Natural Remedies for GERD

Gastroesophageal reflux disease, commonly known as GERD, affects a whopping 20% of Americans! The hallmark symptoms are heartburn and regurgitation of stomach acids.

GERD is not only painful, but can also lead to more serious problems.

According to Dr. Rodger Murphree, GERD is caused by lack of sufficient digestive acids – which  can trigger not only Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) and Small Intestine Bacterial Overgrowth (SIBO), but can even lead to yeast overgrowth and parasitic infections.

Our stomach is our first line of defense. If we cannot sustain sufficient acidity to create an inhospitable environment for pathogenic organisms then we will be vulnerable to infections.

What’s more, without sufficient acidity in our stomach, no matter how well we eat or what supplements we take, our health will suffer because we will not be able to digest our food or absorb nutrients.

Dr. Daniel Nuzum also warns that no matter how healthy our diet is, if we lack digestive acids our food will putrefy in our stomachs, creating toxins that irritate and inflame our entire body.

The contents of the stomach must reach a low acidity, between 2 and 3 pH, before it can move on to the small intestine. If we’re not producing sufficient acid (or eating too quickly for the acid to be produced!) our food must rot until it achieves necessary acidity. We certainly don’t want that!

Mainstream treatments for sufferers of chronic reflux have intended to bring relief by reducing acid levels. Dr. Olivia Joseph warns us that antacids inhibit the absorption of nutrients, which leads to osteoporosis, low bone density and anemia.

While in extreme cases we may need to rely on these products to keep us reasonably comfortable while restoring healthy balance and function to our digestive tract, we certainly don’t want to prolong their use any more than necessary.

Proton Pump Inhibitors are also prescribed for sufferers of reflux. Dr. Duc Le cautions that these products leave us vulnerable to infection and create imbalance in our microflora. They should be used only if you have been diagnosed with gastric ulcers or excessive acid. Even then, you’ll want to discontinue use as soon as possible.

Fortunately, there are many natural remedies that you can apply to resolve GERD by restoring sufficient acidity to your digestive tract.

Here are some foods you can use to increase your stomach acid:

  • Dark Leafy Greens: Greens like kale, collards and spinach are acidic and rich in live enzymes that support healthy digestion. This is why salads are traditionally served before or with a heavy meal.

  • Citrus: Citrus fruits like lemons, limes and grapefruits are all great for increasing acidity in our stomachs. You can squeeze juice over your meal or infuse it into water to sip while you’re eating.

  • Apple Cider Vinegar: Pour a teaspoon of apple cider vinegar into a glass of water and sip shortly before eating. Adjust concentration according to your taste.

The following herbs are also great for increasing acidity in the stomach, but you’ll want to be cautious about including them in your diet if your stomach is raw and irritated. Start with the greens, then slowly incorporate citrus and apple cider vinegar. When you feel ready, try these superfoods:

  • Ginger: The resin and oil of ginger are often contained in commercial products intended to relieve indigestion. Ginger soothes inflammation, brings relief for the sore throat and painful esophagus associated with GERD and decreases the likelihood of acid from your stomach flowing back into your esophagus.

  • Garlic: Raw garlic or garlic capsules consumed on an empty stomach balance acidity. However, for some people, garlic can be an irritant. Introduce it slowly to see how you react. Garlic also contains potent antibiotics that eliminate stomach parasites and support healthy balance of your microbiome.

  • Cayenne: Like garlic, spicy peppers can exacerbate reflux for some people, so go slow when introducing them into your diet. You can also take capsules rather than eat them to get the benefits without overheating your mouth. Cayenne supports healthy acidity in the stomach, heals stomach and intestinal ulcers and rebuilds digestive tissue.

