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Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease

Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) is a backup of stomach acid into the tube that goes from the back of the throat to the stomach. The main sign is a burning feeling in the chest and throat. Food and fluid may also move back up into the back of the throat or mouth.

Medicine and lifestyle changes may help to ease symptoms. Surgery may be done if other methods fail.

People turn to natural treatments to help ease symptoms.

Natural Therapies

May Be Effective

  • Acupuncture places fine needles in the body to treat health problems. It may ease GERD symptoms and improve quality of life.A1, A2
  • Phyllanthus is a green plant with bright yellow flowers that may ease symptoms of GERD.B3
  • Rikkunshito is a popular Japanese traditional medicine. It may ease symptoms when used with standard medicine.B1
  • Wu chu yu tang is a Chinese herbal medicine that may ease GERD symptoms.B5

Not Enough Data to Assess

  • Myrtle B2
  • Psyllium B4

Editorial process and description of evidence categories can be found at EBSCO NAT Editorial Process.

Herbs and Supplements to Be Used With Caution

Talk to your doctor about all herbs or pills you are taking. Some may get in the way of your treatment or other health problems you may have.




A1. Zhang CX, Qin YM, et al. Clinical study on the treatment of gastroesophageal reflux by acupuncture. Chin J Integr Med. 2010 Aug 16(4):298-303.

A2. Zhang C, Guo L, et al. Clinical curative effect of electroacupuncture combined with zhizhukuanzhong capsules for treating gastroesophageal reflux disease. J Tradit Chin Med. 2012 Sep;32(3):364-371.

A3. Zhu J, Guo Y, et al. Acupuncture for the treatment of gastro-oesophageal reflux disease: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Acupunct Med. 2017 Oct;35(5):316-323.

B. Supplements

B1. Tominaga K, Iwakiri R, et al. Rikkunshito improves symptoms in PPI-refractory GERD patients: a prospective, randomized, multicenter trial in Japan. J Gastroenterol. 2012 Mar;47(3):284-292.

B2. Zohalinezhad ME, Hosseini-Asl MK, et al. Myrtus communis L. freeze-dried aqueous extract versus omeprazol in gastrointestinal reflux disease: a double-blind randomized controlled clinical trial. J Evid Based Complementary Altern Med. 2016 Jan;21(1):23-29.

B3. Karkon Varnosfaderani S, Hashem-Dabaghian F, et al. Efficacy and safety of Amla (Phyllanthus emblica L.) in non-erosive reflux disease: a double-blinded, randomized, placebo-controlled clinical trial. J Integr Med. 2018;16(2):126-131.

B4. Morozov S, Isakov V, et al. Fiber-enriched diet helps to control symptoms and improves esophageal motility in patients with non-erosive gastroesophageal reflux disease. World J Gastroenterol. 2018 Jun 7;24(21):2291-2299.

B5. Shih YS, Tsai CH, et al. Effect of wu chu yu tang on gastroesophageal reflux disease: randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial. Phytomedicine. 2019 Mar 15;56:118-125.

Last reviewed February 2020 by EBSCO NAT Review Board Eric Hurwitz, DC  Last Updated: 5/26/2020