Remember that barbecue night over at your cousin’s place last week? The entire family was meeting up after ages. Pops was holding his audience captive with stories of the war, the young ones were off chasing fireflies, the women were exchanging recipes, and the food… oh the food! There lay the most succulent piece of meat you’d ever laid eyes on when, just as you were about to bite into it, you felt a dull burning sensation start behind your breastbone. And soon, that dull ache snowballed into what can only be described as the thing that happens when you feel like your insides are on fire.
Turns out, GERD had come a-calling.
Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD), or acid reflux as it is known in common parlance, might have been a steady companion to many of us over the years. Work, home, dorm, gym – it haunts you whenever possible, and there is nothing you can do about it. Or, is there?
What Is Acid Reflux?
GERD/Acid reflux/Heartburn is a set of symptoms that occur when acid produced in the stomach goes up the wrong way. There lies a ring of muscles at the entrance to your stomach, which is known as the Lower Esophageal Sphincter (LES). It acts as a gatekeeper and is responsible for letting food through the oesophagus and into the stomach, but not back up the same way. To aid digestion, your stomach produces a lot of acid that helps digest various kinds of food. However, sometimes, when these levels of acid fall, your LES is tricked into relaxing. As a result, acid travels up the oesophagus and causes a burning sensation behind your breastbone. The result? Heartburn.
Thus, contrary to what a lot of people assume, acid reflux is not due to the production of excess acid in the stomach, but rather, too little of it. A common mistake made by a lot of people due to this incorrect assumption is to medicate themselves with acid-nullifying tonics that make the symptoms worse instead of alleviating them.
The Need For Natural Treatment
While most of us may have experienced heartburn or acid reflux at some point in our lives, it is a chronic condition only if you experience these symptoms at least twice a week. Those suffering from acid reflux on a regular basis know that the medication for this condition does not come cheap. At $200 a month, it is definitely not something everyone can afford. But does that mean one has to continue suffering?
Thankfully, nature has already gone where science is yet to reach. Acid reflux is not a modern condition, and our forebears were treating themselves for it even when medicines for acid reflux were not available. Taking a cue from them, we decided to let you in on some methods you could try to treat acid reflux at home.
How To Use Castor Oil For Acid Reflux/GERD
Castor is a miracle herb. The presence of ricinoleic acid imparts to castor many of its wonderful qualities as an analgesic, anti-inflammatory, and antimicrobial agent. Castor oil, which is obtained by pressing the seeds of the castor plant, is used to treat the symptoms of a variety of disorders and illnesses. The pain and inflammation you feel during acid reflux too can be relieved to a large extent by castor oil.
Chemical Composition Of Castor Oil
Ricinoleic acid makes up nearly 90% of the fatty acid component of castor oil while some others like oleic acid, linoleic acid, linolenic acid, etc., make up the remaining 10%.
|Name of the acid||Percentage range|
How To Make A Castor Oil Pack
To treat acid reflux at home, you will need to use castor oil packs. Apply the castor oil pack on the abdomen for three consecutive days of the week. Repeat again four days later or as desired.
You Will Need:
- Pure castor oil
- Old flannel cloth large enough to cover the abdomen
- Plastic wrap
- Hot water bottle
How To Make
- Heat 4 oz of castor oil in the microwave for 45 seconds. Remember to use a glass dish.
- Soak the flannel in the hot castor oil. Allow it to soak up the oil.
- Lie down in a comfortable chair or bed. Cover your abdomen with the flannel soaked in castor oil.
- Use the plastic wrap to bind it to your abdomen.
- Place a hot water bottle on top of the plastic wrap.
Do this for 30-45 minutes each day, thrice a week. Repeat 2-3 times a day if required (you may shorten the duration to 20 minutes).
The kind of cooking oil you use at home can also cause acidity. Most oils available in the market, including organic ones, are rancid. Rancid oils have a negative impact on the liver. This, in turn, affects the gallbladder and its ability to deal with fats, leading to acid reflux. A strong cup of dandelion root tea and warm castor oil packs over the liver can go a long way in addressing these issues. Additionally, try using coconut oil or extra virgin olive oil for a better rancid oil-less lifestyle choice.
To Treat Acid Reflux In Babies – Follow the same procedure as described above. Good for treating colic in babies too. Check the temperature of the pack before placing it on your child’s tummy. Avoid using plastic to bind the flannel.
Do a patch test on your baby to check for allergies before using castor oil on his/her skin. To do this, apply a very small amount of castor oil on your baby’s wrist. If the skin gets red or inflamed, your baby is allergic to it and the use of castor oil packs is not advised. Ensure that you only use 100% pure organic castor oil. Consult a paediatrician before you try any home remedy on your baby.
Acid reflux can be a debilitating condition, and more so when it comes out at you from nowhere. If everyday medicine isn’t working for you and/or you prefer going natural, give this castor oil therapy a try and see the difference for yourself.