Both acid reflux and ulcer pain are very common and the typical symptom related drugs your doctor will prescribe are proton-pump inhibitors (PPIs) whose main action is a to reduce gastric acid production. Besides the many the side effects of these drugs, they teach your body to stop producing acid, further complicating the underlying cause of the disorder. Misdiagnoses for acid reflux, ulcers and many types of gastrointestinal (GI) distress which are caused by too little acid rather than too much make problems far worse for patients once medical intervention of this kind is followed. Natural remedies have the power to relieve and even heal many of these conditions with no side effects and virtually no recurrence of symptoms.
1. Apple Cider Vinegar is one of the most favored remedies for acid reflux. Mix 2 teaspoons of apple cider vinegar into a glass of water and drink. This is effective for overnight relief as well if drank before bed.
2. Mastic Gum contains antioxidants and also has antibacterial and antifungal properties. Dr Dlawer Aldeen, a consultant microbiologist at Nottingham City Hospital recently carried out a clinical study on mastic gum and its effects on the H pylori bacteria. He says: 'It has been known for many years that mastic gum can help clear up peptic ulcers and there have been several clinical studies on its effects in countries outside the UK in the past decade. But my attention was caught when I realised that mastic gum in higher doses - up to three grams a day - actually killed the H pylori bacteria permanently.' The Nottingham University study was published in the New England Journal of Medicine. Mastic Gum is available at most health food stores.
3. Aloe Vera Juice is another common remedy for both acid relfux and ulcer pain. You can use fresh aloe by picking a small piece of the plant, peel the skin off, add to water, add throw it in the blender. Not only does this help with the acid reflux, it gives you added energy throughout the day. Be cautious when purchasing prepared mixtures at your grocery as many contain potassium sorbate and other harmful preservatives.
5. Marshmellow Tea. Herbalist David Hoffmann writes in his book "The New Holistic Herbal," that marshmallow root works as an anti-inflammatory agent for both external and internal ailments. Internally, it helps inflammation in the gastrointestinal tract, treating disorders such as inflammation of the mouth, gastritis and colitis. Marshmallow root contains mucilage, a gel-like substance that becomes slippery when wet. According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, mucilage coats both the respiratory and digestive tract, helping soothe irritation and ulcers that may be present. It helps with sore throat and has been used traditionally to treat catarrh and bronchitis. You can find the powder at many health food stores and then make your own capsules. Most health food stores sell natural capsules and the marshmellow tea powder itself is very affordable.
6. Baking Soda is extremely effective at reducing the pain of both ulcers and acid reflux. It's aA very effective acid reducer that alkalizes the stomach. Half to one full teaspoon in a glass of water will instantly relieve symptoms related to ulcer pain, inflammation and gas. It will not cure an ulcer, but it help manage the symptoms of pain effectively.
7. Glutamine. A study led by scientists at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC) and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology demonstrates that the amino acid glutamine, found in many foods as well as in dietary supplements, may prove beneficial in offsetting gastric damage caused by H. pyloriinfection. Reported in the May 2009 issue of the Journal of Nutrition., the findings offer the possibility of an alternative to antibiotics for the treatment of stomach ulcers.
"Our findings suggest that extra glutamine in the diet could protect against gastric damage caused by H. pylori," says senior author Susan Hagen, PhD, Associate Director of Research in the Department of Surgery at BIDMC and Associate Professor of Surgery at Harvard Medical School.
8. Pickle or Cabbage Juice works almost immediately on the burn and pain. A very effective acid reducer that alkalizes the stomach. Half to one full teaspoon in a glass of water will instantly relieve symptoms related to ulcer pain, inflammation and gas. Cabbage is better than most anti-ulcer drugs and there are actually natural anti-ulcer chemicals in cabbage. The duodenal ulcers of patients fed cabbage heal in one-third the usual time. In a double blind study of 45 inmates at San Quentin Prison in California, 93 percent of the ulcers in prisoners taking cabbage juice concentrate in capsules - the equivalent of a fresh quart of cabbage juice every day - were healed after three weeks.
