Considered one of nine sacred Saxon herbs, chamomile grows wild throughout Europe and the United States. German chamomile, or Matricaria recutita, is the form of the herb gathered and used medicinally, and is readily available in health food stores as a tea or an extract. Chamomile, with its soothing properties may be beneficial in easing the discomfort of acid reflux, but the FDA does not regulate the production and sale of herbal remedies, so there is no guarantee of efficiency, quality or safety. Talk to your doctor before using any herb to treat a medical condition.
Acid Reflux Symptoms
When bile flows backward, from your stomach into your esophagus, it can irritate the esophageal lining, causing heartburn and discomfort. If you experience more than one episode of acid reflux in a week's time, you may have gastroesophageal reflux disease, or GERD. See your doctor to rule out an underlying disorder before self-treating.
Chamomile: Herbal Properties
The small white flower heads of the chamomile plant contain flavonoids, volatile oils and mucliages, according to the "PDR for Herbal Medicines." Mucliages, in particular, may be beneficial for soothing the lining of the esophagus. In addition, chamomile may reduce the activity of pepsin in the gastrointestinal tract, creating a protective effect against stomach acid. Clinical studies are necessary to confirm these activities.
According to the Mayo Clinic, there are no specific alternative remedies that are scientifically proven to reduce acid reflux. Chamomile tea, however, may relieve esophageal inflammation caused by acid irritation.
Prepare chamomile tea by pouring a cup of boiling water over 1 tsp. of dried chamomile herb. Steep for 15 minutes before straining. The "PDR" suggests drinking up to four cups of chamomile tea per day.
Chamomile is considered safe for most, although anyone with an allergy to yarrow, arnica, feverfew or tansy, should not drink the tea. The herb may interfere with other medications, including anticoagulants and benzodiazepines. Do not exceed the suggested dosage and do not use chamomile to treat acid reflux before talking to your doctor.