I am a 24-year-old female who has suffered from GERD (acid reflux) for four and a half years now. I have been on medication since then that decreases the amount of acid my stomach releases. However, I still have been experiencing problems and do not want to be on medication for the rest of my life. I also fear developing esophageal cancer. What are some natural remedies and approaches I can take to help alleviate my condition?
Dr. Patel’s Response:
Dr. Sheila Patel
I am sorry to hear about your health issue. From an Ayurvedic perspective, GERD is usually an imbalance of the Pitta dosha (the heat element) and cooling herbs can help alleviate symptoms without interfering with digestion. You could try pure aloe vera juice — try ¼ cup daily; or drink coconut milk with water daily to soothe the heat. That being said, the most important thing to do is to address the underlying issue of why this got started. Pitta imbalances may be provoked by “over-doing” (such as having too many things on your plate — too much work, too much activity, etc.). There is also often an underlying emotional issue that is unresolved, such as anger, resentment, guilt, and so on.
Without addressing the underlying issue, even using natural remedies may not solve the problem. I recommend reading Deepak Chopra’s book Perfect Health or David Simon’s Wisdom of Healing for a good holistic understanding of what is going on. Diet is likely playing a role ,and you most likely require a Pitta-pacifying diet. There is information in these books and on our website. You can learn more about Pitta and the other doshas — and how to balance them — in our online library.