9 Natural Remedies for Acid Reflux
By Stu Leo︱Published September 21, 2017
If you’ve been a lifelong PPI user and read the research that has come out about its dangerous effects in recent years, you probably feel discouraged.
PPIs can cause osteoporosis? How come my doctors didn’t tell me? What am I supposed to do without my drugs?
Those were questions I struggled with when I was going through a bad episode of laryngopharyngeal reflux (LPR) several years ago. PPIs had completely stopped working for me after about 2 years of taking them religiously.
So I decided to stop taking them cold turkey and look for alternative treatments. It was tough. My body went through withdrawal and my reflux symptoms seemed to get worse.
But now looking back on it, I’m glad I stopped PPI treatment because it was my first step towards healing from acid reflux naturally.
In this article, I’m going to share with you 9 natural remedies that may help relieve reflux symptoms without the meds.
Once you have weaned yourself off of PPIs(go to the top of this page and subscribe for my How to Wean Off PPIs guide), you can experiment with different remedies to see if they work for you.
Here are my 9 natural remedies for acid reflux:
1. Manuka Honey
Manuka honey is one of the most powerful natural foods with anti-microbial and healing properties.
For example, in a case of a young boy who recently received an amputation below the knee and was suffering from a bacteria infection unresponsive to conventional medicine, doctors applied a Manuka honey-lined dressing pad to treat the young boy’s wound.
Amazingly the wound healed in 10 weeks! (3)
Manuka honey may also be effective in treating acid reflux induced by peptic ulcers, which are sores that grow in the lining of your stomach.
The reason why Manuka honey can be effective in treating stomach ulcers and bowel disease is that it has natural antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties that can reduce gastric inflammation and damage. (6)
If you suffer from stomach inflammation, Manuka honey with your meals, or with some tea may help. I like the Manuka honey Wedderspoon makes.
Probiotic supplements or foods with probiotics can also relieve indigestion-related acid reflux. Studies have shown that probiotics may improve digestion transit time, stool frequency, and stool consistency. (7) If you find yourself frequently getting constipation along with acid reflux, probiotics may help. (8)
1-2 capsules are the typical recommended dose with big meals like lunch and dinner.
Including more fermented vegetables in your diet, like sauerkraut or kimchi is another great way to get more probiotics into your diet.
3. Digestive Enzymes
In addition to probiotics, digestive enzymes can also be helpful in relieving indigestion-related reflux by improving digestive transit time.
Along with stomach acid, digestive enzymes play a crucial role in breaking down the proteins, carbohydrates, and lipids in our food. (9) (10) So if you suffer from poor digestion, taking an enzyme supplement may help your body absorb more nutrients and reduce reflux symptoms that stem from indigestion.
There’s also evidence that plant-based enzymes like bromelain which is found in pineapples, can aid in breaking down proteins. You can find digestive enzymes at any health food store.
*UPDATE as of 07/09/2022: I think enzyme therapy should be temporary at least until your body heals and develops a regular circadian rhythm. I don’t like taking stuff my body naturally makes as this can also screw with your stomach and might even lead to dependency in the long term. Just my 2 cents.
4. Throat Coat
Throat coat is a special tea that is great for sore throats and dry mouth. It contains a blend of licorice root, slippery elm bark, marshmallow root, and other herbs that work to coat your throat with a gelatin-like secretion called mucilage.
Mucilage can help soothe a sore, inflamed esophagus as well as protect against acid reflux. When I had severe vocal problems I used to drink this tea with breakfast and right after dinner, sometimes with a tablespoon of Manuka honey.
5. Chewing Gum
Chewing gum is one of the best natural remedies for acid reflux and GERD especially if you experience regurgitation or a sour taste in your mouth. When you chew gum, you stimulate saliva which contains a chemical called sodium bicarbonate, a natural neutralizer of acid. (13) (14)
Additionally, there are also enzymes in saliva that aid digestion and help clear away any acid reflux. Any type of chewing gum will work, but I prefer natural kinds that don’t have added sugars or preservatives.
Try chewing a piece of gum right after a meal or when you are most susceptible to acid reflux. Also, remember to swallow often so that your saliva can do its job and neutralize residual acid in your throat.
6. Baking Soda
Baking soda is a great temporary way to help relieve an acid reflux attack. It is literally pure sodium bicarbonate, which if you remember, is the same acid-neutralizing compound naturally found in saliva.
Funny enough, sodium bicarbonate is the main ingredient in Alka Seltzer. So the next time you get that horrible sour taste in the back of your throat, you can try sipping about 4 ounces of filtered water with ½ a teaspoon of baking soda.
A word of caution though: If you’re experiencing dyspepsia or indigestion-related reflux, it probably is not a good idea to drink baking soda. Neutralizing your stomach acid when your body already has difficulty digesting food is a bad idea and could lead to health problems.
For those who experience indigestion often taking probiotics and digestive enzymes may be the better option. Baking soda is really just a quick fix.
7. Aloe Vera
Aloe Vera is another one of those amazing natural remedies that everyone should know about. Not only has it proven effective at healing burn wounds, but one study found that it’s actually effective at treating acid reflux symptoms when you drink it (15).
In a 2015 randomized controlled trial, subjects who drank aloe vera were found to have reduced acid reflux symptoms that included heartburn, regurgitation, dysphagia, flatulence, belching, vomiting, and nausea. (15)
So how can you take aloe vera to treat acid reflux? Well first of all, if you can, get an aloe vera plant. They’re super low maintenance and can treat skin conditions like bug bites, cuts, and burn wounds.
I have 2 aloe vera plants in my backyard. I water them about once every 3 months and they still produce aloe for me year-round.
Just use a pair of scissors to cut off an aloe vera leaf. Next, take a knife and cut off the sides of the leaf. Once the aloe vera gel is exposed, take your knife and fillet the gel off of the outer leaf. Keep your knife close to the base of the outer leaf to get out as much gel as possible.
Finally, scoop the aloe gel into a blender along with one and a half cups of apple juice and two cubes of ice.
You can also add this gel to your favorite morning smoothie if you’d like. Blend it until smooth and enjoy!
Deglycyrrhizinated licorice or DGL is a herbal supplement that increases the amount of mucus in your stomach lining. DGL is modified so that a naturally occurring chemical, glycyrrhizin is removed to avoid its adverse effects.
Some studies show that the extra mucus DGL produces can help protect the stomach lining from acid and stomach ulcers. (16)
You’ve probably taken melatonin before when you had trouble sleeping but did you know that it can actually improve acid reflux symptoms?
Melatonin has a range of benefits including, antioxidation, immunity enhancement, and stress relief. (18) As a matter of fact, studies have found that melatonin even protects the esophageal lining of the stomach.
Another study showed that melatonin greatly improved heartburn symptoms and stomach pain in GERD patients.
Interestingly, there’s also evidence that melatonin is able to control the lower esophageal sphincter to keep acid in the stomach and prevent it from leaking out.
These studies have suggested that insufficient levels of melatonin can lead to gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). (19)
It’s common for GERD patients to suffer from insomnia and sleeping disorders. Taking melatonin 2 hours before bed can help improve acid reflux symptoms as well as help you get a better night’s sleep. You can get Melatonin supplements here.
I hope these natural remedies for acid reflux help you heal from GERD. You should consult your doctor before trying these acid reflux remedies for your safety and care.
*This post may contain affiliate links. See my disclosure here.