Prilosec, or omeprazole, is an over-the-counter and prescription-option drug used to control heartburn and gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). When used in combination with antibiotics, Prilosec reduces stomach acid and H. pylori bacteria levels to prevent continued GERD and heartburn damage. People who experience side effects from Prilosec or who prefer herbal alternatives to treat GERD can consider plant and homeopathic remedies for the same acid- and bacteria-lowering effects.
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Licorice root soothes damage in the digestive system from stomach acid that can cause stomach ulcers, heartburn and reflux symptoms. Fresh, dried of powdered licorice root contains glycyrrhizin, which causes high blood pressure and drug interactions. Standardized 250 mg to 500 mg supplements without glycyrrhizin, called DGL or deglycyrrhizinized licorice, provide the same stomach-protecting effects when used up to three times daily within 1 or 2 hours of a meal. According to the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine, safety data for licorice use longer than six weeks is not available as of May 2010, so people taking licorice should consult a health professional for longer-lasting stomach problems.
Leaves of the mint family are chewed or steeped into teas throughout the world to calm indigestion after meals and long-term digestive disorders. Oils on the leaves, particularly peppermint leaves, contain these healthful properties. However, peppermint also causes heartburn when swallowed directly, so standardized tablets of 0.2 mg peppermint are best to relieve stomach ulcer discomfort. These enteric-coated products prevent peppermint release until after the tablet is through the stomach.
According to MotherNature.com, carrot-related plants like angelica can treat heartburn in adults and colic in infants. Angelica oil helps cleanse the digestive system and remove excess gas; however, the website suggests that combinations of freshly juiced angelica, carrot, parsnip and related plants are also effective. Any type of angelica increases sun sensitivity, especially in people with pale skin.
Homeopathic medicine uses small amounts of herbs and essential oils that mimic disease symptoms to improve the body's reaction to the disease. Preparations are made by homeopathic doctors specifically for individual patients and should not be taken without consulting a homeopath. Pulsatilla is one example of a homeopathic preparation used to lower stomach acid reflux, gas and heartburn caused by fatty foods. However, pulsatilla can induce vomiting during digestion as well.