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Alternative Medicine for GERD

Instructor: Artem Cheprasov
This lesson goes over some of the many alternative therapies for GERD. You'll learn about various herbs and supplements that might help someone with GERD as well as some non-dietary therapies that can also help.

What is GERD?

Have you ever wondered why food you swallow doesn't come back up into your mouth? Even when you squeeze your abdomen, it still doesn't come up! That's because a band of muscle fibers sits at the junction of your esophagus (food tube) and stomach. In most cases, the band of fibers squeezes down like a fist to prevent food from coming back up. In those who suffer from gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), this group of fibers doesn't perform its job. As a result, stomach acid goes up into the esophagus and causes heartburn.

There are numerous conventional and alternative therapies for this disorder. This lesson focuses on alternative therapies.

Alternative Therapies

There are many different kinds of alternative therapies. These include the likes of acupuncture, aromatherapy, acupressure, herbal medicine, breathing exercise, yoga, meditation, and many others. Some people believe these various therapies help them either get rid of the cause of a problem, reverse the problem itself, or simply better manage the signs and symptoms of their condition.

Herbs & Supplements

Let's start with one kind of alternative therapy, that of herbal medicine.

Some people also believe that herbs can both taste great and make you feel great. Many can be used for herbal medicine, including the treatment of GERD. Here are a few herbs people use to alleviate GERD:

  • Slippery elm
  • Marshmallow root
  • Chamomile
  • Ginger root
  • Lemon balm
  • Licorice
  • Milk thistle
  • Peppermint

Other than herbs, some claim that various supplements can help their GERD. For instance, you might use a supplement called melatonin, a hormone that's naturally produced by your body. Some believe that taking extra melatonin can minimize the pain people feel in GERD and lower the acidity of your stomach acid. If the stomach acid becomes less acidic, then it won't burn the esophagus so much and cause severe heartburn as it did before. Melatonin is sometimes combined with other supplements, such as:

  • Vitamin B12
  • Vitamin B6
  • Folic acid, a type of B vitamin
  • Betaine, a type of amino acid

Non-Dietary Therapy

Of course, alternative medicine involves far more than herbs and supplements. So, others turn to acupuncture to help manage their GERD. Acupuncture involves the stimulation of various points of the body with specialized needles. Some points that have been used to help manage GERD include those located on the wrist, inner calf, and center of the chest.

Another thing you can do to help manage GERD is de-stress. That's because stress might worsen your GERD. To that end, people could practice meditation, yoga and even hypnotherapy. Hypnotherapy, in particular, might help manage not only stress and anxiety but symptoms like abdominal pain and bloating.

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