Silent reflux, medically known as laryngopharyngeal reflux, is a condition that occurs when acids in your stomach bypass your lower esophageal sphincter and enter your esophagus. It differs from gastroesophageal reflux disease, or GERD, in that it typically does not produce heartburn. Symptoms include irritation or the feeling of a lump in your throat, hoarseness and cough. Herbs cannot cure silent reflux; however, they help manage the symptoms of this condition.
Talk to your physician before taking any herb for silent reflux.
Deglycyrrhizinated licorice, or DGL for short, is a form of licorice root that has been processed to remove glycyrrhizin, a sugar that may contribute to high blood pressure. This herb may help soothe the mucous lining of your esophagus, according to Michael Castleman, author of "The New Healing Herbs." This may reduce irritation and hoarseness caused by silent reflux. Contact your doctor before taking DGL for silent reflux -- this herb may cause stomach upset.
Although most Americans associate marshmallow with the air-puffed confection enjoyed around campfires, the herb bearing this name is commonly used in herbal medicine. Ancient Greeks used the roots of this herb to treat toothaches and insect stings. Marshmallow root may also improve digestion, reducing the production of stomach acids that can penetrate your esophageal sphincter, according to certified nutritional consultant Phyllis Balch, author of "Prescription for Nutritional Healing." This may help reduce the severity of silent reflux symptoms. Talk to your physician if you plan to use marshmallow to treat silent reflux. Side effects are rare; however, marshmallow may contribute to diarrhea.
Chamomile is known in the United States as a mildly calming herb that may help relieve insomnia. However, German and British herbalists in the 17th century used chamomile as a treatment for digestive problems, particularly peptic ulcers. This herb may also soothe your esophagus and relieve irritation when taken as a tea, according to Balch. Check with your doctor before taking chamomile as a silent reflux treatment. Although chamomile has a long history of use as a digestive aid, it may cause nausea in some individuals.
Although catnip is known as an herb that produces a mildly intoxicating effect in felines, it also features prominently in herbal medicine. The ancient Chinese drank catnip tea to relieve chest congestion more than 2,000 years ago, according to Castleman. Catnip may improve digestion by soothing the muscles of the digestive tract, reducing the amount of stomach acids necessary to break down foods. It may also buffer mucous linings to prevent irritation caused by stomach acids that enter your esophagus. Talk to your doctor before treating silent reflux with catnip -- like chamomile, this herb may occasionally cause stomach upset.
- "Prescription for Nutritional Healing"; Phyllis A. Balch, C.N.C. et al.; 2010
- "The New Healing Herbs"; Michael Castleman; 2010