Background: Acid-suppressive drugs are commonly used to treat gastric irritation and GERD. These drugs have been associated with a number of adverse effects and caution may be needed in recommending their use. The purpose of this observational study was to compare the efficacy of two herbal formulas in the reduction of the symptoms of GERD and some other gastrointestinal diseases without the need to substantially lower gastric acid. Methods: Fifty eight people who suffered from one or more symptoms of gastric irritation and GERD for more than 6 months took part in this two-year observation study. The symptoms and conditions studied included gastric reflux, unspecified burning sensations in the gastric area (heart burn), confirmed gastric or duodenal ulcer, irritable bowel syndrome and Crohn's disease. This study examined the use of two non-antacid herbal formulas: Formula 1, containing Ulmus fulva (slippery elm) and Mentha piperita (peppermint oil) and Formula 2 with the addition of deglycyrrhizinated liquorice (DGL). Symptoms were self-evaluated by patients using a questionnaire that was completed before and after the study. Results The results showed that the both herbal formulas were associated with significant improvement in symptoms of gastric and intestinal irritation and that these improvements were consistently reported as better than commonly used antacids. Conclusion: A herbal formula designed to sooth and protect the gastric mucosa may be a better alternative than acid-suppressive drugs for people suffering with gastric irritation and GERD.
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