Gastro-esophageal reflux disease is extremely common. Between 8.8% and 30% of the population in Europe and in the United States suffer from this disease while the rates of GERD in Asian countries are much lower and range from 3.5% to 8.5% percent of the population.
If you are experiencing reflux or the symptoms of heartburn, or maybe you have been diagnosed with gastro-esophageal reflux disease, then herbal medicine may be an option for you.
When I am treating reflux in the clinic I often avoid alcoholic tinctures. I have found that alcohol may aggravate the condition in certain patients. As I go on to list the herbs that are indicated for reflux patients just remember that I’m talking about tablets or capsules here and not the alcoholic tinctures.
Ok no one to the herbal medicine
German Chamomile For Reflux
The first herbal medicine for reflux that I like to use is German chamomile.
Chamomile has a whole range of activities that are helpful in reflux conditions including carminative actions, it helps with that excess gas and bloating as well as antispasmodic if there are spasms in the gastrointestinal tract. Chamomile is also anti-inflammatory and finally, it is mildly bitter. This bitter taste has a number of effects on the gut and in general helps to improve digestion.
Meadowsweet For Reflux
The second herb I like to use is meadowsweet. While there isn’t a lot of scientific evidence to support the use of this particular herb it does have a long tradition of use as an anti-inflammatory herb that targets the stomach in particular. It’s also astringent. This herbal action helps here to tighten up and tone the gastric region.
Licorice for Reflux
Liquorice is the third herb that I often use with my reflux patients.
It is another potent anti-inflammatory herb that can coat stomach lining and help to protect the mucus layer. Licorice also has ulcer healing properties if these are present.
Combining Herbs For Reflux Patients
When we combine these three herbs together we have strong anti-inflammatory actions that overlap. They also work together to protect the mucus layer in the gastric and esophageal environment when the reflux occurs.
Demulcent Herbs For Reflux
The final class of herbal medicines that I use with most reflux patients is slippery elm or marshmallow root powder. These two herbs are classic demulcent herbs. When you mix them with water they become very gelatinous and act by coating the oesophagus and the stomach lining. This barrier soothes and protects the mucus layer and helps reduce inflammation.
Oftentimes people with long-term reflux experience almost immediate relief when these demulcent herbs are used properly.
If you are dealing with reflux, heartburn or a gastroesophageal reflux disease diagnosis and you’re looking for support please get in touch with me here at Byron herbalist. I work almost exclusively with digestive health patients I would love to hear from you.