Licorice Extract for Natural Heartburn Relief
06. 06. 2016
There’s no shortage of options when it comes to relieving heartburn. From over-the-counter antacids and dietary changes to prescription strength medications and surgical treatment options, patients today have a broad spectrum of treatments from which to choose. But more and more, patients are gravitating towards natural remedies that can alleviate heartburn symptoms without the risk of side effects and complications. If you’re on the market for a natural, effective heartburn remedy, you may find soothing relief with licorice root.
Acid reflux occurs when digestive juices and undigested food escape the stomach and creep back into the esophagus. This acid irritates the sensitive esophageal lining and produces a burning sensation known as heartburn. It is believed that compounds found in licorice root can soothe the irritation caused by acid reflux and stimulate the release of chemicals which promote healing in the esophageal tissues. Licorice has also been credited with treating other digestive conditions such as ulcers and gastritis.
Several studies have examined the effects of licorice on heartburn symptoms, and the results have been quite positive. A 2004 study found that patients with dyspepsia experienced significant symptom relief when given an herbal formula containing licorice, peppermint, lemon balm, caraway, bitter candy tuft, and matricaria. Another study published in Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine in 2012 found that patients who took licorice extract for 30 days showed significant improvement in their heartburn, pain and regurgitation symptoms, compared to patients who took a placebo.
A more recent clinical study published in Clinical and Experimental Gastroenterology in 2013 discovered that patients who took licorice and bilberry extract in addition to the proton pump inhibitor (PPI) pantoprazole greatly improved their symptoms of heartburn, chest pain and abdominal swelling.
Licorice is considered relatively safe for most patients, but it may cause mild side effects such as headaches, sleepiness and water retention. Taking licorice may also interfere with certain medications or aggravate particular health conditions such as heart disease, kidney disease and hormone-related cancers (Source: About Health). If you are considering licorice root as part of your treatment plan for heartburn, talk to your doctor about the possible risks and side effects. Working side-by-side with your doctor is the surest way to develop a comprehensive treatment plan that safely and effectively relieves your symptoms.