Amla and Other Natural Remedies for Acid Reflux (GERD)
Page Medically Reviewed and Edited by Cyrus Khambatta, PhD
Is Amla Good for Acid Reflux?
Acid reflux is actually an exceptionally common occurrence, with 20 to 30 percent of people experiencing symptoms at least once a week and up to 60 percent experiencing the condition at least once a year.
And while there are medications that can help counteract acid reflux and its related ailments (like heartburn, stomach acidity, or indigestion), they can have negative side effects that can make it feel like taking medicine is a zero sum game.
In this article we’ll talk about amla, a plant-based medicine with dozens of health benefits and discuss how amla and a few other natural remedies can be possible solutions for your consistent acid reflux.
Table of Contents
What Is Acid Reflux?
Acid reflux is when the valve between your esophagus and stomach becomes irritated by excess stomach acid (HCl, hydrochloric acid). When this occurs, stomach acid enters your esophagus and causes a burning sensation in the back of your throat called “heartburn.”
If this happens consistently, it is known as gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), and can have a number of negative effects on the digestion process.
Amla: An Ayurvedic Remedy for Acid Reflux
Long described as a “wonder berry” in Ayurvedic medicine, amla (also known as Indian gooseberry or Emblica Officinalis) has been proven in recent years to have an amazing array of health benefits.
Thanks to its incredibly high density of vitamin C, antioxidants, and other medicinal nutrients, amla has shown the ability to help with blood sugar control to hair growth, helping it live up to its reputation as a near cure-all Ayurvedic treatment.
This diverse selection of evidence extends to acid reflux and its related issues. In one study of subjects with gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), amla was shown to limit heartburn, regurgitation, and indigestion.
In addition, the vitamin C in amla also helps reduce stomach acidity, providing a well rounded benefit to your digestive health that includes conditions like hyperacidity as well as acid reflux.
Acid Reflux and Ayurveda
Ayurvedic medicine sees acid reflux as an imbalance of energies, including pitta and dosha, two of the key digestive energies. In extreme cases, this imbalance is referred to as amlapitta, which is more commonly known as hyperacidity.
To balance these conflicting energies, ayurveda has two main solutions: saliva-inducers, which encourage the mouth to produce more saliva and in turn calm the stomach’s from above, and bases, which help neutralize stomach acid in the stomach.
Ayurvedic Remedies to Manage Acidity
Some of the most common ayurvedic remedies to manage acidity fall into these two categories.
- Saliva inducers like spicy foods (in small quantities), fennel seeds, tulsi leaves, basil, coriander, etc.
- Bases, like warm water, ghee, or yogurt
Finally, there are substances that act on the enzymes in your stomach, like pomegranate and triphala, a powerful nutrient mixture that includes amla, haritaki, and bibhitaki.
More Home Remedies to Beat Acidity
Other natural remedies often take from these three elements of ayurvedic medicine, either working to induce saliva, neutralize the stomach, or engage enzymes that reduce acid production.
There are also some lifestyle changes that you can make that may also reduce your likelihood of acid reflux.
Dial in Your Diet
There are some foods that are more likely than others to cause acid reflux, like spicy foods, fried foods, acidic foods, alcohol, and others. If you have a high ratio of these foods in your diet and experience acid reflux around meal times, it may be worth fine-tuning your diet.
Adding more leafy vegetables and starchy vegetables can help balance out your stomach acidity and provide various other beneficial nutrients and antioxidants.
Consider Weight Loss
There’s a very strong correlation between obesity or being overweight and the incidence of acid reflux. If you’re over your target weight and suffering from excess stomach acid or GERD, the research shows that weight loss can be a powerful solution.
Try Aloe Vera Juice
From the world of plant-based medicines, aloe vera is another option. Aloe vera juice takes advantage of both the neutralization and enzyme-adjusting aspects of ayurvedic medicine, providing a safe, side-effect free option that can help alleviate some of the symptoms.
