Your esophagus -- a structure that links your mouth and throat with your stomach -- helps transport ingested food or beverages from your mouth to your stomach. Your esophagus, which is located behind your heart and trachea, can expand or contract to allow the passage of food. Certain herbs may help treat esophagus-related problems, although it is always recommended that you consult your health care provider before using herbs for this purpose.
There are many possible esophagus-related health problems, although some of these problems are more common than others. The National Institutes of Health states that possible esophagus-related problems include gastroesophageal reflux, hiatal hernia, dysphagia, esophageal cancer and Barrett's esophagus. Gastroesophageal reflux -- a condition in which the food and liquid in your stomach flows back into your esophagus -- is one of the most common esophagus-related conditions, and it is commonly treated using natural methods.
Several herbal remedies have been used in treating esophagus-related pain and soothing tissue irritation or inflammation in your esophagus. According to naturopathic physician and herbal medicine expert Sharol Tilgner, author of "Herbal Medicine From the Heart of the Earth," the following herbs have anti-inflammatory action and help heal and soothe your damaged mucous membranes, including mucous membranes in your esophagus: turmeric, goldenseal, echinacea, geranium, marshmallow and slippery elm. Not all herbs used in treating esophagus-related problems have been rigorously studied using scientific research techniques.
Herb in Focus
Slippery elm may be one of the most potent herbal remedies in treating your esophagus pain, inflammation or irritation. According to William A. Mitchell Jr., a naturopathic physician and author of "Plant Medicine in Practice," the bark of the slippery elm tree contains a significant amount of mucilage and is used in treating mucous membrane irritation in your esophagus and other structures that compose your gastrointestinal tract. Mitchell notes that ingestion of slippery elm capsules may be the most effective method of consuming this herb.
Esophagus-related problems should always be treated by a qualified health care professional, and you should avoid using herbs -- or any other dietary supplement -- to help treat your problem until you have discussed the potential risks and side effects with your doctor. A nutrition specialist, including a registered dietitian, can provide you with accurate and valuable information about the supplements that may best help treat your condition. Review proper dosage with your doctor before using herbs.
- Britannica.com: Esophagus (Anatomy)
- National Institutes of Health: Esophagus Disorders
- "Herbal Medicine From the Heart of the Earth"; Sharol Tilgner, N.D.; 1999
- "Plant Medicine in Practice"; William A. Mitchell Jr., N.D.; 2003