Peppermint Tea & Acid Reflux

Peppermint tea can serve as a natural digestive aid and as a remedy for a variety of ills, from sinus congestion to irritable bowel syndrome. Despite the prevalence of peppermint flavor in after-dinner mints and over-the-counter antacids, however, peppermint tea is not the best choice to treat acid reflux, or heartburn. In fact, peppermint can make the problem worse, especially for people who suffer from gastroesophageal reflux disease.

A cup of peppermint. (Image: YelenaYemchuk/iStock/Getty Images)

Too Much Relaxation

The esophagus is connected directly to the stomach but is separated by a sphincter muscle that allows flow in only one direction. When the sphincter muscle is closed, food goes into the stomach but doesn't go back out. Peppermint tea can relax the stomach muscles, which can aid in digestion, but this also relaxes the sphincter so that stomach acid can back up into the esophagus -- hence the term "acid reflux" -- and burn the lining of the esophagus. So if you have heartburn, don't reach for that cup of peppermint tea.

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