Herbal Therapy Works On Acid Reflux

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August 25, 2001 | 56,704 views

Treating or preventing reflux esophagitis may be as simple as supplementing traditional acid suppression treatment with an antioxidant extract of the wormwood herb Artemisia asiatica. Reflux esophagitis is an inflammation of the esophagus caused by regurgitation of the stomach contents, or acid reflux. The condition is more commonly recognized by its symptom of heartburn which reportedly affects 10% of American adults every day.

Currently the treatment of reflux esophagitis is mostly based on the suppression of acid. Therapy with readily available antioxidants such as vegetables and fruits may help prevent and treat the condition, researchers noted.

Investigators surgically induced reflux esophagitis in 60 rats and divided them into four different groups: one that received no treatment; two that were pretreated with 30 milligrams (mg) and 100 mg, respectively, of the oral antioxidant; and one that received the traditional Zantac treatment. A fifth group that was not subjected to reflux disease was used for comparison.

The antioxidant treatment, as opposed to the traditional drug therapy, decreased the severity of reflux disease and was more protective against ulceration and inflammation of the esophagus. The best results were seen in rats that received 100 mg of the antioxidant.

For example, 80% of the rats that received no treatment developed large ulcers in the lower and middle parts of the esophagus, compared with 27% of the rats that received 30 mg of antioxidant treatment and 20% of the rats that received 100 mg of the antioxidant, the report indicates. In contrast, nearly two thirds of the rats that received the acid suppressant developed ulcers.

Rats treated with the antioxidant also exhibited greater evidence of healing in the affected areas of the esophagus and less cell damage than did the rats treated with ranitidine.

The rat model is unlike human reflux disease, particularly because "humans do extremely well on acid suppression," one of the authors noted.

Gut September 2001;49:364-371

It is important to recognize that drugs are not the answer here. Many may not remember that Propulsid was frequently used for this condition and pulled from the market last year after causing many deaths. It is interesting to note that the anti-parasite herb, artemesia, seems to be useful for this condition. However, although it is safer, it is also still a bandaid. As I state below, garlic is a far less expensive, and considerably more effective option.

From my April 2001 Comment:

The January 8, 2001 issue of Business Week mentions that Priolsec is the top selling prescription drug in the world. It earns Astra Zeneca (the drug's maker) 6 billion dollars per year. The drug, and others like it, clearly are effective at what they do or there is no way in the world these companies could convince people to buy them. BUT they do NOT solve the problem. In fact, they actually worsen it.

Then, when you are using the wrong solution for the problem, you are bound to have problems. Drugs are rarely, if ever, indictated for the common ulcer and associated stomach problems. The proton pump inhibitors like Prevacid and Prilosec and the H2 blocker agents like Tagament, Pepcid, and Zantac are some of the worst drugs that you could possible take.


They significantly reduce the amount of acid you have and with that your ability to properly digest food. Reduction of acid in the stomach also diminishes your primary defense mechanism for food borne infections and will increase your risk of food poisoning.

What are the options? Normally following the food choice program and drinking about one gallon of pure water per day along with high doses of a good quality probiotic (benefical bacteria) is enough to restore normal stomach function in the vast majority of patients.

Occasionally, those with a hiatal hernia will require additional structural adjustments and the one I currently find that works the best is NST. Garlic is one food that you should be eating every day. Dr. Klinghardt and I are very impressed with its ability to optimize bowel flora and kill pathogenic organisms such as H. pylori.

It is important to note that the garlic MUST be fresh. The active ingredient is destroyed within several hours of smashing the garlic.

Garlic pills are virtually worthless and should not be used. When you use the garlic it will be important to compress the garlic with a spoon prior to swallowing it if you are not going to juice it. If you swallow the clove intact you will not convert the allicin to its active ingredient. One problem, of course, is the smell, but generally a few cloves a day are tolerated by most people. If one develops a "socially offensive" odor then all you do is slightly decrease the volume of garlic until there is no odor present.