Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD)

GERD Overview:

Gastroesophageal reflux disease involves periodic reflux of stomach acid into the esophagus. The common term for this condition is heart burn, due to the warm, burning sensation felt in the chest area. The cause can be from both too little stomach acid, and too much stomach acid. 


Special Considerations:

Prolonged GERD can lead to a variety of other conditions long term. The main ones to consider are metastatic changes, and Barette's esophagus. 

Menthol has been shown to lower esophageal sphincter tone, which can exacrbate or even cause GERD. [SOURCE]. 



GERD arises when the esophageal sphincter becomes incompitant, and loses tone. This sphincter is what seals off the stomach from the esophagus when food is not passing through.

Causitive Factors Include:

  • Short esophagus
  • Overweight
  • Alcohol or caffeine consumption
  • Fatty foods
  • Hiatus hernia
  • Medications










Therapeutic Aims:

1. Reduce Inflammation

  • Antinflammatories(Curcuma longa, Boswellia serrata, Calendula officinalis)

2. Tonify And Heal Mucosa

  • Mucus Membrane Tonics(Hydrastis canadensis)
  • Demulcents(Althaea officinalis, Ulmus rubra)

3. Ameliorate the Negative Effects of Stress

  • Adaptogens(Rhodiola rosea, Panax ginseng, Rehmannia glutinosa)
  • Nervines(Scutellaria lateriflora, Passiflora incarnata)

4. Normalise Upper GIT Function

  • Antacids(Filipendula ulmaria)

5. Avoid Triggers

This includes food intolerances and factors that increase intra-abdominal pressure.


Differential Diagnosis:

  • Gastric cancer

Dietary Considerations For GERD:

  • Avoid eating at bed time
  • Lose weight if currently overweight
  • Avoid alcohol intake
  • Remove any food with potential intolerance
  • Regular meal times
  • Avoid eating on the run
  • Avoid foods that reduce lower esophageal sphincter tone:
    • chocolate
    • carminatives
      • peppermint and spearmint
    • Fatty foods
    • Coffee
    • Tomatoe concentrates
    • Onions
    • Spicy food

Herbs For GERD


Justin Cooke

The Sunlight Experiment

Updated: June 2018

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