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Acid reflux and herbal remedies

Hyperacidity Causes and Herbal Remedies

Hyperacidity in the stomach have a number of causes, but in the truest sense, might have nothing to do with the body producing ‘too much acid’ as we are generally taught. It is not necessarily a fact that the body is producing too much acid, but rather any or a combination of the issues listed below:

– The gastrointestinal (GI) tract, especially the stomach and intestine are not functioning properly
– Improper food combination
– Not enough good bacteria in the stomach and intestine
– Not chewing foods properly
– Regularly consuming difficult to digest foods, especially on a weak stomach

Problems associated with our digestive process include symptoms that are generally labelled gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), heartburn, acid indigestion, sour stomach, upset stomach and feelings of bloating and nausea after a meal.

Most of us have likely experienced one or more of these symptoms at various points in our lives; if it happens occasionally there is not necessarily a need for great concern. However, one should take note of what was eaten prior to the experience and see if there is a pattern, if the problem occurs again. Myself, for example, combining cucumber with bell pepper doesn’t work well – so since recently I have them separately, it’s either one or the other in my salad. If symptoms are experienced on a regular basis, that should be cause for concern, as it could indicate that there are underlining issues that need to be addressed.

A healthy gastrointestinal tract is key to healing hyperacidity and promoting proper digestive processes. Our body must efficiently complete each of the process – digestion, absorption, utilisation and elimination. It is important that the body is able to breakdown and digest the foods we eat, absorb the nutrients from the foods, utilise those nutrients, for example minerals, and also eliminate that part of the food which it did not need.

Lifestyle Contributor

Some lifestyle contributors to hyperacidity include:

  • Drinking alcohol
  • Eating large meals just before bed
  • Lying down immediately after one has eaten
  • Food allergies
  • Fatty foods / spicy foods / fried foods
  • Drugs such as nitrates / antihistamines / calcium channel blockers
  • Obesity
  • Ageing

Finding Relief

Antacids

Usually people turn to over the counter antacids to deal with issues of ‘hyperacidity’. The problem is that (and you will know this if you have had to deal with these issues) they seem to work and you feel better for a while. Often the ‘good feeling’ last only until your next meal. That was my experience…I have tried many and at one point was even prescribed Nexum. I must admit, at the time I was super happy to be prescribed Nexum as it seemed to solve my problem. I was wrong, it didn’t solve my problem, it just kept recurring and I had to get more drug each time.  They never ‘heal’ you, only cover up the symptoms. In addition, there are side effects associated with long term use.

Using Herbs

Some herbs that will help with the associated symptoms include:

Aloe Vera
Bladderwrack
Cardamom
Catnip
Chamomile
Comfrey
Dandelion
Fennel
Flax Seed
Gentian
Ginger
Hops
Iceland Moss
Kelp
Licorice
Marshmallow Root
Meadowsweet
Mint
Mullein
Papaya (Fruit And Leaves)
Red Raspberry
Slippery Elm
Turmeric Root
Wood Betony

Using Baking Soda (Sodium Bicarbonate)

Baking soda can help to relieve symptoms very quickly:
1 tsp baking soda
1 cup water
Put the teaspoon of baking soda in the water, mix until dissolve and drink.

Lifestyle and Other Changes

To get to the root of the ‘hyperacidity’ problems and prevent them from recurring usually involves lifestyle changes:

    • Stop smoking
    • Take the time to chew the food properly, never eat when you’re in a rush
    • Try not to go to bed immediately after a big meal; eat at least 2 hours before going bed
    • If you feel the food is not properly digested and you want to lie down, hoist the head on 2 or 3 pillows keeping the legs flat in the lower position – this could prevent hydrochloric acid flowing back up through the lower esophageal sphincter (LES) into the esophagus
    • Eat more fruits and vegetables as these help to not only promote healing in the GI track but also promote the growth of good bacteria. The focus should be on sub-acid and sweet fruits in the beginning as acid fruits, such as the citruses could exacerbate the problem initially
    • Reducing or removing processed foods from the diet
    • Blend / Juice / Puree foods for people who have difficulty chewing, especially the elderly
    • Heal the gut; this can be done through detoxification, and following a plant-based diet rich in fruits, vegetables and whole foods

    Our body knows best

    Always bear in mind that our body is very intelligent – its main aim always is to keep us alive and well, but it can only work with the tools we give it. Feed it an alkaline, healing, plant-based diet rich in fruits, vegetables and whole foods.

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