For some people acid reflux can be a rare annoyance after a night of too much alcohol and spicy food; for others it is a daily, painful struggle. Either way, for centuries people have been drinking tea for acid reflux.
Persistent acid reflux, sometimes called GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease) occurs when the sphincter at the opening to your stomach becomes loosened, letting stomach acid back up into your esophagus. As its name implies, stomach acid is very acidic and your esophagus doesn’t have the protective lining that your stomach does, hence that burning discomfort that comes with acid reflux. Over time, the acid can even damage your esophagus.
Luckily, there are things you can do to help alleviate the symptoms of GERD. A change in diet and sticking to low-fat, low-acid foods can help, as can maintaining a light exercise regime.
I have also found that a cup of ginger tea or a blend with licorice root in it sometimes soothes the uncomfortable burning sensation of acid reflux.
These are the teas I have found most useful for acid reflux relief:
We’ve already seen that ginger tea can help alleviate sinus pain as well as constipation. It has also been proven to reduce nausea and help empty the stomach, both of which – nausea and bloating – come with acid reflux. In addition, ginger is noted for its anti-inflammatory properties, and inflammation of the esophagus is one of the characteristics of GERD.
These are some of my favorite ginger teas and blends for acid reflux (as opposed to congestion):
- Buddha Tea Ginger Root Tea: This tea is just straight up organic ginger and nothing else. It settles stomachs and eases discomfort. Just don’t drink too much at once, or the acidity of the ginger can become an irritant.
- Traditional Medicinals Organic Ginger & Chamomile Herbal Tea: Built to relieve occasional indigestion, this tea is mildly spicy with floral tones. It’s strong enough to make an impact, but light enough to remain soothing.
- Art of Tea Bright Eyed (Turmeric Ginger Tea): Cinnamon, turmeric, and ginger lend this blend a warm and spicy flavor. It is healthful and nourishing, and just what I need when my stomach is out of sorts.
- Bigelow Benefits Ginger & Peach Herbal Tea: This tea combines the most stomach-friendly ingredients such as licorice root, marshmallow (more on those below), and ginger to create a soothing, and impactful tea.
Marshmallow Root Tea
No, not that marshmallow. The candy which we all know and love is named for the root, but the marshmallow you find in tea is not the same marshmallow used to make s’mores.
Marshmallow root, otherwise known as althaea officinalis, is an herb that is native to Europe, and parts of Asia and Africa. It has been used for its medicinal properties for centuries, and is highly mucilaginous.
Research in rats shows that marshmallow root coats the inside of the stomach and prevents stomach acid from giving off that uncomfortable burning sensation associated with heartburn and acid reflux. In addition, it may help soothe irritation in the digestive system.
All of this makes it an excellent option for a tea ingredient when you have acid reflux or GERD.
The scent of marshmallow can sometimes put people off, but its taste is deep and earthy and not unpleasant.
Some of my favorite marshmallow teas and blends are:
- Buddha Teas Organic Marshmallow Leaf Tea: This is a tea for either people who really like the taste of marshmallow root or for those who are drinking it medicinally. It makes for a soothing remedy when indigestion hits.
- Valley of Tea Marshmallow Leaf: The advantage of this tea is that it is loose leaf, making it a good option for those people who want a fresher, less dusty tasting tea. Like Buddha Tea, Valley of Tea sources its teas only from organic producers.
- Pukka Relax Tea: This blend combines chamomile, licorice, marshmallow, and other herbs to create a sweet, smooth, soothing cup of tea. It is great for when stress has your stomach out of sorts.
- Art of Tea Glow Blend: A blend of ginger, peppermint, marshmallow, and other herbs and spices, this tea lives up to its namesake. It is a bright, spicy-sweet tea.
Just like marshmallow root, licorice is probably most familiar to people as a candy. However, along with its sweetening properties, licorice has also been used for its medicinal properties since the time of the pharaohs.
It should be noted though that ingesting large amounts of glycyrrhetinic acid could lead to electrolyte imbalances, and people with congestive heart failure and kidney disease should avoid products with licorice in them.
Licorice root tea tends to be quite sweet with a hint of mint and anise flavor. Interestingly enough, black licorice, the candy, is actually flavored with anise and not licorice, so even if you don’t like the candy, you may like the tea.
Some of my favorite teas with licorice are:
- Yogi Tea Egyptian Licorice: This tea is a spicy sweet blend of licorice, cinnamon, ginger, cardamom and more. It is rich, soothing, and comforting.
- Buddha Tea Licorice Root Tea: This is the only pure licorice root tea on the list. It is sweet and tangy, and as always, because it is a Buddha Tea product it is 100% organic.
- Art of Tea Soothe Blend: This blend leans herby, with peppermint, chamomile, and lemon balm making up the bulk of the tea. However, the licorice root it contains is vital, both for the sweetness it lends the tea, and also for its stomach-soothing properties.
- Pukka Peppermint & Licorice Herbal Tea: Like The Art of Tea’s Soothe blend, this blend also leans heavily on the peppermint. However, in this case, the blend is made up of only peppermint and licorice, making it a bright, sweet, and calming drink.
Other helpful teas
Here are some other teas that may provide relief for the symptoms of acid reflux:
- Chamomile Tea: According to Harvard Health, chamomile may soothe an upset digestive tract.
- Fennel Tea: Fennel seeds are antibacterial and can be used to fight off some of the bacteria causing stomach discomfort.
- Turmeric Tea: Highly anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidative, turmeric has been used as a remedy for heartburn for a long time. So far there has not been a lot of scientific research done on turmeric and acid reflux, but it’s worth giving it a shot.
What should you look for in an anti-acid reflux tea?
When you have acid reflux or are suffering from GERD, all you want is some relief. Concentrate on drinking a tea that will help: marshmallow root tea, or licorice tea.
Of course, it is also important to drink teas and blends that taste good and feel soothing. Comfort is so subjective, especially when it comes to the digestive system. What works for one person may not work for another.