  • Turmeric: Turmeric is rich in antioxidants and anti inflammatory compounds. That’s all thanks to its active ingredient, curcumin – which is also antiviral, antibacterial and anticancer. Turmeric is widely and effectively used to treat heartburn, inflammation and stomach ulcers. Turmeric powder can be added to beverages and smoothies or used to season savory dishes. You can also juice fresh turmeric. Either way, it is more effectively absorbed when consumed with piperine which is found in black pepper.


In addition to restoring healthy acidity to the stomach, our protocols for relieving GERD should also include tools for soothing and repairing our intestinal lining:

  • Deglycyrrhizinated Licorice (DGL): According to Harvard Medical School, licorice is a proven effective treatment for reflux in several studies. It increases the mucus coating on the esophagus, protecting it from irritation by stomach acids.

  • Aloe Vera: Aloe vera juice is anti inflammatory and loaded with vitamins, minerals and amino acids. Consuming aloe vera juice improves digestion and supports detoxification. Aloe vera relieves symptoms of acid reflux while also healing the root of the problem.

  • Slippery Elm: Dr. Nuzum especially recommends slippery elm for GERD because it soothes the gut and throat, calms reflux, supports peristalsis and encourages movement from the esophagus all the way through the digestive tract. Slippery elm contains mucilage, which turns into a slippery, thick gel when wet. That’s what helps to soothe and coat our digestive tracts.

  • Marshmallow Root: Marshmallow coats the stomach and esophageal lining with protective mucilage. Marshmallow also soothes inflamed intestines and supports elimination of waste.

*          *          *

The trick to healing GERD is to treat the root of the problem. Antacids and proton pumps may temporarily relieve symptoms but will exacerbate our problems in the long run.

For better options, we need look no further than our kitchens. We can use foods and herbs to gently and naturally soothe the damage caused by reflux and restore a healthy acidity to our digestive tracts.

Goodness Lover

Goodness Lover


    • Goodness Lover

      Hi Danielle! Alopecia is an autoimmune disease. In order to recover, you must heal chronic inflammation. (Tips on that here: 5 Natural Remedies to Beat Inflammation.) You may also need to address nutritional deficiencies, digestive health or underlying infections. It’s important to remember that alopecia is a symptom of a bodywide imbalance. You must restore balance to prevent further health problems from developing! xx

  • Alex Tavares

    Thank you so much for this information. I was out in the Monash low foodmap diet to help me with gastrointestinal issues. Some of the suggested remedies isn’t allowed during the diet “time” and now that Zantac products were recalled. Things just got a little extra challenging. Any suggestions on the foodmap diet and GERD remedies. Thank you. AlexT

    • Goodness Lover

      Great question, Alex! The only remedy that is high fodmap is garlic. You’ll want to avoid garlic entirely while you’re on the low fodmap diet, but all of the other suggestions are fair game!

  • Nana

    I love how simple and precise you give information. It’s easy to read and understand. Thank you for your knowledge and sharing!

  • Katie

    Thank you Sarah! I really needed this reminder, I struggle with this and I loved this concise and informative list and post <3

  • Giovanni Hinrichsen

    …and decrease pressure in the abdomen lowering the diaphragm,not sitting in armchairs,stop eating foods that develop gas in the bowel.

  • Frans PEETERS

    The DANGER is USOFAGUS CANCER because it don’t widstand
    HCl 1% ,the stomac acid !!!
    The stomac has a muco protection .Usofagus NOT !!!
    Drinking 10y CO2 water, gives bloating and acid comes into the usofagus.
    ( Cider calvados and Jap. herbs are also dangerous . Not wine and beer wel factor 2.)
    Repair : usofagus cut out and half stomac cut in pieces to make a tube with 80 titan needles , ribs broken, lungs interrupted, 24 inch cuttings and 9 hours operation . 30 % survival , the not spead cancers .Mine 8 mm discovered by other common stomac ulser, Helicobacter microbe from raw food survives in acid .

