levels stable, so you don't feel sleepy after a meal, don't feel a need to lie down and stomach acid is less likely to travel back up into the esophagus.
These are only some of the possible natural cures for acid reflux. Your doctor, naturopath of herbalist may have more suggestions.