Turmeric, like amla, is a superfood, an incredibly powerful antioxidant, and has a wide variety of different health benefits.
Medication for Heartburn: Antacids
It’s also worth mentioning one very obvious solution to acid reflux, especially in isolated cases: simple, store-bought antacids.
Though these medications can have negative side effects if taken on an empty stomach or taken too often, these medications can provide short term relief to acid reflux, heartburn, and other gastrointestinal stress.
The Final Word
So is amla good for acid reflux? That is what the evidence suggests, and as a part of a balanced, plant-based diet that rations spicy foods and fried foods and emphasizes leafy and starchy vegetables, amla can be a simple solution for both lingering or isolated cases of acid reflux.
However, if you notice that these symptoms persist or become disruptive we recommend working with your trusted healthcare professional to find a solution that works for you.
Amla Green has strict guidelines for scientific references in our articles, and we rely on peer-reviewed studies, academic research institutions, governmental organizations, and reputable medical organizations. We do our best to avoid using non evidence-based references in all articles. The references in this article are listed below.
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“EverydayHealth.com. “Antacids - Warnings, Precautions, Side Effects & Interactions | Everyday Health.” ”https://www.everydayhealth.com/antacids/guide/"
“Bazerbachi, Fateh, Kumar Krishnan, and Barham K. Abu Dayyeh. “Endoscopic GERD Therapy: A Primer for the Transoral Incisionless Fundoplication Procedure.” Gastrointestinal Endoscopy 90, no. 3 (September 2019): 370–83.” ”https://doi.org/10.1016/j.gie.2019.05.028"
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“Kwiecien, Slawomir, Marcin Magierowski, Jolanta Majka, Agata Ptak-Belowska, Dagmara Wojcik, Zbigniew Sliwowski, Katarzyna Magierowska, and Tomasz Brzozowski. “Curcumin: A Potent Protectant against Esophageal and Gastric Disorders.” International Journal of Molecular Sciences 20, no. 6 (March 24, 2019).” ”https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms20061477"
“Panahi, Yunes, Hossein Khedmat, Ghasem Valizadegan, Reza Mohtashami, and Amirhossein Sahebkar. “Efficacy and Safety of Aloe Vera Syrup for the Treatment of Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease: A Pilot Randomized Positive-Controlled Trial.” Journal of Traditional Chinese Medicine = Chung I Tsa Chih Ying Wen Pan 35, no. 6 (December 2015): 632–36.” ”https://doi.org/10.1016/s0254-6272(15)30151-5"
“Singh, Mandeep, Jaehoon Lee, Neil Gupta, Srinivas Gaddam, Bryan K. Smith, Sachin B. Wani, Debra K. Sullivan, et al. “Weight Loss Can Lead to Resolution of Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease Symptoms: A Prospective Intervention Trial.” Obesity (Silver Spring, Md.) 21, no. 2 (February 2013).” ”https://doi.org/10.1002/oby.20279"
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Page Medically Reviewed and Edited by
Cyrus Khambatta, PhD
Cyrus Khambatta, PhD, is a cofounder of Mastering Diabetes and Amla Green is an internationally recognized nutrition and fitness coach who has been living with type 1 diabetes since 2002. Using an evidence-based approach to nutrition and fitness, he first reduced his own insulin usage by more than 40%, and has educated thousands of people with all forms of diabetes how to reverse insulin resistance using food as medicine. Cyrus earned a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering from Stanford University in 2003, then earned a PhD in Nutritional Biochemistry from the University of California at Berkeley in 2012. He is the co-host of the annual Mastering Diabetes Online Summit, a featured speaker at the Plant-Based Nutrition and Healthcare Conference (PBNHC), the American College of Lifestyle Medicine (ACLM) Conference, Plant Stock, and has been featured on Forks Over Knives, NPR, PBS, KQED, Fast Company, and is the author of the upcoming book Mastering Diabetes.
- Cyrus Khambatta