If you were ever troubled by recurring heart burn and acid reflux in the past few years, chances are that you are suffering from gastroesophageal reflux disease, namely GERD. Taking over-the-counter antacids may bring some degree of relief to some. But it may be in vain to some others – the symptoms of heartburn, poor appetite, and nausea are still there. So, how to stop it, especially when it refuses healing? In this case, natural remedies for GERD like Yang Wei Shu might be of great help. Since these natural stomach remedies have been tested in China for hundreds of years, it is surely worth a try at home.
Disadvantage of Western medicine in GERD treatment
So, what causes GERD? But the exact cause, unfortunately, still remains unknown from the perspective of Western medicine. Some attribute the occurring of gastric reflux symptoms to the slacking of cardiac ostium, which is the joint of esophagus and stomach. Unfortunately, currently there is no specific medicine available to bring in the cure. Therefore, what we can do is as follows:
(1). To reduce the source of acid reflux – antacids like Omeprazole, Lansoprazole, Nexium, and Rabeprazole; or turn the reversed acid harmless – medicine that neutralizes the acid level like Maalox;
(2). To promote the emptying of stomach and esophagus so that there is nothing for reflux – medicine that stimulate gastric motility like Domperidone, Metoclopramide, and Cisapride;
(3). To strengthen the protection of esophageal mucosa so that it can withstand the corrosion of the reflux like gastric acid – mucous membrane protective agents like Carbenoxolone, sucralfate, and Smecta.
As you can see, none of the above-mentioned methods targets the real problem. GERD is all about the dysfunction of the muscle at the bottom of the esophagusand. Therefore, such a treatment won’t bring GERD under permanent control at all. Besides, the special type of GERD might be also closely associated with individual health conditions, moods like depression or anxiety, and increased esophageal sensitivity, etc. Among the differences of individual health condition depends on the different activity of the enzyme of CYP2C19, which involves in drug metabolism in human body. All mentioned factors can also lead to chronic gastritis.
Since the primary medications are to inhibit the production of gastric acid, they in turn mitigate the damage to the oesophageal mucosa. No doubt these drugs have brought tremendous relief to lots of people. But some others, presenting symptoms of heartburn and recurring acid reflux, may have little to do with gastric acid but poor activity of CYP2C19, bile regurgitation, or even hypersensitivity of esophagus, which can shed some light on why antacids didn’t work on them.
In fact, the above-mentioned is one of special type of GERD, which doesn’t respond well to antacid. Even worse, some severe symptoms and signs would occur like heart burn feeling, vomiting, and chest pain, especially after stopping the drugs.
Chinese herbal remedies for GERD
What can these natural remedies do for GERD then? Actually, Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) had ever treated this condition long ago, recorded in Huang Di Nei Jing (Yellow Emperor Internal Classic). TCM believes that GERD comes down to the imbalance among zang-fu viscera of liver, gallbladder, spleen, and stomach. So, it provides an achievable way to coordinate the relationship in order to treat acid reflux and heart burn.
Features of TCM treatment for acid reflux
GERD treatments with TCM should abide by some regular rules and the main features are as follows:
(1). Determination of etiologic factors based on differentiation. Figuring out the pathogenesis is the most important part of a successful cure. So, you can never put too much emphasis on this step;
(2). Multi-target therapy. A herbal formula contains a few herbs that target differently, which is especially true to those with acid reflux and heartburn but normal level of gastric acid or caused mainly by bile reflux. This may be the bottleneck to western medicine but the strength to alternative remedies;
(3). Individualization and flexibility. The main conflict varies from person to person, so do the solutions. Normally the tailored prescription would work better for the specific individual.
Yang Wei Shu
This formula, in the form of granule (Ke Li) or capsule, is the modified form of Wen Wei Tang by Li Dong Yuan, one of the Four Famous TCM Doctor during Jin and Yuan dynasties.
Dang Shen (Codonopsis Root), Chen Pi (Tangerine Peel), Huang Jing (Siberian Solomon Seal Rhizome), Shan Yao (Chinese Yam), Xuan Shen (Ningpo Figwort Root), and Wu Mei (Mume Fruit).
Main functions and indications
Main functions are strengthening and consolidating body resistance, nourishing yi for benefiting stomach, activating Qi to promote digestion, and coordinating middle burner. Main usage and indications are heartburn, epigastric distention and dull pain, feverishness in palms and soles, dry mouth, poor appetite, and emaciation, which presented in chronic atrophic gastritis and chronic gastritis in pattern of stomach heat.
It has a number of excellent functions like anti-inflammatory and analgesic effects, improving gastric acid secretion, strengthening the digestive system, and enhancing immune function. Reportedly it has no toxic and side effects in due dosage.
(1). Fighting pathogenic micro-organism – escherichia coli and Helicobacter pylori;
(2). Dilating Blood Vessels – improving gastric mucosal blood flow to relieve gastric inflammation;
(3). Alleviating the degree or reducing the incidence of erosion of gastric mucosa, chronic inflammatory cell infiltrate, and Congestion and haemorrhage;
(4). Enhancing the total gastric acidity and increasing the activity of pepsin in Wistar – promoting the secretion of digestive juice and enzyme;
(5). Decreasing the frequency of writhing response caused by glacial acetic acid in mice – analgesia; reducing the ear swelling caused by dimethylbenzene in mice – anti-inflammation;
(6). Enhancing or regulating the immune function.
And natural remedies with Yang Wei Shu have been tested in hospitals like the PLA 105 hospital in treatments for chronic gastritis and atrophic gastritis, two months as a course of the treatment. Among the subjects, effective rate was 66.23% and total effective rate 96.18%.