Popular Remedies for Esophageal Symptoms: a Critical Appraisal

Curr Gastroenterol Rep. 2019 Jul 10;21(8):39. doi: 10.1007/s11894-019-0707-4.


Purpose of review: Popular remedies are of ongoing interest to patients experiencing common esophageal symptoms, particularly as typical pharmacologic interventions have been subject to increased scrutiny. Herein we summarize the available data regarding potential risks and benefits of several such remedies.

Recent findings: With emphasis on reflux and non-cardiac chest pain, research is ongoing into the clinical utility and diverse physiologic mechanisms underlying a variety of complementary and alternative modalities, including dietary manipulation, apple cider vinegar, melatonin, acupuncture, and various herbal products (rikkunshito, STW 5, slippery elm, licorice, and peppermint oil, among others). A substantial gap persists between anecdotal and empirical understandings of the majority of non-pharmacologic remedies for esophageal symptoms. This landscape of popular treatments nevertheless raises several interesting mechanistic hypotheses and compelling opportunities for future research.

Keywords: Alternative; CAM; Complementary; Diet; GERD; Heartburn; NCCP; Nutrition.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Acetic Acid
  • Acupuncture Therapy / methods
  • Chest Pain / therapy
  • Complementary Therapies / methods*
  • Drugs, Chinese Herbal / therapeutic use
  • Gastroesophageal Reflux / diet therapy
  • Gastroesophageal Reflux / therapy*
  • Glycyrrhiza
  • Humans
  • Melatonin / therapeutic use
  • Plant Extracts / therapeutic use
  • Plant Oils / therapeutic use
  • Ulmus


  • Drugs, Chinese Herbal
  • Plant Extracts
  • Plant Oils
  • iberogast
  • liu-jun-zi-tang
  • peppermint oil
  • Melatonin
  • Acetic Acid