9. DGL (Deglycyrrhizinated Licorice Root). DGLs restorative effects on the gastric mucosa help to speed up healing and prevent recurrences of future ulcers. The drugs that are used in standard therapy do not address the underlying cause of ulcers. Instead, they simply treat the symptoms caused by an ulcer. DGL, on the other hand, does not inhibit stomach acid production, neutralize stomach acid, or block histamine. It promotes true healing by stimulating the normal defense mechanisms that prevent ulcer formation and improve the integrity of the stomach lining. Additionally, DGL accomplishes this without any of the side effects that are associated with the standard peptic ulcer therapy.
DGL licorice should mix with saliva in order to promote release of salivary compounds, which in turn stimulate the growth and regeneration of stomach and intestinal cells. There are several forms of chewable DGL that are available on the market. In order to treat a peptic ulcer, people should take 760 to 1,520 mg of DGL about twenty minutes before meals. It should never be used after meals, due to lack of efficacy. It should also be used for about eight to sixteen weeks in order to see results, or as recommended by a health care professional.
10. Ginger or ginger tea. You can chew on fresh ginger root or seep the root in boilig water for about 10 minutes and drink the tea. Here is a chance to get the added relief of honey and lemons. Lemons may be acidic initially but they leave a very alkaline trail as they dissolve.
The antibacterial properties of Manuka honey are due to high concentrations of the compound Methylglyoxal. This is a stable compound that occurs naturally in Manuka honey. Importantly, Manuka honey contains levels of Methylgyoxyl that are far greater (up to 600 mg/kg honey) than those found in other honeys (5-10 mg/kg honey) or other foods. "It is also stable in the presence of enzymes that readily degrade hydrogen peroxide, the non-stable antibacterial compound found in most honeys. For this reason Manuka honey can be a very effective antibacterial agent against H. pylori in the gut, whereas other honeys are not.
12. Probiotics. According to an expert consultation conducted by the Food and Agriculture Organization and the World Health Organization probiotics are "live microorganisms which when administered in adequate amounts confer a health benefit to the host." The regular intake of probiotic microoganisms has been demonstrated to prevent several disorders including diarrhea and inflammatory bowel disease.
Among probiotics Bifidobacterium is one of the favorite genera in studies focused on the prevention of gastrointestinal infection and is often used in fermented dairy products or food supplements. Some studies have been done in vitro (in test tubes or petri dishes) showing bifidobacterial activity against H. pylori.
13. Slippery Elm has been used as an herbal remedy in North America for centuries. Native Americans used slippery elm in healing salves for wounds, boils, ulcers, burns, and skin inflammation. It was also taken orally to relieve coughs, sore throats, diarrhea, and stomach problems.
Slippery elm contains mucilage, a substance that becomes a slick gel when mixed with water. It coats and soothes the mouth, throat, stomach, and intestines. It also contains antioxidants that help relieve inflammatory bowel conditions. Slippery elm also causes reflux stimulation of nerve endings in the gastrointestinal tract leading to increased mucus secretion. The increased mucus production may protect the gastrointestinal tract against ulcers and excess acidity.
14. Zinc Carnosine is a patented combination of two nutrients that have beneficial effects on the gastrointestinal mucosa, represents an important advance in the management of peptic ulcers. Widely used in Japan, where it is recognized as a drug by regulatory authorities, zinc carnosine given alone was shown by endoscope to resolve ulcers by 60 to 70%, a result comparable to conventional drug therapies and with a safety profile better than commonly used pharmaceuticals.
Zinc arnosine has been shown to promote wound healing, reduce inflammation, improve secretion of the protective mucosal lining, and possess antioxidant effects. It can be used as a natural therapy, an antibiotic, and substitute to PPIs and and H2 receptor antagonists (i.e., Pepcid), both of which serve to decrease hydrochloric acid (HCl).
15. Chinese Herb Sai Mei treats ulcers in the stomach or duodenum, decreasing excess stomach acid, relieving pain, and coating the stomach lining. It contains the powders of a variety of shells, such as oyster or clam, giving it an acid-neutralizing, astringent effect. It also contains borneol camphor (bing pian), which helps relieve pain. Take this remedy on an empty stomach, about half an hour before meals. It coats the stomach lining, preventing irritation of the ulcer from digestive juices and food. To continue the healing process, continue taking Sai Mei An for two weeks after symptoms subside.
Dave Mihalovic is a Naturopathic Doctor who specializes in vaccine research, cancer prevention and a natural approach to treatment.