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.