Natural Health Remedies for You

Natural Hiatal Hernia Remedies
Treating Heartburn Naturally

This page looks at hiatal hernia remedies - using herbs, nutritional supplements, and homeopathy to treat hiatus hernia symptoms such as heartburn. Hiatus hernia symptoms and causes will also be discussed.

The esophagus (the tube that connects the throat to the stomach) passes into the stomach through an opening in the diaphragm called the hiatus. When the muscle tissue surrounding the hiatus is weak, the upper part of the stomach protrudes through the hiatus and into the chest cavity, resulting in a condition called hiatal hernia.

When we eat, the food goes down the esophagus to the stomach. The base of the esophagus is fitted with muscular rings and valves (called the lower esophageal sphincter, or LES) that control the one-way flow of food from the esophagus to the stomach. When the muscles relax, food can flow into the stomach where acids can break it down. Once we have finished eating and the esophagus is empty, the muscular rings and valves tighten to prevent the food and the acids from backing up out of the stomach and refluxing into the esophagus.

If a person has a hiatal hernia, part of the stomach slides out of place and the ability of the muscular rings to keep food and acid in the stomach may be compromised. As a result, stomach contents repeatedly move back up into the esophagus. This regurgitating action is called acid reflux which causes heartburn, chest pain, and belching.

While many people may have them, hiatal hernias are usually not serious and some people are not even aware that they have this disorder. However, some people do have more severe symptoms and the acid reflux may cause severe and intense chest pain that mimics a heart attack.

Hiatus Hernia Symptoms

In most cases of small hiatal hernias, people usually show no symptoms.

Larger hernias cause acid reflux with the following symptoms:
  • Heartburn (worse when bending over or lying down)
  • Belching
  • Chest pain and muscle spasms
  • Nausea
Hiatal hernia symptoms such as heartburn can be aggravated if you are obese, or if you smoke.


Hiatal Hernia Causes

The exact cause of hiatal hernias is not known, but it is believed that anything that traumatizes the stomach muscles (e.g. injury, surgery, pregnancy, persistent or severe coughing or vomiting) can lead to hiatal hernias.

Other possible causes can be due to:
  • Weakening of mucles as a result of aging
  • Genetics
  • Poor diet


Natural Hiatal Hernia Remedies

Hiatal hernias can be treated using natural remedies such as herbs, nutritional supplements, and homeopathy.

Natural Hiatal Hernia Remedies - Herbs

Quite a few herbs are effective hiatal hernia remedies, such as:
  • Deglycyrrhizinated Licorice (DGL): DGL is licorice extract with the compound glycyrrhizin removed. (Glycyrrhizin causes side effects such as high blood pressure and drug interactions.) DGL has been found to be able to successfully treat both heartburn and ulcers of the stomach and esophagus. Recommended dosage is 250 to 500 mg 3 times daily, chewed either 1 hour before or 2 hours after meals.
  • Slippery Elm: Slippery elm is anti-inflammatory and can soothe the stomach and esophageal linings. Recommended dosage is about 3 ml of the tincture three times a day. Another herb that has similar properties as slippery elm is Marshmallow root.
  • Gentian: Gentian has a long history as a digestive herb. When taken about 30 minutes before meals, it is a remarkable heartburn preventive that also aids digestion. Recommended dosage is 300 mg to be taken before meals.
  • Aloe Vera Juice: Aloe promotes healing and soothes the digestive tract. Take as directed on the container.


Natural Hiatal Hernia Remedies - Nutritional Supplements

  • Probiotics: Probiotics contain friendly bacteria, such as Lactobacillus acidophilus, and are effective in maintaining gastrointestinal and immune health. Take a probiotic supplement that contains at least 4 billion active organisms a day.
  • L-glutamine: L-glutamine is an essential amino acid that helps promote a healthy intestinal tract, and, as such, may also benefit gastrointestinal disorders. Recommended dosage is 500 to 1000 mg 3 times daily.
  • Digestive Enzymes: Digestive enzymes promote effective food digestion so that the foods are less likely to cause irritation. Recommended dosage is a capsule of a full-spectrum blend per meal.


Natural Hiatal Hernia Remedies - Homeopathy

Homeopathic remedies can be used as natural hiatal hernia remedies. They can lessen the symptoms caused by hiatal hernias such as heartburn and reflux. Choose a remedy that most closely matches your symptoms and follow the instructions of use on the label.
  • Nux vomica: This remedy is the most commonly used remedy for hiatal hernias. It is especially helpful for heartburn, retching without vomiting, and reflux caused by overeating, alcohol use, or coffee drinking. This remedy is most appropriate for people who also feel irritable and sensitive to noise and light.
  • Arsenicum album: This remedy is for a burning sensation in the throat or stomach that is alleviated by drinking milk and sitting up. People who need this remedy are usually anxious and restless.
  • Carbo vegetabilis: This remedy is for people who have a sluggish digestive system, resulting in constant bloating, belching, flatulence, and indigestion. They are often pale and feel chilly, but feel better with cool air and drinks.
  • Pulsatilla: This remedy is for heartburn, queasiness, and a bad taste in the mouth brought on by eating rich and fatty foods (especially ice cream). Symptoms may include vomiting partly digested food. People who need this remedy feel tearful when ill, and greatly desire comfort.
  • Phosphorous: This remedy is for a burning pain in the stomach that feels better from cold drinks which, immediately thereafter, unfortunately cause nausea and/or vomiting.

Related Topic

Heartburn and Pregnancy


Balch and Stengler, Prescription for Natural Cures, (John Wiley & Sons, Inc., 2004)
J.A. Duke, The Green Pharmacy Herbal Handbook. (St. Martin's Paperback, 2002) (

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