Many people have experienced the dreaded feeling, that burning sensation in the lower chest indicating acid reflux. Known as gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), heartburn or pyrosis, acid reflux can also cause a sore throat, coughing, hiccups, bloating and other unpleasant symptoms.
According to the American College of Gastroenterology, over 60 million Americans experience heartburn at least once each month, and at least 15 million suffer as often as daily.
Symptoms usually occur after eating or drinking, and eating too quickly or by lying down too soon after eating can exacerbate discomfort. Certain foods and drinks can trigger or worsen acid reflux, and the culprits include coffee, alcohol, chocolate, garlic and spicy foods.
With the festive season fast approaching, no one wants to avoid foods or drinks they love to keep heartburn at bay. So other than reaching for the nearest antacids, how can you best cope with this problem and soothe the unwanted symptoms?
These days, all kinds of weird and wacky suggestions and home remedies for tackling acidity appear out there in cyberspace. But really, who wants to drink cabbage juice or sip a baking soda cocktail?
The answer might lie in a good old cup of tea! Tea is generally considered the beverage of choice in England. Some people go through copious amounts of tea – easily five or six cups per day – and always after a meal. There is something soothing about a cup of tea, and it really does seem to aid digestion.
With so many proclaimed health benefits and different teas on the market today, it can be difficult to determine which tea is best and safest for treating heartburn. Below you'll see our top three teas for acid reflux, plus a few other suggestions you may like to try.
1. Ginger Tea
Our top choice for treating acid reflux is ginger tea, which is tried and tested, tastes good and contains natural anti-inflammatory properties. The ingredients in ginger tea work to decrease the swelling and irritation that can cause stomach acid to enter the esophagus.
While some teas can be spicy or strong-flavored, ginger tea typically offers a mild spicy flavor. Adding honey or maple syrup can temper the spiciness. You can make your own tea using grated fresh ginger. We personally enjoy Yogi Ginger Tea. It is organic and caffeine-free. Mango Ginger Tea is tasty too.
2. Licorice Tea
Second for rescuing you from acid reflux is an aromatic licorice tea. Like ginger, licorice has been used for thousands of years to treat a wide range of conditions. Licorice helps to increase the mucus coating of the esophageal lining and calms the harmful effects of stomach acid.
We especially like the gentle taste of Yogi Egyptian Licorice Tea. Like with ginger tea, adding a little honey or sweetener is an option, though for many this blend is sweet enough. Pukka has a lovely Three Licorice Tea, which is organic and caffeine-free. Licorice tea makes a perfect after-dinner drink.
3. Chamomile Tea
Our third go-to is chamomile tea. It is also taken for menstrual cramps and moodiness, insomnia and anxiety. The soothing and anti-inflammatory properties of chamomile can help relax the muscles and digestive tract and balance the nervous system.
This tea is delicately scented, warming and nourishing. Stash Chamomile Nights is a blend we would recommend. It is a particularly soothing bedtime beverage.
Many enjoy fennel tea to treat heartburn and other symptoms of acid reflux. David's Tea offers a lovely organic blend called Le Digestif, which contains sweet fennel, mint, ginger and orange.
Teas containing turmeric, papaya, marshmallow root, slippery elm, rooibos, sage, cinnamon, cardamom, rosemary, and even catnip can also help soothe acid reflux symptoms, according to some tea drinkers and herbalists.
While one of our favorite teas, peppermint, might be great for nausea, mint teas can trigger acid reflux in some people. Others claim that peppermint or spearmint tea helps to soothe acid reflux, so try them and decide for yourself.
What to Avoid
Some herbs can interfere with prescription medications, so consult with your doctor before trying any herbal remedy, especially if you are pregnant or suffer from allergies. Always be aware of any potential side effects.
Avoid caffeinated teas, like black tea, green tea or oolong tea, which might worsen symptoms. Caffeine relaxes the lower esophageal sphincter. This alone can contribute to acid reflux. Always savor your tea; sipping it slowly, Gulping or drinking too quickly can defeat the purpose!
If you prefer milk in your tea, opt for low fat or fat-free milk or a non-dairy option to minimize acid reflux symptoms. Almond milk is a good choice too.
Final Word on Teas for Acid Reflux
We hope that we have given you some ideas for alternative drinks that tickle your tastebuds without any unpleasant repercussions.
If you seek to eat, drink and be merry and tame the effects of acid reflux, why not put the kettle on and try a nourishing cup of herbal tea? After all, “Where there is tea, there is hope!”