Home remedies for acid reflux can be simple and practical, and can help to reduce discomfort associated with flare-ups.
Nonetheless, these remedies should not substitute any recommendations from your doctor, and should be used, instead, to complement your prescribed treatment.
Reflux occurs when stomach acid rises to the esophagus, toward the mouth, and causes pain and burning. This particularly happens following meals. Learn more about what causes acid reflux and what treatment your doctor may recommend.
Ways you can treat reflux symptoms at home include:
1. Lemon water
Water mixed with lemon is an old natural remedy that is used to relieve heartburn and reflux pain. It contains alkalizing properties and works as a natural antacid.
Many studies show, however, that lemon water can also worsen symptoms in some people. Therefore, it is best to trial lemon water and refer to other methods if symptoms become worse.
To prepare this natural method, add one tablespoon of lemon juice to one cup of warm water. This mixture can be taken 30 minutes before your meals.
2. Ginger tea
Ginger tea contains many health benefits and it is known to improve digestion. It increases the production of digestive enzymes and reduces the time food will sit in the stomach, which can decrease reflux.
Due to its phenolic compounds, ginger is also an excellent option for relieving gastric irritation. While it appears to decrease the back flow of stomach acid up to the esophagus, this effect has still not been scientifically supported.
To use ginger tea as a reflux remedy, add 4 to 5 thin slices or 2 tablespoons of grated ginger to one liter (about 34 oz) of cold water. You can sip on this throughout the day.
3. Sodium bicarbonate
Sodium bicarbonate is a natural alkalizing salt that can be used to decrease stomach acid during flare-ups. In fact, sodium bicarbonate is actually the main ingredient in many over-the-counter antacids, which makes this a great at-home option.
To use sodium bicarbonate, dissolve 1 tablespoon of sodium bicarbonate powder in about 250ml (1 cup) of water. You will need to drink at least half of this mixture to achieve a therapeutic effect.
4. Chamomile tea
Chamomile is a natural relaxant that can help with the treatment of different conditions like stomach problems, bad digestion and ulcers. To help to treat reflux, 2 to 3 cups of chamomile tea daily is recommended.
Chamomile tea can also help to relieve anxiety and stress, which are also factors in acid reflux occurrence. Read more about the health benefits associated with chamomile tea.
5. Aloe vera juice
Aloe vera also has soothing properties that can help reduce inflammation in the stomach and esophagus. It can decrease pain and burning associated with reflux, and can be beneficial for the treatment of gastritis.
To prepare aloe vera juice at home, you should wash and thoroughly dry aloe vera leaves. Then cut off the base of the leaves and stand them vertically to drain its yellow sap. Then, cut the sides of the leaves lengthwise and lay the leaves down to open the them, making sure to avoid contaminating the gel in the leaf with any remaining yellow sap.
To remove the gel, you can scrape it off with a non-pointy object or a spoon, making sure to pick away any green parts of the leaf or sap caught in the gel. Then, place half of a diced apple and the aloe vera gel in the blender (with about 100g of gel for every 1L or 34 oz of water). Mix this in the blender and drink.
6. Behavioral or lifestyle changes
Additional tips that can help with relieving acid reflux include:
- Avoid having drinks with your meals
- Avoid lying down 30 minutes after your meals
- Chew and swallow food slowly
- Use loose clothing that is not tight around the waist
- Eat more frequent meals in smaller quantities, especially at dinner time
- Go to bed at least 2 hours after your last meal
- Avoid liquid meals for dinner, like soups and broths
- Lie on your left side in bed to prevent stomach content from rising to the esophagus and eventually the mouth
Another tip is to sleep inclined, with a 10cm block of wood underneath the bed posts at your head. This incline will help to prevent acid from rising to the esophagus and prevent symptoms associated with reflux. If treatment with medication and natural remedies is not effective, then surgery may be necessary to relieve reflux.