GERD is the acronym for gastro esophageal reflux disease and is a common problem. Many people know GERD as heartburn. The condition arises when the body experiences acid reflux; the muscle that is at the end of the esophagus (food pipe) does not close completely causing the abdominal acids to move into the food pipe. GERD is accompanied with intense burning in the chest. This burning can be felt both in the throat as well as the stomach. Heartburn or GERD usually goes away by itself in a couple of hours but in some cases can also take a couple of days to get cured.
The burning sensation is the result of acid moving up the food pipe. People suffer from continuous heartburn for a couple of days. However, acid re-flux can also be responsible for severe pain in the chest, bad breath and foul taste in the mouth.
Medical treatment of GERD involves the use of tablets that are alkaline in nature. This alkaline nature cancels out the acidic environment in the stomach. But these tablets are prepared from synthetic chemicals that can harm you in the long run. Herbal treatment for GERD is highly recommended as they are safe and very effective.
Herbal Remedies for Treating GERD
Mild case of GERD can be treated completely by chewing on fennel seeds. This herbal seed is mainly used for adding flavor and aroma to food. But they are also popularly chewed upon after eating large meals. The seeds release chemicals into the body that help with better digestion of food and also neutralize the acid that travels up the food pipe.
You can also prepare tea by boiling a teaspoon of fennel seeds in a cup of water. Boil the seeds for five minutes. Strain the concoction and drink the tea after cooling it a bit. The tea can be had 3-4 times during the day for improving digestion and for easier release of toxic gases from the body.
Aniseed also belongs to the same class as fennel seeds and is therefore helpful in the treatment of GERD. Like fennel seeds, the seeds of this herb are also chewed upon after heavy and spicy meals. A teaspoon of aniseed should be taken after every meal if you suffer from regular problem of acid reflux.
Drink tea made from aniseed for preventing GERD. Boil a teaspoon of aniseed in 250ml of water for 10 minutes. Strain the mixture and drink the tea while it’s still warm. Have this tea five minutes after finishing your meal in place of plain water.
Aloe Vera Juice
Aloe vera juice is very effective in treating GERD. In fact many people start their day with a glass of fresh aloe vera juice. The juice has enzymes that help maintain a healthy intestine and the intestinal tract which in turn prevents acid reflux.
Drink only fresh aloe juice for maximum benefits. Take a long aloe vera leaf and wash it well under running water. De-skin the leaf by peeling the green skin. Collect the white gel of aloe in the jar of your electric mixer and pour cold water in the mixer. Grind the mixture for 30-45 seconds. Collect the juice in a glass and a teaspoon of honey in it. Drink this juice on empty stomach.
Using ginger in your dishes will ensure that you do not suffer from painful gas. Drinking ginger tea 2-3 times during the day will reduce acid reflux or GERD. Prepare ginger tea by boiling a medium size ginger stick (peeled and crushed) in one cup of water. Boil for 10-15 minutes.
Strain the tea and add a teaspoon of honey for flavor. Drink the tea while it is still warm. If you wish to avoid sugar in all its form then skip honey and add a clove of cardamom to the boiling water along with ginger. Drink the tea 10 minutes after every meal especially if you have frequent episodes of GERD.
Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple cider vinegar is an herbal preparation that is useful in the treatment of various ailments including acid reflux.
In a glass of cold water add two teaspoons of apple cider vinegar. Sip on this apple cider concoction while eating your meals. Do this with every meal without fail. This will ensure that you do not suffer from GERD. A total of five glasses of apple cider vinegar solution is recommended for treating GERD completely. Add honey or cardamom to the mixture for flavor.
Eating a cup of fresh papaya fruit on empty stomach can help cure GERD. Ripe papaya has enzymes that act on the acidic content of the stomach and neutralize it so that if the acid travels into the food pipe it will not cause the burning sensation associated with reflux.
The soothing effect of chamomile effectively neutralizes the effects of the acid present in the stomach. Drinking a cup of chamomile tea after each meal will prevent occurrence of GERD.
During the 1950s slippery elm was popularly used for curing sore throats. The herb is widely used in North America. The inner bark of the slippery elm is used for the treatment of GERD. The bark of the herb is coated with a white gel (similar to the aloe gel). This gel is mixed with water to cure acid reflux. The gel effectively coats the food pipe from the inside which reduces the burning and painful effects of the acid.
The herb is not recommended for use by pregnant women and nursing mothers.
Besides following the above mentioned treatments it is important to take care of your diet especially if you frequently suffer from GERD. Instead of eating three large meals during the day, eat six small meals at regular intervals. Avoid eating unhealthy foods that contain starch, white sugar, clarified oil and spices. Eat plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables as they contain natural enzymes that prevent GERD. Also, identify the foods that trigger GERD. It has been observed that eating aubergine and cabbage during pregnancy increases the chances of GERD.