    Having REFLUX ….You eat JUNK FOOD or make it Junk by treating it ……Eat only STEAMED no pressurized ,you are half cured .
    Test valve leak by endoscopy . Put front side of bed higher for no night reflow reflux . GRAVISCON is bad .
    Pain comes only if the usofagus is HCl acid burned .
    Adding citric acid wil give pain on a burned surface.
    Only the HCl acid cuts the protein pre-digestion .
    The theory LAC of ACID( by 80 y ) you must prove it by swallowing a Sb pH transmitter and measure pH 0 – pH 1 on a receiver outside the body
    You need 5 gram salt /day to have Cl- to make this HCl acid in the stomac wall ,all other acids don’t help here ! Contra regulating may be ,by its pH signal.pH 3 .

    Be healthy !

  • Theresa Therrien

    Thank you for the suggestions above for Gerd. I will try some to see if it helps. I usually use tums or Gaviscon when I have Gerd. I often have stomach problems in digestion and have to be careful as to what I eat, no spices or fatty foods.

    • Goodness Lover

      Great point, Pam! There’s no remedy that works for everyone. We must all honour our individual needs and sensitivities.

  • Dean Hands

    Thank you for this great information. I would assume that the foods/spices mentioned would be good for many other remedies other than GERD.

    • Goodness Lover

      That’s right, Dean! Herbal medicines have many positive effects on the body. Entire books have been written on the healing properties of foods like apple cider vinegar, aloe vera, garlic, ginger and turmeric!

  • Kathryn Mollenhauer

    Thankyou for all these great options to use for GERD/GORD which I have suffered from for many years. My Dr put me on PPI’s and I have been trying to come off them along with all my other meds. It has been up and down most days and the only alternative remedy I knew of was Slippery Elm Powder which has not always been that successful. So I shall try some of the other remedies as well.

  • Carol

    Thank you for your advice. I paid a lot of money to get those details
    that you gave to us free. Keep up the good work.
    Cheers Carol

    • Goodness Lover

      Hi Carol! Sorry to hear this! Make sure to go through the rest of the posts as you might find them useful and interesting 🙂

  • Vanessa

    Thanks so much for the article and tips! What’s the best way or in what form should you take the DGL and marshmallow root? Thank you!

  • Lisa

    Hi Sara thank you for this info! I suffer with Gerd I need to use these things and get some probiotics. My question is do I consume these 4 soothing tools all at once or do I use them one at a time for example if have aloe juice, then take the licorice, and the other 2 the next day or can I use all for tools the same day?

    • Goodness Lover

      Hi Lisa! You can try them in any combination and see what works best for you. I would start with one at a time, for a few days, so you can gauge your reaction before introducing something new.

  • Heidi J Dobson

    Hi Sarah,

    I have suffered from GERD since I was about 15. I have tried every PPI out there and then some. Every time I got a new doctor they wanted to “rule out” the PPI’s all over again. Since the PPI’s didn’t work I tried many of the things you have listed here, Cider Vinegar, Ginger, Garlic, Citrus fruits, Aloe Vera juice nothing ever did work. I did pay close attention to when the GERD got particularly bad and it was always without fail when I was anxious. I also discovered when I had to have surgery done that my body takes almost 24 hours to digest a meal. So, all this to ask…any suggestions? I”m currently on Ranitidine and I still get GERD now and then. I would rather not be on the drugs.



    • Goodness Lover

      Hi Heidi! There is a close and fascinating connection between the gut and the mind. Anxiety and digestive problems are inter-related. You can learn all about the gut-brain connection and discover new approaches to GERD on my docu-series The Gut Solution. The free screening begins on November 4th and you can reserve your seat here – 🙂

  • ali

    Anywhere I look on the internet I see charts showing that greens are alkaline, yet you state that ”Greens like kale, collards and spinach are acidic”. Why is that?

    • Goodness Lover

      Hi, Ali! This is a common point of confusion. Leafy greens support healthy acidity in the stomach that is needed for digestion though they have an alkalizing effect on the body.

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