I’ve had a friends who suffer from heartburn/acid reflux do very well with an herbal product called DGL, a form of licorice. Following is some information I copied from www.MotherNature.com. Licorice is a wonder herb used by the Chinese in many of their forumlas for its balancing effects. If you try it, just be sure to buy the DGL version and not the candy. It may not fix dysfunctional valves, but it will help with some of the side effects.
Even if you’re a deliberate eater, you may have chronic heartburn. There are many possible causes, including stress, age, and poor digestion. You may have chronic heartburn because you’ve been infected with Helicobacter pylori, the same bacteria that contribute to stomach ulcers.
People are more prone to heartburn if they take medications that affect the muscles of the esophagus. And they’re more likely to get it if they have a hiatal hernia (a hernia of the diaphragm).
Whatever the source of the problem, the mucous membranes of your esophagus are probably inflamed and irritated, says Melissa Metcalfe, N.D., a naturopathic doctor in Los Angeles. That’s one area where supplements might be able to lend a helping hand.
An excellent herb to soothe those tissues is deglycyrrhizinated licorice, or DGL, according to Dr. Metcalfe. For one thing, DGL has antispasmodic action, which means that it helps to control various muscle actions that can affect your digestive tract. The herb also helps reduce acid reflux by calming a cramping stomach, she says.
The primary medicinal benefit of DGL, however, is its ability to increase and build up the protective substances that line the digestive tract. By stimulating the body’s natural defense mechanisms, licorice helps prevent the formation of ulcers and lesions due to the irritating acid, says Dr. Metcalfe. It’s also a powerful, localized anti-inflammatory.
“It’s the first thing I recommend to people. It’s a great initial treatment,” says Dr. Metcalfe. The typical dose is two 250-milligram capsules taken 20 minutes before mealtime.
Rather than swallowing the DGL with water, Dr. Metcalfe suggests that you suck on the capsules and let them dissolve slowly in your mouth. You can also get DGL in chewable tablets, which dissolve as you chew them. “You want the licorice to coat the inside of your throat and esophagus to cover those inflamed and irritated tissues,” she says.
Use it for four weeks and then assess if it’s working, she suggests. If it is, your throat should feel less irritated. If not, see your health-care practitioner.